The intense grief that Kim II-nam has felt every day since his father died 27 years ago led to a startling decision: He dug up the grave, cremated his father’s bones and paid $870 to have the ashes transformed into gem-like beads.
Kim is not alone in his desire to keep a loved one close — even in death. Changes in traditional South Korean beliefs about cherishing ancestors and a huge increase in cremation have led to a handful of niche businesses that cater to those who see honoring an urn filled with ashes as an imperfect way of mourning.
And it appears the government is really pushing for cremation:
The government cremation campaign included press statements, pamphlets and radio broadcasts. A law passed in 2000 requires anyone burying their dead after 2000 to remove the grave 60 years after burial.
The results have been dramatic: The cremation rate last year was so high that only 3 in 10 were buried.
If the U.S. government tried that campaign here, you’d hear all sorts of things about how government is getting into our personal lives.
As I’ve said before, my preference is to be cremated. From dust to dust, I’d rather just accelerate the process rather than let me rot away in a box in a grave no one will visit 50 years after my death.