July 30, 2010

It's easy retaining your status as the oldest man in Tokyo...

... when you're already dead.
[W]hen officials went to congratulate Sogen Kato on his 111th birthday....  discovered a mummified body, believed to be Kato, lying in his bed, wearing underwear and pyjamas, covered with a blanket.

Mr Kato's relatives told police that he had "confined himself in his room more than 30 years ago and became a living Buddha"...

But the family had received 9.5 million yen ($109,000: £70,000) in widower's pension payments via Mr Kato's bank account since his wife died six years ago, and some of the money had recently been withdrawn....

"His family must have known he has been dead all these years and acted as if nothing happened. It's so eerie," said Yutaka Muroi, a Tokyo metropolitan welfare official.
What uncaring skepticism toward religion!

13 comments:

Lynne said...

Things to do in Tokyo when you're dead.

edutcher said...

Sounds like he had friends in The Zero administration.

Secretary Geithner, perhaps?

Richard Dolan said...

The suggested 'explanation' is that the family wanted to bilk the pension fund. But how does that explain keeping a corpse in a bed for 30 years, and how exactly does a dead body become "mummified" on its own? And, if the linked article is right that he was dead for 30 years, how is a dead body a 'living Buddha'?

It's reality TV meets sci-fi, Japanese style. Better than Godzilla.

campy said...

Has he been voting all along?

VW: rizin > He won' be rizin' no mo'

Geoff Matthews said...

This happened in France some years ago. Nice metaphor for the welfare state.

The Crack Emcee said...

Richard Dolan,

"How is a dead body a 'living Buddha'?"

Dude, you don't understand anything about "spirituality", do you?

It's alive!

ErnieG said...

Coming soon to a theater near you: Weekend at Sogen Kato's.

LordSomber said...

A rose for Kato-san.

Sixty Grit said...

When you see a living Buddha in the bed, kill him.

WV: koan.

Mitch H. said...

Did we ever decide if the supposed Amida Buddhist practice of self-immurement was real or a Japanese urban legend? I swear Prof. Althouse mentioned the subject a year or two back. That's definitely what a mummified "living Buddha" brings to mind.

Methadras said...

It's the japs, what do you expect. I wonder if they put a Hello Kitty pillow under his head?

Gahrie said...

It's the japs, what do you expect. I wonder if they put a Hello Kitty pillow under his head?



I heard there was a Real Doll in the bed next to him....

Eric said...

I've seen this story at least four times over the last decade. Spain, France, Germany, and now Japan. If the entire family is living off of grandpa's pension, it's not hard to imagine they don't rush down to the courthouse to file a death certificate.

One has to wonder if the whole congratulating ceremony was a scheme cooked up by suspicious bureaucrats to force the family's hand without losing face should it turn out the old guy is still kicking.