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Home » Archives » August 2006 » Japan Times Calls Koizumi's Yasukuni Visit 'Callous'

Japan Times Calls Koizumi's Yasukuni Visit 'Callous'

Friday, August 18, 2006 Posted: 01:04 PM JST

The Japan Times today carried an excellent editorial about Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi's latest visit to Yasukuni Shrine. "Mr. Koizumi," the editorial states, "did not talk about those who suffered at the hands of Japan's militarism, but rather the hardship Japanese soldiers experienced. He mentioned the feelings of his heart, but not the hearts of those who were victims of Japan's war of aggression, or the relatives that still suffer. In this respect, Mr. Koizumi could be seen as callous."

The Japan Times also criticizes Koizumi's apparent lack of understanding of the "historical dimension" of the visits: "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15, the 61st anniversary of the end of World War II, points to his failure to understand that such visits have a historical dimension that overshadows Japan's relations with neighboring countries."

The editorial states that the main reason that a Japanese Prime Minister should not visit Yasukuni Shrine is because it is a fervent symbolism of WII nationalism. This is exactly the same point I made two days ago.

"Yasukuni," says the Japan Times, "served as a spiritual apparatus to mobilize Japanese toward the goals of war. The shrine, which memorializes those who died in action, was at the apex of social devices, including newspaper listings of soldiers' names, memorial services and funerals, telegrams from the army minister and the Kinshi Kunsho (Order of the Golden Kite) awards -- all of which were aimed at instilling a sense of respect and honor toward soldiers and their families and to suppress sorrow and possible resentment over the personal sacrifices made.

Yasukuni's traditional purpose was to praise and glorify the act of dying in action for the emperor -- not to console the souls of such soldiers. In this sense, Yasukuni was a symbol of Japan's militarism. Beijing and Seoul may have exploited Mr. Koizumi's Yasukuni visits for political purposes, but despite his personal statement, Mr. Koizumi's actions lead others to question the basic inclinations of Japan.
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Keywords: editorial_item

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3 comments so far post your own

1 | At 12:53am on Aug 26 2006, Kjeld Duits wrote:
Japan to alter controversial war shrine
(Financial Times) - Yasukuni shrine has agreed to delete a controversial exhibit and to discuss further changes to its military museum, criticised by many for glossing over Japan’s wartime history.

Officials from the shrine will on Friday meet a leading conservative historian to discuss the alternations. These are likely to focus on exhibits that accuse the US of deliberately forcing Japan into the second world war, but are unlikely to address more contentious displays relating to the Japanese invasion of China and south-east Asia.

More here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/5e29dc02-337f-11db-981f-0000779e2340.html
2 | At 05:51pm on Aug 28 2006, John Dougill wrote:
Point of correction: You say the Daily Yomiuri but actually it's the Japan Times that carried the editorial.

As for the content, my own views coincide entirely with your own excellent piece on the subject. Nobody who has visited the Yashukan Museum can doubt that it glorifies militarism and gives a thoroughly partisan view of the war that is an insult to all the victims of Japanese aggression.
3 | At 06:14pm on Aug 28 2006, Kjeld Duits wrote:
You are right, John. Very careless mistake. I have fixed it. Thanks for letting me know!
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