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Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine picks ex-admiral as chief priest

63 Comments
By Yukiko Toyoda

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63 Comments
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I see that the title and the photo selected is trying very hard to frame the narrative in a very particular way.....

First the picture is an archive one, not sure but I think far right members cosplaying...

Combined with the title, make it seem like the "ex-admiral" is from the Imperial time era (not possible though because time)... but it is a former member of the MSDF, an institution with a mentality very different of what was the Imperial Navy....

Is the article author or the editorial is trying to be incendiary on purpose??

23 ( +35 / -12 )

Is the article author or the editorial is trying to be incendiary on purpose??

Simple answer yes! All articles regarding Yasukuni are meant to get people stirred up and angry. It brings more views to the page!

19 ( +22 / -3 )

I went to Yasukuni once as it happened to be on my route. Just a simple and antiseptic temple in Tokyo. Those types of soldier costumed guys seemed to be hanging around, I guess they are unemployed or something.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

@Yubaru

I know.... it was more of a rethorical question.

If I may you can also put a soundtrack for these type of articles. My suggestion, Fire starter by The Prodigy.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Absolutely fantastic cosplay in that photo. The attention to detail, Japan still leads the world in "dressing up".

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

RedemptionToday  05:21 pm JST

I went to Yasukuni once as it happened to be on my route. Just a simple and antiseptic temple in Tokyo. Those types of soldier costumed guys seemed to be hanging around, I guess they are unemployed or something.

It is actually a Shinto shrine not a Buddhist temple.

I was surprised that ex military men can become priests but this is just my Christian way of thinking. It seems that more or less everybody can become a Shinto priest after proper training including foreigners!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Man, Horrible. I can't understand how they are allowed to change history to suit themselves.

I suppose we will be expected to cry for them at this year's Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorials.

The weaker Japan's economy becomes the weaker its narrative does as well.

The real truth will come out sooner rather than later.

-17 ( +5 / -22 )

What stirs controversy is articles like this, not appointing a former MSDF admiral as chief priest. The retired naval officer has a constitutional right to choose his occupation.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

last i checked, Japan is a sovereign country, and the public have absolute right to choose their own priest. what is the big deal here? maybe next time china temple choose a monk and they need the approval from other countries?

6 ( +12 / -6 )

this shrine for peace, where the spirits of those who gave their precious lives for the country

The most absurd statement to be heard. What about those men taking other's people lives?

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

is meant to commemorate all the nation's war dead and is not a shrine dedicated to those blamed for waging war on Japan's neighbors.

If so, then why do we have these marching cosplayers periodically on the grounds? Did they not get the message? Is it an acceptable way to commemorate the dead among Japanese? Or, just among nationalists? Or, are they being ironic? The museum itself presents a, let's say politely, "revisionist" view of wartime history with focus on the nationalism. It would take a rather large stretch of the imagination to believe there was not a nationalistic intent to the whole shrine. In which case, it is not simply the commemoration of war dead. Come on out and admit that, instead of dissembling, and things don't look quite so benign.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Bit disrespectful of the 2nd guy in the line there, turning up in his gardening wellies.....

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine picks ex-admiral as chief priest. The last retired military officer appointed as chief priest, Nagayoshi Matsudaira, enshrined 14 prominent convicted war criminals alongside the 2.5 million war dead honored at the shrine, including World War II-era Prime Minister Hideki Tojo.

What more needs to be said!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

The photo for this story pretty much sums it up with the appointment of Umio Otsuka, 63, a former Maritime Self Defense Force (SDF) commander.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

The above photo depicts an almost cartoon jaded inappropriateness.

Can't comment on the Yasukuni Shrine or the Museum monstrosity next door, never had the urge to grace either, both could be described as a gruesome historic heinous alternative visitor attraction.

So the Tokyo chamber of horrors has appointed Umio Otsuka, 63 as Chief Priest?

