Diplomas for the Dead: The Great East Japan Earthquake and Memorial Services for Children in the Public Schools Where Religious Activities are Prohibited

[Speaker] Ohmura, Tetsuo F:1
1:Tohoku University (Japan)

Many children fell victim to The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Although they were not present, schools awarded diplomas in graduation ceremonies that took place after the earthquake to the children who died. The children received diplomas at school graduation ceremonies not only in 2011, the year they died, but also in the following years, corresponding to the year they were expected to have graduated if they were still alive. Normally it is illegal to award a diploma to a student who was not registered due to death. Consequently, this practice remains officially unsanctioned. Despite these facts, many schools continue to award diplomas. Whose practice is this and what psychological meaning does it hold? In this report, I will approach the problem of memorial services in public schools, where religious activity is prohibited, drawing a connection to the manners and customs associated with memorial practices for children in Japan.
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