HiroGaku Death Cafe Report
A Death Café was held on the evening on July 26th. 9 students, teachers, and community members gathered to talk about death while drinking tea and eating sweets. This was the second Death Café held at Hirosaki Gakuin University. This Death Café was unique, as it was also live streamed on YouTube, to allow for participation from people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate. Several people from across the country watched the live stream. In the future, it is hoped that it will be possible to create more chances to participate virtually.
This second café went well. Participants began the evening by introducing themselves and explanation their reason for joining the event. This second café had fewer student participants than the first café, as a result, the discussion was more focused with people sharing more ideas directly related to their own plans for end of life.
The evening began by discussing issues of religion and how, in Japan, it is possible to mix different religion together, perhaps to create a more personalized religious experience. The second main topic of the evening was end of life care, and whether it was more desirable to die alone, or surrounded by family. The participants took turns commenting and the group as a whole concluded that it was important to understand the issue from the perspective of both the dying, and the family left behind.
At the end of the event participants filled out an evaluation form. Comments were mainly positive with nearly all participants expressing a desire to join future Death Cafes. It was noted, however, that because of the balance of participants, few students and more teachers and older community members, the conversation was less about opinions on death and dying, and more on personal plans for dying, or the experiences of losing loved ones.