Voices
in
Japan

have your say

What is the best way to settle the Yasukuni Shrine issue?

59 Comments

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

59 Comments
Login to comment

Since a bulldozer is no longer a viable option, I'd say for people to take advantage of tools like the Internet to study about it, what it stands for, how they display history in the Yushukan Museum, and exchange views about it on places like JT.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Take the remains of the dozen or so enshrined war criminals out and dump them in the sea. That should settle the problem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Call upon historians from China-Japan-Korea and observers from USA-Europe. Try and reach an agreement that should be binding and irrevocable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd say for people to take advantage of tools like the Internet to study about it, what it stands for, how they display history in the Yushukan Museum, and exchange views about it on places like JT.

Perfect answer. Not everyone agrees with it, but it's a great idea to continue to discuss it in a meaningful way. Good advice and thumbs up to you!

Take the remains of the dozen or so enshrined war criminals out and dump them in the sea. That should settle the problem.

Not sure if you noticed, but whoever wins the war, gets to blame the losing side and call them 'war criminals'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

neverknow2

yeah but after 6+ decades Jpn still admits nothing, just offers empty statements.

yasukuni is a cancer, cancers are best removed so they dont spread, but it wont be hence it will likely spread

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh goodness. This is a difficult question. I'm afraid I don't feel qualified to answer it, but anyway, here goes... Why not have a national and compulsory referendum? The choices could be: keep it as it is; get rid of it; don't care.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

let Kim Jong Mentally Ill drop a dysfunctional nuke on it

OR

allow the Chinese to build a shrine next to it to honor all those killed in Nanjing.

OR

realize you'll never please everybody, forget about it, and move on to more important, pressing issues like the economy, homeless, mental health and stop worrying about crap that happened over half a century ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yeah but after 6+ decades Jpn still admits nothing, just offers empty statements.

That is true. When I speak with my Japanese wife about this she tells me that since Japan payed a lot of money after the war, they don't need to say sorry. Because money is important to them, they assume it is they way things are done for the rest of the world. I guess this is what people are taught in high school and university in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smartacus said

Take the remains of the dozen or so enshrined war criminals out and dump them in the sea.

After six posts, you'd figure that someone would mention that fact that there are no remains there. But then again, it's JT crowd.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Abolish religion and death-worship.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

maybe an earthquake will take care of it and some of the right-wing idiots that have nothing better to do than parade around it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My understanding is that Yasukuni up until the 80s was not a source of dispute until Nakasone secretly had class A war criminals intomed there (or whatever it is they do for spirits). Some suggestions FWIW

1) We need to first accept that we cannot control spirits, now can we?

2) Thus symbolically re-dedicate the memorial to not include class A war criminals and return Yasukuni back to it's original purpose.

3) Split the memorial up. One to pray for penance for those who waged war at a new temple, and the other for peace who died at Yasukuni.

4) Invite all PM's from Asian countries to visit the re-dedication ceremony, so they can also dedicate themselves to peace, to finally remove a very old stain of blood.

5) Make #4 an annual event to dedicate towards peace. Make it a holiday.

Learning from such a sad part of history should have become a strength for Japan, but it has instead held it back because they are taught to ignore it. It's not about atonement, money, or saying sorry every year. It's about recognizing and re-dedicating Koreans and Chinese and everyone else as equally part of a family, forever at peace.

In the New World, a very cool phrase "burying the hatchet" came from Native leaders who in peacetime would quite literally bury their tomahawks to symbolize the Great Peace. Maybe have a symbolic burial every year or 3, to re-dedicate the years towards peace?

Japan and the rest of Asia need to rise up and away from base anomosities that have historically dragged it down for so long. History is always a warning to anyone, anywhere, to not give into hate and division.

That's a lesson the world could learn, not just Asia.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am inclined to follow the Le May doctrine regarding Yasakuni. Basically, it should be turned into a carpark and Japanese encouraged to remember their war dead at the other National War Shrine (the official one that has been marginalized by this whole debate).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ignore it

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another US bomb should take care of it. Seeing America brought peace to Japan, a nice American flag to honor America should do quite nicely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

DO NOTHING> I think it is important to remember those who gave their lives fighting for their country. Can you imagine the USA getting rid of any one of their Military grave yards or veterans memorial sites? Get real. Its their for a reason. I just went there for the first time last week. What's the big deal,Its just another shrine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another US bomb should take care of it. Seeing America brought peace to Japan, a nice American flag to honor America should do quite nicely.

