Saturday, March 11, 2006

On the issue of Yasukuni Shrine

 Is it right for Chinese and Korean governments to object to Japanese PM to visit Yasukuni?

1 A lot of people visit Yasukuni for various reasons. Visiting yasukuni should be understood in terms of the intentions of the visitors.

Just as we do not interpret South Korea helping North Korea as helping a terrorist country because we understand the intention of the government, we should understand PM's visit in term of his intention.
And he visits Yasukuni,because
"Prime Minister Koizumi is of the firm conviction that Japan's present peace and prosperity are founded on the noble sacrifices made by those who lost their lives in the war. He visits Yasukuni Shrine to mourn and offer his respect and thanks to those who had to lay down their lives on the battlefield against their will; to reaffirm the importance of ensuring the present peace and prosperity of Japan, which those who died in the war were unable to witness; and to uphold Japan's pledge not to engage in a war. He makes the visits as an individual citizen, not in an official capacity."

Notice that
He does not worship the crimes.nor evil spirits.
He pledge not to engage in a war.
I wonder why China and Korea want to protest against the PM pledging not to engage in a war.

2 Some people protest the PM visiting Yasukuni because the shrine enshrine 14 A criminals, but they miss the mark.
a)The PM does not visit Yasukuni to worship the crime they committed.(→*1)
b)Yasukuni enshrine all the war deads, it does not worship the crimes of A criminals.not does it play up the A-criminals in particular.
When I reached the actual shrine I did not find any big banners of General Tojo and other war criminals that the media would lead you to believe that this shrine is all about."GIKorea

c)You need to understand the shinto religion to understand why it enshrine all the war deads.----It enshrines them to pacifiy the deads so that they would not cause trouble in this world.

" All individuals who die become kami. People who have died peacefully and happily amid their family are the revered ancestors but not everyone dies this way. Those who die without family to care for their kami become hungry ghosts (an idea imported from China) who wander and can cause trouble. A person who died violently or who led an unhappy life can be a source of danger or trouble to others. Things are done to ease these spirits. Sometimes flowers will be left at a place where someone died in a car accident or of a heart attack. Or small stones will be piled up to indicate a place where the sacred space touches on everyday space. "

"When one enters a shrine compound, usually a water purification ritual is performed by scooping up water at a basin provided and cleaning ones hands and mouth. Then you proceed to walk around the compound where you will find various shrine buildings and occasionally trees, rocks or other items deemed to have some sense of kami or spiritual power. Sometimes there will be a fire burning and people will waft the smoke over their heads. The most imprtant value in Shinto is cleanliness both physical and spirtual and pollution, which is mainly identified with blood and death, must be avoided as much as possible but can be erased through elaborate ritual."
"Besides seeking blessings, the rituals also are to pacify those gods, seen as fearful or able to cause damage such as Hachiman, the God of War"link

For instance,
Taira no Masakado (平将門) (?–940 C.E.) was a member of the Kammu Taira clan of Japan. He was the son of Taira no Yoshimasa, shogun of Chinjufu.

In 939 C.E., during the Heian Period of Japanese history, he rebelled by attacking the outpost of the central government in Hitachi Province, capturing the governor. In December of that year he conquered Shimotsuke and Kozuke provinces, and claimed the title of Shinnō (New Emperor). The central government in Kyoto responded by putting a bounty on his head, and fifty-nine days later his cousin Sadamori, whose father Masakado had attacked and killed, and Fujiwara no Hidesato, killed him and took his head to the capital.

Over the centuries, Masakado became something of a demigod to the locals who were impressed by his stand against the central government while at the same time felt the need to appease his malevolent spirit. The fortunes of the Edo and Tokyo seemed to wax and wane correspondingly with the respect paid to the shrine built to him at the kubizuka - neglect would be followed by natural disasters and other misfortunes. Hence, to this day, the shrine is well maintained occupying some of the most expensive land in the world in Tokyo’s financial district facing the Imperial

- deceased persons - Sugawara Michizane, Emperor Meiji. Michizane was a courtier in the Hieian period who became a deity after death when a plague that struck Kyoto was identified as caused by him in revenge for being

(You can find this idea embeded deeply in Japanese culture by seeing, for instance the film "juon" )[1]
Hence,according to Shinto religion, evil or not while alive, if one die an unhappy death, the soul of dead must be purified and cleansed because it is supposed to bring about disasters in this world.You might think it is not scientific, but that is what a religion is.However it might sound unscientific, they have right to believe it.A Shinto priest is purifiying the souls:he is not worshipping bloody murderers.It is not the symbole of militaism as China and Korea allege.I wonder why they intentionally keep misrepresenting the shrine.

