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Okinawans looking for break to local funeral burial traditions

Date Posted: 2005-06-17

Burial practices vary between mainland Japan and Okinawa, and now Okinawans are moving to split procedures even more.

Mainland Japanese practice spreading of ashes following cremation. Okinawans have for centuries chosen to have family burial tombs where they keep their ancestorsí bones forever.

The practice has become lucrative for companies that manufacture tombs. Importers bring the stone from China, business reflecting a four-fold increase in the past decade. The reason is simple; people want their own tombs now, and arenít so willing to be part of the family gravesite. Import taxes to the Japanese government from the stone have increased •933,000,000 over the past ten years.

Aside from the desire for family privacy, many Okinawans point out family policy and traditional that prevents a divorced daughter from being buried in the family tomb. Instead, she must be buried elsewhere in the graveyard, in a separate area. Thatís driving younger Okinawans to consider breaking with tradition and going their own separate ways with individual family tombs.

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