Japan

A Mountain Cemetery

Photo credit: S.

The cemetery surrounding Okunoin (meaning “Innermost Sanctum”) in Koyasan, a mountaintop Shingon Buddhist temple settlement in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, houses more than 200,000 graves, many belonging to Buddhist monks. It is deep in a forest, and is the largest cemetery in the country. Aside from the many headstones, there are several “corporate graves,” or plots of land that companies have purchased to memorialize their employees after they die. One of these belongs to Nissan, and contains a statue of two young mechanics (“heroic workers”) to honor those who died manufacturing their cars. There is even a cenotaph erected by the Japan Termite Control Association honoring the termites it has murdered.

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