In what experts say is a shift in attitudes toward death in rapidly graying Japan, donations of bodies for anatomical training have increased dramatically in recent years.

Some 296,000 people had offered to donate their bodies to universities as of March 31 last year, compared with about 68,000 in 1985, and the figure has been climbing by 8,000 annually in recent years, according to Tokushi Kaibo Zenkoku Rengokai, an association set up in 1985 to encourage the practice, known as kentai in Japanese.

Availability is so high that some universities have stopped accepting donations.