Funeral Support Services

Funeral Support Services

Bilingual compassion, care and peace of mind


With 16 public holidays annually toasting everything from oceans to the elderly, celebration is a big part of Japan’s yearly calendar. But, if you’ve lost a loved one here, finding time to properly celebrate their life can be a lot trickier. The loss of a loved one is difficult even in the easiest of circumstances, but when you throw in things like language and cultural barriers, geographic distance and bureaucracy, mental and emotional stress can get in the way of celebrating your loved one’s life in the way that you want to. Understanding the hurdles involved, Robert Hoey and his company Funeral Support Services have developed a reputation as a supportive, empathetic and bilingual provider of everything from embalming to repatriation and estate counseling. 

Born and raised in Canada, Hoey worked as a funeral director in his home country before relocating to Japan in 1993. Now one of the few remaining foreign embalmers in Tokyo, Hoey spent much of his early years in the country gaining experience in the local industry and teaching embalming techniques to Japanese trainees. But, with equal expertise in organizing and directing funerals in Canada, Hoey was eager to get back to the more interpersonal aspects of the industry and, noticing a gap in the market, started Funeral Support Services in 2017. “Canada is kind of a melting pot of different cultures, so I was trained in Christian funerals, Buddhist funerals, Jewish funerals, Islamic funerals, the whole gamut,” Hoey says. With the local industry primarily versed in Buddhist and Shinto ceremonies, Funeral Support Services has met the demand nationally for bilingual services no matter the religious or cultural requirements. From cremation and burial to small social gatherings and larger religious and secular events, Hoey and his team have developed the connections and resources required to meet a variety of individual needs. 

With limited bilingual alternatives available in Japan, Hoey has seen repatriation become a significant aspect of the services his company offers. Having developed strong relationships with numerous foreign embassies around the country, Hoey and his team are able to assist with the technical aspects of document translation and submission as well as flight and transportation logistics. With friends and family living overseas who might not understand the intricacies of repatriation from Japan, Hoey and his team provide a source of relief, “People look at my website and see that I’m a native speaker, and that puts them at ease,” Hoey says, “my company has a dedicated English phone line, so people can call from overseas and get that right away,” Hoey also understands that repatriation can be pricy so by offering all their services in-house, Hoey and his team can reduce costs where necessary to fit individual requirements and budgets. 

A more recent addition to the company’s services is estate consulting. “Previously the embassies would really have to step in,” Hoey says, “but now everything is given to us and we take care of it all. We’re connected to lawyers, real estate companies, cleaning companies, you name it. We can take care of everything, right to the end.” Hoey says that estate counseling has become an invaluable service for those living internationally who need assistance with everything from the sale or delivery of personal effects to house cleaning and real estate concerns. With Japanese bureaucracy often presenting its own unique challenges, Hoey notes that communication is a big part of his company’s role. Explaining. “I like to keep the family updated the whole time on what’s being done.” 

The interpersonal and compassionate aspects of Hoey’s industry are what led him to start his own company to begin with, and it seems that their focus on these aspects has helped Funeral Support Services develop a name for itself domestically and internationally. After over 30 years in the industry, Hoey understands the various challenges that can come with the loss of a loved one, particularly when international borders and language barriers are involved. Over the past seven years, he’s dedicated himself to developing seamless solutions, easing the journey from the time of loss to repatriation and estate management. Funeral Support Services offers families and friends time, space and peace of mind, ensuring that celebrating a life becomes a touch more manageable, even in the face of life’s most challenging moments. 

Funeral Support Services

English phone service: 045 392 7316


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