In Japan, new iPhone apps help you remember the deceased


omairi_stevejobs How do you pay your respects to a loved one who has recently passed away? You might go to a nearby church, or pay a visit to the cemetery. In Japan, many people used to have a Buddhist altar at home, but this is less common these days.

Nagoya-based smartphone app developer Hanbunko has introduced another way, with a series of iPhone apps dedicated to a sort of digital remembrance. Users can simply pray for someone by looking at his or her portrait on their phone, while listening to appropriate music or chanting a sutra. The app has a sutra version and a sort of ‘nursery song’ version, and the both can store up to 10 portraits. The apps are available for free on the iTunes app store, but you will be charged if you wish to eliminate an in-app ad (85 yen).

For the ‘nursery song’ version, the app has several tunes performed by Hiroko Scott, who has been writing music for the harp and piano in Australia. The startup expects to add more songs later on.

You can check out the video demo below to learn more about how these apps work.

Hanbunko is also well known for having developed an iOS app that helps people suffering from certain verbal impediments or challenges to communicate with others selection certain options within the app (available in English and Japanese).