• Kyodo

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A Chiba-based funeral home will set up an online system this month allowing people to worship their ancestors via the Internet, sparing them the trouble of visiting the graves in person.

Upon appointment, the funeral home Joko will arrange for Buddhist monks to read sutras aloud at a box-shaped gravestone that contains the ancestors’ remains.

Images and sounds from the ceremony will be distributed real-time to personal computers and Internet telephones through high-speed asymmetrical digital subscriber lines, Joko officials said.

The service, the first of its kind, is expected to help relatives worship together without physically leaving their homes to attend their ancestral graves.

The service will cost 1 million yen, including the gravestone and sutra-reading service, if paid by the end of this month, with an annual maintenance fee of 5,000 yen.

A monk from the funeral home said the location of worshippers is not important as long as they have respect in their hearts.

“We hope the service serves to bring family members closer together in the Internet age,” he said.

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