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Monday, October 17, 2005

PM Koizumi Yasukuni Shrine Tokyo

PM Koizumi Visits Yasukuni Again

Yasukuni Shrine Main Gate
Image copyright © JapanVisitor
Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi visited Yasukuni Shrine today for the fifth time since he became Prime Minister in 2001, no doubt stirring up a hostile reaction in Korea and China.

A huge grey torii marks the entrance to one of Japan's most controversial sites - Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Founded in 1869 to honor the souls of the soldiers killed in the campaign to restore the Meiji emperor to power, the shrine is now dedicated to Japan's war-dead in all subsequent wars. Over 2.5 million souls are enshrined here, including Japan's World War II leader General Tojo and those found guilty of war-crimes by the Allies after World War II.

Visits by Japanese politicians invariably raise a storm of protest in China and Korea, but for many of the older generation Yasukuni is simply a place to remember family and friends lost in the Pacific war.

Kudanshita Station (Toei Shinjuku, Tozai, Hanzomon Lines).

On the grounds of Yasukuni shrine is Yushukan War Memorial Museum: a shrine for the Japanese right-wing, and recently tastefully refurbished. The Yushukan War Memorial Museum is dedicated to Japanese war dead, among whom Hideki Tojo is the most notorious.

Annual visits by Japanese Prime Ministers to worship—and shore up their political right—assure swift denunciations from China and South Korea. There are interesting exhibitions of soldiers' personal effects from 1894 to the end of World War II, as well as aircraft (including a kamikaze flying bomb), artillery pieces, a tank and a suicide attack submarine (kaiten), along with well-presented panel displays and videos extolling Japan's military adventures.

Take the Hanzomon or Tozai subway lines, or the Toeishinjuku Line to Kudanshita Station. A revisionist take on the War.

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