Family Registries: How can I obtain mine?

How can I obtain
my family's

Death Registries:
by Mail or in Person?

Jeff Morita had some experiences that he shared with us about trying to obtain his Kakocho or death register:

"Just thought I'd drop you a line and share with you my latest information on Buddhist Otera researching for the Kakocho (Death Register[s]).

Initially we sent a short letter to four Oteras requesting their assistance in identifying if a family member (full name) is preserved or kept at the Otera. Along with the short letter, we enclosed a copy of my pedigree chart (kakeizu) explaining my relationship to the information requested. If there is a hit/match, we request that basic notification by returned via post card. In the envelope we enclosed the following:

1. Japanese Yen 100 stamp for return postage for...

2. A 4"x 6" index card (for a pseudo post card) with the following:

On the front side of the card we indicated Post Card at the top and put my full name and return address (all in English):

Room for return address Room for postage stamp
Full name
Full street address
Full city, state and zip code

post card front

On the back side of the card we wrote (bold in Japanese):

Morita-ke mata wa Morita Kisuke Kakocho Hozone
(Morita Household or last and first name of the death register in custody)

(Aru - Nai)
(Yes - No)

Shinnsei Ryokin Yen _________
(Monetary cost for research and information)

Senzo sagashi ni tsuite, moshi nani ka betsu no houhou mata wa renraku saki wo gozonji deshitara zehi oshiete kudasai.
(In regards to the research request, if there is another way/method to request this information please provide an explanation.)

back of post card

Of the four requests sent out, within a month, all four post cards were returned. Three with Nai indicated and a brief explanation written in Japanese. The brief explanation was basically a formality (Japanese custom) of an apology and that they found nothing. One came back with some information on a surname that I need to reverify. The name matched a purported relative, however, the date of birth and date of death are skewed. More research!

So far this seems to work out pretty well since we are doing the Otera(s) a favor of creating a pre-made reply. Just a bit of caution for those who can't read, speak or write Nihongo. All of the replies came back in Nihongo...

I am in the process of requesting information from a purported HOSHINO linked Otera in Kikuchi, Kumamoto-ken. Hopefully others will get interested and share their ups and downs in Japan genealogical research. I will let you know what comes up!"

Thanks for the input! If you have tips, experiences, or information about obtaining a copy of a kakocho from Japan, please drop us a line.

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