Regarding the April 22 Kyodo article “(State minister Keiji) Furuya shows up at war-linked Yasukuni“: I am a U.S. citizen with Japanese heritage on my mother’s side. I was born in Japan only 16 years after the end of the great war. Although I do not have any real memories about what life was like at that time, I have visited Yasukuni Shrine many times and feel that it is an honorable place. I discovered that it is not just a shrine to honor war dead but also a reminder of the tragedy of war.
My visits remind me that we are all victims as well as beneficiaries of the sacrifices of those enshrined in Yasukuni and every other memorial in the world.
I have viewed the names and seen the faces of thousands of brave men who gave their lives for causes they could not possibly have fully comprehended. It was no different from those enshrined on the walls of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington or the Wall of the Fallen for Argentina’s “Islas Malvinas” (Falklands).
Every soul is preserved to honor the sense of duty each possessed — not whether the duty was correctly chosen by his or her leaders. Today, in an ever increasingly unstable world, we need government leaders to remember what could happen if they fail to make good decisions.
It is a shallow viewpoint to think that leaders are praying for a return to the past with a blind eye to the future. Some people criticize government leaders for visiting Yasukuni, claiming the visit is offensive to the memory of past victims. Rather, it seems unjust to future generations not to visit.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.