politics

Japanese watch Abe's Yasukuni shrine visit with mixed feelings

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By Kyoko Hasegawa

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“I’ve visited the shrine before, and my late grandmother used to go every year,” he said, stressing there was no political element to the private visits.

But Abe's visit was anything but private. The media contingency were notified in advance, there were helicopters covering the 'event' live. It is naive to believe the act was anything less than 99% politically motivated.

24 ( +33 / -9 )

As Shimamura-san said, 'China and South Korea will accuse Japan for the past war even 100 million years later...They’ve blamed Japan for more than half a century” despite repeated official apologies over wartime aggression." Like the doctor, I am also sympathetic to Abe’s urge to visit there because I also spent almost an hour there, in October. And my ancestors are not revered there. For China, South Korea - and worse, the U.S. - to condemn his visit if beyond the pale. And while I sympathize with the good doctor's wife, who said Abe 'shouldn’t do things that are going to irritate other countries,' it's other countries that choose to be irritated, that choose to be judgmental, that choose to tell another country's leader the difference between right and wrong when they, themselves, have a problem with that concept. And that's all this not-so-pacific Canadian has to say on that subject (well, maybe not - depends on the next posters) :-) Happy New Year!

0 ( +19 / -19 )

Why not just stop reacting to the shrine and its visitors? Keeping the story in the press is what the Nationalists want.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I find it sad when the worst happens, it's gonna drag the whole nation that were unwilling in the first place. Totally no responsibility on the nationalist, they are expecting the other generations to do something about it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Unfortunately, as it now stands Yasukuni is not "merely a normal way to worship ancestors who died fighting for their country," but it should be -- and could be.

Shrine officials intentionally provoke Japan's neighbors. They did so by enshrining war criminals in 1978, and by operating the shrine's war museum that claims Japan's invasions of its neighbors were justified.

To show his sincerity with respect to seeking peaceful relations, Abe should call for removal of the war criminals and closure of the war museum so that the shrine could become a healthy place for people to honor Japan's fallen soldiers.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Regarding Japan's attitudes towards China, let's not forget the tens of billions in loan assistace (ODA) which Japan has provided to China over the last four decades, and which China has eagerly taken to finance its development. It seems odd that China conveniently forgot the past aggressions from Japan when such money was flowing its way. Why don't China return the ODA money?

2 ( +15 / -13 )

Incredible, so there exist Japanese individuals with free thought and differing opinions on this subject, with some that, gasp, disagree in some principle with what Abe did?

The things you learn on here...

Anyways I don't think there's anything wrong with any person wanting to honor their war dead. How many war criminals are entombed in the graves and memorials of the war dead of other nations around the world?

2 ( +10 / -8 )

"Office worker Hidekazu Iwata, 42, said the actions by Japan’s neighbors in recent years made it seem right for Abe to go."

I think this is what a lot of people will think, meaning that if things are left as they are, tensions will naturally escalate.

Japan had the moral high ground after China unilaterally began to enforce the air defense zone. But now they've spent it, and for what?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I say that Abe should visit Yasukuni every week, like clockwork, until the Koreans and Chinese learn to shut up and mind their own business. It may teach them to spend their energy on more productive activities. They need to grow up and stop whining about things that happened when 95% of their people weren't even born.

-10 ( +15 / -25 )

“Even if Japan gives consideration to the feelings of China and South Korea (by not visiting the shrine), they don’t reward Japan but keep attacking us,” he said.

And this thinking is exactly the problem. Japanese governments and Japanese people seem to think of atonement for past atrocities as something that they do because it's pragmatic and curries favour with powerful nations to do so, and that they should be rewarded for making apologies or giving compensation. This is exactly why Japan always seems insincere to China and South Korea - because it is insincere. As soon as the apology's been made and a financial consideration has been paid over, Japan goes back to denying the atrocities and beautifying its history, all the while massively disrespecting Chinese and Koreans domestically and internationally.

The verbal apology is only part of atoning for the past - the rest is in making the future different, and constantly avoiding what led one down the route of transgression in the first place. Japan hasn't done this.

6 ( +16 / -11 )

@sfjp330, war reparations?..

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Fugacis, japan HAS taken action. Since the war, what aggressive action has Japan taken? What military aggression? None. Now, compare that to the two nations currently whining and crying. Hypocrisy, thy name is China/Korea.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Maybe millions of Japanse citizens still believe in what Abe and 168 of these Japan lawmakers support for the past action by their military. In 1937 Japanese soldiers systematically raped, tortured and murdered estimated more than 300,000 civilians. This was more than killed in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined, and more than the combined civilian losses of Britain, France and Belgium in the whole of WWII.

Chinese men were used for bayonet practice and in decapitation contests and many thousands women were raped. Many Japanese soldiers went beyond rape to disembowel women, slice off their breasts, nail them alive to walls. Fathers were forced to rape their daughters, and sons their mothers, as other family members watched. Not only did live burials, castration, the carving of organs, and the roasting of people become routine, but more diabolical tortures were practiced. So sickening was the spectacle that even the Nazis in the city were horrified. No wonder these lawmakers still go to Yasukuni.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

I like the comment about China and South Korea being hypocrites and Japan insincere. Nice summary.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Japan has raised military spending to the point where it holds an army in all but name - one that, if deployed, would be a match for Korea and probably China. It has hosted the US military throughout its Cold War belligerence and conducted international diplomacy with the implied threat of US military assistance. Article 9 is all that stands between Japan and remilitarisation, and if you hadn't noticed, Abe is looking to revise the constitution.

The deficiencies of Japanese school textbooks have been repeatedly highlighted, as have the obligatory 'patriotic' indoctrination that the Japanese government forces on schoolchildren. Institutional racism is a persistent problem in Japan, and ultranationalist thugs blare propaganda and hate speech in cities and towns throughout the country with no complaint from the majority.

But more than anything, it's the political establishment in Japan that has changed very little since the war. At least one Prime Minister was a former war criminal, and many more have had strong links to war profiteers - doubly the case with cabinet members. Note how many members of the cabinet have visited Yasukuni Shrine. Note how many have made statements denying or downplaying historical atrocities. Note how many are so eager to change the constitution.

