South Korea is known for its entrepreneurial spirit but over the past few years they have taken innovation and invention to a whole new level. Owing to high cremation rates as well as the long standing tradition of venerating ancestors has led to the development of a new business niche. In fact some funeral related businesses have flourished intensively by turning dead bodies, most specifically the ashes, into beads.
In the past, six out of ten dead people were buried but owing to a lack of space for burial as well as Western influence and an avid campaign by the government to encourage cremation, this has led to alternative ways of dealing with dead people. The latest method has been the conversion of ashes into Buddhist style beads by some funeral companies.
The owner and founder of Bonyang, one such conversion company, explains that the conversion is done in a mere 90 minute process and the end results are beads ranging from different colors-green, pink or black. He further adds that depending on the age of the person, varying amounts of beads can be obtained-an average of four or five cups of beads for old people or a maximum of eight cups for younger people since they have higher bone density.
However, as one customer of the business claims, although he has turned the ashes of his father into beads, it did not go without difficulty. He had to convince his family first since they were of the opinion that it was not the natural way of disposing of dead bodies. Also, they were skeptical about the fact that ghosts may come back to haunt them.