Streetlamp Lucozade (orange_fell) wrote in little_details,
Streetlamp Lucozade
orange_fell
little_details

[ANON POST] Edo-period funeral sans body; back from the dead

I'm writing a story set in 1720s or 30s Edo, Japan. A group of commoners get very reliable news that their friend the ronin has been murdered, but there is no body. They do, however, get his swords. He has no family, so they want to memorialize him themselves. But without a body, how can they do this?

Everything I can turn up on funerals is about proper respect to the body of the deceased. I guess they could hold a wake with no burial, but I was kind of set on having a gravestone so that somebody could talk to it. (My first thought: they could go berserk and bury the swords.) In either case, burial or not, what would they do at the wake? Would the altar and offerings (rice, expected amenities like coins and white kimono) be there? Empty futon? Or no offerings, just mourners? Would the name on the altar be his posthumous ordination name, or his given name?

And what if the ronin came back several weeks/months later? I have no idea what he would have to do, at least legally speaking. Go get all the documents pertaining to his death/murder annulled, and apologize to the police? Would the grave (if there was one) be dug up and replaced with an actual grave? That doesn't seem pleasant, but leaving it up when he's back is just kinda creepy.

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Tags: 1720-1729, 1730-1739, japan: history, ~funerals, ~law (misc)
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