Simply put, Japan's postwar pacifism is a veneer that her neighbours see right through, but that you expect us to be convinced by. The political establishment has hardly changed at all, sentiments romanticising the war are widespread, and the constitution that prevents Japan from going to war is under attack. In short, it looks very much like Japan will be revisiting the early Showa era, and China and Korea are rightly angry - and worried.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

An angry China makes it easier to rewrite the constitution as Abe can point towards the "imminent threat" of Asian neighbours.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

FugacisDec. 27, 2013 - 08:31AM JST “Even if Japan gives consideration to the feelings of China and South Korea (by not visiting the shrine), they don’t reward Japan but keep attacking us,” he said. And this thinking is exactly the problem. Japanese governments and Japanese people seem to think of atonement for >past atrocities as something that they do because it's pragmatic and curries favour with powerful nations to do so, and >that they should be rewarded for making apologies or giving compensation. This is exactly why Japan always seems >insincere to China and South Korea - because it is insincere

No the problem is China and South Korea refusing to accept apologies, always calling them "insincere". In other words, it is those two countries that keep rejecting the apologies and preventing any kind of progress towards resolution from happening. Current disputes and differences can never be resolved if you keep blaming one party on the past, something that no one can change. To me an apology is insincere if after doing so they invade you again.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

“Even if Japan gives consideration to the feelings of China and South Korea (by not visiting the shrine), they don’t reward Japan but keep attacking us,” he said.

This.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Yasakune is a Shrine not just to War Criminals but to All who died serving the Empire,and a testament to the brutal folly of man in his quest for power. As for China , it's run by degenerate war mongers who happily enslave the people in crippling conditions for the Communist End. Abe has every right to pay his respects any time & anywhere -the last I heard Japan is a Democracy.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

It's an interesting question. Do you think, if Japan was to change the Constitution and end up in a war (not starting it), that they would behave in the same manner as in the past? I mean, that's what China and the Koreas' are implying, right?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

OssanAmerica Dec. 27, 2013 - 08:56AM JST No the problem is China and South Korea refusing to accept apologies, always calling them "insincere". In other words, it is those two countries that keep rejecting the apologies and preventing any kind of progress towards resolution from happening.

Whatever their complaints, Abe suggested that the 1993 cabinet secretary’s proposed apologies was unnecessary. His quote was: “There is no evidence to prove there was coercion, nothing to support it,” “So, in respect to this declaration, you have to keep in mind that things have changed greatly.” To Abe, Japan will not issue an aggressive apology, something he vows he would never do.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Well, war is war and whether you called your war 'just wars' for 'just causes' and so on they all are subjective. Had Japan won the war then those names enshrined in the shrine may not have become 'war criminals' but what they have done be still war crimes - win or lose. In spite of all those apologies, unlike Germany, Japan seems to linger on to its past and that will be bad for not just the neighbours but for the whole of humanity. But why do we still allow any 'mass murderers' to be worshiped as heroes? If Mao is allowed to be worshiped like he is now shouldn't Pol Pot be too? Which is worse, murdering your own people or people from other countries. Murder is murder, isn't it? Whether you use a nuclear bomb, AK47 or a machete?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

No the problem is China and South Korea refusing to accept apologies, always calling them "insincere". In other words, it is those two countries that keep rejecting the apologies and preventing any kind of progress towards resolution from happening.

The apologies are insincere, because they belie those apologies with their later actions. You can't apologise to someone and then deny that you did anything wrong and act proud of what you did and expect that apology to still stand. For Japan to make apologies and then have its Prime Ministers visit a shrine that glorifies Japan's aggression is an insult to all the countries Japan victimised.

Current disputes and differences can never be resolved if you keep blaming one party on the past, something that no one can change.

Blaming one party? There is no other party to blame but Japan. Korea didn't annex Japan in 1910. China didn't go to war in Japan in 1937. The whole state of affairs was initiated by Japan, and they bear the ultimate responsibility for it. Again, your equivocation is representative of the problem - that Japan and its apologists have a horrifically warped vision of what actually went on in the former half of the 20th century.

To me an apology is insincere if after doing so they invade you again.

God, what a doormat you must be if that's your threshold for an insincere apology.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

weigh respect for the dead against the need to get along with neighbors.

That's a misrepresentation of the issue. Paying respects to the war dead has been hijacked by a relatively small group of right wing nationalists (including the priests who run Yasukuni) who feel what Japan did in the war was justified. They present this to the public as "merely a normal way to worship ancestors who died fighting for their country" (as the article says). The media are complicit in this charade because they're reluctant to wade into deeper self-reflection.

Lack of real discussion on the Yasukuni issue, war guilt, and the emperor have held Japan back from developing a more mature and responsible sense of national identity. Reactions from Japan's neighbors are secondary in importance.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Abe was probably not specifically praying for the souls of Tojo and the other handful of war criminals, and for Japan to become a warmongering nation again.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Yasakune [sic] is a Shrine not just to War Criminals but to All who died serving the Empire,and a testament to the brutal folly of man in his quest for power.

Clearly you've never been there, and particularly not to the Yushukan. The entire mythology of Yasukuni Shrine is built around militarism and the glory of death for the nation.

As for China , it's run by degenerate war mongers who happily enslave the people in crippling conditions for the Communist End.

What China has done domestically has nothing to do with what Japan did. Japan's actions don't become somehow okay because of what China has done.

Abe has every right to pay his respects any time & anywhere -the last I heard Japan is a Democracy.

Apart from constitutional issues, of course Abe has the right to pay his respects at Yasukuni. Doesn't mean it's a good idea, or that he won't be criticised for it.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

To me an apology is insincere if after doing so they invade you again.

@Ossan - That may be so for you, but to me, an apology is insincere if you follow it up with numerous statements that are completely contradictory to the spirit of the apology. Like for example offering an apology to the many women who suffered under unspeakable horror, and then to have a Japanese PM state there is no evidence of coercion of women into sexual slavery.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

I will never get the failure of anyone to understand the respect for the dead, war dead or otherwise; and the respect for the honorable intentions of men who died truly believing they were doing the right thing. Is this not a universally noble idea? If we buried the Shrine and never spoke of it again, would the Koreans and Chinese applaud for more than a moment? Or would they insultingly say, "I told you so".

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Obama's email to Abe on Dec.23.

Dear Shinzo-chan

Thank you for following our suggestions to begin to inflame China as an excuse for us to park more of our battleships in East Asia. Like our partners the Heritage Foundation we believe that a vibrant series of military purchases will not only pad the pockets of defense industry shareholders but firmly illustrate to those inscrutable Chinese whose is their papa.

I would like to personally recommend that you now take the holiday opportunity to visit the Yasukuni Shrine to further ramp up hostilities. This will also deflect any domestic public attention or concern for the ongoing disaster at Fukushima that you obviously have no idea how to control.

