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Link back to: Hirohito & Japan Link back to: Hirohito & Japan
music: Japanese military song (603K)-22 sec.
a tale of two funerals
photo: Shinto funeral (12K) photo: public funeral (14K)

Images: When Hirohito died on January 7, 1989, his death had been expected. He was elderly and had been ill. Still, there was mourning throughout Japan and complete decorum regarding treatment of his body. Six weeks after his death, on the same day, two funerals took place. The first was a private Shinto ceremony which was attended by family and close associates. The second was a carefully orchestrated public event which featured a hearse, motorcycle escort, honor guard, the mourning masses, and a huge gathering of dignitaries from around the world. Hirohito's son, Prince Akihito, was crowned Emperor and today presides, if merely symbolically, over modern-day Japan. In the Shinto tradition it is believed that the spirit of the Emperor is immutable, and passes from the dying Emperor into his successor. (credits: )

Japanese military song Sakura (credit: unknown)--Load time: ~22 sec.

"You and I,
we are cherry-blossoms of the same class,
we fight for the army and navy air-wing,
Like the cherry blossoms which will fall,
we will fall,
but we will fall in glory and in fashion."

EXTRA! Listen to an anthropologist sing it --Load time: ~14 sec.


(c) 1999 John Borneman & Linda Fisher, All Rights Reserved