Podcast in English 20210812 Relic Collection Business

Podcast No. 35 in English

Today is August 12th, 2021.

This is your host,  Yuusuke Wada, probably the only funeral business podcaster discussing the death industry business of Japan in English.

I’m also the researcher of the Reform of Death and the journey to the end of life.

I must apologize for the people waiting for the weekly podcast last week.
I had to skip it.
AND I’m also one day late for this one as well.
I almost missed this one.

No. 34 was about a special embossing paper that pops up after passing through the heater.

Today, I wish to talk about a man, 20 years ago who created the industry of “Relic Collection Business” in Japan.

His name is Mr. Taichi Yoshida, the president of the company called “Keepers”.

Japan’s Only Funeral Biz Podcaster

I remember when I was still in the mortuary business trying to find a better way for the surviving family. There are always problems of what to do with relics of the deceased. 
Being an undertaker, that wasn’t my job but there was a potential market from the very beginning and people did not know how and what to do with them.

Many threw it away as “non-combustible waste” and had it go to the dump.

We took care of old Buddhist home altars when needed and took it apart in our warehouse and had it thrown out.

But many times, beside these religious materials, there are monetary value.

Mr. Yoshida posted and sent business postcards (flyers) to all funeral homes asking them to find a client in need of house cleaning.

Yes, the crux is “house cleaning”.

Families will often contact undertakers for a solution of what to do with their grandparent’s reflics and artifacts.
They don’t want to just throw it away since it’s a memorial matter, but they need house cleaning to get rid of “relics” such as chairs, tables, sofa, plant vase, and many items that were cluttering the house.

They wish to sell them or at least get rid of them.

Mr. Yoshida will take his staff and estimate how many trucks would be needed to get them out and clean the house.  He would take everything that the clients did not want or need.
He would do it for a cheaper price than the industry standards.

This was the second crux to it.

He would clean, restore, and resell what he can to the pawn shops or second handed sales industry so that he could regain profits from that.

But often, the pawn shops and such will only purchase them at dirt cheap prices, so he decided to establish his own and get the middleman out.

Another thing he did was to take care of the unwanted Buddhist home altars and have a memorial ceremony. Don’t forget, these altars are home of the deceased and had to be taken care of with religious rituals.

The biggest market was that people would want to sell their grandparent’s house and land since it would just burden them with property tax. In the Japanese laws, if the property is not being used, labeled as an “empty house” AKA as “Akiya” by the municipality, that property tax at most, becomes 6 times as the regular real estate tax.

So, Mr. Yoshida got his realtors license and is helping the clients cash in for other usage.

Just about all of the companies that exist in Japan that is doing “relic collection and house cleaning” business are Mr. Yoshida’s subcontractors.

What makes Mr. Yoshida stand out in the industry?

The way he grew his business was that he would put all the profits back into PR and commercials, pamphlets, brochures, and DM.
He’s not only the industry leader but he knows the funeral industry, inheritance laws, and how the will should be processed more than any undertakers, and including his current rivals (subcontractors).

This wraps up today’s story.


We have to realize that funeral homes need to market using a different method.

People in the death industry have to use not just brochures and pamphlets and YouTube.

Actually, not too many funeral parlors use YouTube for marketing.

Podcasts have been around for almost 20 years since the first iPod appeared on October 23rd, 2001. Yes, that was 20 years ago.

Due to the boom of ClubHouse, talk shows have been given a second thought.
But the problems of ClubHouse and many radio shows are that you need to listen when it’s broadcasting and there’s no archive.

Podcasts are a simple method for people to catch up on what they have missed.

Funeral business is dying due to shrinking services.

Undertakers need to realize why such rituals are needed and not just blindly force customers to make their purchases.

Explanation is necessary for all sales.

They need to use a special landing page for marketing on the internet.

I’m doing a landing page creation session. 

Keeping up with the clients is necessary but who wants to hear from a mortician?
Teach the clients some tricks of keeping funeral costs down and benefits of using different lawyers specializing for their purposes. 


Thank you very much for listening to my podcast and please subscribe.

A Book about me, can be bought from Amazon Japan called “死神と呼ばれた男” meaning “The Man Called the Reaper”, which will be published in English by September as well.
I’ll be holding an event called the “Book Break” at FCCJ, the foreign press club in Tokyo on September 29th.

This was your host, Yuusuke Wada, probably the only funeral business podcaster in Japan and signing off.

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