Yasukuni Shrine (2) 2015/02/27

Until Edo period, Japan had an Imperial house as the symbol of authority and Tokugawa General as the symbol of power. However there were few hundred powerful feudal lords and Japan was rather decentralized nation.

Confronting aggressive approaches from western nations such as U.S.A, U.K„ÄĀRussia and France, Japan tried hard to establish a centralized, wealthy , powerful and modern nation through Meiji Reform. Japan rapidly changed social systems and modernized industries. With unbelievably tremendous improvement, they won Sino-Japan war and also Russo-Japan war and became one of the world first class nations. Japan also successfully invalidated uneven treaties forced by western nations in the end of Edo period.

Yasukuni Shrine was established to enshrine those people who dedicated their lives to build the modern powerful nation and became a central institution for commemorating those people.

Thus, Yasukuni Shrine became the place for a bereaved family to meet the deceased and for general public to appreciate the dedication of the deceased.

Regretfully Japan fought the Great East Asian war against U.S.A and U.K and finally defeated. Generally wars were occurred by various complicated reasons and it is extremely difficult to judge which is right and which is wrong or to justify that the winner is right and the loser is wrong.

At the end, Japan was defeated and United Forces advanced and occupied Japan for nearly 7 years until 1952.

Since Japanese army fought so intensely and desperately, even with little weapons and energy, that United Forces, after the occupation, tried hard to reform Japanese mentality and their belief in Shintoism or Shrines. They issued Shinto directive immediately after the occupation which banned all customs, rituals, arts, theories and everything related with Shintoism.

Since Japanese way of life has been deeply and widely connected with Shintoism, above directive affected and is still affecting, even after the termination of the ban, almost all Japanese traditional customs, mentality and ways of life. This directive gave enormously strong negative impression on Shintoism and Yasukuni Shrine among whole world including Japan itself. Even in Japan, left wing media frequently refers Shintoism or Yasukuni Shrine as the symbol of militarism. However originally all Shrines including Yasukuni Shrine have nothing to do with militarism but they are the hometowns of souls of the deceased and their bereaved families.

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