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Mitama Festival

56 Comments

Women look at a camera in front of paper lanterns during the Mitama Festival at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Tuesday night. Over 30,000 lanterns light up the precincts of the shrine, where more than 2.4 million war dead are enshrined, during the four-day festival.

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Ghost Laughing - can hear the sound.

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This photo describes Japan today perfectly. Winning the peace and hiding their history from subsequent generations gives you this. What is more ironic is they prospered with electronics and the kimono with (young) laughter at a war enshrinement is a nice touch. When I went to USS Arizona at Pearl and Arlington in DC it was quite the opposite with feelings, very quiet with some crying. On the other hand, you have groups in Japan still trying to receive compensation from the air raids and bomb.

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my2sense: Its very frustrating indeed. We were forced to fight a war we did not want to be fight. I think americans feel very guilty for all the lives we were FORCED to take. When I talk to Japanese about the war they are angry at the USA. Japanese people of today to not take into account they started the war. They have no idea that they were a different people back then. They were a brutal people. They had a military the entire world feared. Japanese people today don't realize that. They look around at all these frail old ladies, these Yankee guys with legs smaller than my arms. They could never be a brutal enemy. sadly they were a force that often made the Nazi pale in comparison. Now they just laugh and stay angry at the USA.

Moderator: Back on topic please. Posts that do not refer to the Mitama Festival will be removed.

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Laughing at a memorial for the dead IS NOT COOL. Children even know better. There is no laughing at Arlington, USS Arizona, Punch Bowl, or others. Just goes to illustrate the lack of maturity/sensibility the young have in Japan.

Terrible pic JT, get something that doesn't reflect so negatively on the Japanese.

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Totally agree with my2sense This picture shows the tragedy of Japan. Trying to glamourise the past and hide the truth from the younger generations. Never facing up to the truth about their terrible past. GThey look on themselves as "victims" and not the aggressors. Yasukuni should be closed and redeveloped. A Shrine of Hate.

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I guess this photo will cause many problem only with people who have too much time and too much thinking. Politician worry about Yasukuni problem, young ladies have fun in Tokyo.

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I know what is coming next 'oh you are like all the Japanese with head in sand'. rubbish. Yasukuni is in centre of Tokyo, people pass everyday. If visit Arlington you know where you are going. These ladies maybe just see pretty lantern. 'Oh but they should know, they are like all Japanese with head in sand'. Rubbish

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Jeez, I can't believe it's already that time of year again. Nothing beats strolling down that lantern-lined path while carrying a cold Super Dry and trying to keep my kid balanced on my shoulders.

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Whats ever sadder is that some of the younger generation don't even know what Yasukuni is?

Proudnippon..you are probably right in that these two lasses saw pretty lanterns and rushed over and snapped a photo albiet most likely squealing "kaaaawaaaaiiiii" in helium toned voices....(without giving a second thought to where they were or what the place stands for)!!!!

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I think they can do as please. Can even stroll down that path with a cold super dry if you please. Don't listen to crazy right winger or crazy basher

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Yasukuni is next to big University and in the middle of Tokyo. What is your recommend? 'please no smile' signs? for how many metre around? 200? 1km?

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How many American children know where Pearl harbor is or find on a map?

Considering it is part of the history lessons taught at schools I'd say a fair few. They would even know what happened there and why it happened and the end result which lead to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It isn't blotted out of the history books or changed to appease the masses. It is there for all to see and read. As for the photo....I quiet like it. Very candid. Pictures tell a thousand words and this one certainly does that.

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Pictures tell a thousand words and this one certainly does that

I learnt a lot about you, not these 2 ladies

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'candid' is free from bias, no hidden meaning. So you are correct. This photo is candid. Two ladies enjoying summer evening. Very candid.

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proudnippon, why is you so obsessed with this one post? This Shrine is reviled by decent people especailly the museum. I am old enough to remember what Japan done and to see 2 kids laughing taking snaps at a place where war criminals is enshrined makes my really angry.

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why not bash combinibento? he wants to walk there with a super dry. I think it's no problem. why problem with smile? they are not even inside there.

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I am old enough to remember what Japan done

these 2 ladies are not, so sorry. that is youth. Don't be jealousy. You are angry about it but not these girls fault or problem.

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proudnippon, i aint jealous of 2 ignorant kids dressed up in dressing gowns taking snaps at a place that honours those who committed mass murders, rapes and tortures.