Sounds quite nice too.

But I think Japan should deliver a real formal apology to China and Korea for their war crimes. Have it observed by the world to see and make that a national day of rememberance every year of the innocent lives lost due to their own past evils. This will be the atonement. So that no one ever forgets it really happened because it is held annually on the same date. I can't remember the first time they apologized.

As for the shrine, dig up the war criminals and throw those SOB's in the mouth of the volcano, and stop visiting the shrine to pray for them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yasukuni is a Shinto shrine, only Shintoists should decide its fate and settle any issue relating to it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

boarder,

you need to learn a little more about yasukuni, clue, it aint just some place where people go to pay respect to those that gave their lives, its a little more than that, why do you think foreign dignitaries avoid the place, there are plently of reasons

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are 2.5m entities "enshrined" in Yasukuni, many of which died before WWII, during Japan's civil war. It is a site of religious, historical, and cultural significance to the Japanese people. Should all of that be overlooked simply because a handful of war criminals are enshrined there? To the Americans posting here saying that we should "bulldoze" Yasukuni, would you say the same about graveyards and memorials to the Philippine-American War? Did you ever even learn about the Philippine-American War in your "non-revisionist" American schools?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But I think Japan should deliver a real formal apology to China and Korea for their war crimes. Have it observed by the world to see and make that a national day of remembrance every year.

Japan made apologies to these countries long ago, both in writing and in the form of restitution. But no amount of apologies will ever put an end to the resentment that these countries have for Japan, so why should we continue to entertain that resentment with ridiculous talk of national "war crime remembrance days"? Do we have a "day of remembrance" for dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or sending men to their deaths at the Bay of Pigs? The best thing for Japan is for its descendants to not be forced to live in the shadow of the crimes that may or may not have been committed by their indoctrinated grandfathers during a time of imperialist rule.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

realize you'll never please everybody, forget about it, and move on to more important, pressing issues like the economy, homeless, mental health and stop worrying about crap that happened over half a century ago.

spot on bamboohat

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I had a relation who was forced to build the railway through South East Asia during WWII. The English people who survived and the families of the thousands who died in horrible brutal conditions have never received compensation or an apology. Whilst no one would ever want to stop anyone remembering their war dead, which ever side they were on, Japan needs to stand up and admit it's past and responsibilities, so the current generations can move on. Remembering war criminals in the same way as those innocents who fought and died doing their duty for their country of Japan, isn't moving on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Leave the people who want the Yasukuni Shrine to remain the same alone. Mind your own business.

I believe any issue of whether Japan is not properly owning up to the facts of the past is a separate issue. If people want to prod the Japanese government to admit to portions of history and/or offer apologies they should pursue that interest to their hearts desire.

Who the Japanese chose to bury in sacred ground is their business. America used its power to try "war criminals" and executed many. Stay the hell out of their business after they are deceased and buried. If the Japanese PM or emperor want to visit the shrine, stay they hell out of their business. China may have legitimate gripes but trying to control Japanese citizens on their honoring of their ancestors is none of their business.

The truth is this issue is about control. Control freaks can't stand that they cannot force Japan to carry out their will. This is an issue of a peoples belief system. Quit screwing with their beliefs. I could easily attack anyone's beliefs that believe their religion is the only way to heaven and everyone else is going to hell. That is a belief that god is using the multiple choice method of entrance to heaven. If you check the wrong box it is off to hell you go even if you were honoring your parents religion. In my opinion that is no less crazy then honoring the "not so perfect" choices of individuals buried in sacred ground at a Shrine. I am not saying the Japanese improperly chose individuals to honor; it is none of my business and I will divert my attention to something more meaningful. I do have no problem learning about wrongs the Japanese may have performed. I feel I can do this because I admit that my country, the U.S., has committed atrocities against the indigenous people and against some of the people of Africa. But I think that learning the facts of history is a separate issue then trying to control others by insisting on changing activities vested in their belief system.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's not about 'Controlling' anything. It's about life! It's about dealing with an issue as we all have to do and moving on. This is about allowing people and their families, whatever there background or nationality, to deal with this particular issue, move on and leave it behind.

