• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 3:27am

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine, located in Tokyo, Japan, is dedicated to over 2,466,000 Japanese soldiers and servicemen who died fighting on behalf of the Emperor of Japan in the last 150 years. It also houses one of the few Japanese war museums dedicated to World War II.The shrine is at the center of an international  controversy by honoring war criminals convicted by a post World War II court including 14 'Class A' war criminals. Japanese politicians, including prime ministers and cabinet members have paid visits to Yasukuni Shrine in recent years which caused criticism and protests from China, Korea, and Taiwan. 

NewsAsia
JAPAN

Shinzo Abe’s Yasukuni Shrine offering angers China and South Korea

Japanese PM tries to 'compromise' by staying away from controversial site, but Beijing and Seoul call on the country to face up to its past

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 August, 2014, 9:43am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 August, 2014, 8:27pm

China and South Korea reacted sharply after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made an "offering" to a controversial war shrine and lawmakers from his party, including two cabinet ministers, visited the shrine on the 69th anniversary of Japan's defeat in the second world war.

The Yasukuni shrine "is a place that honours Class A war criminals of the second world war and whitewashes Japan's war of aggression", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing.

"The core of all the issues surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine is whether the Japanese government can own up to and adopt a correct attitude towards its history of aggression. Only when Japan earnestly faces up to and deeply reflects on its history of aggression and completely makes a clean break from militarism, can it be possible for Sino-Japanese relations to achieve a healthy and stable development," Hua said.

In South Korea, President Park Geun-hye echoed Beijing's sentiment, saying the actions of some Japanese politicians were splitting the two nations.

"Our government has urged Japanese leaders to correctly recognise history," she said.

Abe visited the shrine in December, chilling ties with China and South Korea. By sending an offering, Abe appeared to be trying not to worsen tensions while upholding a conservative ideology that takes a less apologetic tone over Japan's wartime past.

The shrine honours 14 Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, as well as Japan's war dead.

Two cabinet ministers visited the shrine.

"I think it's natural to pay homage to the people who sacrificed their precious lives for this country," said Keiji Furuya, whose portfolios include the National Public Safety Commission.

"I am a member of parliament but I am also a Japanese citizen, so while praying for world peace I offered my respects."

Koichi Hagiuda, an Abe aide and lawmaker, presented the ritual offering, which was made in Abe's name as leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

"He wants to express his respect and to pay homage to the people who sacrificed their lives for the nation, while praying for a lasting peace," Hagiuda said.

Tokyo had hoped that by staying away, Abe would send a signal to China of his desire to ease tensions and pave the way for a summit with President Xi Jinping .

But Xinhua said Abe's show of "compromise and sincerity" was unacceptable. "It has become a matter of urgency for the current Japanese leaders to truly reflect upon the lessons of history so as to avert a risky future," it said.

Beijing and Seoul have criticised Abe's government for backing away from its post-war pacifism, by easing weapons export restrictions and ending a ban on its military fighting abroad.

Yesterday Abe visited a non-controversial cemetery for unidentified Japanese war dead.

"We must carve out the future of this country for current as well as future generations as we face history with humility and engrave its lessons deeply into our hearts," Abe said in front of Emperor Akihito.

In Hong Kong, a protest was held against the reinterpretation of the constitution in Japan.

"Japan considers today a national day of shame, but Japan's militarism has never ceased in the past 69 years," said Lo Chau, chairman of an activist group that claims Chinese sovereignty over islets administered by Japan in the East China Sea.

Agence France-Presse, Reuters

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This article is now closed to comments

