Title

Internet Accessibility of the Mizuko Kuyo (Water-Child Ritual) in Modern Japan: A Case Study in Weberian Rationality

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 7-2013

Publication Source

Sociological Focus

Volume

46

Issue

3

Inclusive pages

229-240

Publisher

Routledge, Taylor & Francis

Place of Publication

Philadelphia, PA

ISBN/ISSN

ISSN-0038-0237

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

The mizuko kuyo is a Japanese (Buddhist, Shinto, New Religious, other) memorial service for infants or young children who have died through some misfortune, including disease, miscarriage, and increasingly, elective abortion. Indeed, abortion is the predominant form of contraception for many Japanese families. Here we consider, in Weberian terms of the rationalization of institutions, how internet accessibility and its created virtual reality of the mizuko kuyo has driven its popularity along the dimensions of privatization, bureaucratization, and commodification in persons’ decisions to perform the ritual by internet. We utilize a sample of Tokyo mizuko kuyo websites and the contexts of their advertisements and available services for mizuko kuyo, including fee structures and other advertising “lures,” to analyze this merging of traditional and modern technological paths of spirituality along Weberian theoretical lines.

Keywords

memorial service; internet worship; religion; rationality; mizuko kuyo;Japan

Disciplines

Asian Studies | Sociology

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