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Respect & Protection

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Japanese Culture

The Japanese approach to death is heavily based on ‘Gimu’ – the moral debt that a child owes to their parents. ‘Gimu’ translates as duty, responsibility, duty to society and obligation to family. Throughout their lives, Japanese strive to repay these obligations. This seems abstract to us in the West, but it implies honour which is fundamentally important to Japanese people.

According to traditional Japanese beliefs, the spirits of the dead are always nearby, and may even visit their loved ones during certain times of year. When it comes to death, the children of the dead can repay some of this obligation by helping older relatives and friends to pass in peace. They must also perform all the rituals at the funeral and continue to offer the dead food, drink, and offerings so that they may enjoy an honourable eternity.

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Mexican Culture

Mexicans, with their culture drawn from a mix of indigenous beliefs and Catholicism, deal very openly with death.

Grief isn’t experienced privately, but in your community. The 48-hour wake that follows a death is frequently held in a home. One room is set aside to allow people to spend time with the deceased who will be in an open coffin. In a second room, people will talk, eat, drink, play dominos and play music.

Once a year, Mexicans remember their dead with the Dia de los Muertos celebration. Literally, ‘The Day of the Dead.’ Mexicans believe that we die three times – when we are first aware of our mortality as teenagers, when we die, and the last time someone says our name. This celebration serves to keep relatives and friends ‘alive.’

The importance of family is paramount to both cultures. And children of the deceased work hard to honour their parents and ensure they have a smooth ride in the next world. Just as their children will do for them.