Located in the heart of Tokyo, Yasukuni is a controversial shrine dedicated to the Japanese war dead. It holds the remains of twelve convicted and two suspected Class A war criminals, and its museum features an account of Japan's involvement in the Second World War that many would describe as revisionist. Visits to Yasukuni by cabinet members often spark protests in Japan and abroad, especially in China, Korea, and Taiwan, and the shrine's existence continues to foster a sense of mistrust between the Chinese and Japanese governments.
As the first authoritative volume in English on Yasukuni, John Breen has edited a book that neither commends nor condemns the monument. Instead it renders more complex an issue that, in the media at least, has been portrayed in starkly simplistic terms. Breen presents authoritative yet divergent views on the shrine and its place in postwar Japanese diplomacy, ideology, and history. Critical contributions are written by leading Yasukuni and anti-Yasukuni Japanese intellectuals, as well as Chinese and Western commentators. Yasukuni is a provocative symbol of Japan's nationalist past. With this book, English-speaking readers can now access a full portrait of the shrine's significance and its unique position in the highly contested history of Japan.
About the Author
John Breen is senior lecturer in Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. With Mark Teeuwen, he has coedited Shinto in History: Ways of the Kami and coauthored A Brief History of Shinto.
Table of Contents
Contents:"The Yasukuni Shrine Problem in Sino-Japanese Relations: Facing a Stalemate" by Caroline Rose, University of Leeds; "A Religious Perspective on the Yasukuni Shrine Controversy" by Kevin Doak, Georgetown University; "Unlocking the Secrets of Yasukuni: A Chinese Perspective" by Wang Zhixin, Miyazaki University; "Plumbing the Depths: The Yasukuni Controversy in China" by Seki Hei, Japan-resident Chinese critic; "The Showa Emperor and the Yasukuni Shrine" by Takahashi Tetsuya, Tokyo University; "And Why Shouldn't the Prime Minister Worship at Yasukuni?" by Nitta Hitoshi, Kogakkan University; "Yasukuni and the Loss of Historical Memory" by John Breen, SOAS; "Pledge Fulfilled: the Japanese Media and Prime Minister Koizumi's Yasukuni Worship, 2001-6" by Phillip Seaton, Hokkaido University
What People are Saying About This
The controversial Yasukuni Shrine has become a barometer of the inclinations of the Japanese political elite, but we have lacked a dispassionate examination of its history and political significance. John Breen has brought his formidable energies as a researcher and his expertise in the history of Japanese religion to bear on a subject of continuing political significance. This splendid book ought to dispel much of the mythmaking and mistaken suppositions that surround this subject.