Sayonara in style, when it's time to go

A funeral undertaker dresses a model during an "encoffinment" demonstration at the Endex Japan 2018 funeral and cemetery show.

Death is serious business at this three-day expo, which ends tomorrow. From coffin builders and family altar-makers to florists and caterers, the annual event is a chance for merchants to promote their products and services, as well as attract new customers.

With the number of the aged and dying increasing every year in Japan, the funeral and ceremony industry is said to be a 1.7 trillion yen (S$21 billion) market, according to the expo's website.

Despite its focus on what some may consider a morbid subject, the expo is not all doom and gloom.

Past editions have showcased examples of Japan's love for the cute and quirky. These have included golf-themed coffins for the serious fan, Hello Kitty tombstones, and packages offering to send one's ashes into outer space.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2018, with the headline 'Sayonara in style, when it's time to go'. Print Edition | Subscribe