New in paperback. Hardcover was publsihed in 1997. Provides new insights into the spiritual and cultural dimensions of abortion debates around the world in this careful examination of 'mizuko kuyo' - a Japanese religious ritual for aborted fetuses.
This text provides a careful examination of "misuko kuyo", a Japanese religious ritual for aborted foetuses. Popularized during the 1970s, when religious entrepreneurs published frightening accounts of foetal wrath and spirit attacks, misuko kuyo offers ritual attonement for women who, sometimes decades previously, chose to have abortions. In its exploration of the complex issues that surround this practice, the text takes into account the history of Japanese attitudes towards abortion, the development of abortion rituals, the marketing of religion and the nature of power relations in intercourse, contraception and abortion. Although abortion in Japan is accepted and legal and was commonly used as birth control in the early postwar period, entrepreneurs used images from foetal photography to mount a surprisingly successful tabloid campaign to promote misuko kuyo. Adopted by some religionists as an economic strategy, it was rejected by others on doctrinal, humanistic and feminist grounds.