by Dana Levin
Buddhist temple, Tokyo
"Zozo Ji" is a temple or shrine dedicated to lost or miscarried or aborted babies -- visitors place toys and offerings to the children. Such a shrine is based on the concept of "mizuko," the "water child" -- a Japanese belief that children receive their existence slowly as it flows into them over time, like water filling them up. The shrines are intended, in part, to help Jizo, the patron saint of women, children and travelers, find another pathway into being through reincarnation.