Tuesday, 12 Aug, 2008 Technology

Japanese Temple Offers High-Tech Grave


Due to the fact that Japan is an island with lack of land, some Japanese seniors raise concerns about finding a place for their "after-life". But due to the continuous development of high-tech in the country, some found quite a solution to their problem.

Buddhist tradition presumes that the bodies of the dead are cremated. The urns with the ashes of the cremated are then buried in traditional cemeteries where a gravestone marker is added.

It is worth mentioning that a plot of land for a grave in the capital of Japan costs from 2 to 3 million yen, which is somewhere between $18,000 and $27,000. The developers of a high-tech multi-storey vault managed to cut these costs three times and now more people are looking forward to apply the new technology.

For instance, a 79-year-old Shinya Shimada is now paying his respect to the ancestors by visiting a contemporary vault, instead of a traditional one.

"Initially, I was a bit uncomfortable with a high-tech grave. But now, I have come to see it positively," he said.

Entering an ordinary 3-storey building located alongside a Buddhist temple, Mr Shimada uses his ID card to dial-up the gravestones and urns that include the ashes of his ancestors. Then a special machine resembling a library stack transports the urns from behind the altars, while music and pictures of the ones that passed away accompanies the process. The images are displayed on a TV monitor.

"Looking at their pictures, I actually talk a lot more to my deceased parents and sister. Unlike the usual gravestone, this makes me feel nostalgic," said Mr Shimada.

Houkou Shimizu is the monk who works in the temple that owns the technologically advanced vault. He mentioned that it took him a while to figure out the whole idea behind the contemporary multi-storey vault. However, limited land space pushed him towards developing the state-of-the-art machine.

Source: Times of India

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