It is your beloved Japans media, government and schools fault for not teaching them about this shrine and what it means. Life aint 1 big lark, that shrine symbolises over 30 million deaths.

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I think it is harsh to blame on these 2 girls. Mitama Festival is to pay respect to those who died in the war and wish for peace, might not be quite relevant to the american Veteran's Day and smiles are not forbidden.

And this picture was taken at the summer festival -- well, yes yes, this festival was at Yasukuni and that's why people don't like the fact these girls are smiling, BUT I am sure many posters here probably know there are lots of people taking pictures and smiling at Pearl Harbor as well.. probably younger generations, and that is not because they don;t know the history.

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might not be quite relevant to the american Veteran's Day and smiles are not forbidden.

oops, i was going to say --- might not be quite relevant to the american Veteran's Day but i'd like to compare this to the Veteran's Day as Mitama Festival is to pay respect to those who died of the war and wish for peace, so in that regard, i think these can be compared. And I do not think smiles are forbidden at Veteran's day events unless it's a formal Veterans Day ceremony.

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that shrine symbolises over 30 million deaths

quite wrong

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Why are some of you getting upset over this photo? I have been to this festival. Lots of people were having a good time, and there were food and drink stalls set up.

There is nothing deep or offensive about having a good time in the grounds of the shrine. A better comparison is not Pearl Harbor or Arlington, but enjoying hanami cherry blossom viewing parties at a cemetery.

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I agree with verysmartacus. thank you

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I feel it is fine if you pass by with a super in hand and smile on any given day, but some respect should be shown during this 4 day festival...but a smild never hurt anyone...not all ppl reacts the same to these situations, it does not mean they have no heart, or that they are happy these ppl died. BUT I can see both sides to this, I for one would be sad but then that is just the way that "I" am...

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Sixty-five years on, and pretty young girls in national costume enjoy themselves taking pictures of lanterns, apparently with not a care in the world. Other countries still have service men dying daily in far-flung, god-forsaken corners of the earth to 'protect' their country.

I think it's safe to say that Japan lost the war, but won the peace resoundingly.

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lol@ proudnippon. "verysmartacuss"

i think you guys are taking things a bit to seriously. Do you guys even know what these girls are laughing at? they could be laughing at anything.

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Quiet likely the 2 gals were on their way back from the Budokan and simply strolled in after seeing a Matsuri being held.

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I think it's safe to say that Japan lost the war, but won the peace resoundingly.

This is the most sense comment I read on here.

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Jbeezy..true we do not know why they are laughing, maybe something happened we cant see...or someone made a comment from behind and of course we wouldn't know this by just looking at a pic...so we shouldn't be to hard or fast to judge..

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No smiles during cherry blossom season at Yasukuni next year!

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its a very good picture describing what is happening to the Japanese , from imperial japanese culture to kawaiiiiiiii culture japanese....

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These two lasses are a product of education. They learned that something called a war "happened" and that it somehow "ended" and now Japan is a peace safety country. They likely have some vague idea that this place is somehow related to those previous "things", but I doubt they'd be able describe it in any amount of detail.

FWIW I have seen Japanese taking photos of themselves flashing the familiar peace sign in front of the Hiroshima Dome, like they were standing next to Mickey Mouse.

I really think they only know that it's a famous place to wear a kimono to during a certain time of year and take your picture there.

AND, AND, AND,

I seriously doubt this is a candid photo. I'm sure they photographer had some kind of influence on these ladies appearance and demeanor.

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AlfGarnett at 10:11 AM JST - 14th July

proudnippon, i aint jealous of 2 ignorant kids dressed up in dressing gowns taking snaps at a place that honours those who committed mass murders, rapes and tortures.

It is your beloved Japans media, government and schools fault for not teaching them about this shrine and what it means. Life aint 1 big lark, that shrine symbolises over 30 million deaths.

Right. I've been there many times and I could care less about the meaning of those hideous lamps..Same as when I go to hiroshima..peace sign, smile and snap!! The dead-in-the-war dudes can roast in hell for all I care.

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Searched "Mitama Matsuri" on Yahoo/google image and found good amount of pictures of smiley/laughing non-japanese in front of those lanterns.. looked like they were having quite a good time there.

My point is.. This picture was taken at a summer festival - sure, the festival site was Yasukuni shrine, but there are plenty of non-japanese who are smiling and laughing there.

I'm not saying Japanese history education is excellent, but to blame these 2 smiley girls is harsh.

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Sometimes ppl dont even deserve a response...

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I think it's safe to say that Japan lost the war, but won the peace resoundingly.

Poetry amongst all the usual stirring that gets posted. Thanks Cleo. This picture of the Mitama festival is what it is, just a moment of two girls having fun, with not a care in the world. I wish more would enjoy life like them.

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coolcali--there is no laughing at Arlington

well, when ur a part of so many wars, one after another, they get boring affter a while.

alfgarnett, there is a very small amount of convicted war criminals in yasukuni. it also contains those who died in the war.

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beautiful picture by the way

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It looks like two girls enjoying themselves at summer festival. The magnitude of history and the sad legacy of war may be lost on them, but I am quite sure this could be said about many young people all over the world. Some of you are projecting and displacing your bias far too much, over a simple picture. I smile in fondness when I see yukata and think of summer festival season!

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As a person who has worn the uniform and happens to live very close to Yasukuni, I feel duty bound to pay my respects to those who died following orders (the VAST majority). Went over there last night to watch the omikoshi come in. The place is absolutely crammed with young people who have no clue what Mitama matsuri is actually about, but enjoy the opportunity to look cool or cute in their summer yukata. Why is is that those who have served in the military of a former enemy are better able to show proper respect to those who have fallen in the line of duty than the young people of Japan? Oh, yeah, they have been taught nothing about war, other than "Japan rejects war."

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Let's not forget....

that on other days crowds of JN's in black trucks, buses, and cars with loudspeakers, microphones, and posters and such, hang out at the "Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo"...and the keystones are nearby monitoring them?...

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What's the actual number of enshrined at yasukuni?

I've read on various Japanese and international publications that the number is as low as 1.9 to a high of 3 million.

Lastly, since this is a shrine honoring Japan's military war dead, what about the civilians assisting in the war effort who perished during America's firebombing campaign, or captured and dieing in captivity in Manchuria? Are these numbers counted as well?

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"what about the civilians assisting in the war effort?"

Hey, you can only fit so many dead into one shrine.

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Yasukuni should be sorted out. Get rid of the remains/ashes/names of the convicted war criminals - The Class A's - and trash them somewhere. I'd suggest a rubbish dump. Then everyone will be happy and cute girls like these can pay their respects with no complaints from the many offended nations!

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Coolie said: "There is no laughing at Arlington."

While true, it is also true that there are no festivals held there... ever. The one annual event held there is so somber you could cut the atmosphere with a butter knife.

If the shrine is sponsoring a Summer festival, then there are going to be people having fun there. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a FESTIVAL, ne? If the operators of the shrine are OK with it, then who the heck are we to gainsay them?

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It is a happy photo of two natives of this country.

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No harm in two women,who are able to live a peaceful existence due to the sacrifices of the past,enjoying life.

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Looks like glamorization of that shrine.

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A guy made a pass on one the girls at the festival, and the other recorded it with the camera phone, and now they are playing back what that guy said.

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If this is such an "insignificant" shrine that is only visited due to it's convenience (central of Tokyo, etc) why is there such an international uproar when politicians visit the place?

I don't think I remember Koizumi saying his visit was no big deal since it was on the way home from work.

This is either a shrine to the war dead, some of them criminals, or not. Just because it has cool lanterns and people set up food stalls doesn't take away for it's purpose. It wasn't built to provide a happy summer destination for hip tokyo-its. It is there to enshrine those killed in war, criminals and innocents alike.

I think this is an overall example of the common Japanese perception of it's history. All fairy tale, romanticized happy endings, while completely ignoring the evils that don't easily lend themselves to Japanese often celebrated victimhood.

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Nice photo.

I'd rather have them smiling and holding a camera, then having a grin and holding an AK47.

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good think young people don't know much about Japanese War History. It's ignorant but it creates peace. Unlike Chinese and Koreans who keep on talking about the atrocity which happened over 65 years ago, the Japanese have better things to worry about...like which color yukata to wear and where they should go after the festval....to karaoke or 2jikai.

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2 very cute girls at a temple in a very nice kimono. Great picture.

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Matsuri is always about life and the kami, and enjoying life while we have it. Cleo nailed it.

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kyokosmile, I'm glad you agree with me. people can do what the hell they like in yasukuni. well done, it's a big step. bravo!

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Just because it has cool lanterns and people set up food stalls doesn't take away for it's purpose.

purposes change. get with the program. read a little. do you think Yasukuni was built in 1945? so you don't want change? I see

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