Not sure if congratulations are in order.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Bit disrespectful of the 2nd guy in the line there, turning up in his gardening wellies.....

Yes, the photo really does raise an important question.

Where does an unemployed, single man go to buy footwear that both complements the uniform their mother made and reflects the sincerity of their mimicry ?

From the order of our noble sentries it would seem ABC Mart, Nafco, Nafco and Aoyama meet the sartorial requirements.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The Yasukuni Shrine remains indifferent to the opinions of others.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Sorry folks but i find the photo too disturbing to even read the article !

It's terrorizing !

Yes the original Japanese imperial forces flag had 16 rays .

The JSDF flag has only 8 rays yes thank goodness

Enough said

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

What a bunch of losers. Glorifying a period when Japan was run by a military government, invaded other countries and brought the worst destruction the country has ever seen upon it's people.

And they provide fodder for the Chinese and South Korean nationalists to bash "right wing Japan".

2 ( +11 / -9 )

last i checked, Japan is a sovereign country, and the public have absolute right to choose their own priest. what is the big deal here?

The Japanese government isn't as democratic as some presume.

The public is heavily programmed

The big deal - is the display and worship of the 16 ray flag and what it represents and the unforgettable legacy of what happened during JAPANS expansion of Asia and sphere of influence agenda

>

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Well, it's no big deal, I'd say, but it proves 100% that Yasukuni has absolutely zero to do with religion and is only about militarism and politics.

And look at these dudes in the pic... you wonder why no one wants to date or get married or have kids in Japan.

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

RakurakuToday  05:44 pm JST

I was surprised that ex military men can become priests but this is just my Christian way of thinking. 

Ex-military men have never become Catholic priests or Protestant ministers?

That's not true.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I was surprised that ex military men can become priests but this is just my Christian way of thinking.

Several of my HS teachers had been combat soldiers in WW2 then went to Catholic seminary afterward. I’m sure there was a connection. Penance? I didn’t know any of them well enough to ask.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

smithinjapan Today  08:27 pm JST

it proves 100% that Yasukuni has absolutely zero to do with religion and is only about militarism and politics

It proves no such thing.

It isn't about militarism or politics. It only seems that way because the media, the Chinese, the Koreans, and the LDP's political opposition frame it that way.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Daniel Neagari Today  04:54 pm JST

I see that the title and the photo selected is trying very hard to frame the narrative in a very particular way.....

First the picture is an archive one, not sure but I think far right members cosplaying...

Combined with the title, make it seem like the "ex-admiral" is from the Imperial time era (not possible though because time)... but it is a former member of the MSDF, an institution with a mentality very different of what was the Imperial Navy....

Is the article author or the editorial is trying to be incendiary on purpose??

You hit the nail right on the head.

Best comment on here, by far.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Japan is at the mercy of others,wonder why

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Although it has a long history, the rising sun flag with sun rays does not appear as peaceful or welcoming as the national flag of Japan with only red disc and white background . . . .

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Impossible to view the flag and old uniforms without being reminded of what happened to all those innocent people both by the imperial forces and then by the bombings of japan by the allies.

I find the photo most inappropriate

And the shrine has other nationals like Koreans

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

an institution with a mentality very different of what was the Imperial Navy....

Furthermore the imperial airforce seems never held accountable tho !

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Clickbait or not, the picture above is genuine thus highly offensive. You honor your ancestors, fine, but at least know what they did to the countries they invaded during WWII.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

USA and the West invaded the Asia, not Japan.

The Asia was colonies of the West except Thailand and Japan. Japan fought againt the West (USA) in Asia. Japan never invaded anywhere.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

So a priest has nothing related with religion ?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Mr GoodmanToday  08:18 pm JST

Yes the original Japanese imperial forces flag had 16 rays .

The JSDF flag has only 8 rays yes thank goodness

The JMSDF naval ensign has 16 rays. The JGSDF flag has 8 rays.

The 16 ray flg has been in use since the Edo period and was adopted as the Naval Ensign in the Meiji period.

