Hundreds of Japanese parents grieving over the loss of their children have been finding solace in sending dolls in wedding attire to a temple in Aomori Prefecture for rare "marriage" rites for people who died single.

Yuchi Shiroto, chief priest of Koboji Temple in Tsugaru, Aomori Prefecture, said the doll donation is a tradition that started around 1950 by a woman who lost her unmarried soldier son in World War II.

Wishing that he would marry and be happy in the afterlife, the mother donated handmade dolls of a bride and groom to the temple. The donation became known to other parents of the war dead, who followed suit.