politics

Dozens of lawmakers expected to visit Yasukuni Shrine on Friday

45 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

45 Comments
Login to comment

Beijing, Seoul Expected to Protest Vociferously on Saturday

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I wonder if Abe will go to Yasukuni Shrine if he didn't have to go to the Asia-Europe summit.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why be swayed by a few bad apples. Go and honour all of the others that fought for their country. All other nations do it too.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Why be swayed by a few bad apples. Go and honour all of the others that fought for their country. All other nations do it too.

Were those 15 war criminals from WWII not enshrined, Yasukuni Shrine would be a more place to remember the dead.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Thank god, I haven't seen any China/Japan/Korea petty squabbling articles recently.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Idiots! What on earth do these idiots think will happen. The dead are dead it's the living who care.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

I understand that Korea and China view attendance at Yasukuni as a re-visitation of the ideas that created a militaristic Japan, but really, does anybody in either of those countries really think souls of the war dead are bound to Yasukuni?

If not, why not take the view that such visits are delusional, rather than go through all this every time? Most of the LDP folks, if they are religious, do not believe that the spirits of the war criminals can actually be separated from the rest of the war dead in any case, but they do believe they have a responsibility to visit the other war dead. Therefore, there is no real resolution to this unless the Shinto groups who mention an available ritual for separation of the spirits get more power in politics.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

14 WWII criminals covertly enshrined. With regard to Yasukuni Shrine visits, appropriate consideration is necessary of international relations and the feelings of the citizens of neighboring nations.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

For those of you who have never been to Yasukuni, it is not a "cemetery" in the sense of like Arlington National Cemetery or a Commonwealth War Graves site.

It is more like a Japanese war museum with aircraft, machine guns, dioramas, etc. that glorify the Japan military battles and wars.

Are "war criminals" labels given by the victors only? Of course. Are there "war criminals" buried in the cemeteries of other countries? Of course.

Why has the Japanese emperor never visited Yaskuni? For the same reason his father, Emperor Hirohito, stopped visiting Yasukuni.

Emperor Hirohito was "displeased about the inclusion of Class A war criminals," feeling that it harmed relationships with Asian nations. He was right in 1978, and his son is right to not go either. It does harm relations with Asia nations. It puts a wall up and Japan has no neighbors, only other countries in close proximity.

It's too bad politicians don't have the wisdom the emperors have shown.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

I'm curious, does anyone know who funds the Yasukuni Shrine? I can't be the government since official government support for Shinto was banned post-WW2 (unless that was rescinded?).

darnnameOct. 14, 2014 - 05:50PM JST For those of you who have never been to Yasukuni, it is not a "cemetery" in the sense of like Arlington National Cemetery or a Commonwealth War Graves site.

It is more like a Japanese war museum with aircraft, machine guns, dioramas, etc. that glorify the Japan military battles and wars.

Irony: You presuming to "correct" everyone when you've clearly never been to Yasukuni shrine yourself. You're talking about Yuushuukan, which is the museum portion of the Shrine to the north of the temple, and is one tiny portion of the grounds. Pretending that Yuushuukan is the entire of Yasukuni is frankly ridiculous.

As for the controversy around Yasukuni shrine, I don't see an issue.

Memorials, Shrines, etc. are for the families of the dead, not for the dead themselves. Even the worst of them had mothers, fathers, wives and children who were guiltless and removing their ashes wouldn't hurt the dead (they're beyond caring), but would hurt the living relatives a great deal.

I don't like the revisionist version of history presented in the Yuushuukan, but (as far as I know) it isn't a government institution and therefore free speech allows them to say whatever they like.

As for politicians visiting the place. Well, Japan is a democracy. If they people don't like it then they'll vote them out of power. As far as I can see the Japanese people have no really strong objection, and it is quite possible that a number of the politicians have ancestors honored in Yasukuni shrine and legitimate grounds to visit.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

They need the intervention of the current emperor to stop this visit.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Good for them! I have not visited the shrine myself and there is no need for me since I don't have any ancestors and roots in Japan. But I would still want to go. It's a beautiful and serene place after all. Those politician have ALL their rights to visit somewhere the can pay a prayer, in their OWN country.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

'Why be swayed by a few bad apples.'

