Skip to main content
U.K. Edition
Sunday, 17 January 2021

South Korea holds funerals for the living

Duration: 01:48s 0 shares 1 views
South Korea holds funerals for the living
South Korea holds funerals for the living

More than 25,000 people have attended mass funerals for the living in South Korea.

Their aim?

To help appreciate their lives, by simulating their deaths.

Michelle Hennessy reports.

These South Koreans are in mourning.

They're attending a mass funeral in the capital Seoul.

But they're paying their respects to themselves.

More than 25,000 people have participated in these living funerals.

Their aim?

To improve their lives, by simulating their deaths.

(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 28-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN UNIVERSITY STUDENT, CHOI JIN-KYU, SAYING: "Everyone lives in such a hot-blooded, intense manner.

You think of the person next to you as a competitor you must beat, not a companion.

When I was in the coffin, I wondered what the point of that was." Part of the free service includes lying in a closed coffin for 10 minutes.

It's attracted everyone from teenagers to retirees.

The funeral company behind it say people's time in the coffin helps them appreciate their lives.

And in a country with double the global average of suicides, that appreciation might help save lives.

(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) HEAD OF HYOWON HEALING CENTER, JEONG YONG-MUN, SAYING: "Some people come when they have already decided to commit suicide and want to practice the experience of death before actually doing it.

I look out for those people and I reverse their decision.

Later, they call me to say thank you." For some, it can be highly emotional experience.

Participants write out their last testaments, and take their own funeral portraits.

One university student said he hopes it spreads a message self-worth.

(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 28-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN UNIVERSITY STUDENT, CHOI JIN-KYU, SAYING: "I want to let people know that they matter.

That someone else would be so sad if they were gone.

And that happiness is in the present."

Advertisement

Related news coverage

You might like

More coverage