Yasukuni and Nationalist Identities, Japanese and Korean

It is already given that if a Prime Minister visits the controversial Yasukuni Shrine personally, it will cause an uproar amongst the Koreans and Chinese people. Because the Japanese PM of course, represents Japan, if he will visit the said shrine personally, it means that he honors A-class war criminals.

I believe that as an outsider, visiting any controversial place where big-time war criminals are enshrined is taboo in general. No wonder, Germans accepted their country’s dark past, which is good because they don’t want history to repeat itself again.


by Lilia Yamakawa

In 1985, US President Ronald Reagan agreed to visit a cemetery in Bitburg, Germany to lay a wreath in honor of Germany’s war casualties. Reagan’s team of advisors did not do their homework, and it was later discovered that the cemetery contained graves of some of Hitler’s elite officers who had taken part in the massacre of Jews. Here was a president who always talked about “American values”, and he was going to pray for soldiers who had caused the Holocaust. There were strong protests by Jewish groups, US congressmen, US military officials, and regular citizens who all urged Reagan not to make the visit. He felt he could not cancel, however, and instead, a trip to a nearby concentration camp was also scheduled for the day of the cemetery visit. Reagan was not anti-Jewish, nor was he a Nazi sympathizer, and he himself had even served…

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4 thoughts on “Yasukuni and Nationalist Identities, Japanese and Korean

  1. I am Japan-holic but I do not like it when most Japanese soldiers and some politicians (those who participated in the Second World War) deny war crimes they did. It makes my blood boil how they glorify their war crimes on hurting innocent people particularly the comfort women. Most of the Japanese government did not help because they whitewashed most of their history books about their actions in Second World War. I felt sorry for most of the Japanese citizens who do not know war crimes most of the Japanese military during Second World War. Masanobu Ando (he is known as “Kazuo Kiriyama” of Battle Royale) confessed in an interview while he was studying his role as World War II soldier in a movie, he was not able to find enough sources about the history of Second World War in his country.

    I think the Japanese government and citizens should take Germany’s example of accepting their dark past. At least, it can help the citizens to learn not to make the mistakes of the Japanese military during Second World War.

    • That is another dark side of Japan. They keep on denying-to-death about their past mistakes. Well, I believe that accepting your mistakes is one way to learn from them, and I hope the Japanese government realizes that.

      I believe there are some Japanese people who simply want to learn more about the WWII but cannot do so because the government keeps on white-washing them. No wonder, their diplomatic relations with South Korea is severely flawed.

  2. Kudos to those citizens who want to learn more about Second World War Japan! Not all people are brave enough to delve in the dark side of the countries they live in. You know I remembered reading an article about Filipina comfort women interviewed by some Japanese press. One of the members of press broke down and confessed to one of the Filipina comfort women that his grandfather raped one of them. He apologized to her.

    I suddenly remembered a movie called Wings of the Kirin where Yui Aragaki starred. This showed the dark side of saving face instead of admitting people’s mistakes. I wonder if those Japanese soldiers who committed the crimes during World War II get nightmares or it affected their lives…

    • I watched this video on YouTube and these Japanese soldiers who were involved in World War II seriously regretted what they’ve done because even though they don’t like to do it, they still have to do it because it’s the order coming from their master. They value hierarchy, that’s why whatever the boss says, you have to follow it.

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