ICHEON, South Korea
The intense grief that Kim II-nam has felt every day since his father died 27 years ago led to a startling decision: He dug up his father's grave, cremated his bones and paid $870 to have the ashes transformed into gem-like beads.
Kim is not alone in his desire to keep a loved one close -- even in death. Changes in traditional South Korean beliefs about cherishing ancestors and a huge increase in cremation have led to a handful of niche businesses that cater to those who see honoring an urn filled with ashes as an imperfect way of mourning.
"Whenever I look at these beads, I consider them to be my father and I remember the good old days with him," a gray-haired Kim, 69, told The Associated Press in a recent interview.
Ashes to beads: South Koreans try new way to mourn - BusinessWeek