Interesting piece on how burial traditions are changing rapidly in South Korea, where there simply isn’t enough space for everyone to get a nice comfy grave:
“’People used to think cremation was a cruel act, like killing a dead person one more time,’ said Park Bok-soon, a professor of funeral science at Eulji University. ‘In addition, it was widely associated with how the corpses of the homeless were treated, or people who were killed in tragic accidents.’
Last year, 74 percent of the dead were cremated in Korea, according to a report last month by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The ministry predicts that number will top 80 percent within two or three years. That’s an incredible change from the 17.8 percent cremation rate in 1991.
‘Funeral culture rarely changes because it is a basic part of a society, but it only took 20 years for us to move from burial to cremation,’ said Park.”
In addition to a lack of space, maintaining multiple family graves is becoming too much of a time- and money-suck for middle-class Koreans.