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Ultimate way to treat otaku ashes: Cremation into a pencil?

Nov 26, 2019

Japanese artist explains why turning your ashes into a pencil is a better choice than turning them into a diamond.

Cremation is the norm in Japan, and the ashes of the deceased are usually divided up between two places. A portion is placed in a shared family grave, and the remainder goes into an urn for the surviving relatives’ butsudan, a Buddhist alter traditionally placed in the living room of Japanese homes.

Japanese Twitter user @hiyoko5656, though, would like something a little different. Being a fan of minerals and stones, @hiyoko5656 wanted to have their ashes compressed into a diamond, creating a beautiful, physical reminder of their existence. However, when this forward-thinking parent told their daughter about this wish, the child had an even more unique idea.

“I told my daughter I want my ashes made into a diamond, and she said ‘I want mine made into a pencil.’”

Carbon is carbon, so it’s not an impossible request. However, diamonds are forever, as they say, while pencils are, by their very nature, disposable writing instruments. Turning your ashes into a pencil means your descendants either end up with an item they can never use for its intended purpose, lest they destroy your very remains, right?

But it turns out the consumable nature of a pencil is the whole point, @hiyoko5656 goes on to explain.

“I asked my daughter why, and she said ‘If you turn your ashes into a pencil, then get an awesome artist to use that pencil to draw an illustration, you’ll be reincarnated in 2-D form.’

My daughter just might be a genius.”

Sure, using the pencil will use up the carbon, but that’s only something to be sad about if you’re using it to write grocery lists or other memos that you’re going to toss in the trash. On the other hand, using the pencil to create a piece of art, which can be cherished and treasured forever, means that the body of the loved one who’s passed away is transformed into an artistic expression of their life which can then bring joy to others.

▼ Speaking of art, @hiyoko5656’s daughter is an aspiring artist herself, though she primarily works in ink, not pencil.

It’s a startlingly novel idea, but as @hiyoko5656 goes on to point out, one that benefits both the person passing away, by having their wishes respected, and the artist, who would, theoretically, earn a commission for the memorial drawing. Especially for anime fans, the possibility of your physical remains spending the hereafter as a an illustration you’re your favorite manga artist or character designer seems like it’d go a long way towards helping your spirit rest in peace.

Source: Twitter/@hiyoko5656 via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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