…This is in response to a comment I received on my Yasukuni blog / article (My blog explains my article). The comment I received was:
Instead of burying my response in the comment section of an older post…and I figured my response would make a decent blog (as I’ve had to justify my position numerous times and feel this is a good way to let everyone read it without having to retype my response every time)… I decided to post it. So please read:
First of all, I want to thank you for your response. While I don’t’ agree with what you wrote, I am grateful for the opportunity to try and understand where you’re coming from and provide you with a response—defending why I wrote the piece the way I did.
I never said “it” (I’m assuming you mean praying at the shrine?) doesn’t cause pain to other countries. My argument was that other countries don’t acknowledge why the Japanese pray at Yasukuni. From articles I’ve read, many seem to say “they feel” it supports Japanese militarism and their imperial past… which I show is not the case.
Japan, among other countries, committed atrocities (that were military tribunals held against all offenders, more probably would have been labeled war criminals as well). You are incorrect; however. The Japanese history books used in schools continually state “Japan was bad” during the Pacific War. Furthermore, with regards to the “comfort women”, Japan has admitted and apologized many times. Please let me know the reference you’re using to show Japan hasn’t admitted or apologized, I would be curious to check it out.
As I state in my article, the Shrine is not to Hirohito and Tojo and the Kenpei-tai (憲兵隊); The Shokonsha (what is now known as the Yasukuni Shrine) was founded in 1869; not at the end of World War II/the Pacific War. Had it been created at the end of WWII and the war criminals been the sole spirits interred there, I would fully agree with you that the shrine would not be an acceptable place for Politicians (or anyone really, except maybe family) to pray for the well-being of the departed. So I don’t understand your comparison to a shrine that was founded ~60 years before the start of the Pacific War (if using 1931 as the start date) to a hypothetical Nazi shrine created sometime after Hitler would have come to power.
Imperial Japan did invade other Asian countries—but not all. Thailand was not invaded. Technically you could argue that the “asian countries” didn’t even exist; as they had already been invaded by Western powers. French Indochina (Vietnam, etc), Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), British India (Pakistan, etc), even China had lost territory through conflicts with Western nations.
I’m not a western history buff, but I believe Hitler’s conquest was similar to Napoleon’s—which was to create a “unified Europe.” However, Hitler also decided that the extermination of Jews was a necessity. On the contrary, Japan did not want to exterminate the Chinese. I fully admit they terrorized the Chinese, conducted experiments on them and other heinous acts… but an interesting fact is many Japanese refused to hand over Jewish people to the Nazi army—even though they (Japan/Korea and Germany/Austria) were allies.
I do know what “gaijin” (外人) means… “foreigner”, or “outside person.” However, I am confused by your reference. You use past tense to describe your boyfriend’s opinions about Japan (being similar to mine). Did they change, are they the same?
I must correct you again… I have studied Asian history: from Chinese Emperors, to Japanese Emperors, to the movement of the Greater and Lesser Vehicles of Buddhism… I have also read about China’s expansion, the fate of the Korean Kingdoms, the plight of the Philippines.
Let me ask you a question in response. Had Japan not attacked and taken the colonies from the Western powers… would the Asian countries that exist today, actually exist? Or remain as colonies? Do I believe Japan wanted to “liberate” the countries? No. Instead, I believe they wanted to liberate the countries FROM the Western powers, so that they would fall in line with Japan (similar to the Americans “freeing” the Philippines from the Spanish, only to conquer it for themselves).
And I was using Thanksgiving to show that there are many views regarding what people consider “history”. And for this reason, people need to read different sources of material to better understand and get a clearer picture of what “history” is. It shouldn’t be Victor’s History; it should be the closest representation of fact of what occurred.