3 basic points you like to know at the Japanese funeral | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

3 basic points you like to know at the Japanese funeral

By Guidable Writers May 8, 2017

More years you spend in Japan, more occasions to attend to the Japanese funeral.

There are 3 points you should know at the funeral. 

There are many different religions even within Buddhism.  Moreover, it is very different in each area.  Therefore, these 3 points would be very basic manners which could apply to most religions in Japan. 



1st point: proper outfit.

Black suits or dress with black bag and shoes would be proper outfit for the funeral.  It is not proper to wear shinny accessories and make-ups including nails.  Pearl earrings and neckless is the basic accessories if you like to wear.  If you have Buddhist rosary, it would be perfect.  Moreover, Japanese bring “Oko-den” which is a special envelope with money inside.  Usually, 5,000yen to 10,000yen is common to enclose in the envelope.


2nd point: proper manner during the ceremony.

There are specific manners at the ceremony.  First thing to do is to check with reception and hand-in the “Oko-den.”  Second, go and tell the “Okuyami” to the “Moshu.”  “Okuyami” is showing your sorrow for the loss.  “Moshu” is the person who organizes the ceremony.  Last thing is “Osho-kou.”  There is little box in which charcoal burning under the ash.  Take the small pieces of wooden chips beside it and put it in the box.  It is like incense which cleans your body and soul in front of the deceased person.



3rd point: attend to “Okiyome.”

Meal and beverages are prepared after the funeral.  If you are close to the person, it is better to attend to “Okiyome.”  It is polite to tell the “Moshu,” if you are leaving.  Most likely, they will insist you to stay for the “Okiyome.”  If you stay at the “Okiyome” and drink beverages, please remember to say “Kenpai” instead of “Kanpai” for the cheers.  “Kenpai” means drink for the past one.  “Kanpai” is used for the cerebrations. 


There are so many details and differences in each religions and areas.  Therefore, it is O.K. to peak how others do at the funeral in your area.  Only a few Japanese know the right manners at the ceremony.  Therefore, it is all right if you do a little bit differently as long as you show your respect and gratitude to the deceased parson.  That is the most important thing to remember.