Yukan (湯灌)

Yukan in Japanese means washing a dead body.
I saw it for the first time, no, I WASHED it for the first time!
Have you ever seen the Japanese movie "Okuribito"? I've seen it, but "truth was stranger than fiction".

After we left the hospital, our relatives and my family stayed a funeral hall with my father-in-law.
Before the wake (Tsuya), Yukan started at around 14:00.
A couple of Yukan staff came in our room with some big baggages. And they pumped to set up a BATHTUB! I was very surprised to see it. And then they stood a screen between us and my father-in-law. I was relieved at first. Behind the screen, they did something to my father-in-law under a sheet covering him. My son was so curious and he wanted to see it. And he was allowed to see it for a while. Then my son had to come back to us.
After a while, they put away the screen and the staff sit beside my father-in-law and he said, "Now, we begin."

What??? Actually I was afraid to see it.
While we waited in front of the screen, my father-in-law had got changed his pajamas into a bathrobe.
The staff shaved my father-in-law's face at first. It was silent in the room. My father-in-law didn't have any cotton in his nostrils nor ears and so on. The staff clearned even nostrils.
After a while, the staff asked three of us to help them carry my father-in-law into the bathtub.
What??? Of course I couldn't help them, but my son helped voluntarily. And he carried the sheet under the head! He is still under ten years old though. It was the heaviest part. I admired him and I thought he was dependable.

In the bathtub, he was lain on some lower stands. The staff washed with soap from head to toe very carefully. And then he rinsed all. They washed his body under the bathrobe, too. There were no water pipes in the room, but they used a portable shower.
Next, all of us washed (just watered) from my father-in-law's toes to legs using a ladle one by one.
After that, two staff and two men and a boy (my son) carried him out of the bathtub again.

Then the staff changed the bathrobe into a white Kimono for my fahter-in-law in front of us. His work was fantastic! And then many of us including me carried my father-in-law into a coffin. And he had worn Japanese sandals and he had a sedge hat, some salt, some rice, some money, a cane, a praying beads and so on. Besides we put his glasses and some 10yen coins in the coffin.

I had attended some funerals before, but there were some first experiences for me this time. I wanted to write down them here.





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Private comment

ありがとうございました

コメント頂きまして、誠にありがとうございました。
この度は、本当にお疲れさまでした。
昨年から、親戚での再会(悲)が続き、微妙な感じです。
いつ 我が家族の順番がきてもおかしくない年齢です・・・。
子供の成長と自分たちの老化、親の老い、悲しいけれど比例してますね。
好きな事をして無理せず、元気でいてもらいたいものです。
なかなかお会いする機会がありませんが、
ブログ拝見させていただきますね。
今後ともよろしくお願いいたします。

Re: ありがとうございました

miwa さん、

ご訪問いただきありがとうございます。
またお会い出来る日を楽しみにしています。
こちらこそよろしくお願いいたします。

No title

このたびは、ご愁傷様です。お悔やみ申し上げます。
私も昨年の7月に義母が亡くなり、おくりびと見ました。
ブログにも書いてますのでよろしければご覧になって下さい。
http://happyuan.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-47.html

Re: No title

Happy Yuan さん、

ありがとうございます。
この歳になると、だんだん身近な人のお葬式が増えてきて嫌ですね。納棺師って本当にすごいなと思いました。

No title

Your son did a really good job there. That does sound like an interesting first experience. I'm glad you shared it with us.

Re: No title

Hi, Always visiting

Thanks for your comment.
I wonder whether your country have Yukan or like that.
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Sakae

Author:Sakae
Welcome to my blog.
I'm married and we have a son. I live in Hokkaido, Japan.
I like handmade things and Ikebana(arranging flowers).
I hope that you enjoy my articles and photos.

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