In Japan, Undertakers Compete to See Who Is the Best Corpse-Dresser

Shaunacy Ferro
iStock / iStock

Think you’ve got good fashion sense? Try dressing a corpse. In Japan, corpse dressing is a competitive event, as we recently learned from My Republica and Reuters.

On August 24, the Tokyo International Funeral and Cemetery Show held an encoffinment competition for undertakers skilled in the art of dressing the dead. In the Shinto religion, dressing a body cleanses the deceased person’s spirit before it enters the afterlife. Typically, this ceremonial dressing is a procedure for close family members only. There are only about 2000 undertakers in Japan who are experts in the craft.

In Tokyo, four undertakers performed their dressing work on live actors who lay on mattresses on a stage. Three judges scored their work on everything from their movements to whether they were able to dress the bodies without showing too much skin.

The winner, Rino Terai, said she practiced every day to prepare, making videos of herself to target areas in which she could improve. As she told Reuters, she asked herself: “Does this look beautiful? Am I treating the deceased kindly?”

The expo also featured a robot priest designed to help with funeral ceremonies at Buddhist temples.

You can watch the encoffinment competitors in action in the video below:

[h/t My Republica]