Follow Us




Home > Hot topics
Yasukuni Shrine
Japan Defense Minister Inada Visits Yasukuni Shrine (News)

Tokyo, Dec. 29 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Defense Minister Inada Tomomi visited war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Thursday, her first visit there since she became the country's top defense official in August. Inada's move drew a protest from Seoul. In South Korea, as well as in China, the shrine is regarded as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, because World War II class-A war criminals are ensh…

Yasukuni Shrine: the Basics

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine on December 26, 2013, was the first by a Japanese leader for seven years and drew fierce criticism from China and South Korea. What started as a place to honor those who fell while fighting the Tokugawa shogunate has become a center of controversy in East Asian relations. This article presents the key historical, religious, and political information regarding the shrine.

Timeline for August 2014

Landslides caused by torrential rain kill 72 people in Hiroshima and Japan marks anniversaries of the dropping of atomic bombs and the end of World War II. These are the top Japanese news stories of August 2014.

The Illusion of “Rising Nationalism”: Internationalism and Xenophobia in Today’s JapanKarube Tadashi

Both in Japan and overseas, journalists have been expressing concern about the rise of nationalism under Prime Minister Abe Shinzō. A political scientist questions the validity of these worries.

Japan’s Religious Ambivalence: The Shaping and Dismantling of a National PolityShimazono Susumu

Religion is often regarded as playing a comparatively minor role in Japanese society, but is this really true? Religious scholar Shimazono Susumu examines the historical evolution of religion as a social force in Japan.

Kami: The Evolution of Japan’s Native GodsHashizume Daisaburō

Since ancient times, Japanese people have revered kami, the gods of Shintō. And for over a millennium they have also practiced Buddhism, sometimes conflating Buddhas with their native divinities. Sociologist Hashizume Daisaburō traces the changes in the Japanese view of kami over the centuries.

China’s Rise in a Shifting World Economy: Divergence Between the East Asian and Global ViewsShiraishi Takashi

Happy New Year from We look forward to your readership over the year to come. As we start 2014, I would like to write about some major long-term developments, namely, the ongoing shift in the world economy and the rise of China. First I would ask you to look at the table below, which presents the changing shares of some major countries and groups of countries in the world economy fr…

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.

Video highlights

New series

  • From our columnists
  • In the news