A Japanese company has launched a new role soft banks humanoid robot “Pepper” a Buddhist priest for hire at funerals. The robot can chant sutras in a computerized voice while tapping a drum. The robot was showcased on Wednesday at a funeral industry fair, the Life Ending Industry Expo Tokyo.
An unlisted plastic moulding maker, Nissei Eco Co mention that the chanting software for “pepper”, which was launched by SoftBank Group Corp. in 2014.
Nissei’s executive adviser, Michio Inamura said that Japan’s population is shrinking, many Buddhist priests receive less financial support from their communities, prompting some to find part-time work outside their temple duties.
The funeral robot could step in when a priest was not available, he said. It also cost less at 50,000 yen (about $450) per funeral compared to more than 240,000 yen ($2,200) for a human priest.
Buddhist priest Tetsugi Matsuo said he came to the expo to see if Pepper could “impart the ’heart’ aspect to a machine because I believe that the ’heart’ is the foundation of religion.”