Trying out a coffin while you’re still alive can be a rather unnerving experience. But the Japanese seem to love it! They even have a creepy ‘try-before-you-die’ festival where people can lay down in coffins, try out funeral garments and even get a morbid makeover.
Called ‘Shukatsu Festa’, the unique event has become very popular in recent years. In fact the whole ‘shukatsu’ trend, which translates as preparing for one’s end, has become really big in Japan. Apparently, people no longer think it’s bad luck to prepare for their death. Participants can choose their funeral outfit, put it on, slip into the flower-filled casket they like and have a picture taken. That way, they get to know exactly what they’ll look like on the day of their funeral. They can even have funeral make-up applied on their faces for a deathly pallor. They can also choose to be covered with white blankets have have the attendants softly close the lid.
Photo: Miako Ichikawa/Asahi
The Shukatsu Festa is popular with both men and women – this year’s event in Tokyo attracted over 5,000 visitors, with 50 companies competing to win their business. But it isn’t just the festival, the trend to design your own funeral has really caught on in Japan in the past few years and coffin manufacturers are actually printing coffin-manuals for people to browse through.
Come to think of it, the Japanese aren’t the only ones who are ok with laying in a coffin while they still have a pulse. A while back, we reported about a special psychotherapy service in Shenyang, China, where patients experienced rebirth, by spending several minutes in closed caskets. The same think happened in the Ukraine, where an enterprising coffin maker invited people to lay down into one of his caskets to experience the afterlife.