Friday, May 20, 2011

Yasukuni Shrine

Do you know it's controversial for a prime minister to visit a shrine in Ichigaya of Tokyo? It enshrines soldiers who sacrificed themselves during the World War 2 and some other wars, but what makes some people offended by the visit is the fact it also enshrines class-A war criminals like Hideki Tojo. He was the 40th prime minister (1941-1944) when the Pacific War broke out.

 Of course I read newspaper everyday, but I've avoided political topics on this blog. It's mainly because I'm not so versed in Japanese politics. And because I want readers of my blog to have fun while reading. But as a Japanese I thought I should visit this shrine. This was a signboard of a signal that said "The south gate of Yasukuni Shrine". 

 From what I read, I suppose prime ministers didn't go in from this gate, but from another gate possibly in the east of the shrine. 

 I saw some foreign people, and not surprisingly Japanese people who seemed to be very patriotic. It was incredible that there was a place in the heart of Tokyo where you could feel peaceful.

 This is called "Haiden", and it's a place where people offer a prayer. It was built in 1901, and a must-visit building when you come here. 

There was a museum that displayed the history of the wars Japan waged, whose name was "Yu-Shu-Kan". This statue of a solider had a name, and if I were to translate it, it would be "Never to look back".

 Some people would associate the past Japanese military with a Zero Fighter. This was also in  Yu-Shu-Kan, and I thought it was a life-size model. Suicide attackers "Kamikaze" got in this cockpit as you might know. 

You cannot only see around this shrine, but you can "experience" something from the wars. At the upper left of the menu of a restaurant in Yu-Shu-Kan you can see "´╝┤he Navy curry", and it recreates the curry that is the same as the one from the wartime. 

When August 15 approaches, you'd notice Japanese newspapers are reporting whether the prime minister is going to visit this shrine. It's a magnificent shrine in size, but it has a political side as well.