Monday, August 19, 2013

Yasukuni Shrine

Thank you for watching. -S.Y.

A fellow Elliott School student, Alicia Rose, and I went to pay our respects at the Yasukuni Shrine. Alicia and I became interested in the Yasukuni Shrine after taking International Relations - East Asia with Professor Mochizuki last spring semester. 
Yasukuni Shrine: Alicia and I

August 15th has been a controversial date to visit Yasukuni Shrine since the enshrinement of the World War II Class A war criminals in 1978. More accurately, official visits started gaining attention after Prime Minister Nakasone visited Yasukuni Shrine in 1985 after publicly expressing his desire to move past postwar politics and raise the cap on defense expenditures above 1% of the GNP. Since then, both China and South Korea have expressed their dissatisfaction with Japan's unclear sense of remorse for their aggressive past. 
Main Hall of the Yasukuni Shrine
Chinreisha: The Spirit Pacifying Shrine established by head priest Tsukuba Fujimaro in 1965

Although many Prime Ministers of Japan avoided visits to Yasukuni Shrine in order to maintain peaceful relations with China and South Korea, Prime Minister Koizumi's 6 consecutive visits during his time in office reignited strong negative feelings.

On August 15, 2013, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo paid his respect for the war dead at Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery. 

I encourage those who are interested to read Professor Mochizuki's article titled The Yasukuni Shrine Conundrum: Japan's Contested Identity and Memory. It provides a holistic picture of the issue as well as many details I was unable to add.

Soohyun Yang
B.A. International Economics and Japanese Language and Literature 2014
Sigur Center 2013 Japanese Language Fellow
Sendagaya Japanese Institute, Japan

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