Internet Mizuko Kuyo in Japan: A Case Study in Progressive Weberian Rationality
North Central Sociological Association
The Japanese phrase, mizuko kuyo (Water-child ritual), meaning religious memorial services for babies who die in miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion, became visibly used in the mass media during the 1970s and the 1980s. Furthermore, due to the recent popularity of computer use, the mizuko kuyo service has been increasingly practiced over the internet. Although there is much research regrading traditional mizuko kuyo ritual, little is known about the internet mizuko kuyo. The internet mizuko kuyo ritual is a manifested practice encompassing social, cultural, religious, and economic dimensions. Drawing upon a limited sample of websites for Buddhist temples in Tokyo, Japan, available on the internet, this article examines those that offer the mizuko kuyo, both for accessibility and actual ritual enactment, focusing on the Weberian elements of progressive rationality that may or may not be present. This article further explicates how the Weberian trend of rationalization is applied to this time religious tradition.
mizuko kuyo memorial service, water-child ritual, Internet, virtual worship, globalization, Japan
Asian Studies | Critical and Cultural Studies | Sociology
Mieko Yamada and Anson Shupe (2011).
Internet Mizuko Kuyo in Japan: A Case Study in Progressive Weberian Rationality. Presented at North Central Sociological Association, Cleveland, OH.