Japanese Politician Speaks Out Against Yasukuni Shrine Visit

New Komeito Party politician speaks out against LDP visits to the Yasukuni Shrine.

New Komei Party politician speaks out against LDP visits to the Yasukuni Shrine.

The Yasakuni Shrine, a Shinto Shrine in Tokyo dedicated to those who died in the name of the Empire of Japan, is a constant source of controversy due to its enshrinement of multiple war criminals from World War II.

Over the decades, there have been countless disputes over visits to the shrine by prime ministers and other government officials. Supporters of the visits insist that there’s nothing wrong with a Japanese official paying homage to the spirits of those who have died for Japan, but the international community (and Korean and Chinese citizens in particular) interpret it as an act of support for Japanese nationalism and denial of the atrocities Japan committed during World War II.

This controversy reignited when Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro and state minister Furuya Keiji paid a visit to Yasukuni on April 21. Later that day, Diet member Natsuo Yamaguchi of the New Komei Party publicly spoke out against the visits, pointing out that it’s sure to cause harm to Japan’s diplomatic relations with China and Korea. Unsurprisingly, the netouyo responded in full force, many focusing on the NKP’s close ties with the Soka Gakkai religion.

From Yahoo! Japan:

Cabinet Ministers’ Shrine Visits “Affect Diplomacy,” Says New Komei Party Representative

At a press conference in Saitama on April 21, New Komei Party Representative Yamaguchi Natsuo expressed discomfort about the cabinet ministers’ visits to Yasukuni Shrine, saying, “No matter how you explain it, you can’t avoid the fact that it has a diplomatic impact”. In addition, he requested that from now on the government deal with this issue with “concern about damaging the improvement of our relations (with both China and Korea)”.

Comments from Yahoo! Japan:


It’s useless for the NKP to meddle with political diplomacy or anything else.
After all, they fix their numbers.


Since it’s a domestic issue, don’t worry about goddamn Korea and China.


Shut up, NKP! They did what they needed to do as Japanese people. That’s all!!


There’s no problem whatsoever with visiting a shrine.

(・____・) ジィー(kit…)さん:

His traitor ideology intermittently shows its face.


Should we ignore the spirits of those who threw away their lives for the sake of their country?
You guys are just paying respects to an epic story and that’s fine, but regular Japanese people go to Yasukuni to give thanks to the spirits of the dead.
Shut up, cult!


The president of Soka Gakkai is secretly Korean, so of course they’re opposed to it.


So the NKP is trying to break its alliance with the LDP!!


The NKP should go ahead and sink without dragging the Abe administration down with it!!


Since it’s a different religion from their own, the NKP can only see the people who are complaining about it.


Why do we need to concern ourselves with China and Korea?
Complaints about Japanese people paying homage to a shrine for the spirits of the Japanese war dead…
Mr. Yamaguchi of the NKP… These are all completely traitorous statements! What country are you a politician for?


Separation of church and state. Don’t say that!


Everyone in the LDP, please visit Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of the end of the war without worrying about the NKP!


With this statement, the NKP made it clear that they’re unnecessary for Japan.


There’s nothing left but to end the NKP!!! Why these traitor groups are clinging to the ruling LDP… It’s difficult to understand (*`Д´)ノ!!!


Why do we need to concern ourselves with stupid countries like that!
Anyone should visit the shrine as they like! Stupid NKP!


If going to the pay homage to the shrine sours the relationship, then the relationship wasn’t necessary to begin with.
They should visit the shrine without reservation. If you oppose it, you should leave the government.


Recently, it feels like there’s an irreconcilable difference of sensibility and ideology between the NKP and the LDP.
I think both parties should seriously discuss the pros and cons of their alliance.


They’re national politicians, but mourning the victims of our country’s past wars has nothing to do with diplomacy! If you can’t say that with firmly, then don’t claim to be part of the government!


The NKP needs to start wearing surgical masks.

