Many people choose to voice their final wishes ahead of time, but attendees of the Shukatsu Festa expo in Japan are taking final planning to a new level. The expo, attended by more than 5,000 visitors and 50 funeral businesses, lets people experience their own funeral service.

Attendees are able to select a casket, put on a funeral outfit, have their makeup and hair done, and pose as a corpse inside a casket. A picture of the “deceased” is taken so that the individual is able to see exactly what he or she will look like on the day of their funeral. Shukatsu Festa, while macabre to some, has much in common with a typical wedding expo, where attendees are able to plan and personalize their services to their heart’s content. Female attendees enjoyed choosing a white kimono – the traditional color of death garb in Japan – or nontraditional pastels.

Though quite popular with women, Shukatsu Festa is equally as popular with men, and both the young and old alike. A major reason attributed to the popularity of the funeral expo is Japan’s shrinking population and swelling number of citizens over the age of 65, which Bloomberg noted had reached a global record this year. As Baby Boomers continue to age, the funeral planning trend is expected to climb in the future.

Planning While There’s Still Time

Here in the U.S. we perhaps consider Japan’s Shukatsu Festa an oddity, but the truth is that it’s simply an extension of what many individuals are already doing here and around the world. Planning for one’s death isn’t as morbid as one initially thinks; in fact, it often brings welcome peace of mind to individuals and their families. Taking care of the details of your service now and setting aside the funds to pay for it are smart decisions that save your family members the grief and frustration that comes with not knowing how you want to be remembered.

You may not want to take an actual picture of yourself inside a casket, but it’s important to take a mental picture of your funeral service, the details, and your loved ones and attendees. How do you want your loved ones to remember you? Some people think the details don’t matter once they’re gone, but they matter to those you leave behind. Leaving things unplanned means you don’t have to contemplate and confront your own mortality, but someone else will have to later on.

Don’t leave your loved ones in the dark about your wishes. It’s never too early to write a will, convey your final wishes, and work with a funeral home to plan your service. If you live in Philadelphia, call John P. Donohue now and start planning the perfect service: (610) 991-8842.