A documentary television program and the death of a number of close friends led Takashi Uya to find his calling in life — to give Japanese dignity in death.

Uya, 40, saw three of his close friends die while he was still in his teens — one in a traffic accident, another from altitude sickness and the other of leukemia.

The families of the deceased lamented that their loved ones' bodies were in such poor condition that they did not want mourners, such as Uya, to view them at their funeral. It was all the more painful because the practice of embalming for aesthetic reasons had not yet become commonplace in Japan.