Yasukuni Shrine Summer 2014

Yasukuni_Shrine_201005.jpg                                            Yasukuni Shrine, Kudan Tokyo (Wikimedia)

Summer 2014 has come to Tokyo. The rainy season will finish in a week or so and the infamous Kanto summer heat will be here until the very end of September. Students will have a summer vacation, and office workers will be able to spend a few days with their families at the beach or in the mountains. And in August the Obon holiday will be observed. Obon is a time when Japanese people honor their ancestors, visit cemeteries and clean the gravesites. August 15th marks the end of WWII, and is a time when Japanese lawmakers visit the shrine to honor the war dead. Some say that the Japanese see Yasukuni Shrine the same way as Americans see Arlington national cemetery. But Japan’s neighbors, and wartime foes see it as a glorification of militarism, and a continuing symptom of Japan’s inability to come to terms with its imperial past. Tensions in East Asia are certainly at an all-time postwar high, and it is unlikely that the Japanese government members will deviate from their customary visit to the shrine, or that Japan’s neighbors will accept the shrine visits as normal and proper. So, what will we see in the summer of 2014? It looks like tensions will certainly continue to rise, and that Yasukuni will remain squarely in focus this summer.


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