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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)

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April 03, 2005
Japan: How they deal with the culture of death
Filed in: Bioethics, Current Affairs, Japan, Politics

Japan is not untouched by the culture of death. Abortion has been legal here since a eugenics law passed in post WWII Japan in 1948. A new law went into effect in 1996 that updated the old law.

Remarkably, the total number of abortions annually has been reduced since 1955 - the highest recorded year. In 1995 the number of abortions was 49% of the number in 1975. Is the reason for this better birth control? Studies suggest that it is not. Corresponding studies show an increase in living births from 'unwanted' pregnancies - i.e. having the baby instead of aborting it - during the same period between 1975 and 1995. What could be the reason?

This is by no means a Christian country - practicing Christians number about 2 percent of the population.

Something that is little known about what the Japanese people do in response to abortion is their effort to assuage the terrible guilt they feel. Abortion is considered here to be primarily a social responsibility for family size and is considered a terrible, sometimes necessary evil. But the Japanese people are for the most part brutally honest with themselves and as a society they don't lie to themselves. There is little question for them that an abortion takes a human life.


This is what many Japanese people do to deal with abortion: They pay - from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a year - to a Buddhist priest to put a statue in a certain area of a shrine (usually at a shrine to the goddess Kannon) burn incense and pray for the departed soul.

There are thousands and thousands of little statues in the shrine where I took the photos shown here. My guide that was walking me through this shrine - a business associate - told me the little statues were for miscarriages and I thought it remarkable how people cared for those that were miscarried - but he told me that just to be discreet. Undoubtedly there are some here who represent those who were not lost intentionally - but for the most part almost all of these represent abortions.


No one tells these people to do this. The government doesn't request it. They don't have pastors and sermons in the practice of Buddhism.

They do it because of the terrible grief and guilt that they feel for taking a life. Many of these little statues are adorned with clothes and little flower necklaces from time to time.

Could it be that the abortion rate has fallen so dramatically in Japan over the last many decades because there is such a stark reminder at the shrines within this nation of the lives lost?

Can you imagine 30 million and counting little statues somewhere in the United States? I guess not - as a society we have found it too easy to lie and clinicize and eliminate the physical evidence - and drown the grief and guilt in a copious pharmacy.

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TrackPulled on Apr 5, 2005 5:03:45 AM

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Thank you for sharing that.

I have nothing to add.

Posted by: Nathan Azinger at Apr 3, 2005 11:37:43 AM

Wow, this is incredible. I can just imagine how outraged pro-"choice" advocates would be if we did something similar in the U.S. It's incredibly destructive psychologically for our culture to bury its grief. I wish people would be in less denial.

Again, fascinating post.

Posted by: Tomas Rees at Apr 3, 2005 2:05:17 PM

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