The Yasukuni Shrine and the Rise of Japan

2503 WordsJul 14, 200811 Pages
The Yasukuni Shrine and the Rise of Japan’s New Nationalism The Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine established in 1869 in Tokyo. It was constructed in order to honor and worship the soldiers who have died for their country in the Boshin Civil War that brought about the Meiji restoration and sacrificed their lives in the service of their emperor to build a firm foundation for Japan to become a truly peaceful country. For some Asian countries such as China and South Korea, which had been victims under Japanese imperialism and aggression in the first half of the 20th century, the shrine was built to commemorate Japanese war criminals in the World War II, and it has become a blatant symbol for Japanese wartime militarism from the…show more content…
For the leftist and liberals, the Rape of Nanking is a key symbol of cruel Japanese militarism. They used the sympathy for civilian casualties to substantiate Article 9 of the constitution, which is essential to avoid another Nanking Massacre and to prevent Japan from waging wars in the future, and they viewed that the presence of Yasukuni proves the resurgence of Japanese militarism and the continual existence of feudalism in modern Japanese society. However, the rightist conservative camp in Japan is rising to prominence on a wave of patriotic assertiveness, and their influence is evident in the rewriting of Japanese textbooks to deny imperial Japan’s conquest in China. Therefore, in addition to its militaristic history and ideology chasm between political camps, the symbolism of Yasukuni adds external political pressure on Japanese government to re-examine the articulation of its wartime past. Not only does the Yasukuni controversy generated disapproval from Japan’s Asian neighbors, it also created domestic debate between the leftist and rightist political groups in Japan. In contrast to the Japanese leftist, the Chinese, and the Korean, the prime minister’s shrine visits are supported by right-wing nationalists, who form a significant core component of the support base of the Liberal Democratic Party and dominates
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