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Yasukuni Shrine – 3 what did they die for? August 13, 2010

Posted by TAMAGAWABOAT in Blogroll, History, Japan, Japanese, Nanking Massacre, Rape of Nanking, WW2, Yasukuni.
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I watched a YouTube’s video that a Canadian named Pierre Pariseau said rude words against Tamogami Toshio (the former COS of Air Self-Defense Force ) and made a small trouble in Yasukuni Shrine on August 15th last year,  the 64th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War (=the Greater East Asian War).  Pierre Pariseau suddenly and provocatively said to Tamogami Toshio who finished his speech and was being interviewed by a cable television, “You would be arrested for unconstitutional if you were German. What do you think?”  A few Japanese, who were listening to Tamogami’s speech,  got angry at Pariseau’s rude words against Tamogami. 

I understand why these Japanese got angry with Pariseau. But I was a little disappointed at behaviors of these Japanese to shout furiously at this Canadian.  They should understand that this Canadian said rude words to Tamogami deliberately as a provocation and they responded to his provocation as he had expected.  We Japanese should understand that over 9 out of 10 westerners living in Japan have the same ideas about Yasukuni issue or Tamogami’s controversial essay as this Canadian.  Pierre Pariseau has written negative articles about Yasukuni Shrine for ‘The Japan Times’ two or three times.  The people who got angry with Pierre Pariseau should recognize almost westerners, especially the Allies’(America, Britain, Australia and so on.) people have stereotype that they Allies fought against inhuman Fascism states 65 years ago and liberated the people from it.  Therefore, if the person who denies or argues against the Allies’ historical perspective appears in front of them, they routinely try to label him/her as historical revisionist like Pavlov’s conditioned reflex. The word ‘Uyoku (Right Wing) ‘ is the term applied in place of ‘historical revisionist’ in Japan by foreign press. Almost westerners who try to label him/her as historical revisionist or Uyoku don’t want to debate on history with him/her from the beginning.  So Pierre Pariseau intentionally had a shit-eating grin on his face after saying a rude word against Tamogami and this Canadian hurried away from Yasukuni Shrine. It is obvious that the goal of this Canadian was only provocation against the Japanese intending to make them angry.

Actually, I too had the similar stereotype about Yasukuni Shrine to Pierre Pariseau until just a few years ago. It was 6 years ago that I visited Yasukuni Shrine for the first time.  Before visiting Yasukuni’s Yushukan (military and war museum),  I too thought that Yasukuni was Militarist Shrine.  I had a lot of negative image of Yauskuni such as black vehicles right-wing campaigners making poisonous and intense noises.  However,  I entered Yushukan and stood in front of over 6000 portraits who died in the war,  and as I read each and every one of farewell notes that so many people’s left,  I found ‘the true human dignity’ in farewell notes and understood what they died for.

What do you think they died for? I suppose you will answer “For the Emperor (Tenno)!” if you have the above-mentioned stereotype.  There are so many farewell notes to their families. These farewell notes speak to you why they fought at the risk of their lives and what they desperately tried to protect  They had things that are worth risking their lives! They had things that are worth giving their lives! Their wives,  their daughters,  their sons,  their mothers and their hometowns.  Even if they shouted,  “Tenno Heika Banzai! and died at the front,  their hearts were always with their families until the last moment of their lives.  More important for us,  these farewell notes speak to us that they entrusted Japan to future generations and died. Who are future generations that they entrusted ‘Japan’ to?  Naturally, we can never ignore the last wishes of the people who sacrificed their lives for Japan.  However,  if the people who died for Japan in the war see the reality of today’s Japan,  if they see the emotionally-disturbed society such as children kill their parents or corrupt politicians get hooked on women and money,  I’m sure they would be disappointed and lament over today’s Japan.  It is consequence of 65 years that the Japanese people have been turning their back on Yasukuni Shrine since the end of the war.  I realized I had been thankless Japanese when I read farewell notes at Yasukuni.

As you may know,  it has become controversial whether voting rights should be given to permanent foreign residents or not in Japan’s political world.  I would like to propose that the Japanese government should give voting rights to 2,466,532 people who are enshrined as ‘spirits of the war dead’ at Yasukuni first,  prior to giving voting rights to foreign residents who came to Japan by their own self-interest.  We must never forget that 2,466,532 people died for Japan and entrusted Japan’s future to us who live in the present.  The 65th anniversary of the end of the Greater East Asia war will come soon.

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Yasukuni Shrine – 1
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