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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Japan's Corpse Hotels

Let’s file this one under “Rising up from the grave”.

Originally open its lid in 2014, Sousou is a halfway house for corpses situated within a residential area of Kawasaki-shi.

Apparently Japan has a shortage of crematoriums, and apparently Japan’s population is dying off faster and faster, as it gets older and older.

Sousou is called a corpse hotel, and it’s merely one of many such businesses where people store their loved ones for up to four days, while the try and find a crematorium to process the Loved One.

The Loved One is one of my favorite books, and is about the world of taking care of the dead. Read it.

Anyhow, Sousou is essentially a morgue, that charges the living ¥9,000 (US $82) per day—up to four days, I say again, to rent out one of the 10 rooms in the building.

“Crematories need to be built, but there isn’t any space to do so and that is creating funeral refugees," says Sousou owner Takegishi Hisao (surname first).

One of the problems with Sousou, is that its neighbors aren’t very happy with the business being there in their quiet residential community.

While other such corpse motels, Sousou does NOT try and blend in - others actually look like a hotel.
Sousous... how the hell is that silver car supposed to get out of the parking spot?! I do love the convenience of the drink vending machine. I know that after a long day of corpse watching, my throat gets mighty dry. 
Sousou has plain silver exterior and black draped windows… and local residents call the look ‘creepy’.

I think it’s interesting that the locals might be happier if Sousou looked more like a regular hotel. Really?

Or do they wish it was a real hotel… like a love hotel? Drunken horny people? Or how about transients that are not horny - you know, a regular hotel?

Hey, at least with the corpse motel, the only stiffie around isn’t going to to be on a pervert (hopefully), plus the traffic in and out is more than likely reverent and quiet.

But, the look of the place isn’t all of the concerns… it’s the smell.

Sousou doesn’t keep the bodies on ice… rather the deceased sit in Air-Conditioned rooms to keep the decay (and the stench) to a minimum, such that it is.

Residents have demanded that Sousou put in place above ground level air ventilation grills—which I suppose would help diffuse the smell of death inside the place… but wouldn’t there just be a constant rank odor of death if there are vents?

How the hell is Sousou getting rid of the death smell now? Oh, don’t tell me it opens up the windows?

If it does… just note that next-door buildings are only one meter away, or so…

Sousou founder Takegishi says he has plans to expand his business into other Japanese cities.

Here’s what’s wrong with Japan - actually, I’m sure I could write encyclopedia on that…

… but in this case…

1) City government needs to create zones: Residential, Commercial and Industrial

We have this in Toronto and other cities… This means that is you want to built an abattoir, you can’t do so in an established residential neighborhood.   It also means that an oil refinery can’t be put in a commercial zone where pizza shops and computer stores et al are found.

There would be no corpse hotel concerns among the residents.

Thanks to Julien for the heads up on this tale.

Andrew Joseph
PS: Image from Reuters

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