3 Others, for instance ,GI Korea argue that the war memorial near the shrine whitewashes history in an offensve way, therefore that the PM should not visit the shrine.

I have never visited the shrine, nor the I do not know what the museum says.If it is biased, I think it needs to be balanced.

However, the PM does not neccesarily agree with the view of the momorials.
Just as the fact GI Korea visit Yasukuni does not necessarily means he accept the history the momorial tells, Japanese PM does not need to agree with the view.You should consult why he visit Yasukuni(→ 1)
The PM visits the shrine because it happens to be the tradtional place for all the war deads in
Besides,I was a little surprised that this was mentioned by GI;he needs to be reminded that Vetreans stopped the exhibition of the horror of Hirosima at the Smithonian Museum.

In 1994, the National Air and Space Museum planned to exhibit the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, as part of a political horror show. A raging controversy ensued when Air Force Magazine and the Air Force Association brought the plans to the notice of the public, the news media, and Congress. In 1995, the museum’s parent organization, the Smithsonian Institution, pulled the plug on the original exhibition and replaced it with a straightforward program that eventually became the most popular exhibition in the museum’s history.

A committee of scholars, veterans, clergy, activists, students, and other interested individuals is now forming to challenge the Smithsonian's plans to exhibit the Enola Gay solely as a "magnificent technological achievement." The planned exhibit is devoid not only of historical context and discussion of the ongoing controversy surrounding the bombings, but even of basic information regarding the number of

4 An individual right to worship as he please must be protected.

The state, not to mention foreign states, has no powert to interfere with the individual right to worship as she pleases.The PM visits Yasukuni as a private citizen.(→1)

4 Only problem with Japanese PM visiting the Shrine as I see it is the issue of the separation of the state and religion, but it is a domestic matter.

Whether, for instance, the fact the US president put his hand on the bible when he oath violate the principle of the separation of the state and religion is the issue American people decides.It is not the issue for other govenment to decide.
Likewise wether Japanese PM visit Yasukuni violate the principle is the matter that should be left to the Japanese people ..
Let the Japanese decide whether the PM should visit or not
Half of the Japanese are opposed to it.

If China and Korea is genuinely interested in the search for mutually acceptable ways of resolving internatinal relations, they should refrain from public statements that may be interpreted as intervention in Japan's internal affairs.

And I think it is childish for China and Korea to cancel the meeting just because of this issue. China and Japan, Korea and Japan can keep talking on this issue through another channel, in the way that they do not stop a dialogue on other issues.I think they are using this issu for their political ends ;it is periodically used as a tool to stoke nationalist flames and deflect public wrath from their leaders.

Sino-Japanese relations fell to another low-point after China’s Vice Premier Wu Yi cancelled a scheduled meeting on May 23 with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and flew home.

The initial excuse given by the Chinese government for Wu’s abrupt departure from Japan was that “emergency duties” required her to return to China. The following day, however, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed the cancellation was to protest Koizumi’s announcement on May 16 that he would visit the Yasukuni shrine, despite Chinese and South Korean opposition.2 June 2005

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon says he has dropped plans for a possible visit to Japan, due to a row about a controversial shrineWednesday, 19 October 2005

[Mao museum]
China is morally inconsistent in that they visit Mao museum while they blame Japan.

