Mizuko (水子), which translates into “water child,” is a Japanese term for a dead fetus, baby or infant. A grieving woman wrote to me today asking that a Jizo pendant be sent to her as soon as possible to help her grieve the loss of her Mizuko. For centuries, Jizo has helped those suffering through this painful loss.
In Japan, grieving parents who have lost a fetus or baby often hold a mizuko kuyo ceremony. During the ceremony, offerings are made to Jizō Bodhisattva, revered in Japan as the protector of children. The practice of mizuko kuyo is believed to have begun in the 1600s, when famine sometimes led those struck by severe poverty to infanticide and abortion. The practice became even more commonplace after World War II, when scores of women aborted fetuses. It is believed that Jizo protects the children from suffering, taking their souls to Ku to await their return to another, different life.
It is common for temples to sell Jizō statues to grieving parents. The statues are then dressed in red bibs and caps, or the baby’s own bib and cap and displayed in the temple garden.
Deep within us all lives the Mizuko Chibi, the little one of the water, who lived for such a short time, always within the mother’s womb.
[…] to, to bridge the gap between loss and hope. A few days later I saw that she had mentioned me in a blog post. I was astonished and humbled to think that my short message had somehow inspired her to explain […]
I am so looking forward to receiving my Jizo in the mail. I feel very fortunate to have found your site, your beautiful jewelry and your blog. We had a much unwanted missed miscarriage over the Christmas holidays. When I came across your website, I felt that I finally found something that could help me with the grieving process. When you’re left with nothing and feeling empty, as you are after a miscarriage, and not being able to grieve it properly in our society, it’s a huge comfort to know that there is Jizo and now I can carry him with me everywhere as a physical reminder. We are definitely in need of some inner peace and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Jizo and Chibi into our lives. Thank you!