Japan Breaks from Norm – Dead Buried in Mass Graves

Quake-ravaged Japan digs mass graves

Desperate municipalities are digging mass graves, unthinkable in a nation where the deceased are usually cremated and their ashes placed in stone family tombs near Buddhist temples. Local regulations often prohibit burial of bodies.

The number of dead — at 9,199 and expected to climb well over 20,000 — has overwhelmed crematoriums whose incinerators cannot keep pace with the arriving bodies. A shortage of kerosene required to burn them means some cannot operate at all.


Under traditional Japanese Buddhist practice, bodies are brought home and placed in bed with their head pointing north. After a wake, funeral and cremation, relatives transfer the bones by chopsticks into an urn that is displayed at home for several weeks or even months before being buried.

Definitely a tough situation over there that require our continued prayers. Sometimes common sense and practicality trumps religious practices.

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