An Jianxing can see he is in a dying business.

The gravestone designer, who takes pride in works featuring musical instruments and heavenly gates, says years of shrinking sales are driving him to close up shop in Japan and move back to his native China.

"It hasn't been easy running a Japanese company these 18 years and I want to keep it going," An said at his spartan office in suburban Tokyo. "But the Japanese market is in decline and I've decided to shut down my business here and return home."