Thursday, August 15, 2013

history honored, history rewritten

Two Japanese cabinet ministers and dozens of lawmakers have visited the Yasukuni shrine on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II....
The shrine commemorates some 2.5 million Japanese men, women and children who died for their country in wars.
But the souls of 14 Class A convicted war criminals from World War II are also enshrined there, including Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo, who was executed for war crimes in 1948.
The shrine is also deeply political, reports the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes from Tokyo. Today its history museum continues to peddle a version of World War II history that either ignores or denies the crimes committed by Japan in Korea and China.


  1. Perhaps I'm from a generation that was a bit too close to WW2, but I always cringe a bit when I see western spiritual seekers sporting Japanese middle names. Then again, it seems to be the fashion to take on an exotic-sounding Asian "dharma" moniker, as if to convince oneself and ones acquaintances that one has indeed become a different person, a new and improved version of what was essentially a fictitious critter anyway. People are funny . . .

  2. Bob -- You're right of course: Dharma names are, like the advertising that all religions are, advertising... a means of enticing participants to what may be a wider and more satisfying and peaceful way of life. Life lacks names. People tack 'em on. With any luck, the tacks let go over time.

    I recently read a very good summation by Brian Victoria ("When God(s) and Buddhas Go To War") of the role religions played in state-sponsored wars. I'll post it here if Victoria gets his publisher's permission to make it available on the Internet. What it details is the quite concrete proofs of why you may be wise to balk at slick Asian monikers ... and slick western appellations as well.