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Yasukuni Shrine chief priest to quit for criticizing emperor

42 Comments
By Kazuhiro Nogi

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Abe could give this old crackpot a job in his cabinet.

24 ( +27 / -3 )

That's one thing that always cracks me up about these clowns -- they drive around in their black tinted window trucks, speakers roaring hatred and playing music they themselves don't listen to and emblazoned with Imperial edict of old times, but then they diss their living god when he speaks the truth. Haha. And the article doesn7t even mention how ballistic they went when the Emperor reminded people that the Imperial bloodline has Korean blood in it.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Maybe the new chief will remove the names of the war crimimals at the shrine.

24 ( +27 / -3 )

Though he has no political power, the emperor has annoyed Japanese rightwingers by acknowledging that his country inflicted "great suffering" in China, and expressing regret over Japan's brutal rule of the Korean peninsula.

And the priest against the emperor essentially confirms the right wing own Yasukuni and must be expunged from Japan in order to have a future

21 ( +23 / -2 )

Also it's just a list. Like a grocery list, but with more history. Just redo the list and remove the A class war criminals and restore Yasukuni back to its pre-1970's, before the right wing took it over

If that happens then the new emperor can return. Not a day before

23 ( +25 / -2 )

Hardly a surprise to anyone who pays attention to these things. When the Emperor made his famous "Korean roots" speech back in 2001 he was roundly denounced by the fascists who claimed he had been "brainwashed" as a child by his American tutor.

Yasukuni will just promote another fruitbat. Nothing will change.

24 ( +27 / -3 )

My house abuts a shrine that was priestless for decades, and my FIL took care of it. Now it has a priest and has been refurbished. I tried to take an active role - and, considering my FIL's work there and my house's location, I should have been accepted - but I was politely rebuffed, no doubt as I'm a foreigner.

Shinto remains a nationalistic religion.

22 ( +27 / -5 )

The future empress "hates" Japan's native Shinto religion, the priest claimed.

Probably, the chief priest must distinguish state Shinto, which was strongly advocated by the war-time government, from what he called "native Shinto religion". The essence of Shinto is animism and/or pantheism, I think, the proto-form of which is clearly observed in Okinawa's traditional religion.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

That's funny, isn't the whole point of Shinto to Horner the emperor? Seems the top priest thinks he is the emperor. It is so funny watching these old men fight about nothing actually.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Maybe the new chief will remove the names of the war crimimals at the shrine.

My understanding is that would be highly unlikely, not least because my understanding of Shintoism is that a person's soul cannot be moved once interred in a shrine - you're not moving physical remains.

That's one of the issues with Yasukuni, that the actions of some priests has effectively bound the hands of future generations.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Not so sure about that, Shumatsu_Samurai. You might be right, but I suspect that it is just a question of the removal of a few names names from Yasukuni to a list elsewhere, and the priests over there would continue to invoke prayers to their souls. The only problem would be the loud objections of certain relatives.

You used the word 'interred' but this word literally means 'placed in the earth'; this would surely not apply to souls which float around somewhere.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

His the chief of a plethora of acolytes so not a big change, wave the flag! I actually like clothes made of hessian.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And the article doesn7t even mention how ballistic they went when the Emperor reminded people that the Imperial bloodline has Korean blood in it.

I do wonder why some people have such an issue with Japan. Something which can turn any news story such as this about the chief priest of Yasukuni into pro-Korean dialogue. But I guess some people have had a really bad experience in Japan. Either that or they live with a dominant spouse with very strong historical and political opinions.

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

Shumatsu_Samurai

Thank you for that informative information.

It is obviously not for me to say, but I really think that even the gesture of removing those names from the shrine, would do wonders for relations between Japan and her neighbours.

After all, doesn't Heisei mean to achieve peace.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The notion that a “person’s soul” can not be moved because it goes against the rules of Shintoism is absurd. These rules were made by man and can thusly be changed by man. An actual God did not manifest from the forest with eternal truths carved in stone.

If made by man it can be changed by man.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Probably, the chief priest must distinguish state Shinto, which was strongly advocated by the war-time government, from what he called "native Shinto religion". The essence of Shinto is animism and/or pantheism, I think, the proto-form of which is clearly observed in Okinawa's traditional religion.

First off, if it's so native as you and others like to state, and foreigners are exempted, pray tell why Koreans were interred in Yasukuni, against the will of their families! Oh right, because true believers still think Korea is a part of Japan!

Next, you are confusing something here, there is a distinct difference between the two. Animism is based upon the belief that everything has a distinct soul or spirit. Whereas pantheism is based upon the belief that everything shares the same spiritual essence. There is a distinct difference.

In Okinawa, their beliefs are based upon animism, hence many of the rituals and beliefs practiced here. However Okinawan's religious practices while based on animism they are STRONGLY influenced by Buddhism as well, due to the strong Chinese influence on it's cultural past.

Shintoism, is believed here as well, but not as radically as in mainland, hence having temples and shrines, they are both based upon different beliefs, one Buddhist the other Shinto.

It's easy for many people to confuse the differences, as you have here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Shumatsu-samurai: a person's soul cannot be moved once interred in a shrine

This is exactly correct. The issue isn't simply removing a name from a list, as some posters have suggested. In Shinto, an interred soul cannot be moved or erased from the shrine. The souls that are there, are there to stay. This is the basis of the scandal surrounding Yasukuni: it's created a black-and-white situation that requires people to choose a side.

the actions of some priests has effectively bound the hands of future generations.

Correctamundo.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Yasukuni at the centere of rows with Asian neighbors?

Apart from China and two Koreas, hardly any of Japan ‘s neighbors makes an issue of Yasukuni.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Any shrine that is praising war and honoring war criminals should be shut down. If you say that the shrine is forever tarnished by the souls of those honoured there which sounds correct. It is not something that you can have a change of management , change the mission statement and carry on. It's foundations are ruined. They should convert the shrine into a museum of redemption.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

The Emperor is wise, and symbolically balances out many negativities caused by the terrible extremists.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This warrants a heartfelt banzai for the Emperor.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

JimizoToday  04:07 pm JST

Abe could give this old crackpot a job in his cabinet.

Hahaha! That's seriously very funny!

Does that mean Suga is in hot seat?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

All I have to say, is hey, Shumatsu_Samurai - I LOVE your name!! Wish I had thought of that! Hmmm, Yasukuni, eh? Maybe taking those war criminals' names off would help, even if in Shinto they're there "permanently." Yeah, take them off.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Michelle Harrison

You seem to lack basic information on what Yasukuni is, its history, and actually who is enshrined there.

Also another countries heros are anothers war criminals. You cant judge this entire planet from ur western viewpoint and expect to understand.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The Japanese Emperor cannot visit the Yasukuni shrine as long as the name plates of those 13 A-class war criminals are present.

Remove those name plates and the Yasukuni shrine is kosher to visit once again, for both the Emperor and the Japanese Prime Minister.

But nooooo, Abe san will never do that, since doing that is to accept that those A-class war criminals are no criminals under Japanese law and they did nothing wrong....

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Apart from China and two Koreas, hardly any of Japan ‘s neighbors makes an issue of Yasukuni.

USA does. Do you remember strong "disappointed" comments from Kennedy and Obama administration?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Maybe taking those war criminals' names off would help, even if in Shinto they're there "permanently." Yeah, take them off.

There is no criminals after death in Shintoism and law.  The Japanese don't prosecute further after death.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

The Japanese Emperor cannot visit the Yasukuni shrine as long as the name plates of those 13 A-class war criminals are present.

Emperor never said that.  He in fact sends his messenger to Yasukuni every year.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Well, I think that priest just proves why the royal family is not quite fond of guys like him. They better prepare though, because I heard the crown prince is a tad bit more vocal than his dad.

You know, I guess it'd be kind of ironic but, I think the Japanese imperial family might actually be the key for peace in Asia.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dont do seppuku

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Meiyouwenti

Apart from China and two Koreas, hardly any of Japan ‘s neighbors makes an issue of Yasukuni.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/12/26/obama-japan-shinzo-abe-war-shrine-china-and-south-korea/4205441/

The United States has joined China and South Korea in criticizing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for visiting a war shrine in Tokyo.

"Japan is a valued ally and friend," said a statement from the American Embassy in Tokyo. "Nevertheless, the United States is disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It would have been best is Yasukuni  was made into parking lot after 1945!

IF the Emperor avoids the place like the plague that yasukuni is there ARE reasons for it

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There is no criminals after death in Shintoism and law.  The Japanese don't prosecute further after death.

class A war criminal were prosecuted before they died, its not their soul that is in question its their ideology, ideology can and does live on after criminals have died as long as the living allow it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I do wonder why some people have such an issue with Japan. Something which can turn any news story such as this about the chief priest of Yasukuni into pro-Korean dialogue. But I guess some people have had a really bad experience in Japan. Either that or they live with a dominant spouse with very strong historical and political opinions

This is a false duality. It's also incorrect to say it's pro-Korean. The comment was directly related to the right wingers' issues with the emperor

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why would the head of Yasukuni criticize the Emperor? Seems like he's really put his foot in his mouth over this one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Apart from China and two Koreas, hardly any of Japan ‘s neighbors makes an issue of Yasukuni.

Unfortunately Yasukuni, and particularly visits to it by politicians, is used as a stick to beat the Japanese all over the world, not just by Japan's neighbours. It speaks volumes for the Emperor that he refused to visit it.

My understanding of the enshrinement of the souls of the war dead at Yasukuni is, as many posters have pointed out, that it's no simple matter to remove the names of the Class A war criminals. The souls of the dead are believed to 'reside' at that location and can't simply be 'sent elsewhere'. Although that might be some self-serving ploy on the part of the rightist shrine authorities for all I know.

Not that the chief priest of the shrine would care about international tourists, but I've never visited Yasukuni in my trips to Tokyo. Thanks to all the controversy, including about the shrine museum, it just has an inescapable stench of militarist nationalism about it - and this particular article confirms that impression.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

BigYenToday 09:35 am JST

My understanding of the enshrinement of the souls of the war dead at Yasukuni is, as many posters have pointed out, that it's no simple matter to remove the names of the Class A war criminals. The souls of the dead are believed to 'reside' at that location and can't simply be 'sent elsewhere'. Although that might be some self-serving ploy on the part of the rightist shrine authorities for all I know.

It's so suspiciously convenient for them that I wonder if they made up this "belief" some time around 1978.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

gelendestrasseToday  09:22 am JST

Why would the head of Yasukuni criticize the Emperor?

The old men running this country are all self-entitled old blowhards who think they can go on saying whatever is going on in their shrivelled little brains because everyone else kow-tows to them all the time.

Seems like he's really put his foot in his mouth over this one.

Yes, they're good at that. Imagine a whole generation of geriatrics with about as much tact and sensitivity between them as the Duke of Edinburgh and you have the Japanese ruling class.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Simon Foston

Since the British were the most brutal recent empire known to man, perhaps you could also remove some of your war heroes from cemeteries and memorials as well? There are nations that don’t consider them to be heroes you know!

The British colonized, enslaved, and stole from basically the entire earth for generations Please stop “making up beliefs” like you think others do.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Thanks to all the controversy, including about the shrine museum, it just has an inescapable stench of militarist nationalism about it -

Yasukuni IS just that, a military Shrine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasukuni_Shrine

The Imperial Shrine of Yasukuni, informally known as the Yasukuni Shrine (靖国神社or靖國神社 Yasukuni Jinja), is a Shinto shrine located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. It was founded by Emperor Meiji in June 1869 and commemorates those who died in service of Japan from the Boshin War of 1868–1869 to the First Indochina War of 1946–1954.[1] The shrine's purpose has been expanded over the years to include those who died in the wars involving Japan spanning from the entire Meiji and Taishō periods, and the lesser part of the Shōwa period.[2]

> The shrine lists the names, origins, birthdates, and places of death of 2,466,532 men, women and children, including various pet animals. Among those are 1,068 convicted war criminals, 14 of whom are A-Class (leading to the Yasukuni controversies). Another memorial at the Honden building commemorates anyone who died on behalf of Japan, but includes Koreans and Taiwanese who served Japan at the time. 

Hence my frequent comments about the JSDF members who died on duty not being allowed to be "interred" at Yasukuni, as they died in service to Japan as well!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yasukuni IS just that, a military Shrine

Yes, a military shrine, as in a place to enshrine the souls of those who died in the service of their country. But I was trying to point out the difference between 'military' and 'militarist'. It seems to me that the primary purpose of Yasukuni - remembering and honouring the souls of those who died in war - has been subverted by the presence of the war criminals there. The nostalgic militarism of the right-wingers has turned Yasukuni into a focus for the denialists to rally around - and also gives an excuse for other countries to pretend, for their own purposes, that Japan hasn't really changed its spots (an assertion I disagree with).

And I agree with your last point. I can't see any reason why JSDF members would be treated any differently to those who died in WW2. But then I'm a foreigner, so I make no claims that mine is anything other than a outsider's opinion on a very sensitive subject.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

thepersoniamnowOct. 12 08:47 pm JST

...perhaps you could also remove some of your war heroes from cemeteries and memorials as well?

Yes, we could. It wouldn't go against any religious beliefs so no priests could stop it. Things don't always work in other countries the way they do in Japan, and vice versa. That's not too hard a concept to grasp, is it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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