This book is the first authoritative volume in English on Yasukuni, the controversial Shinto shrine in the heart of Tokyo, dedicated to the Japanese war dead. Twelve convicted and two suspected Class A war criminals are enshrined at Yasukuni, while the shrine's museum narrates an account of Japan's actions in the Second World War that is best described as revisionist. Visits to the shrine by cabinet members often set off protests at home and abroad, especially in China, Korea and Taiwan, and Yasukuni remains a source of considerable mistrust between the Chinese and Japanese governments. Despite the controversy, the former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made annual visits from 2001-6. The distinctive feature of this volume is that it sets out neither to commend Yasukuni nor to condemn it; it seeks, rather, to present authoritative yet divergent views, thereby allowing the contributors to render more complex an issue which, in the media at least, has long been portrayed in starkly simplistic terms. It accommodates chapters by leading pro-Yasukuni and anti-Yasukuni Japanese intellectuals; it carries multiple Chinese perspectives; and there are also contributions from Western commmentators who offer their own insights on the shrine and its place in post war Japanese diplomacy, ideology and history.
John Breen is Senior Lecturer in Japanese at SOAS, University of London. He has published widely in English and Japanese on issues of state and religion in modern Japan. He is the co-author of Shinto: a Short History (Blackwell, forthcoming).
ContentsPrefaceIntroductionYasukuni -- A GenealogyJohn Breen1 The Yasukuni Shrine Problem in Sino-Japanese Relations: Facing a StalemateCaroline Rose2A Religious Perspective on the Yasukuni Shrine ControversyKevin Doak3Unlocking the Secrets of Yasukuni: a Chinese PerspectiveWang Zhixin,4Plumbing the Depths: the Yasukuni Controversy in ChinaSeki Hei5The Showa Emperor and the Yasukuni ShrineTakahashi Tetsuya6And Why Shouldn't the Prime Minister Worship at Yasukuni?Nitta Hitoshi7Yasukuni and the Loss of Historical MemoryJohn Breen8Pledge Fulfilled: the Japanese Media and Prime Minister Koizumi's Yasukuni Worship, 2001-6,Phillip SeatonIndex