[South Korean riot police officers stand guard near a statue of U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur during a demonstration at a war memorial housing a statue of U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Incheon, west of Seoul, Sunday, July 17, 2005. [AP]]
Korea is also morally inconsistent in that they honor Gen.MacArther, under whom, some Koreans allege, the UN troops killed at least one million korean civilians, often burning down villages and machine gunning the inhabitants,
Furthermore,Korea is hypocritical in that by protesting along with China, she makes it appear that Korean people are victims of Japanese army in the same sense as Chinese people while there were sufficient numuber of Korean people who are,in one sense or another , supporters of Japanese

6 Finally

I suggest China to learn to respect religions such as Shinto or other religions in her country, not to touture religous groups.
Falun Gong

I suggest Koreans to learn to pay respect to those who fought for her country.

We, in the Congress, however, are disturbed to read reports of a number of activists who have gathered around General MacArthur's statue above Inchon Harbor in the past several months, most recently on September 11th, and have engaged in violent attempts to tear down the statue. This movement to topple the MacArthur statue is reportedly gaining momentum around the anniversary date of the Inchon landing. According to U.S. press reports, "young radical leftists have led assaults on the 15-foot-tall statue." A complaint filed with the quasi-governmental Republic of Korea National Human Rights Commission, which is reviewing the statue controversy, condemns MacArthur as "a war criminal who massacred numerous civilians."Letter to President Roh Moo Hyun

Chairman Henry J. Hyde

food for thoughs

follow up

The blogger called Kushibo argues,rather emotionally,that since the souls of soldiers who brutalized and murdered the enemy were enshrined, it is not justified.

Yasukuni Shrine also includes all those who tortured and killed American service men in the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. It includes as Kami (god) all of the soldiers who brutalized and murdered the 300,000 Chinese in the 'Rape of Nanjing' massacre. Also included as Kami, are all of the soldiers who rampaged across China and Asia and participated in killing the 30,000,000 Chinese during the occupation of a great portion of China before and during World War II, in the most brutal of all military occupations.

It includes all those soldiers from the infamous Unit 731 in China who injected Chinese with plague, experimented with deadly germ and biological tests on Chinese, and dissected Chinese alive (Oh, you heroes).

This is not based on the facts.The shrine, which is run by private citizens, does not include the souls of soldiers who came back to Japan alive. Are the pilots of Enolagay in the Arlignton? On the other hand, it seems that Colonel Barker, who was the Battalion Commander at the My-Lai "Massacre," is included in the arlington cemetery.

For my part, I think people are justified in paying tribute to the souls of brothers and fathers who were killed in the war and that people are justfied in demanding the head of the state to pay respect to the all war-deads.
And it is cultual imperialism that another culture inteferes and invades the realm of tradtional religion.And again, the shrine does not worship the crimes nor militarism.It pacifies the souls of war deads.

His stance makes sense only if he holds that honoring Gen.MacArther, under whom, some allege, the UN troops killed at least one million civilians, often burning down villages and machine gunning the inhabitants, General Dwight Eisenhower, who left more than mililions of POW left to die, Truman, who ordered to kill innocent women and children by atomic bombs, is, to borrow his words, "spitting in our face, the world"
(I really hate this way of writing but I am afraid that this is the way he writes
against Japan).
If he blames Japan,but not the U.S, without showing siginificantly relavent differences between paying respcet to war-deads of Japan and paying respect to war deads of the U.S I am afraid he is a racist,but i hope not.

The museum adjacent to Yasukuni says "The Greater East Asian War" began because, when the New Deal failed to banish the Depression, "the only option open to Roosevelt . . . was to use embargoes to force resource-poor Japan into war. The U.S. economy made a complete recovery once the Americans entered the war." That is disgracefully meretricious -- and familiar. For years a small but vocal cadre of Americans -- anti-FDR zealots -- said approximately that. But neither Koizumi nor Abe includes the museum in his visits to the shrine. George Will
and the criticism by muninn

I geuss the point is the opponent of Yasukuni visiting presuppose that the visiting is a symbolic atc of
(1) militalism
(2)justifying the pacifice war and colonalism.

The proponent denies that it consitutes such an symbol.

I find an interesting explanation of a religious ritual.
It's not really "spiritual". I'm familiar with the Chinese practices, and that's where Japan's practice of Buddho-Taoist belief came from, including ghost worship. It's more of an awareness that spiritual entities and forces can effect your life in good ways and certainly in bad ways. So people view it as a necessary burden, very much like doing taxes: Gotta pay that damn monthly tax.
shaz @ 2006-11-25 12:40:04Japan photo

I think this is close to the way people visit Yasukuni.
It is not worshiping the crime, but it is burden we owe to the ghosts so that these entities may not effect their life.


