February 05, 2008

Yasukuni Shrine

I took advantage of the clear skies to wander over to Yasukuni Shrine today, which is a short walk from Iidabashi station. Somewhat like the Cenotaph in London, it is a shrine to soldiers who have died in action for their country. One noticeable difference is that since twelve prominent war criminals are enshrined here, it is probably the most controversial shrine in the whole of Japan, and as a result it occasionally makes the news nationally and internationally.
The grounds of the shrine are fairly extensive and the buildings are extremely well-cared for, making it an impressive sight, though the replica fighter plane and howitzer in the lobby of the attached museum seem incongruous and are an eerie reminder of the purpose of the shrine. I didn't have time to visit the museum, but I've been told that the explanations with the exhibits add an interesting spin to historical events and that there are some glaring omissions of certain events that remain contentious to this day.

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