Once again, thanks for being an obedient follower and taking orders from us in such a forth right manner.

merry christmas your old pal barry

5 ( +9 / -4 )

An apology is not something that creates future credit of good will or entitle a criminal to a 'reward'. It's only a means to express sorrow and admission of guilt, and the words only have meaning if they are backed up by action that proves their sincerity. And that is where Japan has failed miserably. Japan has not backed up her words with action.

If the Japanese want to convince their neighbors of their sincerity, let them do so in an undeniable and permanent way, so that the apologies cannot later be taken back or modified by people like Abe, Ishihara, Hashimoto and their cohorts. Let Japan build memorials and museums in prominent public places, that declare Japan's guilt and highlight the horrors she perpetrated upon her neighbors. Let Japan's history textbooks show photographs of the victims of the Nanjing massacre. Let TV documentaries be produced and books published in profusion so that the information they contain can never be hidden away again from future generations. And let any attempt to deny the truth be declared illegal.

This is not intended to humiliate Japan -- making a clean breast of it will do wonders for the Japanese as well. Look what doing these exact things has done for the Germans. They enjoy the goodwill and respect of their neighbors again. Surely the Japanese want this for themselves as well.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Common.

China is bullying Japan all the time.

A visit to Yasukuni is nothing.

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

karjaiDec. 27, 2013 - 08:54AM JST: Imperial soldiers are idiots and evil in the past, the most brutal human being that ever exist on this planet, how can Korean and Chinese ignored the past like hell created by these idiotic imperial soldier? If Chinese and Korean do the same idiotic and brutally act on japanese, how do you as a japanese feel? apologise enough?

The Chinese and Koreans brutally attacked the Japanese at Tsushima, Iki and Hakata, not once but twice. If the Chinese want to see the "most brutal human being that ever exist on this planet" they should look in the mirror. 1274 & 1282, never forget! Yasukuni shrine should be expanded to include the Japanese that died fighting the Chinese and Koreans on Japanese soil.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"“They’ve blamed Japan for more than half a century”

And Japan still blames the US for the atomic bombings, no? I mean, they did commit the bombings, and there are still victims who suffer and get rightfully angry when Americans justify the bombings as being 'a good thing', so why can't victims of Japan's atrocities who are still hurting be upset 'for more than half a century'?

"“I’ve visited the shrine before, and my late grandmother used to go every year,” he said, stressing there was no political element to the private visits."

Pardon me, but the man notified the media beforehand, had them present during his visit, and signed in under his official title -- private my butt!

5 ( +13 / -8 )

japan is just a very proud country, they are even proud of what their soldiers did during WWII, raping or killing or torturing the masses like animals, they are all justified in the eyes of the world as very good examples of what the Japanese soldiers should do,,even the only country that is on your side (US) has issued an advise alongside victims of WWII,,but not sure whether those advises are considered,,, maybe the US need to move away from Asia for a year or so, to see how proud this country is.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The doctor and his wife have it right.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

slowguy2Dec. 27, 2013 - 09:47AM JST An apology is not something that creates future credit of good will or entitle a criminal to a 'reward'. It's only a means to express sorrow and admission of guilt, and the words only have meaning if they are backed up by action that proves their sincerity. And that is where Japan has failed miserably. Japan has not backed up her words with action.

In 1965 the issue was settled for $500 million that was paid out to Korea. The Japan goverment asked Korea goverment to show the concrete number of conscripted workers and soldiers, dead and injured and how much unpaid wages were. They asked to "show the evidences and they would pay". Korea agreed and investigated them. What I want to clarify here is that Korea didn't claim the compensation for the war time prostitutes. Why didn't they? It's because there was no abducted prostitute. Nobody said at the time in Korea, those prostitutes were abducted. Everyone knew there were many women who were so poor that they sold themselves to live and the Japan army didn't have to abduct Korean women. There were many Korean volunteers for Japan army at the time. Therefore Koreans didn't claim it at that time. It's the Korea goverment's problem if they did not disclose the comfort women issue at the time. What did South Korean goverment do with the $500 million that Japan paid already?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

What did South Korean goverment do with the $500 million that Japan paid already?

i will say the S.Korean govn't should consider paying back those compensations to Japan, it does not worth it, money is not an issue here,,,,it just like "we already paid you so whatever the things we do, u just say yes, and keep your mouth shut" ..as a fast developing nation, i think the South should consider not only giving aid to other countries but paying back the $500million and i think that should settle enough what Japan is always base her arguments on...

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

plasticmonkeyDec. 27, 2013 - 09:11AM JST

Lack of real discussion on the Yasukuni issue, war guilt, and the emperor have held Japan back from developing a more mature and responsible sense of national identity. Reactions from Japan's neighbors are secondary in importance.

Why do not you just read Japanese papers if you want to criticize "lack of real discussion" in Japan? All the major newspaper issued editorials on the Yasukuni visit.

Yomiuri: Against

Asahi: Against

Mainichi: Against

Sankei: For

Nikkei: Against

Also, read what Abe told on the Yasukuni visit. http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/96_abe/statement/201312/1202986_7801.html

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Smithinjapan.. Abe called the media.(the media would know if abe is going to the shrine). But abe had prepared his reasons.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@kuuku,

Japan has officially admitted to the practice, and the 1993 statement offered an apology. True, the apology was not voted on by the parliament, but it is nonetheless an official apology.

The other side of this issue is how much it has become politicized in places like China and Korea, as well as in Japan. But Abe isn’t alone playing the politics of personal gain with this issue. China and Korea do the same thing, redirecting anger and dissatisfaction with the countries’ politicians and leadership to Japan. I suspect that China and Korea will never be satisfied with any apology, and they are happy to keep rejecting apologies and pressing for new apologies because they can turn this position into a popular one among the people in their countries. While recognizing Japan’s guilt in this matter, we also need to recognize the political posturing on the parts of China, Korea, and others who want to keep this issue fresh and unresolved for the purpose of personal political gain.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Every country has her values and dignity which they cannot concede too much by the influences of other countries. It must be respected. If Japan changes her beliefs often by the pressures of foreign nations, Japan will not be respected. This may give bad influences on economics but there is something more important than money.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

sfjp330Dec. 27, 2013 - 09:05AM JST Whatever their complaints, Abe suggested that the 1993 cabinet secretary’s proposed apologies was unnecessary. >His quote was: “There is no evidence to prove there was coercion, nothing to support it,”

Apart from a case in Indonesia, where coercion was proven and tried and convicted at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, Abe's statement may well be correct. "Early in May of 1942 Japanese agents arrived in Korea for the purpose of enlisting Korean girls for "comfort service" in newly conquered Japanese territories in Southeast Asia. The nature of this "service" was not specified but it was assumed to be work connected with visiting the wounded in hospitals, rolling bandages, and generally making the soldiers happy. The inducement used by these agents was plenty of money, an opportunity to pay off the family debts, easy work, and the prospect of a new life in a new land, Singapore. On the basis of these false representations many girls enlisted for overseas duty and were rewarded with an advance of a few hundred yen." http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

“So, in respect to this declaration, you have to keep in mind that things have changed greatly.” To Abe, Japan will not >issue an aggressive apology, something he vows he would never do.

