mizuko kuyō

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(Jap.). A practice in modern Japanese Buddhism of making offerings to the spirits of aborted foetuses. The practice takes the form of a memorial service held at a Buddhist temple in which a statue resembling a young child in the form of a Buddhist monk is set up and prayers are recited. Given the high rate of abortion in contemporary Japan (in recent years over 1 million per annum) it is not uncommon to find row upon row of these statues, to which offerings are made and prayers recited by relatives each year on the anniversary of the abortion. women who have had abortions find the memorial service comforting, and it is also believed to avert misfortune for the family caused by the angry spirit of the aborted child.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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