[Writer's Choice] Fake funerals in South Korea

Yumi Kim , March 23, 2018, 2:33 p.m.

South Korea is ranked as the leading country with the highest number of suicide cases; from teenagers to senior citizens. An estimated 43 people commit suicide in the country every single day. What is even more devastating is that increasing trends have been detected. However, South Korea is trying to lower the numbers by creating programs and movements to reduce the numbers.


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The “near death” movement was created to help people appreciate their lives and reduce the number of suicides. In this society, a service known as “fake funerals” has started to gain attention as a way of facing the pressures of modern society. Participants put on burial clothes, enter a casket, and experience death. How did it all begin? 

Kim Ki Ho, one of the person responsible for creating the near-death experience service began researching when studying for his doctorate. He noticed that the state of consciousness expanded when meditating on death. He then invited others to share the experience and they too felt happy through death meditation. Kim Ki Ho stated, “In my institution, people are put inside coffins to experience death and reflect upon their lives, to realize that life is beautiful.”

How is the fake funeral manifested? People are lectured by a philosophical guru, they are told to write out their own eulogies, and lastly, climb into a coffin to meditate for 30 minutes. The death meditation serves as a means to experience the afterlife and feeling of lying inside a coffin. 

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The majority of people come out of the coffin with new resolutions for their life. Many come out feeling reborn. Overwhelmed by society and daily life, people no longer have the time to look inside themselves. By being told that this is the last day of your life you feel like you are finally given time to look into yourself. You realize that the answers you were seeking exist inside of you. 

That’s the real purpose of this near-death experience.

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