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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 – 2 September 20, 2008

Posted by TAMAGAWABOAT in Blogroll, WW2, Yasukuni.
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The first time that I visited Yasukuni Srine was 2004 4 years ago. My friend invited me to go to Yasukuni Shrine for Hatsumode (new year’s visit to a shrine) on 2004 New Year’s Eve. Before visiting Yasukuni Shrine, I had a skewed image of Yasukuni Shrine. For example, I had an image of Yasukuni Shrine as militarism or Uyoku (right wing).

However, while seeing a lot of portraits of the people who fought very hard to protect their loved one and died in the war, and while reading a lot of farewell notes addressed to their mothers or their wives or their children. I understood so well that many people sacrificed their lives for their loved one. I understood so well that many people died for future Japan, 63 years ago. In every farewell note, everybody said the same thing, “I’ll meet you at Yasukuni Shrine even if I depart from this life. Come and see me.” I thought it was a matter of common sense for the Japanese people to visit Yasukuni Shrine and to thank ‘the spirits of the war dead’ for their fighting. Because many people became to the cornerstone for present-day Japan’s peace and prosperity.

In present-day Japan, however, there are many Japanese people who have the same skewed image of Yasukuni Shrine as I had before visiting there. There are many Japanese Diet lawmakers who decline to visit Yasukuni Shrine. And more, there are some Japanese Diet lawmakers who attempt to blaspheme against ‘the spirits of the war dead’. They are thankless fellows. They are traitors. Many people who fought and died for the defense of our Japan said that they would wait for us at Yasukuni Shrine. We Japanese must hold our promise with the people who gave their lives for our Japan.


しかしながら、靖国神社の遊就館で戦争で亡くなられた方たちの手紙や遺品、お一人お一 人のお写真を拝見しているうちに、アメリカに追い詰められ、存亡の危機にあった日本を守るため、愛する家族や妻や恋人を守るために、必死に戦って亡くなっていかれた幾多の人々の思いに接しました。「お母さん、自分はたとえ死んでも、靖国に私の魂はあります。靖国でお会いできますよね」と言って戦地に赴いた多くの日本人たち・・・。僕は、日本人であれば靖国神社に参って亡くなった人たちに感謝することは、きわめて 自然なことだと思うようになりました。なぜなら、いまの平和な日本があるのは、必死に戦って死んでいった幾多の人たちのお陰だからです。

靖国神社を非難する人の多くが「靖国神社にはA級戦犯が祀られているから・・・」という理由を挙げます。しかしながら、その理由以前に、日本という国に命を捧げた250万 あまりの日本の兵隊さんに、なぜ素直に感謝や慰霊の言葉を捧げることができないのでしょうか?A級戦犯が合祀されていることを盾に靖国神社そのものを否定しようとする人々は、論理的な思考の欠如以前に、「人」としての「情」というものが欠落していると思います。僕も靖国神社へ初詣に行くまでは靖国神社を歪んだ眼で見ていました。実は、僕自身さえも反日の日本人だったのです。

「靖国神社にはA級戦犯が祀られているから・・・靖国参拝はすべきではない」というステレオタイプ。実はこれこそが、日本のマスメディアが作り上げ広く日本人たちの認識の中に刷り込んでいった一種の洗脳であることに、賢明な日本人は早く気付くべきであると思います。日本のマスメディアは「靖国神社」というイメージを、僕が靖国神社の遊就館を訪ねる以前に抱いていた「軍国主義」とか「A級戦犯」とか「右翼」といった言葉とイメージで歪めてきました。日本人ひとりひとりが靖国神社を自分の足でゆっくりと散策し、そして遊就館に掲げてある無数の遺影を眺め遺書をひとつひとつ丁寧に読み込むことをお薦めします。「なぜ、彼らは逝ったのか!?」をご自分なりに考えながら・・・。 彼らの遺書ひとつひとつが彼らの愛する者たちだけに向けられた言葉ではなく、現代に生きる日本人たち、すなわち自分に向けられたメッセージでもあるのだ・・・と僕は受け取りました。彼らは口々に「いまの日本をよろしく頼むぞ!」と言っているように思いました。





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Yasukuni Shrine – 3 what did they die for?
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