China Enraged As Japanese Lawmakers Visit Controversial Shrine
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  • Andrew Allison

    With respect, one would expect that, as an International Relations guru and Professor of History, WRM would be more nuanced. It’s indisputable that Japanese forces committed acts of atrocity, but the Yasukuni Shrine is, in effect, Japan’s Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. Are we, given My Lai, Abu Ghraib, etc., in any position to cast stones?
    As to the geopolitical significance: VM has posted frequently on the responses of counties in the neighborhood to a bellicose China. While not condoning Japan’s past transgressions, I think that, in light of the communist regime’s death toll, the appropriate response to China’s huffery would be, “You must be joking”.

    • EH

      You are completely wrong. The equivalent of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier would be Chidorigafuchi or maybe Dai Heiwa Kinen Tō. Those enshrined at Yasukuni are definitely known and they are not just soldiers.

      • Andrew Allison

        I stand corrected as to the nature of the shrine, but submit that the message to China was clear.

    • f1b0nacc1

      To compare the war criminals of the Japanese Army in WWII (and that is who is enshrined at Yasukuni) to those responsible for Abu Ghraib or My Lai is an obscenity. Lets remember that William Calley was tried and imprisoned for his role at My Lai (and numerous others in the chain of command had their careers ruined, rightly so, for doing nothing about it), and while Abu Ghraib was an ugly incident, it is in no way comparable to the acts of murder and other atrocities that were commonly engaged in by the Japanese army in China and the Pacific.
      The Japanese have never come to terms with their WWII actions, not surprising in a shame-oriented society. Like it or not, the Chinese (who I have little love for on many levels) have some basis for complaint here. Is the Chinese leadership being cynical about using this incident, of course, are they entirely wrong…no

  • jeburke

    Well, you know, it’s 68 years after the war, so no one in authority in Japan today was out of elementary school when the crimes were committed and most were not born. In any case, the most dangerous militarism in Asia today is China’s. I, for one, am glad that the Japanese have begun to come out of their pacifist shell, as I’m not eager to see the US continue to shoulder responsibility for the defense of Japan for a century.

    • Andrew Allison

      For today’s Japanese to deny the sins (the rape of Nanking, the Korean comfort women or the sheer barbarism exhibited during WW-II) of its Fathers is, of course, unacceptable. As is that of China, with a human rights record which leaves Japan’s in the dust to criticize Japan.

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