Sampling commercial products comes in many forms, from tasting new foods and drinks or test-driving cars to trying out the latest video games.
The event attracts more than 5,000 people every year. Representational picture
How about sampling your own funeral and getting a taste of your last goodbye before you’re placed six feet under or cremated, depending on your preference. Whether you think it’s cool or creepy, it’s happening. And it’s big in Japan.
The Shukatsu Festa in Tokyo is a popular annual festival dedicated to the preparation and personalisation of funerals. Shukatsu in Japanese means “preparing for one’s end.”
The event attracts more than 5,000 people every August, and with Japan’s aging population, it has seen a spike in attendance. For a third year in a row, the country has held the title for having the world’s oldest population. Residents aged 65 and above make up one-quarter of the population.
At the event, more than 50 vendors displayed their products for trial, including a selection of caskets, funeral attire for both men and women, as well as plenty of hair and make-up options. And some visitors weren’t shy about suiting up, slipping into a coffin, and snapping selfies to see what the end might feel like. At the Shukatsu death festival, people really put the “fun” in funeral.
The Japanese aren’t the only ones to test-drive the afterlife. In the Ukraine, some casket makers have introduced the idea of “coffin therapy,” in which people are invited to lie down for a period of time in one of their creations for a chance to feel what it will be like to spend the rest of eternity in a coffin. That doesn’t sound like fun.