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Yasukuni Shrine and Japan’s War Dead

Yasukuni Shrine was founded in 1869 as a place for the repose of the souls of Japan’s war dead. In recent decades its role as a focus for historical controversy has overshadowed this, though. In this series we examine the debate over the shrine and Japan’s remembrance of the dead.

Yasukuni and the Enshrinement of War CriminalsHigurashi Yoshinobu

The advent of the second Abe Shinzō cabinet has rekindled the bitter controversy over official visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where war criminals are honored alongside Japan’s other war dead. Diplomatic historian Higurashi Yoshinobu sheds light on the process that culminated in the secret enshrinement of Class A war criminals in 1978.

How Japan Honors Its War Dead: The Coexistence of Complementary SystemsHiyama Yukio

Japan’s modern memorialization of its war dead has its roots in the conflicts accompanying the restoration of imperial rule in the nineteenth century. These led to the establishment of Yasukuni Shrine as a national institution for those who died fighting for the emperor, along with the emergence of various local observances and memorials. The dual structure continues to this day.

Getting Back to Basics on YasukuniKawashima Shin

Every August, Japan and many other nations begin a “Yasukuni watch” to see whether the prime minister or other government figures will visit the controversial shrine. Here we take an in-depth look at Yasukuni, its history, present reality, and significance.

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