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Mourning the Unborn DeadA Buddhist Ritual Comes to America$
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Jeff Wilson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195371932

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195371932.001.0001

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“Carried with Jizō Bosatsu”

“Carried with Jizō Bosatsu”

Mizuko Kuyō in Japanese-American Communities

(p.19) 1 “Carried with Jizō Bosatsu”
Mourning the Unborn Dead

Jeff Wilson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Beginning in the 1950s, Japanese-American Buddhist temples were the first communities to import mizuko kuyō to the United States. Some Buddhist groups, such as Jōdo Shinshū and Sōka Gakkai oppose the practice, while others, such as Sōtō Shū, Shingon Shū, Nichiren Shū, and Jōdo Shū are willing to perform the ritual upon request. These differing practices and perspectives reveal some of the diversity within Japanese-American Buddhism while also demonstrating the degree to which many of them remain vulnerable to trends in Japanese religion and culture despite more than a century of adaptation in America. In particular, the influence of Shin Isseis, new post-war Japanese immigrants, is highlighted when examining mizuko kuyō in these temples. This chapter also provides the set up for a comparative look at mizuko kuyō in both Japanese-American and convert Buddhist temples later in the book.

Keywords:   Japanese-American, Jōdo Shinshū, Jōdo Shū, mizuko kuyō, Nichiren Shū, Shingon Shū, Sōka Gakkai, Sōtō Shū

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