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Narratives of Sorrow and DignityJapanese Women, Pregnancy Loss, and Modern Rituals of Grieving$
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Bardwell L. Smith

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199942138

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199942138.001.0001

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Architectural, Iconographic, and Doctrinal Features of Mizuko Kuyō

Architectural, Iconographic, and Doctrinal Features of Mizuko Kuyō

(p.31) 2 Architectural, Iconographic, and Doctrinal Features of Mizuko Kuyō
Narratives of Sorrow and Dignity

Bardwell L. Smith

Oxford University Press

Introduces reader to the architecture, iconography, and doctrine of Hasedera, a prominent Buddhist temple in Kamakura. This temple provides a graphic example of how pre-modern and contemporary forms of Buddhist teaching and practice relate to ongoing life concerns. Central to both teaching and practice are the sacred figures of Kannon and Jizō, which continue to be perceived as responding to the needs of women. Recent Tokugawa research reveals evidence of rituals for grieving child loss long before emergence of mizuko kuyō. The chapter discusses the head priest’s comments about when and in what form this practice began at Hasedera. Also included are responses to questionnaires left at this temple by those who came in quest of its healing rituals in the 1980s and 1990s.

Keywords:   Buddhism, architecture, iconography, Hasedera, Kannon, Jizō, Tokugawa, mizuko kuyō

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