cremation Death + Technology

Japan Goes… Library Tech? with Urn Storage and Retrieval

Japan’s New Hi-Tech ‘Graveyards’
Jason Rhodes, Reuters (October 13, 2009)

via Treehugger, “Japan’s High Tech Graveyard Solution as Burial Space Grows Scarce” (Jaymi Heimbuch, October 15, 2009)

Due to scarcity and high cost — sometimes more than $100,000 — for urn burial plots in Japan, storing cremation urns in space-saving warehouses is growing in popularity. Such buildings contain special mourning areas where loved ones can swipe a card with the deceased’s location; a robotic arm will retrieve the urn from the vault and deliver it the mourning area, complete with somber music, flowers and video screens showing photos of the deceased.

The video above is in Japanese; whether or not you understand it, you still get the gist. I can’t get over how much this is like high-tech library deep storage, such as UBC’s Automated Storage and Retrieval System. Yes, it’s seen as cost-effective, and even has the ever-popular green slant and humorous old man approval: from the BBC article,

“One of the things to consider is the price, it’s reasonable,” said Toshio Ishii, who at 82 years old was looking for his own grave. “And I think it will be nice to be stored with other people. It’s more fun, there’ll be company.”

2 replies on “Japan Goes… Library Tech? with Urn Storage and Retrieval”

Hey Meg:

Just thought I’d say hello Minneapolis! I’m enjoying the DRD and particularly enjoyed this Japanese post. Take care and greetings from Van.

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