Cover image for International handbook of funeral customs
International handbook of funeral customs
Matsunami, Kōdō, 1933-2010.
Publication Information:
Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xxii, 204 pages ; 24 cm
Asia -- Oceania -- Africa -- Middle East -- Europe -- Commonwealth of Independent States -- North and Central America -- South America.
Reading Level:
1150 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GT3150 .M27 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GT3150 .M27 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This handbook explores the cultural and religious customs concerning death, burial, and mourning in countries throughout the world and covers all the major religions. At present there are more than 190 independent countries in the world, and the funeral practices in each are closely related to the culture, history and geography of the country concerned. Matsunami examines the ways people living around the world deal with the death of a loved one, and what kind of post-mortem arrangements are made. In doing so, he provides a better understanding of the world's cultures by viewing people's individual and collective behavior when it comes to funeral customs. Scholars of comparative religion, cultural anthropology, sociology, and even funeral directors, will value this comprehensive reference.

Author Notes

Kodo Matsunami is Professor of International Cultural Studies at Ueno Gakuen University of Japan. He is the Director of the University Library and Kinryuji Searchlight Center

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The intention of this handbook is to provide information to those who must make funeral arrangements for people who die outside their home countries. Unfortunately, it provides insufficient guidance for that, and its more likely audience (students of anthropology and folklore) will be disappointed as well. Organized by world region, then alphabetically by country, the entries vary in length from a paragraph to several pages. Usually a short section describes the country's geopolitical characteristics, followed by an overview of the dominant religious customs concerning death and mention of some minority religious or ethnic practices. The information is often vague, there are misstatements of fact (e.g., the native peoples of Alaska are called Inuit), historical customs are sometimes represented as contemporary, and customs of one religious or ethnic group are sometimes generalized to the entire country. Most reprehensible is the use of other sources in compiling this work: many sentences are taken verbatim from Encyclopedia of World Cultures (CH, Oct'91, Apr'92, Dec'92, Feb'95, Nov'96, Dec'98) without attribution. The acknowledgments state that permission to quote was secured, but no quotation marks or citation credits appear; only by checking the original can one find which statements have been copied. For all the above reasons, this book is not recommended. J. C. Wanser; Hiram College

Table of Contents

Prologuep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Chapter 1. Asiap. 1
Chapter 2. Oceaniap. 43
Chapter 3. Africap. 53
Chapter 4. Middle Eastp. 87
Chapter 5. Europep. 103
Chapter 6. Commonwealth of Independent Statesp. 149
Chapter 7. North and Central Americap. 157
Chapter 8. South Americap. 181
Epiloguep. 193
Selected Bibliographyp. 197
Index of Country and Territory Namesp. 201