27 , 2016-03-30 , 金沢大学外国語教育研究センター = Foreign Language Institute Kanazawa University
In the Japanese society nowadays mortuary rituals are rapidly changing, as seen in the increase of family funerals, woodland burials and ashes scatterings in the sea. Mortuary rituals have much to do with thanatopsis. What is most important for the thanatopsis is the belief in the afterlife and the soul. According to the existence/nonexistence of this belief, the idea of death is divided into 'death as door/gate' and 'death as wall', the former was typical prior to the modern era, but the latter has spread through the secularization of the world. 'Death as wall' has an affinity for the intellectuals as ITO Shigeki (1925-88) and NAKANO Yoshio (1903-85), but appears to be cold for ordinary people, who seek therefore the image of 'death as window'. The dead are also believed to become 'stars' or 'winds' in the sky and interpreted to return to the nature or the universe (Ch.1).
While the traditional religions cling to 'death as door', the religion-scientist KISHIMOTO Hideo (1903-65) insisted on 'death as wall' not only before the mortal illness, but to the end of his life. The dogma of 'miracle, personified god and existence of soul' is for him 'a fairy tale of the established religions'. Following John Dewey 'the religious' should be to him not so much for alleviating the suffer from death, as for giving the meaning to life and for supporting daily work of the people, and when the people devote themselves to life and work, the suffer from death may be overcome. In face of 'death as wall', he explained the importance of self-devoting to work, and the death as the farewell to the life (Ch.2).