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  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    Watching the netouyo is like watching an angry drunk man. He’s screaming bloody murder and he doesn’t seem to realize pants are down, and that his wing wong is flapping in everyone’s faces. You’d tell him to stop but you’re afraid he’ll do something weird at you.

  • NoBS

    ……..And Japan wonders why China and Korea hates them …??…O.o…

    Honoring the war dead is okay. But when you’re honoring convicted war criminals, then it shows you have a very warped sense of history. What perplexes me further is that they do this knowing that it will strain their relations with their neighbors.

    • Butsu

      I’m not going to defend anyone here, just point out a fact. There are over two million people enshrined at Yasukuni. The politicians that visits might not go there for the war criminals. But who knows, maybe they do?!

      • NoBS

        It’s seen as a symbol of the evil atrocities committed by Japan during WW2. Doesn’t matter if they are there for the war criminals or not. For government officials who represent the country to visit such a place just looks very bad.

        • Eudaimonia

          If your ass is suddenly seen as a symbol of the evil attrocities commited by your country should people not look at your ass?

          Sometimes there’s an objective reality, and this is one of those times.

          The Japanese can visit the place were millions of soldiers are burried which is in their own country, if others bitch about that let them.

          • I imagined his life would not be good. No more sunbathing im afraid. All the beach go-er would be furious at his symbol of evilness. He will forever be that guy who ruin the beach day.

          • NoBS

            Cool story. Haven’t gone to beach for years now.

          • NoBS

            Hey, ass. I didn’t say they can’t visit. Obviously, it’s their choice to do whatever. I just said it looks very bad.

          • cb4242

            Yes, they can visit, but likewise, the Japanese can’t bitch about people looking down on them, not taking them seriously and creating a wider divide. So let them visit their war criminals, personally, I don’t care, I do feel sorry for the other Asian countries that were severely affected by Japanese atrocities, atrocities that are mostly erased from Japanese history text books that portray the Japanese as victims.

          • Eudaimonia

            Not saying very much are we? There are MILLIONS of dead soldiers there, the 1,000 doesn’t make the place taboo because Koreans and Chinese ultra-nationalist propaganda thinks that it is.

        • y.m.

          No one gives a shit about how it looks. if they want to pray for their deads, they can.

      • If not the war criminal, the “museum” that the shrine built next to itself pretty much clears any pretense that the shrine has about housing other souls. It’s about glorifying what the Empire did as “liberating Asia” and struggling against the evil Europeans/Americans.

        Identifying “Chinese Terrorism” as the reason for the Empire to invade China? Check. Blame America for causing the Pacific War? Check. Completely skip over the horrific massacre of civilians in the Rape of Nanking? Check. Completely omit Unit 731, Comfort Women (oh, excuse me, Tenno Heika Banzai squad. Willing slutty prostitutes), and Bataan death march? Check. Portray the entire military ventures of the Empire as a “valiant and noble effort to liberate and educate Asia and unite it against the hordes of Western aggression”? Check, checkity, check check check!

    • Rutim

      >What perplexes me further is that they do this knowing that it will strain their relations with their neighbors.

      They don’t care. Hate has been and will be there no matter what they do. And as far I know Chinese and Koreans don’t vote in Japanese elections. Read the second comment under the article.

      • NOBS

        I know. I just think it’s a dumb thing they’re doing. Nothing to gain vs everything to lose.

        • Kai

          I wouldn’t say nothing to gain. They can gain a lot from certain parts of the domestic audience.

    • cb4242

      I have been living in Japan for 13 years and I can say without a doubt, Japan doesn’t care what the world thinks. First of all, many Japanese tell me, it’s no different than Americans going to Arlington, for them, same thing. Second, Japan sees itself as a victim during WWII having suffered from the Atomic bomb, how the US could drop that kind of a weapon on innocent men, women and children is inconceivable. Third, Japanese don’t think the issue of comfort women is that serious of an issue, many say, most Korean women were willing participants in offering themselves to Japanese soldiers. As for the Chinese, the issue of Nanking is also an issue that the Japanese say, it never happened and or almost all of the killing was done by Chinese soldiers that stole Japanese soldier uniforms to stir violence and hatred towards the Japanese.
      Bottom line, Japan gave a watered down apology about its actions to its neighbors, but unlike Germany, Japan didn’t make a huge campaign apology tour, ceremonial, reefs, the whole nine yards.
      To be honest, Japan is not doing it out of nationalism, they are doing this out of pure defiance as well as they know it will piss everyone off.
      Japan doesn’t have a military, just a self-defense force.
      They need the US to back them up should the country be under attack.
      This is the only comeback Japan has as a nation and what more can they do that would get under the skin of its neighbors, than go to this Shrine. Revised history books, edited facts.
      But the Japanese always have a bewildered look on their faces as to why the rest of the world can’t get along with them or don’t like them.

      • I think age and location have a huge impact on the opinions you hear. I always use Republicans vs. Democrats as an example. I’ve lived in Japan a few years as well and I have met the Japanese you speak of, but I haven’t met “many” of them.

        I will agree that Japan doesn’t care what the world thinks, but for the reason that they simply don’t know much about the rest of the world. And honestly, few world issues actually have a direct impact on Japan.

      • y.m.

        The Japanese can do whatever they want within their own country, just like how any other country.

        • cb4242

          They can, but they shouldn’t complain when shit backfires in their face. They always can never understand why Many people, especially in Asia can’t stand them. They were, after all, apologetic. They don’t get it. Every time they visit that crazy Shrine, it rattles feathers. So they shouldn’t complain if people treat them like shit. It’s their own fault.

          • y.m.

            I don’t see how praying for their family members that died in the war will cause shit to backfire. And complain? Look at whos complaining when the Japanese people visit the Yasukuni shrine.

          • NoBS

            You’re totally missing the point.

          • y.m.

            And you’re missing my point too. The shrine isn’t built for no one except for the Japanese. nothing wrong with it

        • cb4242

          And every country has a right to shun them as well.

      • Eudaimonia

        Really? It is getting a bit boring to hear about “good Germany”, especially when it’s by people who have no sense of history at all.

        Let me give an example…

        Did the Germans repay the war loan they got from Greece? (The loan that led to food shortages which led to ~300k dying, yes – yes) …hitler payed 2 installments of that loan back, is Germany worse than nazi Germany in this regard?

        Yet, what are they doing today? They’re destroying Europe, are manifacturing inner-EU racist propaganda etc, transfering all types of capital from the south to the north.

        They’re good at saying sorry though, you got to give them that. 😛

        ffs x2

        • Rutim

          >They’re good at saying sorry though, you got to give them that. 😛

          There’s even a German coined word for that: Versöhnungskitsch.

      • Mighty

        The excuses for ‘comfort women’ and ‘Nanking’ further infuriates the Koreans and Chinese. As for ‘innocent’ people getting killed, the Japanese, just about the entire nation, were supporting their Emperor’s war effort so they weren’t so innocent. On the other hand, the exact number of true innocent civilians killed by the Japanese may never be known.

        • Guest

          USA! USA! USA!

          • Mighty

            The last time I heard this chant was when Bin Laden got killed.

      • Dave Park

        Island mentality.

    • y.m.

      Japan doesn’t mind about being hated by korea and china. seriously, why should they?

      • poko

        Honestly, there is no problem between Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
        Problem exists only in the mind of those who have ethnic hates and have a distorted view.

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      Maybe they could just make a specific part of the shrine dedicated to those that died in WWII. Certainly enough died in that war to merit a spot of their own. It’d give the extremists their little patch of paradise, and help avoid confusion internationally if some politician visits the shrine.

      Doesn’t fix the problem, but at least this might ‘patch’ it for a while.

  • NoBS

    It’s weird, Germany has got more pride/honor than Japan (“samurai honor”).

    When you do something wrong, the absolute worst thing you can do is lie and try to say you’re innocent. Especially when you’re caught red handed.