Many of the turnips from the LDP who turn up at Yasukuni don't believe there are any 'bad apples' in there.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Why be swayed by a few bad apples. Go and honour all of the others that fought for their country. All other nations do it too.

Well then why Japan doesn't stop the hypocrisy and removes the war criminals enshrined in Yasukuni? That would be already a big step towards honesty from Japan in accepting its crimes during the WWII.

And be careful about the "other nations do it too" argument. They (modern democracies) just don't "honor" anything particularly in countries which have been responsible for the WWII tragedy. Germany is surely not honoring the Third Reich's army and Japan as an ally of nazism during WWII should learn from the present Germany and should surely stop any honoring of its past imperial army.

I simply don't see the point to honor war making people.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

It's also a place to honour the innocent victims too, many enshrined there who were guilty of nothing other than being born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Guilty of nothing but still killed.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Good for them...they are silly old men with silly old ideas. The only way JP folks want to engage is via PS4.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Fascism here we come!

Don't we ever learn?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Freaky Friday.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

i think this is the only wall between japan and its neighbors that will hardly be broken, can be harder than the berlin wall itself. i think the ball is always at Japan's corner..and i might be wrong if i say that beside neighboring countries, other countries (including the US) are also still quite uncomfortable about this issue.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Idiots! biggerted idiots trying to portray the deaths of thoses sent to their deaths buy their ancesterors

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yasukuni, the monument to ww2 denials

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Yasukuni was around before WWI, never mind WWII. Its rolls hold the names of those who died in the service of the Empire of Japan - be they Japanese, Korean, or Chinese. There are 2,466,532 names at the shrine, of which 1,068 are convicted war criminals - 14 of those considered Class A war criminals. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasukuni_Shrine

That aspect of the Shrine I have no problem with. Less than .05% of the people in the shrine's rolls were war criminals. For people to boycott the shrine because of that is beyond petty.

A separate concern, however, is the "museum" on the shrine's grounds. If it truly is playing down the actions of the people listed on the shrine's rolls, then the museum needs to be redesigned or deconstructed.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Apologists for Japanese nationalism always debate the justification of the war crime tribunals and subsequent convictions. It's such a cop out to say only the conquerors of war get to write its history, isn't it? The fact is these Japanese war criminals didn't just commit atrocities that have forever stained Japan's past. They were guilty of what ought to be the most unforgivable crime, thrusting Japan gratuitously into a war that could never be won.

They were driven by arrogance, jingoism and a misguided sense of supremacy. But worst of all, they were appallingly bad warfare tacticians. Their strategic incompetence led Japan to a brutal downfall that claimed over 1 million Japanese civilian lives on top of 2 million military deaths. It was such a disgrace that these war criminals were ever allowed to be enshrined alongside those innocent people whose lives they cost.

Having said that, Yasukuni is clearly a place dedicated to the worship of Imperial Japan. To say otherwise is deluded. Any censure of a politician praying there is completely valid and their true motivations must be questioned.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

In recent years, dozens of lawmakers have participated in the shrine’s spring and autumn festivals as well as the August 15 anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.

IMO it is appropriate for Japanese lawmakers, as well as citizens, to want to pay respect to the folks who paid the ultimate price for their country -- leaving the morality of the Japanese efforts aside. But what I have a real problem with, and is probably what SK and China have a problem with, is the frequency of these visits -- THREE TIMES A YEAR, come on! Clearly the politicians go that often for the visibility it gives them with their right-wing supporters. But if you are going to play that domestic nationalism card that often, you have to expect international backlash.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I think an average Japanese prays at shrines or temples about three times a year. A year end, A new year, and Festival events, etc. Many go much more.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Those politician have ALL their rights to visit somewhere the can pay a prayer, in their OWN country.

Of course they do - in a strictly private capacity as Yasukuni is not, repeat NOT, a national war memorial site like Arlington National Cemetery or the Cenotaph in London. I'm pretty sure that if they didn't have right-wing nationalist constituents that they depended on for votes and cash to impress in front of TV and newspaper reporters, none of them would even bother. If they had any sincere regard for the souls of the war dead they could go there and no one would have to know anything about it.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

tina is right. Japanese lawmakers are more religeous than any Japanese in Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japanese lawmakers are more religeous than any Japanese in Japan.

?? I said they are about the same. This is a long Japanese tradition of more than 2,000 years old.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

New Year's Day at nearby shrine, Obon-no-hi (8.15) at nearvy temple. OhMisoKoa (12/31) too cold so they use family home with their butsudan and kamidana. Except Komeito people. other iet members have additional one more day to visit Yasukni.

Tradition: Shrine service is used for marriage. Temple service is used for funeral.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think an average Japanese prays at shrines or temples about three times a year. A year end, A new year, and Festival events, etc. Many go much more.

tina -- pure wishful thinking on your part. Provide just one statistic to back-up your claim. As I said in my post, and as Simon states as well, these politicians are going three times a year to Yasukuni for the political gain, and not a bit for religious reasons. And that is what upsets SK and China -- because they see through the hypocracy.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I guess its going to be the war of the words again

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It makes no difference. It is just an excuse for Korea and China to bash Japan and promote nationalism; if the Yasukuni Shrine did not exist they would find any number of other reasons. In almost every country in the world politicians and public figures make similar gestures, and anybody who imagines there were not war criminals from every country who ever fought a war is living in never-never land. China honors Mao Zedong who was responsible for the deaths of millions of Chinese, and Korea builds statues honoring a murderer.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Should just move the Diet there to prevent this from being a headline.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Someone always defends Yasukuni visits saying there are only a handful of war criminals enshrined there, out of millions in total. They always forget to mention that more than a thousand war criminals are in fact enshrined there, of which 14 are class A war criminals.

For those new to this debate, this article sums up the reasons for the controversy:

http://www.pri.org/stories/2013-12-26/why-yasukuni-shrine-so-controversial

1 ( +5 / -4 )

During WWII, the Yasukuni shrine served as the command headquarters of State Shinto. Yasukuni only added the 14 class A, the most controversial souls in 1978. These Class A war criminals are portrayed as martyrs. Missing from the extensive exhibits are any mentions of the Rape of Nanjing, the awful experiments conducted by Unit 731 on prisoners of war, or the suffering endured by tens of thousands of comfort women.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"This is a long Japanese tradition of more than 2,000 years old."

So theses politicians are truly Shinto believers? They actually believe, for example, that the Japanese islands were created by semen that dripped from the spear of the gods Izanagi and Izanami, as opposed to being formed as the result of prehistoric geological developments?

"They always forget to mention that more than a thousand war criminals are in fact enshrined"

Indeed, the B-class ones are the worst, in my book. These were the guys, like torturers and sadistic prison guards, who actually carried out the horrors, usually on their own volition. And naturally, the Japanese narrative completely overlooks this huge group to instead focus on the tiny number of political leaders.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Used to include names of none human that worked for military causes but these are no longer mentioned. Horses, Cows, Dogs, Doves, etc. So far, no one is mentioned as martyrs in any reference books.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A RealistOct. 15, 2014 - 03:34AM JST It makes no difference. It is just an excuse for Korea and China to bash Japan and promote nationalism;

For some, Yasukuni Shrine issue might be more of a exaggerated politics from China and Korea, but the reality is, it continues to open the wounds from WWII. Both countries needs to find a way to heal. For Japan, China is a major trade partner that accounts for over 20 percent of Japan's total bilateral trade and you cannot ignore that. Continue bad relations is affecting all sprectrum of the bilateral trade and many will look for alternative suppliers. There has to be better diplomatic solutions to the problem and. both countries need to show some flexibility to improve relations.

Japan still continues war time denials by some of their leaders. Lawmaker like Nariaki Nakayama, who believes the Nanjing Massacre, in which Japanese Imperial soldiers rampaged across the Chinese capital in an orgy of bloodshed, never happened. In 2007, former education minister Nariaki Nakayama declared he was proud that the LFP had succeeded in getting references to "wartime sex slaves" struck from most authorized history texts for junior high schools. Hidehisa Otsuji, a former Minister for Health, Labour and Welfare said "I have difficulties understanding the opposition from other nations." and they represent Japan's goverment and their beliefs. These politicians who insist that they are only paying tribute to those who died for their country when they visit Yasukuni are not telling the truth. The only thing that Japan’s modern reactionaries regret about the war is defeat, and they are still fighting an uphill battle against Japanese public opinion to justify wartime Japan’s “noble mission.” No amount of sanitizing will change that. The only way to end the controversy is to impose a moratorium on visits to Yasukuni by any serving Cabinet minister. If Abe is truly looking for a new beginning for Japan’s relations with its neighbors, that’s where he should start.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The emperors boycott the shrine but the PM and associates can't bring themselves to do it?

Frungy: I'm curious, does anyone know who funds the Yasukuni Shrine? I can't be the government since official government support for Shinto was banned post-WW2 (unless that was rescinded?).

It is a private corporation since the forced separation of Shinto and state. Googled a bit but couldn't find funding, except for admission fees to the Yushukan museum, and indications that some society members are free, and coupon rates available for corporations. Would guess that they get donations from various persons and organizations, too.

Large people 800 yen, large students (college and vocational school adults) 500 yen, Jr/Sr HS students 300 yen, Small students free.

http://tinyurl.com/mjh2omg : Google translation of Yushukan museum admission info page.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You can't make sense of Chinese and Korean people's feelings toward Yasukuni, without including the horrendous list of atrocities committed by the old Japanese Imperial Army before and during WWII. Hundreds of thousands massacred, beheadings, torture, medical experiments. It's on the internet. A quick search will bring up the information.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

tina is right. Japanese lawmakers are more religeous than any Japanese in Japan.

Especially when there are TV cameras around.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

these politicians are going three times a year to Yasukun

jerseyboy, You go ask shrine visiters there how many times they visit, I'm sure many of them will answer that more than 3 times a year in addition to nearby shrines or temples they live or work. This is deeply ingrained Japanese tradition, in fact THE most important Japanese tradition. Without shrines, Japanese is not Japanese.

So theses politicians are truly Shinto believers?

Jefflee, Shintoism is more than a religion, it's a nature, Japanese way of life. They go there for The New Year Day, Bon and other festivals, New born baby, 7-5-3 kids, Wedding, and other events and prayers.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

God, these articles are always such comment-bait. (Not that I'm helping.)

For an ostensibly non-religious nation, people sure do get a bee in their bonnet about "enshrining" dead people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

turbotsatOct. 15, 2014 - 07:58AM JST

Frungy: I'm curious, does anyone know who funds the Yasukuni Shrine? I can't be the government since official government support for Shinto was banned post-WW2 (unless that was rescinded?).

It is a private corporation since the forced separation of Shinto and state. Googled a bit but couldn't find funding, except for admission fees to the Yushukan museum, and indications that some society members are free, and coupon rates available for corporations. Would guess that they get donations from various persons and organizations, too.

Thank you for the information turbotsat. As a private entity on private property what does on in Yuushuukan is ... well, private.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Think about the Japanese who aren't memorialized at Yasukuni: the assassinated politicians and other outspoken people who challenged the wisdom of unbridled militarism, those who disappeared at the hands of the Kempeitai, those who died in the citizen group suicides in Okinawa - none of these people are memorialized at Yasukuni.

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