Grieving for Children: The Japanese Ritual of Mizuko KuyO


Sociology and Anthropology

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The ritual of Mizuko kuyo is a very complex and complicated rite with many underlying characteristics. The three that I explore in this paper are the therapeutic, commercialized and private side of the ritual. These aspects are not exclusive and are not experienced separately. All three combine in numerous ways to create the Mizuko kuyo experience. For example, the ritual is a very commercialized and carried out and displayed in very public matters. Yet, at the same time, it is an extremely private and personal issue with great meaning attached to it. The ways in which these three aspects interlock and play off each other are so numerous I cannot begin to fully demonstrate its complexity. As with many cultural rituals, Mizuko kuyo is a complicated and contradictory ritual with a range of interpretations and numerous features simultaneously taking place.


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