Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yasukuni Shrine, Nationalism, and the US-Japan Alliance

How did US policy toward Japan and the emperor affect the view of war-time guilt and the Yasukuni shrine? Excerpts from Japan Focus.

As Yomiuri Shimbun editor Watanabe Tsuneo comments of the exhibits, "That facility [Yasukuni] praises militarism and children who go through that memorial come out saying, '‘Japan actually won the last war.'"”


This does not mean that the Japanese people have made no efforts to come to terms with Japan’s war record. The opposite is the case: in the face of obstacles associated with US policies and Japanese nationalism, significant numbers of Japanese, particularly those of the wartime generation, absorbed important lessons concerning Japan’s disastrous wartime epoch and sought to make amends to its victims, not least by rejecting the wartime ideology of emperor, colonialism and kokutai. For example, many Japanese scholars have displayed dedication, resourcefulness and courage in researching and analyzing Japanese war crimes and atrocities and mounting vigorous critiques of government policy on Yasukuni and related issues.


Precisely the Koizumi administration’s support for the US war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s global “war on terror” buys it tacit US support for a Yasukuni nationalism. The new Yasukuni nationalism, however, in invoking a hardening Japanese assessment of the legitimacy of the Pacific War, has the potential to clash with a strengthened US-Japan

From an excellent new article by Mark Seldon in Japan Focus

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