Dr. Carl B. Becker

Dr. Carl B. Becker
Dr. Carl B. Becker

Carl Becker, PhD., D.Psych. Kyoto University School of Medicine, received his PhD on Death and Dying from the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii. Teaching philosophy at SIU Carbondale, he helped establish SIU-C’s Mortuary Science and Funeral Service department. In 1983 he moved to Japan, where he taught at National Osaka, Tsukuba, and Kyoto Universities. In 1986 he received the SIETAR Award for Cross-Cultural Understanding, in 2009, the Honda award from the Emperor for his studies of death and dying, in 2018, an Honorary Doctorate in Psychology from the Moscow Graduate Institute of Psychoanalysis for his work counseling bereaved clients, and in 2021, the Association of Death Education and Counseling award as leading Educator on Death and Dying. Now Professor of the Policy Science Unit at Kyoto University's School of Medicine, Becker leads a national survey of bereavement, and supports terminal patients and suicidal survivors. He serves on the editorial board of Mortality, Journal of Near-Death Studies, Journal for the Study of Spirituality, and many other medical journals

During the conference at the FIAT-IFTA 2024 Convention in Krakow, Poland, dr Carl Becker will talk more about “Impact of Funerals on Grieving Bereaved and Society - from an All-Japan Survey”.  

Funeral directors are often the first professionals to have quality time with the bereaved, freshly wounded by their loss of a loved one. Their first impressions and interactions can strengthen or scar them for years thereafter. Japan has the world’s most elderly population, meaning that deaths and funerals are rising—as will soon happen worldwide. Our year-long survey of thousands of Japanese bereaved confirms that funerals and rituals affect the bereavement trajectory—including their dependence on medical and social services—and more importantly, sheds insights into the services most appreciated by or helpful to the bereaved.

Bereavement imposes financial as well as emotional costs on society, because bereaved people produce less but depend on medical and social services more. Traditionally, funerals assuaged grief by giving it approval, ritual expression, and social support, yet little research examines how funerals affect bereavement’s productivity costs or medical complications. We wanted to know what types of bereaved people were most likely to need what kinds of medical or social support, and how funerals affect their grief. With support from the Japan Ministry of Education and Science and the All Japan Funeral Co-operation®, our national survey of recently bereaved explores these issues.

We found intriguing correlations between grief and use of medical and social services. Our statistical correlations did not prove that funeral satisfaction alone buffers grief, but rather that funeral dissatisfaction aggravates psychological and somatic symptoms of grief, producing greater reliance on public medical and pharmaceutical services--especially among middle-aged atheists and those abbreviating funerals. The research team hypothesized that people with low or declining incomes would find funerals more burdensome, but the people expressing greater dissatisfaction were those who abbreviated funerals - those who later showed more physical and psychological problems! Our results give many suggestions about what funerals do well, and what might be improved; the implications for Japan today will affect the world tomorrow.


  • 10:30 - 13:30
  • 180 min
  • IDEA room

Meet excellent speakers and get inspired! Key speakers of the conference will be outstanding Polish athletes - Jerzy Dudek and Artur Partyka!
Check the detailed conference program below! Conference in English and Polish with simultaneous translation. 

10:30 - 10:40    
short welcome and introduction 
10:40 - 11:00    
We will unveil more details soon :)
11:00 - 11:20
"Cemeteries with AI - how to preserve cultural heritage and collective memory through digital innovation" by Stefan Schumacher, CEO of PBSGEO
11:25 - 11:50
"Creating Labor Efficiencies: Reducing Costs and Increasing Productivity" by Darrell Simpson, Principal Owner of Graystone Associates, Inc. 
11:50 - 12:35
"Impact of Funerals on Grieving Bereaved and Society - from an All-Japan Survey" by Carl Becker, PhD., D.Psych. Kyoto University School of Medicine
12:35- 13:20
"When success is the goal. What can we learn from sports?", a talk with Jerzy Dudek and Artur Partyka about finding motivation for action, perseverance and bouncing back from failures, and how to lead a satisfying life moderated by Maciej Kautz, host
13:20 - 13:30     
short summary 

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