    Look at Germany after WW2, they came out and fully apologized. Everyone else eventually accepted and moved on. Even though the Nazis still get lots of hate, hardly any country can point their fingers at the current Germany and say they’re trying to deny the past.

    Now look at Japan. They keep giving out half regret statements trying to not accept full responsibility . On V-J day or on the anniversary, they got deniers parading around in the Imperial Japan army uniforms and what not and saying how “if they didn’t invade Asia during WW2, Asia would have been taken over by USA or other foreign countries”. They see invading Asia as a way to protect them. That’s how distorted they are about history.

    In the short term, it might help their domestic support from the right wing fanatics, but they are really hurting themselves as a country in the long run. The world’s economies are so connected and nowadays having good relationships with your neighbors can really help your own economy.

    I got more to say, but I’m sure you all get my message. Plus I’m getting tired of writing so much stuff….lol.

    • y.m.

      Maybe you should try thinking about if it’s china and korea that is lying.

      • HueHueHue

        maybe you should suck the german dick instead of the japanese, your mom told me its more filling derp derp

        • y.m.

          LOL what the fuck are you talking about haha

          • NoBS

            y.m. must be either a delusional right wing Japanese or a hardcore


          • y.m.

            …..um why? is that going to make any difference? or are you just trying to find any excuses to label me?

    • Eudaimonia

      Really? It is getting a bit boring to hear about “good Germany”, especially when it’s by people who have no sense of history at all.

      Let me give an example…

      Did the Germans repay the war loan they got from Greece? (The loan that led to food shortages which led to ~300k dying, yes – yes) …hitler payed 2 installments of that loan back, is Germany worse than nazi Germany in this regard?

      Yet, what are they doing today? They’re destroying Europe, are manifacturing inner-EU racist propaganda etc, transfering all types of capital from the south to the north.

      They’re good at saying sorry though, you got to give them that. 😛

      • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

        Really? The impression I had was that Germany was like an economic powerhouse that was offering work for other nationals like the greeks, whose country is run by incompetents who can’t even balance their personal accounts, let alone the economy of a nation.

        • Eudaimonia

          Work? You mean transfer of human capital (meaning Greek people who’re educated in Greece, an education payed for by other Greeks)? So, by taking the human capital by the countries of the north they’re doing those countries a favour?

          You’re clueless aren’t you about how economy works. Go play some videogames or watch some anime, this talk isn’t for you. Also, sadly your post is largely irrelevant to what i wrote, a strawman argument of the worst kind.

          bye bye now!

          • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

            No that’s honestly what I thought. If you can’t get over being butthurt over life in general that’s your own problem.

          • Eudaimonia

            Not saying very much are you? I’m not surprised, didn’t expect very much from you anyway. 🙂

          • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

            What’s there to say?
            You have anus pain
            I have an opinion
            Your anus flared up and you lashed out.

            I’d say it’s pretty clear.

          • Eudaimonia

            Here it is again…

            Work? When you say “work” do you mean the transfer of human capital – meaning: Greek people who’re educated in Greece, an education payed by other Greeks?

            So, in your opinion: When the northern countries take the human capital from the southern countries they’re doing those countries a favour? You must be an economic genius.

            You being a troll (A German uneducated troll maybe? 🙂 ) doesn’t mean very much to me.

            Bye bye now, at least until you really give a proper reply to me.

          • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

            No my opinion is that when states within a Union support each other by keeping people from one state from dragging the rest down by providing work is a positive thing. Unless those people are so mentally deficient they don’t know what to do with their money besides burning it, I think they can easily use what they earn to help those they still left behind in their home state (Greece).

            Remember the whole European Union thing? It was supposed to have the European nations function like a pack of wolves, not a dog biting its balls.

          • Eudaimonia

            Maybe some Chomsky can get through your thick propaganda filled skull…

            “The Germans want to grab anything valuable in Greece and are imposing conditions of economic slavery and psychological pressure on the Greeks. There must be a brake on it, “ Noam Chomsky, speaking in Dublin.

            So, when you say absurd bs like: “Remember the whole european union thing?” etc look at Northern Europe – they’re the ones destroying “the whole european thing” with their austerity neo-liberal chicago boys policies.

            Also this: “I think they can easily use what they earn to help those they still left behind in their home state” …is the most braindead thing that i have ever read, the reasons i explained above, human capital. They’re not helping anyone, they’re benefiting from getting highly skilled workers who’re most likely going to be payed much less than the locals, and all of this without having to pay a single dime for their education.

          • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

            Fine whatever, you win, I’d rather not try to argue with you. I’m afraid I’ll make you choke on all that bile.

  • chucky3176

    “Diet member Natsuo Yamaguchi of the New Komei Party
    publicly spoke out against the visits, pointing out that it’s sure to
    cause harm to Japan’s diplomatic relations with China and Korea.”

    No, Mr Yamaguchi. You are wrong. It’s wrong for Japanese leaders to continue to worship at Yasukuni, because that shrine makes a mockery of the history – portraying Japanese as the victims, and portraying Japan’s invasion and colonization of Asia as Japan’s good deed done to Asia. That is why the Japanese leaders and the Japanese people should not visit that shrine in memorial of Imperial Japan, and not just because of what the neighboring countries will think. The very fact that people still have to explain this very basic concept to the Japanese people and their anime loving Japonophile apologists who still don’t get it, tells us this is just a lost cause in a nation where they have taught their young, for decades, an entirely different version of history that are taught in the rest of the world.

    But see if anyone cares what Japan does or doesn’t do. They can visit Yasukuni and shout Banzai with their rising sun nazi flags all they want. Just don’t expect any cooperation from Korea, with Japan. The new president of South Korea is set to visit the United States, then she will stop at China. Japan is third on the list, but really, she should skip that state visit. Japan is no longer an economically or politically important enough country to pay that much attention to. Let them alone, so that they can be isolated in peace.

    • Rutim

      >The new president of South Korea is set to visit the United States, then she will stop at China. Japan is third on the list,

      You forgot to write that the two former Republic of Korea visited USA first, then Japan and later on China. So who’s taking provocative stance in this regard? Korean president or Japanese???

      >Japan is third on the list, but really, she should skip that state visit.

      That’s what your fellow netuyo wrote on 2ch! You have more in common with them than you could imagine!!!

      • People tend to be the thing that they hate. Just different faces.

      • chucky3176

        Lol, who cares if the visit is second or third? It only reflects South Korea’s ranking of importance of economic and geopolitical scale. United States is the most important for South Korea, for obvious reasons of alliance and security. Then China comes second, because China, while not an ally, is the most important customer for South Korea with the world’s largest market. Japan on the other hand is neither an important ally nor is she an important customer who’s increasingly becoming unfriendly, but at the same time, increasingly becoming irrelevant for South Korea. Park will only visit Japan because it’s just a big neighbor for South Korea, with very thorny issues, not because it’s anything South Korea can obtain any favorable benefits with Japan. Why is that provocative?

        • chucky3176

          There’s even speculation that Japan visit will even come after the Russia visit. So the new order might be USA, China, Russia, and then Japan, fourth. Figures, since Japan is pretty much a closed country for Korea. It’s a country where even innocently showing a Hyundai car on a TV show can lead to a public backlash that Korea is trying to bribe their way into Japan.

          • Rutim

            >It’s a country where even innocently showing a Hyundai car on a TV show can lead to a public backlash that Korea is trying to bribe their way into Japan.

            lol, here we go again 😀 what’s with your superb Japanese language skills? Speaking of country where only Hinomaru could cause public disteress.

            >Figures, since Japan is pretty much a closed country for Korea.

            Pretty harsh way of talking about one of the biggest trade partner 🙂

            > So the new order might be USA, China, Russia, and then Japan, fourth

            Don’t forget Pyongyang on the way from Moscow!

