Narratives of Sorrow and Dignity: Japanese Women, Pregnancy Loss, and Modern Rituals of Grieving

Paperback | June 17, 2013

byBardwell L. Smith

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Bardwell L. Smith offers a fresh perspective on mizuko kuyo, the Japanese ceremony performed to bring solace to those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion. Showing how old and new forms of myth, symbol, doctrine, praxis, and organization combine and overlap in contemporarymizuko kuyo, Smith provides critical insight from many angles: the sociology of the family, the power of the medical profession, the economics of temples, the import of ancestral connections, the need for healing in both private and communal ways and, perhaps above all, the place of women in modernJapanese religion.At the heart of Smith's research is the issue of how human beings experience the death of a life that has been and remains precious to them. While universal, these losses are also personal and unique. The role of society in helping people to heal from these experiences varies widely and has changedenormously in recent decades. In examples of grieving for these kinds of losses one finds narratives not only of deep sorrow but of remarkable dignity.

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Bardwell L. Smith offers a fresh perspective on mizuko kuyo, the Japanese ceremony performed to bring solace to those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion. Showing how old and new forms of myth, symbol, doctrine, praxis, and organization combine and overlap in contemporarymizuko kuyo, Smith provides critical insigh...

Bardwell L. Smith is John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies (Emeritus) at Carleton College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:June 17, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199942153

ISBN - 13:9780199942152

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Table of Contents

PrefacePART ONE: Approaching the Worlds of Mizuko1. Mizuko Kuyo: Memorial Services for Child Loss in Japan2. Architectural, Iconographic, Doctrinal Features of Mizuko Kuyo3. Situating the Rites of Mourning: Two Temples and a Variety of Visitors4. The Phenomena of Mizuko Kuyo: Responses to Pregnancy LossPART TWO: Deciphering the Worlds of Pregnancy Loss: Women, Men, and the Unborn5. Japanese Woman as Housewife, Mother, and Worker: Patterns of Change and Continuity (1868-2010)6. Ancestors, Angry Spirits, and the Unborn: Caring for the Dead on the Path to Ancestorhood7. Mothers, Society, and Pregnancy Loss: Rethinking the Meaning of NurturePART THREE: Relating Mizuko Rei to the Larger Worlds of Profound Loss8. The Revival of Death, the Rebirth of Grieving, and Ways of Mourning9. Rituals of Affliction; An Invitation to SobrietyAPPENDICES:1. Adashino Nenbutsuji, English language text of Mizuko kuyo service2. Yvonne Rand, Jizo: Protector of Travelers into and out of Life3. Sai-no-kawara text, tr. of Manabe Kosai. Jizo-bosatsu no kenkyu [Research on Jizo Bodhisattva]. Kyoto: Sanmitsudo shoten, 1960.4. Yasuo Sakakibara, Economic Development and Temple Economics in JapanNotesGlossaryBibliographyNote on TransliterationAcknowledgementsIndex