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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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“Thank You GetupGrrl for Giving Me My Mizuko”

“Thank You GetupGrrl for Giving Me My Mizuko”

Therapeutic Appropriations of Mizuko Kuyō by Non-Buddhist Americans

(p.163) 6 “Thank You GetupGrrl for Giving Me My Mizuko”
Mourning the Unborn Dead

Jeff Wilson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the reason why many non-Buddhist Americans are appropriating mizuko kuyō rituals as a form of healing, either for themselves in the wake of pregnancy loss or for the nation as a whole during a time of deep cultural division. Pro-life advocates, pro-choice advocates, Christians, Jews, Pagans, feminists, and other groups have all discussed mizuko kuyō as evidence that American society is lacking in certain important ways when compared to Japan. Some have gone so far as to seek out mizuko kuyō at Buddhist temples either in America or Japan, or to hold their own mizuko kuyō rituals privately. Others seem to experience healing just by learning about mizuko kuyō, which gives them a new religious idiom and framework with which to talk about and conceptualize their pregnancy losses. It is possible that Buddhism will become a preferred provider of post-abortion and post-miscarriage services to non-Buddhists in America.

Keywords:   abortion and religion, Buddhism, mizuko kuyō, post-abortion syndrome, post-miscarriage grief, ritual

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