Today the navies of multiple nations train with the JMSDF, flying their flahs next to the sixteen rayed flag.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Mr KiplingToday  05:36 pm JST

Absolutely fantastic cosplay in that photo. The attention to detail, Japan still leads the world in "dressing up".

You idiot, garden boots......lovers.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

LOSERS

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

military cemeteries around the world are filled with people who killed. while yasukuni inters the souls similarly.

it’s a dichotomy, though - honoring those souls and a military museum. old soldiers around the world wear uniforms and medals. some people have re-enactments of battles dressed in the uniforms and gear of the time. you don’t see that in japan.

japan has always been subject to a double standard. the british, french, dutch, united states colonized (invaded) half of the world. it was the thing to do in the first half of the century by western countries.

you think western troops occupying all of s.e. asia and the pacific were there on vacation?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

“declined to confirm his appointment”.

That is your answer!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Mr GoodmanToday  08:47 pm JST

an institution with a mentality very different of what was the Imperial Navy....

Furthermore the imperial airforce seems never held accountable tho !

LOL. There was no Imperial Airforce.

There was the Imperial Army Air Corp and the Imperial Navy Air Corp.

Exactly the same as the US Army Air Corp and the US Navy Air Corp.

The USAF was not even created until 2 years after WWII ended.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

why involving peaceful & holy temple with world politics & war crimes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it proves 100% that Yasukuni has absolutely zero to do with religion and is only about militarism and politics

It proves no such thing.

It isn't about militarism or politics.

It's definitely about the military. And politicians make it about them.

Are you new to Japan or something? Have you never been to Yasukuni?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Come on! The SDF is not the same as the Imperial Army! Anyone who cannot tell the difference should be ignored. Likewise for any country.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The photo choice may seem lame.

its a misdirect.

As are the personal visits by lawmakers.

It is the Japanese shadow Govt at work doing their thing.

They are all Nippon Kaigi members.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good for them...

Their country..

Their culture..

Their religion..

Their rules..

Get used to it..

GO JAPAN!!..

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

I went to Yasukuni once as it happened to be on my route. Just a simple and antiseptic temple in Tokyo

The entrance is not simple but grand. It starts from Chidorigafuchi. It also has a museum. Not many shrines grounds have the scale and size of Yasukuni.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The entrance is not simple but grand. It starts from Chidorigafuchi. It also has a museum. Not many shrines grounds have the scale and size of Yasukuni.

I have to agree. I have issues with the politics of the Shrine, but ignoring all that it's a very visually striking temple and grounds. The entrance is indeed grand.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I am against any kind of war and or invasions, however, countries around the world celebrate war veterans and or having Remembrance Days. You may not agree with Japan's invasion, however, they have a right to remember just like any other country does and in peace as Japanese people live now and other countries do, too.

If you want to condemn Japan for their invasion, then you need to condemn America and Canada for stripping Japanese people of their land, their belongings and jobs and locking them up in camps for the duration of the war while they were living as peaceful citizens and had no involvement in the attacks.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

tigerjaneToday 02:12 am JST

If you want to condemn Japan for their invasion, then you need to condemn America and Canada for stripping Japanese people of their land, their belongings and jobs and locking them up in camps for the duration of the war while they were living as peaceful citizens and had no involvement in the attacks.

Not nearly as bad as 10 million dead in China and the treatment of POWs.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Those men in the above photograph dressed in what looks like movie making dress just look extremely funny. I would think that most other Asians are just laughing at them. I would certainly burst out laughing if I ever saw them. I would "be in stitches".

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

You may not agree with Japan's invasion, however, they have a right to remember just like any other country does and in peace as Japanese people live now and other countries do, too.

