What would you get your dear old mum for her 60th birthday? A photo album of favorite family moments? A lovely plant for her garden? A last will and testament? Eh? Well, the tax accounting firm Iwayama Naoki Zeirishi Jimusho, which is selling the Life Design Book, a kind of cheap and cheerful alternative to drawing up a will with a solicitor, thinks it’s a lovely idea. “Those celebrating their 60th birthdays will be pleased to receive this,” reads the blurb.
“Ending notes” (エンディングノート) are basically notebooks that make the event of death or hospitalization a lot easier on relatives. As well as containing important information such as bank account details, it’s also possible to document who you want to inherit the family silver and to make requests about the kind of funeral service you’d like to have.
The notebooks started appearing around 2002 and since then a number of companies have got on the bandwagon, promising punters that using this simple document will take a great weight off their minds. They also claim that the process of filling out the notebooks is a positive experience. “Open hearted! Bright! Cheerful! This ending note is a pleasure to receive!” continues Iwayama Jimusho on their website, which insists that writing out their dying wishes will give aged parents a positive nostalgic feeling.
Stationery companies are not only setting their sights on the elderly, Kokuyo S&T Co Ltd. is releasing a new funky ending note on the market at the start of September. Called a “useful notebook for those ‘what if’ situations,” Kokuyo S&T’s product is illustrated with colorful manga and aimed not only at senior citizens, but customers over 30. Again, the emphasis is on the fun you’ll have filling in the pages.
If colorful cartoon characters aren’t enough to guide you through the process of drafting your last wishes, then Happy Ending Note, yet another company touting ending notes, run free seminars on how to fill in the book correctly.
Happy Ending Note’s “I Am Who I Am” costs ¥840, Kokuyo S&T’s “Living and Ending” is ¥1,470 and the trendy “Life Design Book” costs ¥2,100. If you’re thinking of giving this as a birthday present to a parent, it might be an idea to sweeten the pill with a box of chocs. At these prices it would churlish not to.