Charles Cowling

Posted by Vale

Friday is always a busy day – but, as the rush recedes, it’s a good time to draw breath a little before the weekend.

Here’s something to help you pause, reflect and, perhaps, marvel too.

The Japanese art of Nokanshi is a beautiful method of preparing the body for cremation. A meditation in it’s own right. Give yourself time and relax while you watch the whole process in this beautiful little video.

If your interest is piqued search out the Japanese film Departures. We’ve blogged about this before, but it’s out on DVD now if you are interested. Well worth the effort.

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9 years ago

Just watched it again and realised the preparer is kneeling on the floor – commands even more respect. No plastic apron or rubber gloves – I like the element of him actually touching the body as he prepares it and that final lift of the hands as he looks in her face is exquisite.

9 years ago

Thanks Kris O for bringing me here today! So beautiful – so precise, so calm, so gentle, so measured.. almost like watching the swaddling of a newborn baby. I would consider going to Japan to die if this is the treatment I’d receive.

Kris O.
9 years ago

Thank you for elaborating on such a beautiful ceremony, I have taken tea ceremony for 16 years, and after watching Departures, this performance was so identical in its respect to the deceased just as the host does to the tea and its utensils. Presently I am a hairdresser in Hawaii and have had the opportunity to do some finishing touches on deceased clientele. It is most rewarding in ways that I cannot begin to describe , especially when the deceased family is close at hand. The look on their faces as well as the reality of what transformation had just… Read more »

9 years ago
Reply to  Kris O.

It really does inspire, doesn’t it Kris O. I wonder where you could train now?

james showers
9 years ago

This is proper ritual. No observers, no one but the participant(s). Hugely respectful: beautiful. We didn’t learn to do it quite like this at the Co-op. It is much harder dressing a dead body with a person’s own clothes: much more of a struggle. I can see why some fd’s boldly slit the clothes down the back, but until now the reason has seemed that it is faster and easier for the staff, and less to make it a more elegant dressing of a person, involving less turning and tugging. Seems like ‘Departures’ must be view’d. Great post, Charles. Thank… Read more »