Funerals in Japan: half don’t want one

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When you pop your clogs, would you want a funeral service? graph of japanese statisticsiShare recently did one of their trademark curious surveys, this time looking at issues surrounding funerals.

Demographics

Between the 18th and 21st of May 2010 432 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 57.6% of the sample were male, 32.9% in their twenties, 32.4% in their thirties, and 34.7% in their forties.

Funerals in Japan are a horrendous rip-off, on the whole, especially as many feel they have to call in priests to officiate, who often charge in the millions of yen for their services. I’ve seen people defend this practice by saying that as people are expected to bring a cash gift for the family they can cover expenses; this may be true, but then again one has to give presents back to everyone who gifts, and of course there is ongoing expenses of grave maintenance and annual services for the deceased, which again can run into hundreds of thousands.

And I really ought to link to my brother’s post from three years ago.

Research results

Q1: Have you ever attended a funeral? (Sample size=432)

 AllMale
N=249
Female
N=183
Yes (to SQ)92.4%90.0%95.6%
No7.6%10.0%4.4%

Q1SQ: Have you ever been involved in the organising of a funeral? (Sample size=399)

 AllMale
N=224
Female
N=175
Yes11.8%12.5%10.9%
No88.2%87.5%89.1%

Q2: When you pop your clogs, would you want a funeral service? (Sample size=432)

 AllMale
N=249
Female
N=183
Definitely (to SQ)6.7%7.6%5.5%
If possible (to SQ)43.3%42.6%44.3%
No, don’t want50.0%49.8%50.3%

Some of the main reasons why people wanted a funeral were a wish to properly depart from everyone, to allow relatives to sort out their emotions, to take the opportunity to let people know I was dead. Further reasons were because it’s the custom or what society expects. For those not wanting one, people didn’t feel it necessary, not wanting to burden the relatives, funerals are for the living, not the dead, and just that it is expensive.

Q2SQ: Do you have any wishes regarding the kind of funeral you want? (Sample size=216)

 AllMale
N=125
Female
N=91
Yes, lots0.5%0.0%1.1%
Yes, some32.9%20.8%49.5%
No, none66.7%79.2%49.5%

The sorts of wishes people had were a modest one, a simple one, a not expensive one, and a family-only affair.

Q3: For your own particular religious sect, do you know roughly how much it costs in total for a funeral service? (Sample size=432)

 AllMale
N=249
Female
N=183
Know most of the costs18.8%19.3%18.0%
Know some of the costs20.8%18.9%23.5%
Don’t know anything60.4%61.8%58.5%

Q4: For your own particular religious sect, do you know what kinds of procedures must be done for a funeral service? (Sample size=432)

 AllMale
N=249
Female
N=183
Know most of it14.6%14.1%15.3%
Know some of it26.9%25.3%29.0%
Don’t know any of them58.6%60.6%55.7%

Q5: Do your have money saved up for your own funeral service, cremation, etc? (Sample size=432)

 AllMale
N=249
Female
N=183
Yes13.7%10.8%17.5%
No86.3%89.2%82.5%

Q6: If one of your family were to pop their clogs suddenly, do you have someone close to you who you could turn to for advice on funeral preparations, financial issues, etc? (Sample size=432)

 AllMale
N=249
Female
N=183
Yes61.6%59.8%63.9%
No (to SQ)38.4%40.2%36.1%

Q6SQ: If one of your family were to pop their clogs suddenly, do you feel worried about not having someone close to you who you could turn to for advice on funeral preparations, financial issues, etc? (Sample size=166)

 AllMale
N=100
Female
N=66
Very worried12.7%10.0%16.7%
A little worried42.8%40.0%47.0%
Not worried44.6%50.0%36.4%
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