Whether you are English, American, Japanese or Chinese, it's about honoring War criminals at the shrine in the same breath as the innocent war dead which should be getting all the remembrance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Firstly to stop being so bloody J-anal about it. Then they to grow up and act mature about... Then they might, night just realise the pain this places causes to the families of those who suffered.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

goodDonkey,

Well said! History and belief systems aren't one and the same thing -- they're two separate issues. Nobody has the right to force his or her will on another person's belief system -- that's almost the same as slavery.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

goodDonkey is right. Yasukuni shouldn't be tied to apologies for the war.

mikejb, if the Yasukuni authorities credibly said that they will never compromise and never allow themselves to be forced to change the status quo, then what? People will be angry and jump-and-down about Yasukuni until the Sun explodes?

How about people take your advice and just move on? Individual families can make complaints if they wish, but otherwise there are far more important issues to deal with, both nationally and internationally.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

goodDonkey,

Well said.

But I would go on to ask what is meant by others saying that Japan needs to “move on”, what does this nonsense mean? Move on where, how? It doesn’t mean anything, just some trite little sentence that makes it sound like you are being supportive of the Japanese who, poor souls, have lost their way. They do not need to move on anywhere, they already have.

The Shinto religion is, very simply, ancestor worship & it doesn’t matter a damn if your grand father was a good guy or bad guy he was still your grand father & you have a duty to honour him. Besides once dead he is nolonger guilty of anything, perhaps especially so if he happened to be executed by a foreign power. So if you are not Japanese this really isn’t any of your business.

Think about this, two of my uncles were killed fighting in the Spanish civil war, were they good guys or bad guys? I don’t know because although I cannot say Franco was good neither can I say that the communists were good, but I can & do go on respecting them for going there to fight (& die) for what they believed. Think about that carefully & then put yourself in the shoes of a Japanese person. I matters not what your people fought & died for, only that they did fight & die for the country & if in time it is seen that they died for a “bad” reason that can only be said with hindsight, hindsight that they could not possibly have had, obviously. JT have put this old chestnut up again because they can always guarantee a dog fight out of it from the youngsters that know nothing more about life than what they have read. Life is not so black & white. If you honour your own for no other reason than the fact that they are your own then you have no right to criticise others who are doing just that, even if you don’t like it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Given Emperor Hirohito refused to visit the shrine after the 14 war criminal dieties were included in 1978 until his death, must mean something. Perhaps the 14 need to be relocated elsewhere. Given the location of the Shrine near the centre of Tokyo, and the other 2.5 million names means that many Japanese will want to, and be able to, honor their ancestors who served their country into the far distant future. By relocating the 14 war criminals and the other 1400 lesser criminals to another location seems plausible, but may not be possible given this is a religious not secular shrine. Eventually, when all those who served in WW11 have passed on, the full facts and horrors about WW11 from 1937 to 1945 will no doubt be gradually disclosed to the now vast majority of Japanese who had no involvement and have enjoyed peace, guaranteed by the Allied forces, since August 1945.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My question is that if they decide to remove the 14 war criminals from Yasukuni Shrine, will everyone(esp. China and Korea) finally leave Japan be?

Even if they remove those war criminals from Y.S., most of you westerners will call this issue settled, but I believe China and Korea will just find something else to pin on Japan for the atrocites they did to them in the past. I dont believe China and Korea will give up regarding this issue. I feel them(Chinese/Korean), but I just think that it's unfortunate that they probably will never forgive Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My understanding is that Yasukuni up until the 80s was not a source of dispute until Nakasone secretly had class A war criminals intomed there (or whatever it is they do for spirits

True and false. The dispute started when Nakasone visited the shrine on the anniversary if Japan's surrender in 1985. The enshrinement of Class A criminals was done in late 1978. From 1979 leading up to the 1985 anniversary, Japanese PM visited the shrine 21 TIMES without any dispute from the so-called neighbor(s) (China).

Please note that the only "dispute" during those 21 visits were within Japan and the issue was whether PM's were visiting the shrine on an official or personal capacity.

So, as mansen stated above, China and Korea will just find something else to pin on Japan for they have done so with Nakasone's case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nigelboy,

If in the 70s-80s there was the intenet & CNN etc then the visits wud surely have become an issue, the way the news is broadcast & the speed is a little diffent then compared to now

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If in the 70s-80s there was the intenet & CNN etc then the visits wud surely have become an issue, the way the news is broadcast & the speed is a little diffent then compared to now

Huh? What part of "21 times from 1979-1985" do you not understand? Do Chinese Embassy's in Japan don't pick up the newspaper here in Japan? Most Japanese citizens did so especially in those times.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Reicheru: Your point on what was done in the Philippines, to the Filipinos during the war there, and the lack of teaching the complete history of the United States is duly noted. Japan should honor whomever, whenever, however they want without anyone dictating how it should be done, just like when we honor the pilots who flew the bombing missions over Japan that ended the war. If any countries have problems with the way countries choose to honor their war dead, then they have the option of not doing business with those countries, or whatever means they see fit, to take out their frustrations on said countries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What is the best way to settle the Yasukuni Shrine issue?

Napalm and rockets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hilarious is the fact that when it comes to working together on Japan/Asian multinational business projects or issues of capital investment, relations about the issue appear to be fine. Also, I wonder if Japan didn’t have the most powerful economy in Asia, would the others even give a rats ...?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OK, I will rewrite, moderator. Yasukuni issue perhaps won't go away easily because the Kellogg-Briand Pact was something applied for once in a way to the prosecution/judgement on Japan at the Tokyo Trial. Not something applied consistently or equally. That's why many Japanese are rather non-judgmental and equivocal if not clearly affirmative about legislators' visit to the shrine.

If the Yasukuni Shrine won't transfer the 14 Class-A convicts' souls elsewhere for something like the above reason or because of some mythological technicality (though I believe they could as Masakado's soul was once transferred from Kanda Myojin shrine), we can only wait until the people, mostly Chinese, who make a thing of it will regard it as less of an issue like people of the other countries. And I think it has more to do with the domestic affairs of China rather than what they really think about present Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Leave it to the Japanese because it is their issue.....The rest of the world should be taking care of their own rather than trying to run Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An unstubbed cigarette.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I figure one more generation and the place will be ignored and forgotten. Impossible to get young japanese to look at anything that isn't on the tiny screen of their mobile phone or portable game.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We have memorials. I do not know what a shrine is. Shintoism was the state religion of WWII with emperor worship. Sounds like something from 2000 years ago. Moving on, let us remember that we are all descended from common ancestors and be thankful for all that the variety of peoples have contributed to our common humanity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How? That's easy. Peacefully.

(Actually, I have a cunning plan...)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An interesting issue, which as usual sparks heated debate. It appears that some points are overlooked. First of all, yes, other countries have memorials for people who did some nasty things too. However, one can wonder if two wrongs make a right? Something that is often overlooked too is the sheer amount of losses. Let us just compare the Chines and Japanese losses (civilians only, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties#Casualties_by_country). Japanese civilian losses are around half a million, of whom 393,367 due to bombing. Chinese civilian losses due to combat of all sorts (I take it including bombing) amount to some 3,808,000, with about an additional 3,549,000 dead from war crimes (otherwise said, dead while not fighting, but in the care of the Japanese government). While I tend to agree that China is using this situation for their own political gain (a tendency that seems common in the region), perhaps the simple fact that almost 19 Chinese civilians died for every Japanese has earned them some right of speaking... Perhaps the number of Chinese civilians who died from maltreatment while under Japanese rule shows what the important point is. In my view, human life and the ability to live it and be happy as human beings should be the one thing that has priority over culture, any culture, western, muslim, hindu, Chinese, Japanese, whatever. If culture, or ...-bashing is the defense of a course of action that stands in the way of life and the most fundamental forms of happiness (like friendship, love, freedom of movement and so on), something is wrong. I feel all countries still have much to learn in that respect. Japan is no exception from what I see. Let´s try to help each other as much as possible in that way, and listen to each others´ criticisms with an honest desire to improve ourselves. The Japanese government as much as any other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its nobodies business, except the Japanese! China and Korea should just focus on sitting in Japans shadow and shutting up! ALL HEADS MUST BOW and ALL TONGUES MUST CONFESS: All our dead from all our wars are HEROES and MUST have a place where people can pay their respects!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Leave it where it is! And anbody who wants to visit can visit!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As long as WW2 war criminals' graves are contained within Yasukuni and Japanese politicians go there to pray, this will cause distress in countries that were victimized by the Japanese Imerial Army.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

shackleberry: Its nobodies business, except the Japanese!

