picture of the day

Lost children

51 Comments

An elderly woman holds joss sticks near stone statues of a guardian deity of children at a temple in Tokyo.

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One of my favourite pics on JT that I've seen.... I don't know why.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I don't know why...but I like ojizo-san.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This looks like Hasedera right before the big Buddha in Hase off the Enoden line in Kamakura. That is one beautiful temple.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Many of the Ojizo-san are actually after Aborted Children. Japan's #1 contraception method as many (Not all!) Japanese men refuse to wear a condom, unfortunately.

-9 ( +12 / -18 )

this spot is written about in "grotesque", an interesting book by Natsuo Kirino

4 ( +4 / -0 )

this spot is written about in "grotesque", an interesting book by Natsuo Kirino

Read that book earlier this year, still haunts me to be honest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Always found those statues strange but yet still fascinating

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Gotta agree with BlueWitch on this. On one hand there is only sadness for me in this picture. On the other hand, I guess the women who used this form of contraception seek to atone for what they did. Could it be that the woman in the pic is still seeking forgiveness for what she did when she was young? Would be interesting to hear her story.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Lost? No. Aborted? Yes. A tragic picture.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I thought it was considered in poor taste to photograph the lost children statues at such shrines? At least someone in Japan told me that was the case - I never questioned it when I was running all over Tokyo photographing everything.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lost? No. Aborted? Yes.

Jizo represent stillborn and naturally miscarried babies as well, not only aborted babies.

Could it be that the woman in the pic is still seeking forgiveness for what she did when she was young?

That woman looks to be at least 80. I seriously doubt abortions were widely available in Japan during her childbearing years. Perhaps she lost a baby, or perhaps she was just walking past?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Japan's #1 contraception method

That would suggest that statistically abortions happen more often than condoms are used, which I seriously doubt. Honestly, the drama in some of the comments on this site!

2 ( +9 / -7 )

She is holding incense in her left hand.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Indeed, Jizou is a deity who protects children, especially miscarried and stilborn ones. Jizou is also considered a guide in Hell, who often prays for the sinners. He is hence considered a guardian deity of travellers.

That woman looks to be at least 80. I seriously doubt abortions were widely available in Japan during her childbearing years.

Actually, during the ages there have been many ways, mostly ones endangering mother's life too, of abortion. In vol.24th of Konjaku Monogatari ,the story of a woman violated by snake contains a description of an abortion performed by "famous doctor/medicine man".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Apsara

Japan's #1 contraception method

That would suggest that statistically abortions happen more often than condoms are used, which I seriously doubt. Honestly, the drama in some of the comments on this site!

With all due respect, how dare you call my comment "drama"? I used to work in an abortion clinic in Tsuchiura as a part time. I know EXACTLY what I am talking about. People should think before they reply to others comments.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Just don't try to relieve yourself when you're drunk on one of these Ojizous, because they may cast a spell on you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No mumbo-jumbo or little concrete figures are going to protect children. To believe in such nonsense causes more harm than good. Relying on a piece of old concrete to protect children? Please, do me a favor... The aborted children are already dead. How about trying to protect them before they die?

I cannot help but think these pieces of concrete are there to make the children parents feel better. i.e. it gives them some form of delusional reassurance that their dead children are being protected...

The only way to protect children is loving and caring parents, combined with a government that promotes welfare and compassion towards children.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Well said, Tokyokawasaki... nice to see you here, old friend.

The strongest weapon against abortion is contraception. Condoms are 99% safe. Please, people, use CONDOMS. MORE condoms, LESS abortions. Most people have no idea how atrocious is to abort a baby. They try to get away in panic and open the mouth and silenty scream when ripped out of the womb, you know? I've seen it with my own eyes which is why the patient is asleep during the procedure. That said I have to admit that I am NOT against or in favor of abortion, I am pro-contraception. Being responsible.

Condoms are the BEST.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

I used to work in an abortion clinic in Tsuchiura as a part time. I know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

Just because you worked at an abortion clinic does not mean you know how those particular children died.

3 ( +7 / -5 )

Agree with BW.

As for Condoms, splash out and get the better and thinner ones. Lots of choices out there now. Don't just buy the ones from the rack at the druggist. ;)

Visit Condomania or an Adult store.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@desune

I used to work in an abortion clinic in Tsuchiura as a part time. I know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

Just because you worked at an abortion clinic does not mean you know how those particular children died.

right, I forgot, fetuses are NOT human, therefore they CAN'T feel any pain or suffering...

sarcasm of course.

-7 ( +6 / -12 )

I used to work in an abortion clinic in Tsuchiura as a part time. I know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

Just because you worked at an abortion clinic does not mean you know how those particular children died.

I agree with desune, and I still say that it is exaggerating wildly to say that abortion is the #1 form of contraception here- the fact that you worked in an abortion clinic is 100% irrelevant. While they may be common, there is no way that there are more abortions than condoms used, which is what you claim, and if you are still sure of that, concrete stats please. With all due respect, you also need to think about what you post- looks like I'm not the only one who thinks so, given the number of down votes you received on that comment.

4 ( +6 / -3 )

@It"S ME

Agree with BW.

As for Condoms, splash out and get the better and thinner ones. Lots of choices out there now. Don't just buy the ones from the rack at the druggist. ;)

Visit Condomania or an Adult store.

Exactly...so many types, colors, textures, flavors..lol I personally like the "skin thin" type but sometimes the ribbed or dotted ones brings lots of pleasure (^_^)

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

right, I forgot, fetuses are NOT human, therefore they CAN'T feel any pain or suffering...sarcasm of course.

desune is talking about the children represented by the jizo in this picture, not your clinic experience. Not all dead children are aborted fetuses- as I said above, children lost to miscarriages, stillbirths, SIDs are all represented by jizo as well, I'm sure you know that but are choosing to ignore it for some reason.

5 ( +7 / -3 )

@BlueWitch "Japan's #1 contraception method". How do you know ? Do you have actual statistics that backs up your claim ? You worked at a clinic just means you saw some of the most irresponsible people. They don't represent majority. If you think fetus are people, that's your opinion, and I don't agree with that. While people should not have abortion lightly, it is legal and it's everyone's option to do so.

4 ( +9 / -4 )

correct me if i'm wrong, but i thought these statues also represented stillborn babies and/or those that died from illnesses as infants. my neighbour told me that they represent all babies that died, regardless of how.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Apsara

right, I forgot, fetuses are NOT human, therefore they CAN'T feel any pain or suffering...sarcasm of course.

desune is talking about the children represented by the jizo in this picture, not your clinic experience. Not all dead children are aborted fetuses- as I said above, children lost to miscarriages, stillbirths, SIDs are all represented by jizo as well, I'm sure you know that but are choosing to ignore it for some reason.

Do you CARE to re-read my original post again?....please?

or better yet, let me have the "pleasure" of quoting myself: Here we go:

BlueWitchNov. 29, 2011 - 08:21AM JST

Many of the Ojizo-san are actually after Aborted Children. Japan's #1 contraception method as many (Not all!) Japanese men refuse to wear a condom, unfortunately.

Now...do you have something to say to me?

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

@Hide Suzuki

@BlueWitch "Japan's #1 contraception method". How do you know ? Do you have actual statistics that backs up your claim ? You worked at a clinic just means you saw some of the most irresponsible people. They don't represent majority. If you think fetus are people, that's your opinion, and I don't agree with that. While people should not have abortion lightly, it is legal and it's everyone's option to do so.

Another one that didn't READ my post entirely, thus confusing what I really meant..

Hide, I am neither pro or anti abortion. But I know for a already PROVEN fact that FETUSES are indeed people once their heartbeat start pounding. If they feel pain and suffering, they are human, my friend. Hope you understand that. まぁ、事実は事実ですから

Please protect yourself. It's the only way to avoid such terrible experience. But I also believe everyone have the right to choose. I would, if I was raped. (well, not really sure, but most probably).. Still, we are nobody to judge those who chose that path. But we can promote and encourage the use of protection. Condoms is the right way to go.

And one more thing, born and raised in this country, 30 winters already, I know that abortion have always been the most used method of getting rid of an unwanted pregnancy. The people, the government, the clinics, they all know. Fortunately, condoms are available now more than ever. The pill is not popular and have "stigma" I think.

I hope you read my posts more CAREFULLY before jumping assumptions. I try to be fair and just but let's face it...child abuse is on the rise and it is really painful and frustrating to read and not being able to go there and help that child.

-5 ( +3 / -9 )

@luilui

correct me if i'm wrong, but i thought these statues also represented stillborn babies and/or those that died from illnesses as infants. my neighbour told me that they represent all babies that died, regardless of how.

Yes, luilui, it represents ALL dead children...ALL of them. (stillbirths, illnesses, even the abused to death) Unfortunately, many of them are "aborted babies".

-6 ( +3 / -10 )

No1 contraception method? Withdrawal like the rhythm method, a pathetic excuse for contraception. Was surprised at the amount of women and couples who have used abortion in Japan. Statistically do not know but definitely anecdotally it does appear quite common. Either way at least concrete statues gave an older generation some comfort. Creepy and sad as it is.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Cricky

I have read government "reports" that estimates the annual number of performed abortions at one million...but that's only the reported cases.... I wonder about the ones NOT reported.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

How about the recent trend of giving birth in toilets, and leaving the babies in the trash bin to die? Technically, it's not abortion since the mother underwent normal birth.

I agree with BW, even though there are plenty of stores out there that sell condoms, many still don't use them.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Cheers BlueW, as you say it's an "estimate". Numbers are perhaps the tip of the iceberg. Education is needed, like the egg idea look after it for a month, wish I'd heard of that sooner. Might not be a Grandfather now!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Bluewitch, I agree that many aborted babies could be represented by the jizou but honestly do you think the majority of women that go to an abortion clinic would have a jizou statue set up or go to one to remember her baby? I think they just let the doctor do whatever he wants with the aborted baby. If he throws it in the trash can, most dont ask or care. If he sends it to a science lab to be all cut and smashed up for research purposes, that is no concern to her. How many women have an abortion and ask to take the remains of her baby home for a funeral? Very few I would guess. I think the majority of women who have or visit a jizou are women who truly loved and wanted their babies but tragically lost them by means of miscarriage, still birth, SID, or some other infant death. So the jizou, in my opinion, represents women/fathers who loved their babies, not aborted them. They represent women who recognized and valued the life of their baby, as opposed to abortion where life is not recognized. Why would a mom have an abortion and then visit a jizou? It makes no sense to me. If she considered her baby a life, she wouldnt abort it, right? So there would be no reason to visit a jizou. She had a medical procedure and that is all. From my understanding the jizou represents a guardian in hell to protect babies who caused their moms pain by dying early. What mom would send her baby to hell? With this thinking, I dont think many jizous are represented by aborted babies, but miscarriages are actually very common. Lots of women have had not one but multiple miscarriages so it is just my opinion and nothing more, but I think jizous represent mostly babies that were lost by natural means.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

but I think jizous represent mostly babies that were lost by natural means.

Why, because babies who were aborted don't deserve to be protected by ojizo-san? It's not about the parents and how they felt about the children, it's ALL babies who were lost either through natural means or enforced ones.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Why, because babies who were aborted don't deserve to be protected by ojizo-san?"

No, thats not what I am saying. Realistically speaking, these jizous are paid for by people. If no one gives money, then they are not made. If you see one on a roadside where a baby was killed in a car crash, someone paid for that through a donation to the temple. All these jizous are primarily paid for and kept up by parents that lost their children. Therefore, they are represented by the people that pay for them, and I think that is mostly parents who lost their babies by natural means. If jizous mostly represented babies from women who had abortions, I doubt there would be many jizous because I doubt these women would be paying to have statues made to represent a baby`s life that they never believe existed in the first place. It just makes no sense.

3 ( +2 / -0 )

That photo seems to be from the Zojoji at Daimon, near Hamamatsucho. I've walked past that spot many times. They are called mizuko, I think. The word "joss" by the way, is a corruption of the Spanish/Portuguese word for god (dios).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a horrid discussion. See I was told that jizo just looked out for children-of course I didnt look it up scientifically, I just believed the person who told me, and I guess thats how they understood it....it is a shame they idolize such thing, but if it helps them until they know something living that will help, then whose to judge. Surely there must be a difference between a snake and propaganda, enforcement. BlueWitch if youre trying to promote abstaining, which really is the only 100percent guarantee to not cross any moral grounds, whatever category of contraception people categorize these things as, well I feel you are fighting a losing cause-so allow me to promote "Happy Families".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think it's important to look at statistics. I agree with Hide that abortion should be legal, but also with Blue WItch that there is a problem with abortion in our country. If you look at the number of abortions being performed each year and compare to the number of women from ages 20 to 45, you will see that over a lifetime the average Japanese woman has enough abortions to render her infertile. This is a huge part of our falling birth rate, and something people do not want to discuss.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There are hundreds of kinds of ojizo-sama in Japan. Each ojizo-sama has its own story. Togenuki-jizo is quite famous in Tokyo. Kasa-jizo (umbrella jizo) is a very popular children's story. Mizuko-jizo (guardian of aborted children and kids who die prematurely) is well known, too. Thanks to internet, we can watch lots of Jizo stories on youtube.

Go google video 日本昔話 地蔵

[reference]

http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/jizo1.shtml#SakasaJizo

0 ( +0 / -0 )

7777777- excellent points. I had a roommate (American in the US) who used abortion as her method of contraception & had no concern for the aborted fetuses (just a roommate- not lover or even friend). I suspect it would be the same for all who use abortion as contraception. Maybe not for those who feel they're "forced" into it for whatever reason (e.g., pregnancy really was an accident & parents aren't able to support). And maybe not for those who had an abortion in their 20s because they were "not ready" & find in their 30s that they can't get pregnant & start wishing they hadn't gotten an abortion.

There are enough children who are truly lost to keep Jizou busy for quite awhile without worrying about unwanted aborted fetuses. I've got two- a son who died of SIDS & a son who died in utero....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bluewitch, I think you have great comments! Do not worry about stupid thumbs downs etc..you keep up your great comments! Abortion clinic?? Yikes! I could not work at such a place my self.

0 ( +3 / -4 )

Let's everyone get back to the main topic which is to comment on the pic of the day. To have OJIZOU-san and to visit them is not all bad or negative thing as some posts indicated above. This elderly woman seems to be very content of what she is doing. For some reason this pic gives me some peaceful mind rather than much of sadness like some posts said. Maybe this reminds me of the good old times when I was a kid my mother had taken me to visit OJIZOU-san to give them some ONIGIRI, OKASHI and putting them on some hats and bibs. Thank you JT for sharing with your readers on this unique but traditional real Japanese story telling pic of the day.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Therefore, they are represented by the people that pay for them, and I think that is mostly parents who lost their babies by natural means.

Money pays for the statues, but if you believe in this stuff, I don't think the statues themselves would discriminate between babies which have been aborted and those which died of natural means.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

With all due respect, how dare you call my comment "drama"? I used to work in an abortion clinic in Tsuchiura as a part time. I know EXACTLY what I am talking about. People should think before they reply to others comments

Abortion clinic?

I have read government "reports" that estimates the annual number of performed abortions at one million...but that's only the reported cases.... I wonder about the ones NOT reported.

??? The number is roughly 240K. Why would it be NOT be reported since it's legal in Japan.

http://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/eisei/08/dl/data_006.pdf

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Nigel - Because if they use the national health insurance, then there will be a record of the procedure. Such records have been used against women in the past. I remember a while back where a doctor (hospital?) was selling this info to temples to "encourage" women to "donate" money for their own statue. Someone finally blew the whistle on these scumbags, but all kinds of women were basically blackmailed.

Many women don't use the national health insurance to avoid leaving a paper trail. I understand the official figure is under 300,000, but I have thought this to be the tip of the iceberg. While it may not be the "number one" form of birth control in Japan, sadly it is very high on the list of methods used.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Godan

I'm afraid you are wrong. Induced abortions conducted pursuant to Article 14 Section 1 of 母体保護法 is not covered under the national health insurance. Furthermore, under the same law, Article 25 specifies that such abortions must be reported to the prefecturer office by the medical staff who performed such operation.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Really, Nigel? News to me on the first point. And I am not sure what you mean by "induced abortions"? Does this also apply to needs abortions?

As for the second point you raise, you don't think there are clinics/docs that will be more than happy to deal on a cash basis to keep things on the sly? Really?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Really, Nigel? News to me on the first point. And I am not sure what you mean by "induced abortions"? Does this also apply to needs abortions?

There are "induced" abortions and "spontaneous" abortions aka miscarriages.

As for the second point you raise, you don't think there are clinics/docs that will be more than happy to deal on a cash basis to keep things on the sly? Really?

Since it's not covered by health insurance, of course it's going to be paid by cash. Duh!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But a needs abortion is covered by the NHI in Japan. That's why I was splitting hairs with you. Not all abortion procedures are the same, Nigel.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But a needs abortion is covered by the NHI in Japan. That's why I was splitting hairs with you. Not all abortion procedures are the same, Nigel.

Don't need to see the reason why you are splitting hairs but as I have indicated on numerous occasions, there is absolutely no need for the physicians to NOT report induced abortions. What's the point?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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