Japan has already made many apologies. CNN counted 17 of them. There is no point in continuously offering apologies which get rejected.

Mitch CohenDec. 27, 2013 - 09:15AM JST "To me an apology is insincere if after doing so they invade you again." @Ossan - That may be so for you, but to me, an apology is insincere if you follow it up with numerous statements that >are completely contradictory to the spirit of the apology. Like for example offering an apology to the many women who >suffered under unspeakable horror, and then to have a Japanese PM state there is no evidence of coercion of women >into sexual slavery.

In a democratic system people including politicians are individuals and they are free to express their opinion, be it right, wrong, stupid or otherwise. But if one receives an apology from a represebnytative of a government, that is goof enough. There are better ways to live a life than staying on watch forever looking for some politician that says something stupid just so you can claim that somehow invalidates an apology.

and then to have a Japanese PM state there is no evidence of coercion of women >into sexual slavery.

The US Army found no evidence of coercion either. In fact they found that the Comfort Women were paid, rather than slaves. And this is in 1944 when we were looking for anything we could use against Japan. Please see: http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

I suspect that China and Korea will never be satisfied with any apology, and they are happy to keep rejecting apologies and pressing for new apologies because they can turn this position into a popular one among the people in their countries.

Until Japan really tried a real sincere apology for the first time, you can't complain about something that hasn't even happened yet.

No, I'm not talking about Japan getting down on their knees and begging for forgiveness. A simple apology followed up not by Yasukuni visits, no whitewashed history, and insensitive comments, in matter of days right after an apology, would do wonders to make Japan's apology look sincere. But alas, that has never happened.

Making lip service apologies doesn't give you the right to continue to act and speak like jerks. Being sorry means that you also need to change your attitude and your actions. Otherwise, the others will still think you're still a jerk. And you can't blame those people who see it that way, you should blame the jerk who refuses to change.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

While recognizing Japan’s guilt in this matter, we also need to recognize the political posturing on the parts of China, Korea, and others who want to keep this issue fresh and unresolved for the purpose of personal political gain.

that understandable, so i think money should not be repeated as the blame, but the actions of politicians, if money is appear again, don't think that neighboring countries are not growing, and if they are growing, what japan should say if they are ready to pay back those compensations, perhaps they will feel more isolated, i don't know.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yasukurni honors more than 2.5 million war dead who died fighting for their country against just 14 war criminals. I have been to this Shrine and I consider each and every Japanese has equal rights to visit, where they are normal layman or politicians.

War is bad as when there is war there will be crimes towards the vulnerable nation and its has been repeatedly proven by history. Englishmen used to tear apart Indian and when they left, they created a deep faction between country states, from which India is still trying to come out. Germany nearly made Jews extinct and now United States is playing the same dirty game around the world. War crime is the part and parcel of the War.

If China or South Korea would have been in the Japan's place, I bet they would have done the same.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@chucky3176

It becomes quite clear that China does not value long term friendship. It has switched or abandoned its friends when it is convenient or useful to do so. If you notice in any Chinese media, when Japan provided the $6 billion in ODA to China in the late 70's to build and moderize their infastructures, only the few communist goverment members knew at the time that Japan contributed greatly to rebuild at the time a primitive China, but these Chinese leaders took the credit. In the late 70's to even today, Chinese goverment have censored and never publicly told their citizens that Japan help rebuild their airports, cities and facilities. Only the negative propaganda news of Japan was told to their citizens.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

If everyone is in such a tizzy, why don't the Japanese just disinter (remove the 14 war criminals) from the shrine and put them someplace else. Problem solved. Those who died fighting for Japan who were not convicted can still be honored. Those 14 can be moved to someplace else.

But, if this were to happen then people would complain about any PM going to visit any of the war dead. Those who are there were probably just regular grunts doing what they were told to do. Yet places like China are celebrating the birht of Mao (which is in their right to do so) but he killed millions of his own people, and SK should be protesting that since it was Chinese troops who helped NK during the Korean war, but yet they are silent on that.

I saw get over it and leave it alone. I bet if you ask any Tanaka on the street, he probably couldn't tell you who the 14 Class A war criminals are. Most of them don't know the reasons of WWII so I doubt if they know the players involved.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If everyone is in such a tizzy, why don't the Japanese just disinter (remove the 14 war criminals) from the shrine and put them someplace else. Problem solved. Those who died fighting for Japan who were not convicted can still be honored. Those 14 can be moved to someplace else.

According to the rules of the shrine, once a name is added it can't be removed. There are in fact the names of 1,000 convicted war criminals, not just 14?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Get over it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Unless the CHinese and Koreans actually believe in Shinto, and sincerely believe that the war dead have become "kamii", then they are protesting over nothing. A myth. Classic tempest in a teapot.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

why don't the Japanese just disinter (remove the 14 war criminals) from the shrine and put them someplace else. Problem solved.

No, problem not solved. There are thousands of war criminals buried there. They would have to be removed as well. And not only that, they would have to dismantle the shrine's false historical whitewashing, claiming that Japan fought and died for Asians, glorifying Japan's WWII past. Such is an cynical insult to our intelligence.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Question; Why exactly does Japan have to even CARE what happened in WWII? Why do people that WEREN'T EVEN RESPONSIBLE have to care? Most if not all the soldiers are gone, the war criminals are dead and screw it if they are enshrined.

Nice excuse, "Oh, we're worried Japan might try to screw over Asia again". Guess what? It most likely won't. And BOO-FRIGGIN-HOO about intimidation on Japan's part. Like China hasn't done that enough. Don't do something like that IF YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE DOES SOMETHING LIKE THAT. Damn hypocrites. THIS is the problem with politicians. They'll find every single little friggin excuse they can find, and blow it up bigger than the damn media can if they want something. It's offensive? Are you friggin serious? And then there are the extremely stupid people who follow their political leaders without thinking for themselves. Most of the people getting negative votes on this page are completely right.

