At age 62, Ha Yu-soo had begun to feel his mortality, wondering about the timing of death’s soft tap on the shoulder. But why wait, he thought. Maybe he could take a test run. Ha donned a traditional yellow hemp robe, lay down inside a casket and felt at peace — until the somber, dark-suited attendants placed a lid on the coffin. Then Ha realized his worst fear: the eternal darkness had finally come.
“How grateful I was that this was a fake funeral, not real,” he said with a sigh of relief. “There’s but one step from life to death but the difference is huge,” Ha, a fire protection system inspector, told Reuters.
Ha joined around 70 other people on a “well-dying” course, run by a local district office in the northeast of Seoul. The course’s motto: “Don’t take life for granted.”
Baek Sung-ok, an ovarian cancer patient who opted out of chemotherapy several years ago, said the experience of being in a coffin made her feel more appreciative of those around her. “I will abandon greed to relate to my husband and love my daughters more,” she said, rising from the casket.