Yeah sorry but honoring war criminals is not the same as just honoring the dead. Th e dead should be honored. War criminals should be forever condemned.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Those men in the above photograph dressed in what looks like movie making dress just look extremely funny. I would think that most other Asians are just laughing at them. I would certainly burst out laughing if I ever saw them

There are characters like this at Yasukuni every day - go and laugh. Let us know how it goes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If you want to condemn Japan for their invasion, then you need to condemn America and Canada for stripping Japanese people of their land, their belongings and jobs and locking them up in camps for the duration of the war while they were living as peaceful citizens and had no involvement in the attacks

Just stop.

The terrible unconstitutionality of what happened to Japanese Americans is a terrible shame, but to try and put that into the same context as even a FRACTION of the despicable acts by the IJA and IJN during that war is just laughable whataboutism.

Are people really this daft?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If you want to condemn Japan for their invasion, then you need to condemn America and Canada for stripping Japanese people of their land, their belongings and jobs and locking them up in camps for the duration of the war while they were living as peaceful citizens and had no involvement in the attacks

Yeah, it was despicable. Canada has acknowledged that, and done their best to repair the wrongs that were done. You won't find Canadians disagreeing with you.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"more than 250 years of isolation"

The isolationist policies began in the 1830s under Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa shogun. The Edo period lasted more than 250 years; the isolation did not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How many of our expert posters have visiting the military museum on the shrine's grounds? It portrays a very "interesting" Meiji/Showa military history.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Having a shrine for war dead is one thing but marching idiots in their make up uniforms of the Imperial Japanese Army makes me feel sick.

The horrendous cruelty and savagery that those soldiers meted out to innocent civilians eg babies flung into the air and caught on bayonets, pregnant women raped and bayoneted in their genitalia etc.

Is that what these ignorant individuals seek to celebrate?

Compare modern Germany where aping Nazi soldiers i public would be a crime with today’s Japan where these pathetic processions are given the green light!

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

gave their precious lives for the country

Well, the ones in WW2 gave their lives not for the country but for the Emperor, whom most Japanese at the time actually believed was not human but descended from heaven.

This idea was explicitly drilled into both soldiers and civilians and most believed it. There hardly any dissent at home, while Japanese soldiers had the reputation on the battlefield of being the most fanatical of all. To think there are folks today who want to bring at least some of that back is chilling.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

TokyoLivingToday  12:01 am JST

Good for them...

Their country..

"Their?" Yours, I suspect.

Their culture...

Etc. Someone always parrots that boring old trope. It's over-simplified garbage.

tigerjaneToday  02:12 am JST

I am against any kind of war and or invasions, however, countries around the world celebrate war veterans and or having Remembrance Days. You may not agree with Japan's invasion, however, they have a right to remember just like any other country does and in peace as Japanese people live now and other countries do, too.

Japan has an official, secular remembrance ceremony every year in August at a public venue. No one objects to it or says they have no right to do it.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

FWIW, the Museum used to be more realistic and gritty. Now it is a cleaned up act soliciting your tears for the fallen hapless Japanese soldiers. Not much mention of the victims of the Japanese throughout Asia.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't think this appointment is really much of an issue, I think it sort of makes sense for a retired military officer to get the job given what kind of place it is and there's nothing to indicate that the man himself is involved in any controversies.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I believe that it is the sacred duty of all Japanese, including and especially political leaders, to visit and pay homage to those who have sacrificed their lives for Emperor and country.

Every country has some sort of war memorial, this is no different from any other; many countries enshrine veterans who could be considered war criminals.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The 16 ray flag with a ratio of 2:3 was abolished long ago !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

DanielsanMar. 18  04:21 am JST

I believe that it is the sacred duty of all Japanese, including and especially political leaders, to visit and pay homage to those who have sacrificed their lives for Emperor and country.

There's already an official ceremony for doing that.

Every country has some sort of war memorial, this is no different from any other;

Yasukuni is different. It's a private religious institution.

many countries enshrine veterans who could be considered war criminals.

Japan didn't enshrine them. The chief priest at Yasukuni Shrine did.

Get your facts straight.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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