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- This photo shows a woman scanning a QR code at a memorial in China, but QR codes for headstones have been offered in Japan.
An image of a woman scanning a QR code of what looks like a headstone is being shared on social media as an illustration of "technology after death in Japan."
"There are graves in Japan equipped with QR code, which on scanning shows you pictures, information and a brief biography of the life of the dead," the post says.
It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
That’s because, as India Today reported on Sept. 15, the photo doesn’t show a Japanese headstone. The image has been online since 2015, when Chinese media reported that it showed a woman in Chongqing, China, scanning a memorial to commemorate victims of the Nanjing Massacre and bombing raids in Chongqing during World War II.
But QR codes on Japanese headstones aren’t fantasy.
After QR codes debuted in the Japanese market in 1994, Pacific Standard reported, they started appearing on tombstones in 2008.
"The codes serve multiple purposes," the since-shuttered publication said. "When scanned, they lead to a website with photos and information about the deceased and allow for users to give virtual gifts, like food, incense, or a Buddhist funeral chant."
But this photo doesn’t show that. We rate claims that it does False.
Facebook post, Sept. 14, 2021
India Today, Fact check: Is this a QR-enabled graveyard in Japan?, Sept. 15, 2021
China Daily, Online memorial dedicated to WWII victims, April 1, 2015
China.org.cn, Scanning QR code to commemorate massacre victims, April 1, 2015
Ecns.cn, Online memorial dedicated to WWII victims, April 1, 2015
Britannica, Nanjing Massacre, visited Sept. 20, 2021
McClatchy, In Chongqing, scars of WWII are still visible — on people’s faces, Sept. 2, 2015
Pacific Standard, The way we mourn now, June 14, 2017
The Guardian, In Japan, you can get a barcode for your tomb, April 5, 2008
Wired, Japanese gravestone memorialize the dead with QR codes, March 23, 2008
The Atlantic, QR codes for the dead, May 21, 2014
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