War is war. 68 years ago is different from now. It may have been a relatively short time but I don't think ANYONE besides the paranoid hypocritical China and Korea think that Japan will revert to its past self. And if Japan DOES go to war, I think we all know who started it. The politicians of course.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

overchan: "Smithinjapan.. Abe called the media.(the media would know if abe is going to the shrine). But abe had prepared his reasons."

So that makes it more private... how?

AlphaApe: "But, if this were to happen then people would complain about any PM going to visit any of the war dead."

There probably would be some who would still complain, given that there are more than a thousand other war criminals still enshrined there, but removing the 14 Class A war criminals would be a gesture of good faith, and I think many would reply in kind. Alas, and in part for spite and because many do not actually regard them as criminals, but heros, it will never be done.

It's win-win for the private owners of the shrine; they get heaps and heaps of donations by people intent on fomenting their neighbors, and in turn those who donate and visit get the right-wing vote. But nah, it has nothing at all to do with politics, and it's all about religion, right? Keep in mind, all those who visit and pray at this Shinto shrine will have Buddhist funerals.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I think the 14 war criminals thing is just a small part of the larger issue that the shrine is run by right-wing groups that are openly anti-China and Korea. Yes, Chinese and Korean politicians use this to distract their own people from their other problems, but Japan keeps giving them cause to do so.

If its really just the politicians wanting to show their respects, they could visit any of the other non-controversial shrines. The visits are purely political are meant to appease their right-wing constituents. The timing is convenient too since Abe wants to re-militarize the country, and as others have mentioned, having angry neighbors helps his cause.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Japan, I am disappointed.

The bad decision like this has suggested to me that Japanese politicians are not politically savvy in foreign diplomacy. They cannot see forest while they see trees. I would not want anyone like this in my camp if I were both in combat with Japan. Sorry guys.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Unless the CHinese and Koreans actually believe in Shinto, and sincerely believe that the war dead have become "kamii", then they are protesting over nothing. A myth. Classic tempest in a teapot.

@Right Wing Conspirator - I disagree.

The concept of a shrine for commemoration of the dead, and visiting a shrine to pay respects is a largely universal concept which is not confined to the Shinto religion.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

MrBumDec. 27, 2013 - 11:29AM JST

I think the 14 war criminals thing is just a small part of the larger issue that the shrine is run by right-wing groups that are openly anti-China and Korea.

What? Japanese right wing does not mean anti-China or anti-Korea. Will you give me some of the anti-China and anti-Korea things that Yasukuni is openly about.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

CH3CHO, Nothing so overt at the shrine itself (besides downplaying Japan's culpability for the war), but the shrine receives a lot of support from those black van groups.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Why not just stop reacting to the shrine and its visitors? Keeping the story in the press is what the Nationalists want.

I agree, but sadly, sensationalism sells copies and that's what keeps the blogosphere moving and the cash coming in. I hate it this just as much as he average person, but how many times do you have to keep burning yourself on the stove to get the message?

@smith

It's win-win for the private owners of the shrine; they get heaps and heaps of donations by people intent on fomenting their neighbors, and in turn those who donate and visit get the right-wing vote. But nah, it has nothing at all to do with politics, and it's all about religion, right? Keep in mind, all those who visit and pray at this Shinto shrine will have Buddhist funerals.

Exactly, but for some reason they don't get it or just don't give a...... I think the latter.

@zichi

According to the rules of the shrine, once a name is added it can't be removed. There are in fact the names of 1,000 convicted war criminals, not just 14?

There are quite a few Chinese and Koreans that were forced to fight for the Japanese buried in the Shrine as well, this is another reason why many families object to the visits. Most want their loved ones remains to be given back, but as you said, they can't be removed and now the families just have to grieve and can do nothing.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Firstly, let's ask one simple question.

Is it Okay for German Chancellor to visit Adolf Hitler shrine (if there's one) or German choose to erect one. What would be the reaction from the Jewish community and western world??

2ndly, in the eyes of many westerners (myself being one) it's like a criminal never show any remorseful for what he/she had done. Abe, being the highest representative in government, choose to behave like a hooligan, chronic criminal who never repent. What would the world will think of Japanese as a nation?? (though it's non of our business)

Don't tell us Mr Abe is "hijacked" by his rightist, savage uyoku members??

I think all the episodes happened so far, like the diaoyu island dispute. In our eyes, Japan seem to be the instigator not China or Korean.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

There are thousands of war criminals buried there.

No one is buried there.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

bass4funk: "Exactly, but for some reason they don't get it or just don't give a...... I think the latter."

I more or less agree, but I think there's an even more pathetic reason they don't get it (for those that don't give a...), the denial is so deeply rooted that they honestly believe in their lies. Hence the defensiveness -- they know they are guilty of denial, and know what Japan was guilty of in terms of atrocities -- but they've denied it and given false apologies for so long that to admit the truth and educate the youth about it would be to throw away what they've forced themselves to believe in their whole lives. The only religious devotion right-wingers and people who visit this Shrine (save as a tourist spot and/or to admire the beauty and history of the architecture) to pray have is denial itself -- THAT they stick to and believe in religiously.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

chucky, AT LEAST get your facts straight

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If Japan want to get respected, and truly showing its remorse.

make it a crime for ANY government officials who visited the yasukuni shrine..... I think this will keep the Korean or Chinese big mouth shut.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

The good and warmhearted japanese people must not support a goverment that thinks they are stupid and the more the mafia Installed in the gvt keep on ruling the country, Japanese people will never recover back its dignity and never will deserved any kind of respect from good and warmhearted people around the world. Good japanese people wake up from slumber once and for all. And fight for ur rights and dignity,before fighting against ur neighbours as in the past, Erase them ,ur enemy lies within ur own borders. If u dont do that all ur future is nothing but doom.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

He knew exactly what he was doing, it serves his agenda to once again project a dominant Japan. Sadly this involves (should it happen) an abhorrent repeat of the vile atrocities that have made Japan untrustwothy to its neighbors. Put an exobition of unit 713 activities or an explanation of why nurses were bayoneted burnt alive at this "holy" place. Might mitigate the anger of the neighbors.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

evian1Dec. 27, 2013 - 12:24PM JST

If Japan want to get respected, and truly showing its remorse. make it a crime for ANY government officials who visited the yasukuni shrine.....

