Mizuko Kuyo

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Mizuko Kuyo is a term used to describe a Japanese Buddhist ceremony that focuses on a dead fetus or a stillborn child. The origin of this celebration can be traced back to the honor of Jizo (i.e. a god whose major role was to transport dead fetuses or children to the other world).  This ceremony has considerably expanded in the last half century because of the growing number of abortions among the Japanese. William R. LaFleur made a significant contribution to the description of the primary aspects of the ceremony (Mizuko kuyo). This essay seeks to describe two important aspects to a kuyō.

The two major aspects of kuyō are the therapeutic and commercialized aspects that determine the perception of different people towards the ceremony. Regarding the therapeutic aspect of this ceremony, LaFleur explained that kuyō is organized to enable people to understand that abortion is becoming trivialized and to offer the Japanese and other parents with a therapy that enable them to understand their emotions and persevering the losses they encounter during an abortion (LaFleur, 34).  This aspect makes people pose a positive attitude towards kuyō and accelerates its existence in most of the communities in the entire world.

On the other hand, kuyō contains a commercialized aspect that entails the acquisition of financial benefits from the ceremony. LaFleur outlines that kuyō involves the purchase of a statue of Jizô, the boats, or bodhisattva, connected with children and their safety. The purchase and the writing of ema and the wooden plaques are among the commercial aspects of kuyō. From the outlined aspects by LaFleur, one can conclude that kuyō is a complicated ritual that contains a range of interpretation and numerous features.