Yasukuni serves useful purpose

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.

robert yamamoto
chula vista, california

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.

  • Ken5745

    Robert, would the Jews be not horrified should the Germans also set up a shrine to honor and worship the 3 million fallen Nazi soldiers as well a Adolf Hitler and other Nazi war criminals, found guilty at the Nuremberg Trial?

    Also let me remind you that the walls in Washington and in Argentina are not shrines.

  • You forget that Yasukuni enshrines 7 convicted war-criminals. I see the Prime Minister has recently claimed they received victor`s justice. Ironically however, it was victor`s justice that spared the imperial family by exempting the Emperor from wrong doing

    • Ken5745

      Actually there are 14 Class A Japanese war criminals interred at the Yasukuni shrine.

      If these 14 Class A war criminals are moved to another shrine it will no longer be a problem for any minister or even the prime minister to visit the Yasukuni shrine.

      But would Japan do that? I doubt it.

      • Rei Murasame

        Once a person has been merged into a shrine, it is impossible to remove them. This is a religious issue, and the working of religious matters cannot be rewritten just to please liberals who don’t understand anything.

  • NonpartisanVoice

    Robert along with many other Japanese Americans are attempting to downplay the provacative nature of these visits. Correction, there are more than 1,000 war criminals (Class A and B) enshrined along with other innocent non-japanese personnel (over 50,000) conscripted by force enshrined as well.

    The reality is most people don’t understand as Japan illogically connects crime with pride. Instead of suggesting for the world to accept the Japanese nationalistic agenda, it would do the world whole lot of good for Japan to accept the international concensus.