That would be in violation of freedom of religion written in the Constitution.

I think this will keep the Korean or Chinese big mouth shut.

No chance.

Why do not we read what Abe said on the Yasukuni visit? You are free to criticize what he said. But I think it is rather unsophisticated to criticize based on what is speculated by mass media. http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/96_abe/statement/201312/1202986_7801.html

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

the shrine is run by right-wing groups that are openly anti-China and Korea.

Actually, it would seem that it's not just the right-wing groups but the average Tanaka that is more anti-China and Korea. I know Japanese who will not buy a Samsung phone due to it being a Korean made product, or only will purchase anything foreign as long as it is not from Korea or China if they can help it. I think the sentiment of being anti-China or Korea is not just on the far right.

The bad decision like this has suggested to me that Japanese politicians are not politically savvy in foreign diplomacy.

This may be true to some point but there comes a time when other countries just need to mind their own business. If Abe went there and made a declaration that to honor the fallen, we are going to reclaim their efforts, etc. then I could see just cause for an uproar. But for simple internal politics, China and others should mind their own business. Does SK get upset when China honors it's military vets, some who fought alongside NK in the Korean conflict? Does the USA get upset? Bottom line is no and the other countries should probably just mind their own business at least in this matter.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I am sympathetic to Prime Minister Abe’s urge to visit there because my uncle also died on a battlefield in Burma (Myanmar) and is enshrined there,” he continued.

I am so disgusted about Prime Minster Abe's urge to visit there because my grand uncle also died on battlefield in Burma (Myanmar) and his body has never been found. War criminal has privilege for having shrine in Myanmar. Defenders were never being paid respect by anyone. That heroes did not expect from new generation too.

According Buddhism, murderers ashes or spirits should not be pampered or worshiped . If there is a reincarnation, he or she will commit the horrible crime again.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Clearly yasukuni should have been done away with after WWII, the US made a huge mistake leaving it be, anyhow with so much about WWII Japan simply reaps what she sows.

What I find odd is many Japanese seem to clearly understand why Nazi Germany was bad, but are utterly clueless when it comes to their own involvement in WWII.

Its truly a waste how this mortgaged Japans future in the world they have only themselves to blame

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

AlphaapeDec. 27, 2013 - 01:09PM JST

I know Japanese who will not buy a Samsung phone due to it being a Korean made product, or only will purchase anything foreign as long as it is not from Korea or China if they can help it. I think the sentiment of being anti-China or Korea is not just on the far right.

Personal taste is now labeled as "anti-Korea". If someone buys only German cars, is he anti-America or anti-Japan? If some Korean buys only Korean products, is he anti-world except Korea?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan is an independent sovereign nation. Japan has the legitimate right to choose whether or not to worship at Yasukuni Shrine. Yasukuni issue is a domestic issue. The Japanese government should reject China's or America's interference in Japan's domestic affairs.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Background context..

US$Bn Military Spend 2013 (vs China %)

Japan: 59.3 (36%)

China: 166 (100%)

Elephant in the Room: 682 (410%)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@ CH3CHO

Why do not we read what Abe said on the Yasukuni visit? You are free to criticize what he said. But I think it is rather unsophisticated to criticize based on what is speculated by mass media. http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/96_abe/statement/201312/1202986_7801.html

I think it's rather unsophisticated to take what a politician says at face value without looking at the surrounding circumstances. He pledges to never to wage war again as he tries to rebuild the military, and he talks of building friendships with neighbors as he visits a shrine surrounded in controversy. Yeah, we should all just get off his back, because he's clearly remorseful.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

It is sad that Abe stoops down to the level of the Chinese nationalists with this Yasukuni visit. All he is doing is lower the position of Japan here.

If he wants to honor the war dead, he can go to the National Memorial in Chidorigafuji. The fascist-policy infested Yasukuni Shrine is the wrong place.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

MrBumDec. 27, 2013 - 01:43PM JST

I think it's rather unsophisticated to take what a politician says at face value without looking at the surrounding circumstances. He pledges to never to wage war again as he tries to rebuild the military, and he talks of building friendships with neighbors as he visits a shrine surrounded in controversy.

Building defensive capability to prevent war makes perfect sense to me. That is even more so when a neighbor is doubling defense budget every year and building aircraft carriers, though the neighbor does not have any remote islands to protect with the carriers.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Somebody thinks JSDF is useless? Chinese only has 1 ally not enough of a force to speak with. They might have massive military but the number is the only thing they are beating. If they do take on the aggressive stance against Japan, do you think Japan is to defend on its own?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

evian 1

I might be wrong but this is my understanding to your questons.

About the 1st question. Koreans and Chinese claims yasukuni is a war criminal shrine just like your idea of Adolf Hitler shrine. However, I think those who visit Yasukuni does not consider Yasukuni as a place to worship criminals but rather a place to honor dead soldiers. So there is a difference in understanding on Yasukuni's characterstics between them, which is causing conflicts among them. If people visiting Yasukuni are visiting Yasukuni to worship just war criminals and their war crimes, then I will side with koreans and chinese on this issue but for now, I don't think most of them are thinking that way. Also if Germany erect new shrine today, that fact will make the case too different from Yasukuni. For Yasukuni was built at the beginning of Meiji period long before Japan became militaristic in WWII.

2nd question. From koreans and Chinese point of view. because its a place to worship war crimes, visiting Yasukuni represents unrepentance. But from other side's point of view, Abe is considered as just honoring war dead. This is why people visiting Yasukuni does not think visiting there is a bad thing. So in my opinion the most important thing is what visitors are really thinking when they visit there. The fact that they are visiting or not visiting Yasukuni does not decide everything. I personally don't visit Yasukuni because I don't like the view presented in its museum, but I won't side with those Chinese or Koreans criticizing Yasukuni, for reason stated above.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Fugacis: Simply put, Japan's postwar pacifism is a veneer that her neighbours see right through, but that you expect us to be convinced by. The political establishment has hardly changed at all, sentiments romanticising the war are widespread, and the constitution that prevents Japan from going to war is under attack. In short, it looks very much like Japan will be revisiting the early Showa era, and China and Korea are rightly angry - and worried.

