The ways in which eastern and western cultures grieve for their dead are often contrasted. Eastern cultures are seen to place greater value on traditional ritual and ceremony that, it is argued, serve to create a lasting, and comforting, bond with the deceased. By contrast, western societies are seen to be much more materialist and individualistic. This article takes a cross-cultural look at responses to death and loss in the UK and Japan, both post-industrial societies but with very different cultural heritages. Based on interviews with bereaved people in both countries, it finds some surprising similarities, as well as differences, between and within each culture, challenging notions of a typically British or Japanese way of grieving.