In this way, shukatsu has created the pros and cons, and business with trillion yen. How has shukatsu been created?
“When people think about dying without being bounded by tradition, shukatsu was born,” says Dr. Moriyuki Ooe, who established a Regional Cooperation laboratory in Keio University SFC.
Declining birthrate and aging society is well known for the background of the word shukatsu, which won Grand Prize in Keywords Contest in 2012. According to Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, in 2013, the percentage of the young population 0 to 14 years old was 12.9 %, the lowest ever, and the percentage of the old population age 65 or over was 25.1 %, the highest ever. This phenomenon has not started this year. In 1994 Japan has shifted to an aging society and in 1997 to a declining birth rate society. Why now is shukatsu driving attention?
Demographic transition is the key. In 1930s and 40s, Japan had high birth and low death rate. Family had a lot of children, and all children except for the successor of the family moved from the countryside to the city. Now young people in 30s and 40s became the elders. They cannot live such an old way as living in the regional and relative network where they have grown up and being buried in the ancestral tomb after their death. Having moved from the traditional local community to the city and married with the partner from the city, they have to think about how they will eventually die. Dr. Ooe considers it as a background of shukatsu.
“People who will not be able to do shukatsu will increase,” Dr. Ooe predicts shukatsu will change in the future due to the change of family structure and social network. Both family structure and social structure are always changing, and the change of family structure would be varied. There will be many kinds of families in the society. For example, some people may become old and unmarried and the others may become widows or widowers. Shukatsu is done only by the people who can choose how they die. If more and more people become single-elders as a result of not getting married or a late marriage, only a few people can afford shukatsu.
Change of the family and local network leads shukatsu, and will change the form of shukatsu. Nobody knows whether shukatsu will be the same as what it is today in the future. Shukatsu projects now in the long Japanese history.