Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Modest Proposal Regarding Yasukuni Visits

Last night Abe Shinzo paid a formal visit to Yasukuni Shrine, signing in as "Abe Shinzo, President of the Liberal Democratic Party." (Link - E)

Way to nail down for your party the votes of the tiny minority who are right wing wackos! Was Abe so worried that the rightists and enervated patriots might give their proportional seat votes to Hashimoto Toru's increasingly comical Japan Restoration Association that Abe was willing to exacerbate regional tensions?

Given actions such as Abe's, and the seeming impossibility of finding an uncontroversial way of paying one's respects at Yasukuni (in his five years in office, Koizumi Jun'ichiro tried five different types of visits on five different dates -- no luck) is there a quick and dirty solution to the regional acrimony over Yasukuni visits?

The private organization that runs Yasukuni says that kami, once enshrined there, cannot be unenshrined (someone should go tell this to Taira Masakado). So just evicting the problematic 14 is not in the cards.

What seems to be the only rational solution is to relabel the enshrined 14 Class A war criminals. Something less threatening. Something that countermands the terror that the words "War Criminal" inspires.

How about relabeling the 14 as "Togo Shigenori and the 13 Bozos"?


Jan Moren said...

You're missing the most obvious possibility: Abe isn't playing to the right-wing peanut gallery, the _is_ one of the loonies that truly believe the war was just, and believes in the divine right and necessity of honouring the instigators of the war.

Andrea Ostrov Letania said...

Who cares? Israel handed awards to the fellas who committed the Lavon Affair but we send billions in aid to Israel. China still prominently features the image of Mao, the killer of 40-50 million.
Americans killed 100,000s if not millions through mass bombing but I don't see Americans coming to terms with that.

MTC said...

Janne Morén -

Oh undoubtably. After all, his grandfather, a Class A war crimes defendant, is his hero.

MTC said...

Ms. Letania -

In the examples you cite, the countries honor those who have done great harm. The hysteria, manufactured though it may be, of the South Koreans and the Chinese at Yasukuni visits results from the sense that anyone paying his or her respects to Japan's warriors, soldiers and sailors killed in action must be paying tribute to the 14, though the only any action any of them saw was at the end of a hangman's noose.

Japan's official policy, as required by the terms of the San Francisco Treaty, is that the 14 are war criminals. Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko has done himself no favor in the history department by trying, whilst a member of the opposition, to split hairs and twist the then LDP-led government into admitting that the 14 were not war criminals under Japanese laws pertaining to criminal acts in wartime.

My proposal suggests that the Japanese establishment take a step beyond the acceptance of the verdicts of the IMTFE, into actual mockery of the militarists and conflict facilitators who led their cowed countrymen and women into imperial continental conquest and a hopeless war against the United States (Togo Shigenori, a civilian who opposed war with the U.S. and, when reappointed to the Cabinet, argued for the acceptance of Potsdam, died of inflammation of the gall bladder in Sugamo in 1950 -- not exactly Class A war criminal or Yasukuni material).