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January 2022

Grief and abortion: Mizuko Kuyo, the Japanese ritual resolution

Author(s): Heath, A. O.

Journal/Book: Omega J Death Dying. 1996; 34: 26 Austin Ave, Amityville, NY 11701. Baywood Publ Co Inc. 1-14.

Abstract: This article explores the grief of Japanese parents after abortion and the ritual by which the grief is resolved. The ritual is Mizuko Kuyo. Mizuko means ''child of the water.'' Kuyo is a Buddhist offering. In a ritual drama played out by Jizo, the bodhisattva who suffers for others, the parents' pain and the child's pain are connected, and in that connection the pain of each is resolved. The child is made part of the community and does not become a spirit bringing harm to the family. The parents can fulfill their obligation to care for the child and transform the sense of kumon, sickness unto death, into a realization Buddhism's first noble truth, that all life is suffering. The subtext of the article is the search for an adequate method and language by which cross-cultural study of grief can move forward.

Note: Article Klass D, Webster Univ, 470 E Lockwood Ave, St Louis,MO 63119 USA


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