Kushibo said...

You make an interesting point about Frank Akeley Barker, the guy behind the My Lai massacre being buried in Arlington. Perhaps he shouldn't be. I would support a drive to have his body disinterred and moved to a different location that does not honor national heroes.

However, it should be noted that he was buried at Arlington BEFORE the My Lai massacre came to the public's attention. Had he been alive when it occurred, it's doubtful he would have been buried there.

By the way, you mischaracterized the "Insensitive" link I had to Yasukuni as my own words. They were actually the words of two American veterans.

zero said...


You can criticize how Yasukuni or Arlington, but visiting them is another story and for the visitors, it does not mean worshiping the massacre nor colonization. It just means consoling the souls. And it is justfied as a freedom to prayer.That's is the point.

Kushibo said...

I have visited Yasukuni (but not Arlington). The original intent of Yasukuni is peaceful, but the right-wing revisionists have ruined that message by enshrining Class-A war criminals. (And those who are simply going in order pay respects to their own relatives are probably doing so for different reasons from that of the right-wing politicians.)

It's obvious that the right wingers have taken over Yasukuni and its message, as you can see in the Yushukan Museum on the Yasukuni grounds. It's historical revisionism and lies that dishonors the dead who are enshrined at Yasukuni. If I had a relative enshrined at Yasukuni, I would be angry about how it has been dishonored.

Yasukuni should be depoliticized, but that has to start with reversing the way it was politicized in the late 1970s by the right-wing historical revisionists and war apologists.

zero said...

You can criticize Yasukuni or Arlington, but the visiter's right to the prayer in peace should be respected.

The media has been misdirecting its target.
If you don't like the museum, good, criticize the museum.
If you don't like shinto's idea of consoling the dead because they fear the revenge from the ghosts, good, criticize it.
Nevertheless, the visitor's right to prayer at any place they like should be protected.

Kushibo said...

You can criticize Yasukuni or Arlington, but the visiter's right to the prayer in peace should be respected.

I don't disagree with you there. Private individuals who have lost family members who are enshrined there certainly should be able to pray.

But that is not the issue. People are not upset because private individuals pray, but because politicians are (1) going there as a nod to the right wing which supports dangerous revisionist sentiments, and (2) the right wing has tainted Yasukuni's message of peace by enshrining war criminals who did not die in the war.

The media has been misdirecting its target.
If you don't like the museum, good, criticize the museum.

I do criticize the museum. But the museum is part of the Yasukuni shrine. It's part of the right-wing war apologist effort to distort Imperial Japan's wrongdoing in the past. It was the shrinekeepers who enshrined the Class-A war criminals who have caused the problem. From that time on, Yasukuni has become a radioactive symbol.

If you don't like shinto's idea of consoling the dead because they fear the revenge from the ghosts, good, criticize it.

What I criticize is the revisionists' enshrinement of the fourteen Class-A war criminals who did not die in war or in the service of the Emperor because they wanted to give legitimacy to the bogus idea that Japan was a victim and not an aggressor before 1945.

Since that time even the Emperor stopped visiting Yasukuni, as have most prime ministers. The shrine keeper's cynical act made it radioactive. It is no longer merely a shrine to peace but a monument to historical revisionism and war apologism.

Nevertheless, the visitor's right to prayer at any place they like should be protected.

Sadly, that has become secondary, thanks to the cynical acts of those who enshrined war criminals for political reasons.

Anonymous said...

People are making fuss when PM visit Yasukuni.
Koizumi's visit was criticized while he was PM.
But his visit caused no fuss while he he quited PM but he was still a diet member.

But the fact is that Koizumi visited Yasukuni as a private citizen so that it does not violate the principle of the separation of state and religion.

You can criticize Yasukuni, revisionists, rightwinger, or whatever.

But the right to prayer as a private citizen, whether he is PM or not, should be protected.

When people make it secondary, that's the end of rule of law, consitutuional democracy.