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Lecture 18

REL 3180 Lecture 18: “Abortion in Japan: Towards a ‘Middle-Way’ for the West?”

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REL 3180

William LaFleur’s article “Abortion in Japan: Towards a ‘Middle-Way’ for the West?” - Temples for aborted fetuses exist - Writes a paper comparing Western views vs. Japanese views of Abortion - Western view: - Polarizing issue that divides people - Tend to be framed in terms of rights - Turned it into a legal issue - Japanese view: - People view fetus as a life - And can see terminating it when needed - It’s okay to lose the life because it can “come back” - Liquid life - Similarities - Japanese and West both think of the value of the fetus - How do people react to this problem? - See how people practice - Pragmatism - taking stock of reality, looking at it, and finding solutions - Liquid life - Rituals - kuyo - Mizuko-jizō - leech child - aborted fetus - “Leech child” - Adam and Eve-like couple are having a baby, but do the rituals wrong so they put baby in reed basket and let it float away (liquid life) - Post-WWII generation in Japan with increase of abortion rate - LaFleur doesn’t care that it isn’t a Buddhist ritual, as long as Japanese Buddhists are doing it - If you dig deeper this is a result of archaic rituals in Japan + bits and
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