Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

The Business of Death: Japanese Flock to the First 'Life Ending' Expo

Planning for death has become a thriving business in Japan as factors like the quake tragedy and an aging population spur more people—including the young—to confront their mortality. At a three-day Tokyo death industry expo in early December, the first of its kind, more than 22,000 visitors came to peruse around 220 exhibitors' funereal offerings, from coffins and urns to portraits. Photographs by Tomohiro Ohsumi for Bloomberg

Visitors try out coffins on display at the Life Ending Industry Expo in Tokyo.

Presentations and competitions are held, including encoffiners displaying skills at changing dead people's clothes.

Big brand names such as Swarovski also present at the show, with products like this burial urn.

Monk contestants stand on stage for a "beauty pageant."

An encoffiner puts a tie on a model during one of the competitions.

High-end hearses are exhibited at the Expo, such as ones from Mitsuoka Motor Co.

Men display dark suits for funerals.

A burial urn decorated with diamonds. 

A visitor looks at an altar on display.

A visitor looks at burial dresses.

Portraiture is also important for funerals.