On the contrary, the attitude about militarism in Japan is very much the business of Japan's neighbors and vice-versa. They have every right to voice an opinion and be concerned.

The Japanese sure did not mind making their militarism the business of even very far flung neighbors back in the first half of the 20th century!

Japan's neighbors are not going to wait until its too late again for a long time to come.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

shackleberry: All our dead from all our wars are HEROES and MUST have a place where people can pay their respects!

Would that include people executed for war crimes after the war was over? This the core problem with Yasukuni you know, because it honors them right alongside actual war dead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sarge: As long as WW2 war criminals' graves are contained within Yasukuni

There are no graves at Yasukuni. There souls of the dead are supposedly enshrined there, not their bodies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

likeitis - OK, the souls of the war criminals are enshrined there. That's why the Koreans and the Chinese go ballistic every time a Japanese politician goes there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sarge, no-one is buried there, and there are no graves. Just names.

Their names are 'enshrined' so that their spirits can be thanked for giving their lives to help create a peaceful Japan. Whatever they did in their lives is in the past. Yasukuni is not a place of judgment.

Many Japanese do not recognize the British and American War Crimes conclusions. The label 'War Criminal' was imposed by the victors in a one-sided show that made no mention of any possible crimes committed by the victors themselves during that war.

The Class 'A' names should be moved out to a different shrine, I agree, to help take the sting out of international relations in East Asia. But only if the Japanese themselves come up with the idea. This is a matter of honor/honour and can only be done by an honorable/honourable person when the time is right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nanda - Heck, the Japanese didn't come up with the idea of surrendering until several of their cities were completely wiped out, two of them with atomic bombs. Don't expect them to come up with the idea of moving the names of their war criminals out of Yasukuni.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have a fiendish plan for settling the Yasukuni issue, but unfortunately it has to be secret... hehehe

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nanda - Is your cunning/fiendish plan anything like telecaster's?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ShackleDingleberry, my response to your idiotic post, keep Yasukuni as a public urinal, or burn it down for entertainment purposes.

Either way, the yasukuni shrine should be treated as the piece of garbage that it is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"nanda - Is your cunning/fiendish plan anything like telecaster's?"

No, but I got the inspiration from reading 2300 pages of The Warring States.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

After digging up some background information, I would like to post the raw data and my conclusions from it here for others to argue about: 1) The Yasukuni shrine is dedicated to those "who died fighting on behalf of the Emperor of Japan." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasukuni_Shrine). 2) The people who earned their place in the shrine as a result of a conviction in one of the tribunals died as a direct result or during the time served because they were found guilty of any of the charges. 3) People who survived the war and died from other causes as free persons, the 1 in 5 who were found not guilty, even those convicted but released and died later, are not eligible for being added to the list. Therefore it is clear that those added to the list under 2. are not on the list for actions unrelated to what they were charged for. 4) The charges mentioned are well described by the indictment of the tribunal of Tokyo: "contemplated and carried out ... murdering, maiming and ill-treating prisoners of war (and) civilian internees ... forcing them to labor under inhumane conditions ... plundering public and private property, wantonly destroying cities, towns and villages beyond any justification of military necessity; (perpetrating) mass murder, rape, pillage, brigandage, torture and other barbaric cruelties upon the helpless civilian population of the over-run countries." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Trials). Note that these all deal with what happened in occupied territories and with people who had the misfortune of falling into the hands of the military or government. Therefore the inevitable conclusion from the presence of these people on that list has to be that to those that support the names being on the list, Japanese or otherwise, and who are aware of the above, "fighting for the Emperor" includes "murdering, maiming and ill-treating prisoners of war (and) civilian internees ... forcing them to labor under inhumane conditions ... plundering public and private property, wantonly destroying cities, towns and villages beyond any justification of military necessity; (perpetrating) mass murder, rape, pillage, brigandage, torture and other barbaric cruelties upon the helpless civilian population of the over-run countries."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

2) The people who earned their place in the shrine as a result of a conviction in one of the tribunals died as a direct result or during the time served because they were found guilty of any of the charges.

Which is basically saying their crimes were all part of serving the emperor. The above is a really clever attempt to justify the war criminals being honored at Yasukuni, and took the rightists of Yasukuni decades to come up with. The war criminals who were hung after the war were not honored until the 70's. In other words, its contrived bullcrap, and it upsets Japan's neighbors because they can see right through it, as can I.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites