Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rising Ghosts

For several years, the world has watched the same pattern emerging in Asia around August 9th and the anniversary of the end of WWII in Japan.

For many reasons, most of them bad, Japanese Prime Ministers have paid official visits to the Yasukuni Shrine.

For many reasons, most of them bad, China has reacted with growing vehemence and violence to these visits, joined by other countries like South Korea


Because the Yasukuni Shrine is not only the resting place for the souls of all the men sacrificed on the altar of war and to satisfy the ambitions of a select few, but also a place where the souls of war criminals, monsters and torturers were smuggled in what amounts to me to the befouling of a sacred place. I have yet to understand why the Shinto priests in charge of the shrine allowed this to happen. Had this not taken place, there would be no controversy today, and official visits to Yasukuni could happen without anyone being able to seize on the excuse to attack Japan for their own purposes, which often have little to do with the vocal protestations concerning the horrible crimes of the past.

Don’t mistake me, I believe that official visits to Yasukuni shouldn’t take place so long as the souls of the 14 great war criminals are enshrined there. I believe the honor and pride of Japan’s government would be in finding a way to have those souls erased from the list of names in Yaskuni. Still, I find it too easy to simply drink the words that come from China without trying to analyze the whys and wherefores, the more so since those visits to Yasukuni by Japan’s first ministers have not always elicited such a response by China.

When you think about it, outraged reactions which give rise to a dwelling on past wars and past crimes are a win-win for China’s so nice and democratic government: you gather people around the idea of nationalism, you push them to look at their “national pride” (how often has national pride been the equivalent of blind stupidity? Far too often…) instead of on their everyday life and the conditions they exist in. It focuses anger and frustrations on an outside element and thus prevents it from being lashed out at what caused it. In a fantastically convenient fashion, it gives the Chinese government yet another way to control its population and keep it on a tight leash. Rub the wounds with polluted mud, help them fester, and as the pain artificially grows, everything else is eclipsed. Not exactly beautiful, but frighteningly efficient. And people work. People swallow that fish with greedy appetite, unfortunately.

As to Japan’s first minister, I’m sorry, but all the justifications running along the lines of “we’ll do what we want on our soil, and we won’t be ordered around by China or others” are just empty rationalization of what is at best a mistake, and at worst a part of the manipulation that’s been aiming at getting a fundamental change in Japan’s constitution—a change that would once again allow Japan to lead offensive military actions, thus breaking a taboo dating back to the end of WWII.

Yanking history aside, and unmaking what had been, in my humble opinion, one of the very few good sides to the US occupation of Japan on the eve of the war’s end. Japan had become the first pacific country, gaining its place in the international community through diplomacy, through its financial contributions to positive project at UNO…it was the way to go, the path to follow. But of course, warmongers with a bad ego and pride problem will never be satisfied with that (not manly enough, you know—just like the morons who need big cars to compensate for their self-perceived lack of masculinity). Well, warmongers, ego bruised fools, and people thirsting after power who know how to use tools to further their own interests. And so, some in Japan have been pushing for that fundamental change. In parallel, the prime minister of Japan stubbornly insist on visiting Yasukuni each year, aware of what it will trigger, and most likely counting on it, and counting on how that will be received by the Japanese population. If someone wanted to manipulate people in Japan, to rekindle the infamous “national pride”, they wouldn’t do it any other way.

All in all, those visits to Yasukuni serve everyone’s purposes: China, those who believe Japan should change, and revert back to what it was…

When the true, honourable thing to do would simply be to strike off the war criminals’ names from the list of the souls resting at Yasukuni, and then to continue to visit the shrine. Those criminals are a stain on the shrine, a befouling of all the other deads’ resting place. So, yes, striking off those names from the list would be the honourable thing to do.

Is there anyone who has enough honour and strength in the Japanese governement to do that?


Anonymous said...

Wyn? is it you?

Fuu-chan said...

Hmmm...this is one hell of a strange comment... ^^;

Would you care to elaborate? ^^;

Anonymous said...

I have a friend Wyn, whom I met in an online game. I left the game sometime ago, but recently checked back and found she has quit the game as well. Her profile points to this blog, so I thought you are her. But on closer inspection it doesn't seem possible, since she said she's from Europe and you are in US(going by your blog post). I think I made a mistake, sorry.


Anonymous said...

I think I forgot to mention her profile in that online game forum has link to this blog. That's why I manage to find my way here. But nevermind. I think I got the wrong person.

Fuu-chan said...

OK. Sorry about the crypticness of my reply, Densuke, but I wanted to know who was sending that comment.

So, in spite of appearances, this is indeed me.

If you wish, you can find my e-mail somewhere in my fanfiction page on my web site. Remove the anti-spam, and you'll have a way to contact me (I tried just now going through the RK forum, I still have an account there but I never check it, and couldn't find your username to send you a PM)

I hope you're doing well.

Anonymous said...

Oh lol... didn't know you like animes too. :D. Good to know there is still a way to contact you.

You can't find me in that forum cos I ask for my account to be removed when I left the game. There shouldn't be any trace of me left in that forum, posts or profile.

Anyhow, how are you doing? Your articles here are still as good and thought provoking as in the forum.

Be well and keep writing. :)


Fuu-chan said...

Hehe, thanks for the compliment ;)

Glad to hear about you too ^^
And yeah, don't hesitate to email me or anything ^^

I'm doing well, if in dire need of holidays (just one week and a half to go before that).

How about you?

Anonymous said...

I am fine. :)

Good to hear you are doing well. I'll email you. Enjoy your holidays!