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Q: "Mizugo" Memorial in Southern California ( No Answer,   0 Comments )
Subject: "Mizugo" Memorial in Southern California
Category: Relationships and Society > Cultures
Asked by: cseta-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 04 Jul 2006 03:32 PDT
Expires: 06 Jul 2006 17:00 PDT
Question ID: 743215
Mizugo is a term and cultural nuance of Japan referring to unborn
babies passing before they ever enter the world (see for a brief description).

This is what a mizugo memorial site looks like in Japan:
 Each figurine represents an unborn child.

My wife and I recently had the misfortune of suffering a miscarriage,
our first child no less, and we would like to memorialize her in this
way.  I am looking for a cemetery (it would most likely have to be
run, or well used, by the Japanese-American community) that has a site
and the figurine/markers for mizugo in the Southern California area
(basically a 150 mile radius of Costa Mesa, CA).

I also need this information before July 6 (this is the day we would
like to do a private ceremony).

Request for Question Clarification by politicalguru-ga on 04 Jul 2006 08:39 PDT
Dear Cseta, 

First of all, let me express my condolences for your loss. 

Today is the Fouth of July, so I am unlikely to get someone. Because
time is of essence on your part, I will tell you about my work so far,
so you might carry on from there.

The bottom line is, that I haven't managed to locate *** through the
Internet*** a place where such ceremonies take place. My next idea was
to call Zen-Buddhist temples in your area and check it, but because of
the holiday, it is not possible.

The ceremony is usually not transliterated to English as "mizugo" but
as "mizuko kuyo", "mizuko" being a "child of the water" (that is, a
fetus), and Kuyo means "paying your respect". It is usually done in
shrines dedicated to Jizo, which is the "patron saint" (Bodhisattva)
of children and travellers.

This tradition has developed in post-1945 Japan, especially since the
1970s, and has been criticised as "commercialisation of the temples",
and expression of corrupt priesthood. Now, I am saying that not in
order to discourage you - I think your idea is great and I also found
a Catholic church offering a similar service to Catholics - but
because if you'll have a chance to make the phone calls before I do,
you might get such responses even within the Zen-Buddhist-Japanese
community. Another thing is that in Japan, the babies are usually not
actually buried there - it is not a cemetery - but it is a shrine to
remember the baby through a Jizo sculpture.

However, naturally, it is worth a try. On Wednesday, me (or one of my
colleagues) will try to call these Zen Temples, if you're not up to it
- but please let me know. In any case, your "key terms" to ask these
people is if you  can have a "mizuko kuyo" ceremony and whether they
have a Jizo icon to give you for it.

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 04 Jul 2006 12:40 PDT
Hello cseta-ga,

I am deeply sorry for your loss and would like to help you find the
resources you?re looking for.

Politicalguru provided you with some excellent background information.
I?ve continued the search but haven?t found anything that?s exactly
what you?re asking for. My preliminary research shows that some Zen
centers conduct ?Water Baby? or ?Mizuko Kuyo? ceremonies in their Jizo
gardens but these are collective ceremonies that are held on scheduled
dates. I?m sure that you could have a private and personal ceremony of
your own if a Zen center has facilities for the accommodating the
placement of Jizo memorial figurines and gifts. I have not found any
Southern California Zen centers that schedule ?Mizulo Kuyo?
ceremonies. I?m providing you with the links for one in Northern
California so you can call them and find out if they can recommend
someone nearer your location.
Goat-in-the-Road is the site of a meditation hall and garden. Yvonne
Rand is the resident teacher.
A schedule of dates for the Ceremony for Children Who Have Died is
forthcoming. Please check back in the coming weeks.
A Ceremony for Children, Born and Unborn, Who Have Died
by Yvonne Rand
Jizo Bodhisattva -- Protector of Little Ones

Researching your question made me wonder if you?re Japanese and/or
Buddhist and that?s why you?re looking for the a place to hold a
?Mizuko Yuko? ceremony or whether the ceremony simply sounded right
because your own religious denomination or community does not offer
anything suitable for memorializing your miscarriage. If that is the
case, I found that some religions/churches/denominations/communities
offer new types of memorial services for those who have suffered a
loss like yours. Would this type of information be helpful?

Please let us know what additional information would be useful. I look
forward to your clarification.

~ czh ~
Mizuko Kuyo

The most common days for mizuko kuyo  are during the three traditional
holidays when offerings are made to ancestors: bon  in the summer, and
at the spring and summer equinoxes. The mizuko kuyo  can be performed
in different ways. Many Buddhist temples in Japan have special
sections where a woman who can afford to may buy a tomb for her mizuko
. The tomb consists of a stone, on top of which stands a carved figure
of a jizo , generally wearing a red bib, and carrying a staff with
rings or a stick with bells on top (which he uses to help the mizuko 
who can't yet walk). On the stone is written a kaimyo  - a name given
to a person after death.
Mourning My Miscarriage
In Japan, I find a Culture Willing to Acknowledge My Loss
"Rethinking the Practice of Mizuko Kuyo in Contemporary Japan:
Interviews with Practitioners at a Buddhist Temple in Tokyo"

Clarification of Question by cseta-ga on 06 Jul 2006 17:00 PDT
politicalguru, czh -

Thank you both for the information.  I'm sorry I didn't get back
sooner.  I showed my wife some of the links about mizuko kuyo, which
she read, then informed me that she didn't want to do the ceremony
anymore.  She felt it would be too hard for her to have to face
everything again.

So..  Our plans have changed and we're not going to be needing a site anymore.

But thank you both for your time, I really appreciate the information you found.

And to answer one of czh's questions, I'm Japanese-American.

Warm regards,

There is no answer at this time.

There are no comments at this time.

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