I Gandhi
The Yasukuni War Shrine represents what is evil and bad about Japan. It is from this war shrine that Japanese soldiers stage a march past on their way to their invasion and wars in Asia committing barbarous war crimes. In the end, Japan despite being the most modern and powerful country in Asia pre-1945 met a defeat which was inevitable due to the evil nature Japan used it's power and modernity to oppress the peoples of Asia. Not only was the divinity of the Japanese Emperor a fake, the very religious ideas on which the Yasukuni War Shrine is based on also turned out to be a fake. The falsehoods expounded by the Japanese militarists and their barbaric methods in the end destroyed Japan as well. So when Japanese including Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and members of his cabinet go to the Yasukuni War Shrine to pray to war criminals and to invoke their false religion, it is only a step back into the falsehoods that brought about the calamity in Asia. Everything the Yasukuni War Shrine stands for is false, sinister and barbaric. If Japanese cannot see the futility of their actions in praying at the Yasukuni War Shrine on the anniversary of their military defeat 69 years ago, Japan have no future. An uncivilised people with false beliefs certainly have no future.
Masako Owada
Shinzo Abe’s bad. Yasukuni Shrine evil. Japan defeated slaves of US. Obama love Shinzo. Shinzo loves Obama. Evil and evil together.
Max Diethelm
Another anniversary. And another horrible display by the Japanese rightists of non-atonement and belligerence on the 69th defeat of Japanese militarism at the notorious Yasukuni Shrine. Doesn't the Japanese realise that in today's world it is not acceptable to honour war-criminals and glorify war? This is not some kind of religious ritual. It is actually a sick ritual displaying the Japanese wrong belief about the Japanese militarism and it's disregard for what's is moral and right. The Yasukuni Shrine is a message of hatred and belligerence from Japan.
hmleung600
I for one try not only to remember the facts of history, but also to forget the hatred and the debts of blood. The facts are, the Japanese invaded China because first for its resources and its wealth, and secondly because China was weak and powerless to fight back. China still has rich resources and even greater wealth. It is only China's strength and determination that can stop history from repeating itself.
Remember too: Churchill and Roosevelt did not fight Japan in order to save China. I doubt if that has changed in our time.
Daniel Lee
The Yasukuni Shrine is a shrine to violence, intolerance, hatred, insanity, worship of war criminals and Japanese militarism cloaked with a devilish pseudo religion. When Japanese prays at the Yasukuni Shrine they are actually dehumanising themselves and showing the world that Japan is a recalcitrant country and the reasons they were defeated because of their evil and cowardice is still plainly relevant today. Those that were enshrined in the shrine died for an evil dishonourable cause and Japan should be blamed for sending these soldiers to their deaths. They died dishonourable and cowardly deaths as invaders and war criminals. Because of that the proper thing for Japan to do is to tear down the Yasukuni Shrine which is the most offending symbol of Japanese evil.
virokick
Expression of all views including gratifying and extolling war criminals and raising the rising sun; I applaud your foolishness.
ngsw
The war is over, but Japan leaders are still glorifying what they had done during the war and ****s are still hailed as national heroes, which means they are justifying the massacres and pain they had incurred on other nations. No remorse.
Isreals forgive Germans, who know they are wrong during the war. Chinese and Koreans hate Japan because Japanese think they are right in the war and the visit to the shrine is suggesting what is in their mind.
virokick
These Japanese are one kind of people; they politely bow to you saying claiming to promote peace, but the only peace they have spread is beheading of many in Asia, thousands of comfort women who they insist voluntarily participated in the sex trade and Nanking massacre is claimed to be fiction by Japan even to this very day.
I wouldn't even describe them as recalcitrant, in-fact we should further rub in the atrocities of war they have created into their noses by educating the whole world including the japes themselves about the murderous history that factually happened.
Only when Japan educates it's students in textbooks about WW2 with the correct facts will than Japanese be fully atoned for their barbaric sins. Only when the Japanese people are well educated about the true facts of war will they stop electing leaders like Abe that use nationalism as a political stunt.
hmleung600
Please let me clarify my comment earlier, and in response to srnagy's. I live next door to an elderly Japanese couple, and we exchange visits, greet each other whenever we meet. I have no doubt that the great majority of Japanese people are like them -- decent and peace loving. But their government is not peace loving, and ironically they are democratically chosen by its apparently peace loving electorate. The Japanese leaders never truly grieved their military past, and it does seem to me, by the same token, that they never truly rescinded the moral reason on which they invaded neighbours such as China, Korea and Singapore. It is on this basis I wrote my last comment.
hmleung600
We should rejoice that China and Korea are now strong enough, economically and militarily, to stand up to Japan. Abe says he loves peace now, but truly they have not changed at all. They would have loved to invade her neighbours again, if they could afford to.

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