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Liquid Life : Abortion and Buddhism in Japan - William R. LaFleur

Liquid Life

Abortion and Buddhism in Japan

Paperback

Published: 6th November 1994
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Why would a country strongly influenced by Buddhism's reverence for life allow legalized, widely used abortion? Equally puzzling to many Westerners is the Japanese practice of "mizuko" rites, in which the parents of aborted fetuses pray for the well-being of these rejected "lives." In this provocative investigation, William LaFleur examines abortion as a window on the culture and ethics of Japan. At the same time he contributes to the Western debate on abortion, exploring how the Japanese resolve their conflicting emotions privately and avoid the pro-life/pro-choice politics that sharply divide Americans on the issue.

"This is a first-rate cross-cultural study, taking the reader to the heart of another society's beliefs and practices."--Mark Archer, The Sunday Telegraph "Both Buddhism and abortion flourish in modern Japan: the link between them is death. William LaFleur explains how this has come about, and in doing so provides an unusual insight into the character of modern Japan, where death is a big-money operation both for medicine and for religion."--Thomas Crump, London Review of Books "Objective, informed, observant, and imaginative. William LaFleur not only enlarges our knowledge, he also uses his single topic to illuminate a broad and fundamental feature of Japanese society itself."--Donald Richie, Japan Times Weekly

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
Original Concepts
Behind the Great Buddhap. 3
A World of Water and Wordsp. 14
Social Death, Social Birthp. 30
Jizo at the Crossroadsp. 44
Historical Processes
Edo: An Era in Viewp. 69
Edo: Populationp. 89
Edo: Polemicsp. 103
Sex, War, and Peacep. 119
Contemporary Issues
Apologyp. 143
Moral Swampsp. 160
A Rational, National Familyp. 177
Crossoversp. 198
Conclusionp. 214
Appendix: "The Way to Memorialize One's Mizuko"p. 221
Notesp. 225
Bibliographyp. 243
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691029658
ISBN-10: 0691029652
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 280
Published: 6th November 1994
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.37 x 15.42  x 1.73
Weight (kg): 0.37