    • I think Natsuo Yamaguchi made pretty much the strongest stand against the Yasukuni visits that he was able to – since the NKP has ties with the LDP, it was a bold move for him to criticize the visits at all. For a Japanese politician to say it was wrong on an ideological level rather than a diplomatic level would probably be totally ruinous to his political career/PR, so I think that’s asking a little much.

  • someguy

    This Yamaguchi Natsuo man is my hero for the day. Anybody who is good enough to cause the netouyo to lose their sanity is a good man.

  • ぽこちゃん

    Oh…I feel so sorry.

  • y.m.

    The Japanese can do whatever the hell they want in their own country. If the Chinese want to destroy Japanese companies to protest Japan for the islands disputes, they can in their own country. If the Koreans want to cut their fingers off to protest Japan for historical issues, they can in their own country. No big deal, Japan belongs to the Japanese people. They don’t belong to ignorant foreigners who constantly ignore the law or the ones that never tries to learn the language, culture, nor how the society works. The Japanese have every right to worship and pray for their family members who have died in the war, just like any other country have. If you can’t respect the culture and the history of Japan, get out of the country. Its that sample.

    • Joe

      Well, I’m not in the country and I’m still shaking my head.

    • HueHueHue

      maybe you should suck the german dick instead of the japanese, your mom told me its more filling derp derp derp

    • Kuramano

      I would like to see that. Also i think it’s better for Japan to isolate their country like back in Edo period. LOL!

      • Rutim


        You think that Meiji Restoration opened Japan on Asia?

        • Kuramano

          That was sarcasm.

    • NoBS

      y.m. is either a ignorant moron or just a troll. All of his/her/it’s comments on this article is just pure stinky BS.

      • y.m.

        like what? my comment wasn’t a fact, its an opinion. whats so BS about it? huh?

    • Mighty

      Of course anyone can do whatever they please in their own country. But visits to the site that enshrines war time criminals is just very insensitive and insulting to the countries who had suffered the most.

      Just as you can do whatever you wish in your own home, imagine you standing at the window and flipping off at people whose family members you had murdered, raped, and tortured. How should these family members react? They are already frustrated that you’re not in prison for your wrong doings and there you are thumbing your nose at them.

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      Yes because focusing on what you do in your own country and damn the international community always works.

      It worked for China when-wait that ended with years of subjugation to international powers.

      Well it worked for Kore-oh no wait that ended with Japan using weaponry it gained from international trade to blast its way in.

      Well maybe it worked for America during World War II-no.

      Maybe your should rethink that ‘screw everyone who isn’t me’ policy.

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  • VHD

    why cant they just remove the convicted war criminals ???
    they can still worship the soldiers who die, I got no problem with that, but if they just remove the convicted ones then if Korea and China complains, they can fight back.
    Just plainly ignoring the issue and pushing back is a stupid and ignorant strategy for this.

    • abra

      Because the convicted war criminals were especially added to the shrine (after initially being left out). The priest says it’s impossible to remove a soul after it’s been added.

      The former high priest of the shrine during WWII did not want those souls added, only afterwards did it “sneak” in.

      I recall this information from the presentation I made on East Asian politics (I’ve visited the shrine during my trip to Japan).

      My problem is less with the shrine and more with the white-washing museum they’ve put beside the shrine. My Korean fellow travellor wouldn’t even go in to visit the place – outside you can see what exhibits they have – there’s one called the “China incident”, he said to me “Korea doesn’t even get an incident mention…”

  • ChinJaporean

    The funny thing is there are Chinese and Koreans buried in this exact Shrine.

    I think it’s wrong for Japan to mourn for the war criminals, but it’s wrong for Asia to criticize people honoring the lives of the dead. Soldiers fight for their family and their country, it is sad that people just focus on the war criminals.

    • chucky3176

      Those were collaborators in conquered countries. I know that in Korea, those families of those who are buried, have been trying to get their bodies out of there for decades, with no result. This is Japan’s way of saying, that Japan did a good deed for Asia, and there’s no way Japan is going to let anyone ruin that facade.

