Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Shrine, Temple and Mr. Abe's First Year

The past three weeks have seen the publication of reams of interpretation, analysis and discussion of Abe Shinzo's visit to Yasukuni. The East Asian Forum alone has published six different essays on the subject by authors like Aurelia George Mulgan and Tessa Morris-Suzuki, whom I admire, and Hugh White, whom I do not. (Link)

Of the hundreds of op-eds and blog postings now out there, the ones that get closest to the answer to the question of "What was Abe Shinzo thinking?" are The Economist Tokyo Bureau Chief Tamzin Booth's allusively titled Banyan post "See you at Yasukuni" (Link) and the always provocative Stephen Harner's post on the Forbes website "After Yasukuni, China Closes The Door On Abe: Why Is He Smiling?" (Link)

One would have to be a veteran of the Comfort Women resolution wars in the U.S. House of Representatives and a reader of the twisted stuff published in revisionist monthlies such as WiLL, Seiron and the now blessedly demised Shokun! -- and the blogs of folks like Sakurai Yoshiko -- to know at least one of the things Abe Shinzo was thinking when he went to Yasukuni on December 26:


If that makes not the least bit of sense to you, please come by the second floor of Temple University Japan's Azabu campus tomorrow evening. I will be speaking on Abe's first year in office and the political outlook for 2014 (Link). The doors open at 19:00 with the session staring at 19:30.

The speech is open to the public but seating is limited. Though registration is not mandatory, the host of the event, the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) asks that appreciates it when persons wishing to attend to send a registration email to

Later - ICAS has written to say that there is plenty of space available for tomorrow night's event. That's good to know. However, if you are not on the ICAS mailing list, a registration email to this event will put you on its list, giving you first notice of all future events.


Philippe said...

Funny… I was thinking Israel a few days ago. But Turkey too works for me , kinda. A neo-sultan and a neo-shogun walk into a bar… There is a difference, though. the neo-sultan is backed by ‘new’ money whereas the neo-shogun relies on ‘old’ money. Also the sultan has a powerful opponent in the form of the Gulen networks.

Unless you meant the bird of the same name. But you’d have to explain that one.

PS - Will a transcript of your talk be posted somewhere?

MTC said...

Philippe -

A few days from now Temple University Japan will upload the video of the talk to the TUJ YouTube channel.

Robert Dujarric said...

Philippe: Yes TUJ videos are posted on our website, it may take a few weeks as they need to be processed for editing (technical, there's no censorship nor Official Secrets Act at our university). If the speaker wishes it, we can also post the PowerPoint presentations.

If you would like to be on our TUJ email list, email us at

Robert Dujarric, Director, ICAS
Temple University Japan, Tokyo