Theme Day, Cemetery / Tombstone
Here are a few tips about Japanese cemetery....
We usually have a tombstone per a family, not an individual, and the stones have been taken over from our ancestors. The stones are usually in the site of Buddhist temples. We have a custom of visiting the stone once or more in a year to show our respects for our ancestors. Such feeling of awe of the ancestor is from the Shinto religion, Japanese primitive religion, but the graves sit in temples of Buddhist religion, not in shrines of Shinto religion.
Japanese tombstones, came from Shinto religion, have, in nature, no connection with Buddhism. Why do the temples have the cemetery?? Because the government of Edo (1603-1868) used temples as a tool of governance over the multitude. The government of Edo forced each family to set each tombstone in a Buddhist temple. The system had two purposes. One was to force people to believe in Buddhism and prohibit them from believing in Christianity. The other was to make temples to see who died and when, just like register offices today.
Now the system has gone but people has set the stone in temples still now.
More than 100 City Daily Photo blogs participate in this theme day. Do pay them a visit but remember that due to time difference you might not see the proper photo.
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