>> Four funeral undertakers battle it out to become Japan's top encoffinment experts. The competition's held at the country's largest funeral industry expo in Tokyo. Each contestant can be seen proving their skills and richly dressing up deceased person, in this case played by actors. In the Japanese Shinto religion, a dead person's soul remains impure shortly after death.
It's the process of dressing a body, usually only in front of close relatives, that purifies the deceased's spirit before it's sent off to the other world. Judges measure the undertaker's skill according to how gracefully they move, whether or not the body shifts away from the middle of the mattress.
And how much skin is revealed while the bodies are being dressed.>>
> I practiced everyday to prepare for this competition. I took videos and made improvements by asking myself, does this look beautiful? Or am I treating the deceased kindly? I am really happy my efforts were rewarded today.
>> Demand for undertakers has increase with Japan's aging society. More and more young people are taking on the task of dressing and sending off dead bodies but their skills still vary widely. About 2,000 undertakers specialize in this part of the ritual. And organizers of the competition hope this will spur them on to improve their skills.
>> The movement of their hands was really beautiful, I hope this uniquely Japanese culture of caring for the dead in this manner can be appreciated in other countries too.