Consider as a tradition back home that during Oct.31 – Nov.1, people usually go back to their hometown for a family reunion and to spend time visiting the graveyard of the dearly departed. The fake pangs, Sadako custome or pumpkin decorations are just secondary things that comes with the idea of Halloween, but definitely a special day reserve for remembering those who had passed away. Often times a day or two will be spent on cleaning their tombs, continuous lighting of offering candles and sharing stories while sitting around the tomb amidst the crowded, hot afternoon. It’s like a day long picnic and the only difference is you spent it on a cemetery instead of a park.
I’m not sure how people in Japan celebrate Halloween, though I seen on few advertisements on where you can go if you want to dress up as Slutty Nurse for a day. I wonder if they go and visit their loved ones as well and have somehow similar tradition or maybe its just an ordinary day for them. Maybe they have different day, different ways of remembering and has something to do with the difference in religion. I decided to roam around Tokyo and see what I can find. My quest brings me to one of the most treasured and highly regarded tomb site in Japan – the graveyard of the 47 Ronin, located at Sengaku-ji Temple, Shinagawa.
The revenge of the 47 Ronin remains as one of the most beloved true story in Japan and the one that exemplifies and best introduce to the world the idea of the samurai code of honor (bushidō). Consider as a national legend, the story is popularly depicted at kabuki theater and local television drama. I will not even attempt to retell the story (just google it) to avoid any mistakes but all I knew is that the story itself shows the importance of loyalty, sacrifice and honor on the Japanese way of living from the Meiji period to the modern times.
I heard that the popularity of the story has reached Hollywood and by 2012, a motion picture starring Keanu Reeves will be release world-wide. I hope they will stick to the story and highlight the beauty of Meiji Era and avoid any Matrix like fight sequence.
There where only handful individuals who visited the graveyard during Halloween. But there are few people who apart from praying at Sengaku-ji temple had offered a burning incest for the 47 brave samurai.