I wonder whether you live in Japan. Your words about romanticising the war in particular... Sorry but after having lived here for more than ten years I can only say: In short your imagination is working really well.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The Yasukuni shrine is the Japanese version of a shrine for Hilter's Nazis, except Hitler's Nazis were permitted no shrines of any kind. For the country's leader to pay homage to such shrine is unspeakably insulting. Imagine German chancellor worshiping a shrine that contains Hitler, Himler, Geobbles.

But somehow Japanese people don't feel this way. Instead, they ask why the Chinese and Koreans cannot let go of the past. The truth is that it is the Japanese themselves that keep reminding the Chinese and Koreans.

It was a strategic mistake to put those war criminals in the shrine. Those who died defending Japan, such as those Kamikaze pilots or those who sunk with the Yamato, should be enshrined, but not the war time leaders who started the invasive wars, certainly not the commander of the Nanking massacre. Whoever put those war criminals in the shrine forever tarnished the shrine, and planted the seed for eternal mistrust between Japan and China (and Korea and Taiwan.)

Perhaps, a future PM may find the courage to remove the war criminals from the shrine. But Japan is too proud a nation that such action would be politically impossible. So the Japanese people are forever doomed to the image of "devil worship".

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Why not just stop reacting to the shrine and its visitors? Keeping the story in the press is what the Nationalists want.

Its an excellent question sensei258. I think the answer lies in the infantile fixation certain countries and politicians have with every little thing that goes on in Japan. These people claim that "Japan is no longer relevant: or that "Japan is now a second rate power", but they can't stop themselves from watching and commenting on whatever goes on in Japan - even something as minor as a thirty minute visit to a shrine.

I have another idea, since ROK/PRC will never be able to ignore anything Japan does ... How about if the leaders of Japan visit Yasukuni every other week. Or better, take turns visiting so that in any given week someone important is always attending the shrine. This will take away the power of the complainers. The only reason Western countries even acknowledge these pitiful bleatings from PRC/ROK, is that Japanese leaders visit the shrine so infrequently that it only becomes an issue two or three times a year. If Japan forced the communists to complain about it every week, I'm sure the rest of the world would soon see the complaints of the PRC/ROK in a whole different light.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Those who forget the lessons of history will repeat the same mistakes again. May be P.M. Abe will resign if economy goes bad with China, Japan's biggest or second biggest export market, and South Korea retaliate. Last resignation was for health problems and ?.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Barbara TroutDec. 27, 2013 - 04:27PM JST

That is just wishful thinking. A Prime Minister does not step down unless he/she loses election and no election is expected until 2016. Last time Abe stepped down in 2007 was due to the loss of upper house election, (which was supposed to knock down his health.)

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@chucky3176 Please don't insult shrine. There is nobody buried in shrine, only names written on a book. We pray for the souls of deads whoes bodies were not found or buried somewhere else.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

“Even if Japan gives consideration to the feelings of China and South Korea (by not visiting the shrine), they don’t reward Japan but keep attacking us,” he said.

Hard to disagree with.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

When the German chancellor knelt and repented, the German nation stood proud! When the Japanese leader stood proud, the Japanese nation ?. The Japanese leader can go to Yasukuni, but he must similarly visit Nanjing, Singapore War Memorial and all other shrines in Asia that Japan invaded! Then history can close as all dead are equal especially the innocent victims!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Shinzo Abe is his own man. He has demonstrated that he does whatever he wants even if hese actions sacrifice the security and economic lives of the people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An interesting thing to note, which will likely appear tomorrow, is that not long after these 'mixed feelings' and anger from China and SK began to be reported, Abe raced to Tokushima to express support for the suffering. Guilty conscience?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A quick clarification. Yasukumi was built to commemorate the fallen who had fought on the side of the so-call Meiji Restoration (or revolution or coup d'Etat) when Emperor Meiji was 16 or 17. (He was born in November 1852 and made emperor at 14.) Its ideological base was expanded as Japan became an imperial power. It was further expanded as repository of false history (victim Japan) in the postwar era.

Now about this article.

Its main weakness is that it posts no statistical surveys, only anecdotes. A survey would be interesting.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

timtakDec. 27, 2013 - 06:27PM JST Having finished C. Sarah Soh (2009r) The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and >Japan (Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, and Culture) recommended to me on these >forums I would like to respond to a Comfort woman related post above. It is a good book.

Thank you for posting this. The anti-J crowd is of the mistaken belief that 200,000 Korean women were all kidnapped by the Imperial Japanese military and none received any compensation because they were "sex slaves". This simply is not accurate and well known by people of all nationalities who have bothered to look into the Comfort Women issue. Your post makes clear how the statement "they were not coerced" may not be completely inaccurate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't have mixed feelings - Japan has the right to honour their war dead.

If the US and UK had lost they would have been war criminals.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Respect for Class-A war criminals?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I will say this again Mr. Abe is acting like he has a big brother to fight his fights he picks, dont say you want peace but also stir up the masses dont start a fight if you cant finish it Mr. Abe you are not battle tested just because you have big brother US as your ally does not mean you can stick your chest out to far China crossing the red line doesnt alway mean big brother will have your back especially with this administration times have changed and words have several meanings but action have only one. Bad move you fell for the oke doke now China is telling the world now we have a reason not to remove the Zone. Thanks Mr. Abe for certifying the chinese actions.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Has Japan formally apologized for its war atrocities during world war 2? If so than I think China and Korea should move on. I have no problem with the PM visiting the shrine as long as he recognizes Japan did wrong and were evil.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All of these news articles, even on CNN, omit the fact that Yasukuni Shrine is ultra-rightist and blames the US for "forcing" Japan into WWII. It portrays Japan as the "victim" of the war and that it had no choice but to invade and colonize Asia. Their official web site used to spew this propaganda and their museum still glorifies those who blindly died for the emperor. It is NOT like a typical national cemetary.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Sir_EdgarDec. 28, 2013 - 12:28AM JST All of these news articles, even on CNN, omit the fact that Yasukuni Shrine is ultra-rightist and blames the US >for "forcing" Japan into WWII.

This is pure propaganda. Obviously you've never been there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Personal taste is now labeled as "anti-Korea". If someone buys only German cars, is he anti-America or anti-Japan? If some Korean buys only Korean products, is he anti-world except Korea?

@ CH3CHO: It may be some part personal taste but also enmity towards the other. On the one hand, you have some Japanese who may think it is not right to have the teachers stand up while the national anthem is playing (a story repeated on JT servearl times), on the basis of not really wanting to show "nationalism" and yet, when Japan plays SK in any sporting event, those same people will jump up and stand behind Japan 100%. Or for that matter, the fact that some ethnic Koreans are still labeled so, yet their family has been living in Japan for generations and are seen as Korean first before being Japanese.