      It’s not just the war criminals who are buried, it’s the shrine itself which is distorting history – portraying Japan as the victims. There are no mention of Pearl Harbor, death prison camps, chemical experiments, sex slaves, invasions throughout Asia, massacres, alliance with the Nazis, suppression of freedom of speech/rights – nothing. All they contain are honoring of Mao/North Korea like propaganda that falsely takes the position that Japan fought for Asia against the white man, mixed in with primitive voodoo like Shintoism. It’s a disgusting display of nationalistic arrogance and a slap in the face to all those survivors of Japanese war machine.

      Yet, the entire Japanese legislator visits this offensive disgusting display. And now Shinto Abe comes right out, and says Japan didn’t invade any country. Before someone here will come out in their usual defensive mode of Japan, and say he doesn’t represent entire Japan…. well, get this, he has over 70% of public support in Japan. That says a lot, right there. Explain that to me.

      • Rutim

        >no more Yasukuni visitson his (Obama’s) watch.

        There will be other things to whine about from Chinese and Koreans. That won’t change a single thing even if Japanese politicians won’t visit the shrine for the next 100 years.

        Washington lets Japanese do what they want in controlled way dealing with neighbours. Maybe they’ll change attitude with Senkaku but I doubt it will happen in 50+years when China could really become a serious military threat in the region.

  • Eidolon

    It’s amazing that people still don’t understand that this isn’t about history, but about the modern cycle of abuse between Japan, Korea, and China. These countries do not want to be friends with one another; they do not even want to be related to each other. Conflict exists because they will it to exist, not because the past necessitates it.

    History is only an excuse. When you begin to understand the role nationalism plays in East Asian countries, and of how their need to feel superior to others around them fuels their medias and their industries, only then are you ready to wrap your mind around why they just don’t get over it.

    Humans reserve their apologies, their humility, and their generosity for people whose approval they care about. Japanese do not care about Korean / Chinese approval. Koreans do not care about Japanese / Chinese approval. Chinese do not care about Japanese / Korean approval. These countries lack the fundamental incentive to treat each other with grace and respect, and want nothing more than to rub each other’s noses in the dirt.

    This is not to say that East Asians are the only ones privy to this sort of behavior.

    For example, countries in the Middle East have the exact same problem. So did Europeans prior to the end of the World Wars.

    • Kai

      I’m jumping directly to this comment so I apologize if there is context I’m missing that your comment is responding to. On the basis of your comment alone, I feel I agree with parts of it but wonder if other parts are a bit too strong, or if the language used just makes it seem that way.

      For example, I agree that meaningful parts of these countries generalized don’t want to be friends with each other, that history is an excuse to fuel nationalism, and that nationalism fuels their medias and industries. I agree that conflict is often willed into existence and perpetuated. I agree the past does not necessitate conflict. It never does. The past doesn’t force anyone to do anything, it’s more or less how we choose to react to the past.

      But I see nationalism as a by-product of the dynamic of competition, and that dynamic of competition can only exist if the competitors see meaningful competition or potential for competition. I think that competition and potential for competition is obvious in East Asia, and much of why it exists requires an understanding of history.

      China: Recognized as the past dominant power and through basic size and population can still reclaim its top spot. If only it could get its act together. To have influenced both Japan and Korea for so long, only to have one butt-rape you and the other one now looking down its nose at you, how embarrassing is that? Just what the hell is wrong with you?

      Japan: Adapted to Western Imperialism and has seen itself become the dominant power, with the power to reshape the entire region in its desired image. Now stagnant, watching China stir, and having watched, WTF, Korea(!) arguably emulate its political and industrial policies to now nip at its heels in key industries where it once dominated.

      Korea: The underdog, historically fucked repeatedly, finally adopts a mind-over-matter approach with state-sponsored nationalism to quickly develop to a point where it is nipping at Japan’s heels. To them, they may never be able to take top spot if China gets its thumb out of its butt, but they can see that there’s no reason they can’t be #2 ahead of Japan. It’s possible, and China is so big and behind that they can enjoy top spot for some time, so why the heck not?

