Whilst the rest of the world gorges itself on K-Pop, Korean movies, and smartphones produced by Korean tech giant Samsung, Koreans themselves have never been more bummed out. With over 14,000 of its citizens killing themselves in 2012, South Korea is the suicide capital of the developed world, despite its booming economy.
This troubling trend has resulted in a lot of national soul-searching and the formation of the "Well Dying" or "Near Death" movement, which aims to help people appreciate their lives more and thus reduce the number of suicides. The most bizarre manifestation of this movement is the rise of "Fake Funeral" services, where people are lectured by a philosophical guru, told to write out their own eulogies, and ultimately climb into a coffin to meditate for 30 minutes so as to experience the afterlife.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.