I think it goes much deeper than some realize, and though it may not be open at all times, it is just below the surface. Let any SK or Chinese celeb or politician make bad remarks about Japan, and see the results in the streets of Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What mixed feelings! From some of the comments here, it's obvious that nationalism is high and well amongst the Japanese people. Some say it's not good because it upsets the Chinese and Koreans. But it's not their feelings that is the main problem, the main problem is that it is the wrong thing to do, to honor the dead some of whom were war criminals. How many Japanese feel this way? I bet none do. Speak up if you are an exception. I bet no one would. Hence proof of my point.

This is why the Chinese/Koreans don't see eye-to-eye on this issue with the shrine. Root of mistrust.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

rsgz4gg7y2Dec. 28, 2013 - 09:39AM JST What mixed feelings! From some of the comments here, it's obvious that nationalism is high and well amongst the >Japanese people

Not really, all you are seeing is people, not just Japanese either fed up with the constant Chinese propaganda trolls.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All of these news articles, even on CNN, omit the fact that Yasukuni Shrine is ultra-rightist and blames the US for "forcing" Japan into WWII. It portrays Japan as the "victim" of the war and that it had no choice but to invade and colonize Asia. Their official web site used to spew this propaganda and their museum still glorifies those who blindly died for the emperor. It is NOT like a typical national cemetary.

Exactly! The museum attached to the shrine is a bad joke. Poor Japan, had no choice but to invade other countries, saving them from western imperialism

0 ( +3 / -4 )

rsgz4gg7y2Dec. 28, 2013 - 09:39AM JST What mixed feelings! From some of the comments here, it's obvious that nationalism is high and well amongst the >Japanese people. Some say it's not good because it upsets the Chinese and Koreans. But it's not their feelings that is >the main problem, the main problem is that it is the wrong thing to do, to honor the dead some of whom were war >criminals.>This is why the Chinese/Koreans don't see eye-to-eye on this issue with the shrine. Root of mistrust.

I disagree completely. If hypothetically the 14 or so Class A war criminals were no longer enshrined at Yasukuni, would China and South Korea's anti-Japan sentiment change in any way? I doubt you'd find anyone on either side of the argument who would say that it would.

How many Japanese feel this way? I bet none do. Speak up if you are an exception. I bet no one would. Hence proof >of my point.

I can think of two notable Japanese who probably do, The former Emperor and the current Emperor. Neither have visited Yasukuni since the Class A War Criminals were enshrined.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

If this visit is no big deal, or ok..

Why does Japans Emperors refuse to attend?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

rsgz4gg7y2Dec. 27, 2013 - 03:02PM JST The Yasukuni shrine is the Japanese version of a shrine for Hilter's Nazis, except Hitler's Nazis were permitted no shrines of any kind. For the country's leader to pay homage to such shrine is unspeakably insulting. Imagine German chancellor worshiping a shrine that contains Hitler, Himler, Geobbles.

You have a short memory. If you recall in 1985, German Chancellor Kohl with Reagan went to Bitberg for a prayer where 49 SS and over 2000 German troops are buried there.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I can't believe some of the idiocy in these comments! The shrine is not comparable to one that might worship Hitler. It is not a shrine to war criminals. It is not an international disgrace. I was a soldier once, and I still pay my respects at cenotaphs and graveyards where soldiers are honoured for having given their lives for whatever - WHATEVER - was the purpose of their political masters. Honour the dead, or no one will honour you, when you've joined them. Like I said earlier, get over it!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Watcher1970Dec. 29, 2013 - 02:33AM JST If this visit is no big deal, or ok.. Why does Japans Emperors refuse to attend?

Because at the end of WWII and Japan's surrender the victorious allied powers wanted the Emperor charged as a War Criminal. However even before Germany and Japan's surrender, the Soviet Union had already become the obvious next adversary. The world became divided into east (communist) and west (democratic) and the major goal of the United States was to keep Japan from falling into the Soviet Sphere of influence. To ensure this it was critical that Japan not be allowed to fall into a civil war. The US deemed that the continued presence of the Emperor and the dedication of the average Japanese citizen it commanded was necessary to keep the country together. The US worked to keep the Emperor from being charged, and came up with Article 9 to placate the other allies. Having prosecuted and executed the convicted War Criminals, who were deemed responsible for starting the war, it was imperative to keep the Emperor away from them. Even when they were long gone and simply "enshrined" at Yasukuni. Some have suggested that the Emperor did not visit Yasukuni after the Class-A War Criminals were enshrined because they acted independently and against the direct wishes of the Emperor. I personally am not certain of that because I do believe that there are former soldiers from the Boshin War enshrined there who may have fought against the Emperor on behalf of the Shogunate. In anycase, it should be noted that the Emperor stopped visiting Yasukuni a good decade or more before China and South Korea ever uttered a complaint about it.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Trevor - granted, but if Hitler and the SS generals had been buried in the same military graveyard as the one commemorating the 'normal' German solders who had given their lives for their country, I'm sure the German people would have campaigned for the removal of the war criminals graves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The reason that the A-Class criminals should not be enshrined at Yasukuni is that they did not die in battle, like all the other soldiers enshrined there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No argument here, Mike Bird. But for Yasukuni, it seems there's no solution. Or is it just a mountain out of a molehill? Gotta wonder sometimes. Obviously, the argument will continue, ad nauseum, from this poster's point of view. Kindest regards.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why do not we read what Abe said on the Yasukuni visit? You are free to criticize what he said. But I think it is rather unsophisticated to criticize based on what is speculated by mass media.

An integral part of his reasoning is patently untrue. Abe said, "The peace and prosperity Japan enjoys today is not created only by those who are living today. The peace and prosperity we enjoy today is built on the precious sacrifices of numerous people who perished on the field wishing for the happiness of their loving wives and children, and thinking about their fathers and mothers who had raised them." The peace and prosperity Japan enjoys today is built on the very hardworking generation of Japanese that came after the war combined with American-led governmental restructuring and economic funding. The "numerous people who perished on the field" were victims of a lost cause orchestrated by their own country's right-wing nationalism. Let's also be honest and say there were those who died who had helped to perpetrate brutal occupying regimes in Asia. BTW, if you think I'm biased, I despise the way the Chinese government operates (as maybe do a lot of Chinese citizens) and think the Korean government needs to have the guts to adopt a different stance instead of continually pandering to their own right wing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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