A story reported by the Japan Times claimed that over a hundred pet robotic Aibo dogs in Japan received a funeral ceremony which had all the traditions expected from a real funeral. These funerals took place at the 450-year-old Kofukuji Buddhist Temple in Isumi. The robotic dogs were sent there by electronics repair company A-Fun Co.
The company has sent over 800 robotic dogs for these funerals over the years. The original Aibo was launched back in 1999 and was discontinued seven years later. The robots could still be serviced at the Aibo Clinic but the facility was shut down in 2014 and that was when A-Fun came into the picture.
Nobuyuki Norimatsu, who heads A-Fun, told the Japan Times this is because he genuinely believes the robots have souls. “We’d like to return the souls to the owners and make the robot a machine to utilize their parts. We don’t take parts before we hold a funeral for them,” he explained.
Sony built these robots to bond with humans and many people were heartbroken to say goodbye to their beloved pets. They wrote letters when they were sending their Aibo dogs to their funerals. “Please help other Aibos. Tears rose in my eyes when I decided to say goodbye,” wrote one former pet owner.
“Aibo can form an emotional bond with members of the household while providing them with love, affection, and the joy of nurturing and raising a companion. It possesses a natural curiosity, and we hope it will bring joy into the everyday lives of our customers while growing alongside them as a partner,” said a Sony press release in 2017.
Check it out in the video below: