I'm not sure why, but there seems to be a lot of USA bashing in the discussions. I mean, let's be very callous here, Japan pissed off the US by attacking pearl harbour- the US decided to retaliate. And then, even after being beat, they refused to give up, so the US gets the biggest stick they got and whacks Japan hard with it! Attack followed by counterattack, what's with the US bashing?
Then going back to the issue of the Shrine. Anyone willing to give up their lives for their country have the right to be honoured. However, a issue that should be addressed is the question of for what was the soldiers fighting for? Fight for the home land? Personal gain? Or just for the joy of subjugating others? Simply because one died for their country does not make them right, if their actions are enough to deem them an enemy of humanity, not only have they committed crimes against other people, but their own kind as well. Therefore, any form of respect paid to these 'people' is an afront, not only to others but also to the Japanese people!!
I refuse to judge the people who's memories are interred in the shrine. However, because the memories of war crimes are so ingrained with the names of certain of the individuals in the shrine (metaphorically speaking) you can't blame that's there's such an international outcry. Japan claims that it merely honours the soldiers that died for its country, to others it is a method of honouring the attacks that Japan made upon other nations
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Reading through all of this one could almost say it is not the soldiers that are evil. It is the leaders of the nations that order the soldiers to fight that are evil. Then logically moving on from this, since the people choose their leaders, the soldiers actions reflect the people's compassion for human lives thereby making the people who fight a war evil!
(and before anyone argues against whether one chooses their own leaders; a tyrant rules only by the consent of his people. Even in the old days when there were kings, the single thing that all rulers feared the most was a peasant revolution! If one doesn't have the strength to stand up and fix what is wrong, they might as well be an accomplice!!)
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The point here is what do people want to achieve? The truth is not always the truth because people will always interpret the 'truth' in different ways and come up with something entirely their own!!
If the Japanese want a more peaceful foreign relationship, don't go to the shrine. If it doesn't bother you to make most of south east asia mad, just keep on going and praying for your dead. But please, DO NOT ask for the cake and expect to eat it as well!!
As for war crimes, I can kind of wave over treating enemy soldiers harshly since they probably killed some of your own men. However, killing civillians is something that I can't. Before anyone starts going over war crimes this and that, anyone that laid their hand on a non-combatant or someone that didn't want to fight back doesn't really have a right to be honoured, not by the family, not by the people, nor by the state!!!
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