The Yasukuni Shrine and the Rise of Japan Essay

2515 Words Jul 23rd, 2008 11 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
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The conservatives in Japan attempted to deny the incidence of massacre and attempted to disguise the number of Chinese soldiers and civilians killed in the Rape of Nanking. In addition to their collective memories of being victims under Japanese imperial militaristic atrocities, the outburst Chinese and Korean anti-Japanese sentiments were triggered by the official approval of a Japanese history textbook written by nationalist historians that allegedly invalidated Japan’s wartime atrocities and justified the notion that Japan was a victimized nation as opposed to being an aggressor during the second world war. Although Chinese leaders have repeatedly warned that Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni are an obstacle to better bilateral relations, Koizumi’s government interprets China’s reaction as an act that demonizes Japan to indoctrinate its citizens with patriotism and justify Communist rule. However, the Chinese negative reaction of Yasukuni can be justified by its history as a victim of Japan’s imperialist aggression. The Yasukuni Shrine is regarded as the glorification of Japanese militaristic aggression, and this evokes negative memory of Japanese suppression in China, such as the Nanking Massacre of 1937, which exemplifies Japanese atrocity, in which thousands of Chinese soldiers and innocent civilians were tortured and killed. The massacre also represented the

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