Grieving for objects in Japan

I’ve been thinking about this through the Otherfaith, which does encourage the adoption of an animistic worldview and a respect for technology in general. If we grieve for the objects we lose and value the relationships we have with them, then, as this post suggests, can we learn to move past our hyper-disposable world where things are just things?

Trellia's Mirror Book

aibo3 Funeral at Kofuku-ji for AIBOs (Courtesy Independent)

Various news sources have been reporting on the funerals being held for AIBO robot dogs in Japan. Since Sony stopped repairing and making spare parts for AIBOs, the dogs have been slowly “dying out.” In response to this, Buddhist priests have been holding funeral services for them.

This may seem pretty strange to anyone outside of Japan – indeed, a lot of Japanese people find it rather odd as well. Some may even find it rather disturbing; that somehow, in treating an artificial human creation as a living thing, we have lost touch with reality and are forgetting to appreciate what makes living things truly special.

But treating certain man-made creations with the same respect as natural objects is nothing new at all in Japan. There’s a whole article on funeral rites for inanimate objects here. Objects that may be disposed of…

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One thought on “Grieving for objects in Japan

  1. The beauty is that children seem to feel this way naturally. I always found it hard to give any of my toys away. I notice the same hesitation in my own children, even when they know their toys are going to a place where it’s very welcome.

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