European Music Meets Japanese Culture: a Lecture on the Essence of the Funeral Culture in Japan

On 8 April, a concert supported by Issac Alfred Ailion Foundation will be held at Museum Volkenkunde.

This program presents musical works related to funeral rites and religious culture in Japan and Europe with a short lecture introducing funeral culture in Japan, focusing on the Shingon Buddhist tradition.

Music programme

The music programme features:

  • Tairakeku Yasurakeku (Harpsichord and Shinobue): Yayoi Ota
  • Kiku (Shinobue and Tanka recitation): Yoshihiro Karino
  • Tombeau de M. de Blancrocher: Louis Couperin (1626-1661)
  • Lament pour Ferdinand IV, Ré de Romani: Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667)
  • “Un bel di, vedremo” from “Madama Butterfly”: Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

Abstract of lecture

When a person passes away, conducting a funeral to pray for the dead has been a worldwide custom since ancient times. In Japan, it is common to invite Buddhist priests to conduct a funeral rite even nowadays. This presentation discusses the general features of Buddhists’ view of life and death referring to other religions such as Christianity and Hinduism. Subsequently, it will consider the features and significance of the funeral rites in the Shingon tradition. For this purpose, it will be demonstrated how funeral rites in Shingon Buddhism are actually performed, considering Shingon’s view of life and death.

Speaker and artists

  • Shinko (Nobuyuki) Suzuki (Shingon Buddhist Priest): Talk & Shinobue (Japanese flute)
  • Noriko Amano: Harpsichord (Clavecimbel)

How to register

Sign up for the lecture by filling in this Google Form or send an e-mail to .


  • General €10
  • Students €5

Note: Ticket prices do not include admission to the museum’s exhibits. If you wish to see the exhibits, please pay the admission fee separately at the reception.