images courtesy Death Fes

April 14th is the unofficial “day of good death” in Japan. The date 4-1-4 can be pronounced yo-i-shi, or good death, making today the perfect day to kick-off the Death Fes, an event aimed at encouraging people to think and talk about their inevitable end.

Over 1.5 million people died last year in Japan, the highest ever on record. And the rate, which is only accelerating, is over twice that of 40 years ago. Japan has truly entered an era of “high-death,” which in itself has has created other issues from kodokushi (lonely deaths) to 2-week wait times for cremations.

Death Fes is a rather unusual event, being held at Shibuya Hikarie now through April 18th, where multiple vendors and thought leaders have come together to create a space where all generations can think about death. From kawaii coffins to palm-sized gravestones, close to 15 vendors are showcasing products that help to create more contemporary dialogue around death. The program also includes multiple seminars by monks and journalists who spend their time closer to death.

If you’re in Shibuya this week, stop by the 8th floor of Shibuya Hikarie and check out what’s going on at Death Fes.

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palm-sized gravestones