      Joking aside (and the above is admittedly oversimplified), these three countries identify themselves relative to each other. There’s ego because there has been success, because there has been progress, because success and superiority relative to each other is within sight or within memory. They aren’t “resigned” to their position because the barriers to moving up don’t seem to be that big. Once they might have seemed that way, but it doesn’t, not with changes in technology, changes in geo-politics, and it’s because of their good efforts but also because of the others’ failures and missteps. So the incentive is to push oneself to rise and hope the other to fall, because it matters, because the competition is that close, even if it shouldn’t be all else equal, but that’s how history has played out and we are where we are.

      Things will only settle down when there is one who is so clearly dominant and ahead that the others don’t see themselves catching up. At that point, the losers will comfort themselves with whatever few comparative advantages and superiority they have relative to the winner, while the winner will treat them with grace and respect because they don’t feel a threat at all. But before that new equilibrium is attained, where each knows its place and see’s not much chance of changing it, it’s going to be bad.

      • chucky3176

        I don’t get how you’re trying to portray this as if it’s an economic rivalry. But anyway, read this editorial from FP.com…


        “One reason that Washington has been able to keep quiet is that the American public has no idea of what Yasukuni means. If it did, these visits would blow the U.S.-Japan alliance completely out of the water.

        Since there is always the chance that the American public will become better informed, it would be wise for Washington to stop holding its nose and perhaps have a good sneeze.

        For the White House to be welcoming Japan into the TPP talks and sending B2 bombers on warning flights over North Korea and telling the Chinese to back off on the Senkakus and urging the Koreans to cooperate more with Japan while Japan’s top
        leaders are visiting Yasukuni is in a word — ridiculous.

        President Obama ought to get the word to Abe that there should be ”

        no more Yasukuni visits
        on his (Obama’s) watch.

        • Kai

          What don’t you understand about economic rivalries? I’m not sure I understand what you don’t understand about my comment. Maybe you can provide me some context of how you’re approaching my comment?

          The FP article echoes my own sentiments (except the last bit, which is probably not how I’d suggest Obama to make the argument to an ally). I don’t see how it responds to my comment though. My own comment was to walk people back from what I felt was Eidolon walking people away from understanding the conflict between the East Asian countries through history. To me, the history of these countries, not just in terms of war and conflict, but also their respective development vis a vis each other is a primary factor in how they see each other. When people will a conflict to persist, there are reasons for doing so. It’s hard to understand action without understanding motivation.

  • Wang That!

    For those who care to read a little deeper into the dynamic’s of why regional neighbors have issues with Japan and its “reflection” on history… also some possible insight into why the Japanese right is popular… From a Japanese perspective…

    Video by an American Japanese teacher in Japan, presenting his experiences with how Japanese view racism…

  • Reza

    If all Japanese politicians stop visiting the shrine, will it stop Koreans or Chinese bashing the Japanese?


    It is like when a terrorist attack happens and it was done by a Muslim, everyone bashes Muslims. Yet, when a non-Muslim attacks Muslims or fails in a terror attack against a Muslim place of worship, not much is made about it. The fact that BNP members in the UK had planed out to carry out attacks and were stopped before they could do so and then only to be charged under laws that existed before the ‘Anti-Terror” laws came in shows there is always a bias, even by establishments. If those BNP members were Muslim, they would have been done by the much harsher Anti-Terror laws.

    Japanese Government Ministers, the Prime Minister and whoever else is influanencial should appologise formally and make sure the students know what really happened in those wars. That should be the end of that, but it would be unlikely as Korea will still ask for money for the comfort women and China, well they don’t even teach true history themselves and there will still be many shows showing Chinese killing Japanese during the war. Practiacally 70% of the TV shows are just that.

  • Xio Gen

    So they seriously don’t see how visiting the shrine in a government capacity not only hurts diplomatic relations but also violates the separation of church and state. These netuyo live in another dimension of reality.

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