Tuesday, June 21, 2005

YASUKUNI SHRINE

I had some time to kill one morning on my last trip to Tokyo.

So, what better thing to do but to visit that shrine in the news?

While certainly not of the grandeur of Ise Shrine or Meiji Shrine, Yasukuni Shrine is by all means a 'top grade' shrine.

The nearest subway station is Kudanshita, a five-minute walk from the shrine.

Nearby is the famous Budokan where my once favorite rock group Deep Purple played in the early 1970s.

A gigantic torii welcomes worshippers as they step into the shrine grounds.

Two more equally massive toriis guard the path towards the main building.

Ordinary worshippers offer prayers at the public prayer area while ‘extra’ ordinary worshippers like Koizumi offer theirs in the inner shrine...

Usually, I throw in a coin or two whenever I visit a shrine or temple.

But not this time... and not this shrine...

I walked up to the prayer area and aimed...

At that instant, a shrine guard roared 'kamera ha yame nasai!' (Put down that camera!)

My heart missed a beat... 'Gomen nasai...'

On reflex, I walked away meekly like a loser-dog with its tail tugged between the legs...

I scolded myself for not realizing that it must be pretty rude to photograph the spirits...

Took a short break and sipped on 100% apple juice before continuing with my itchy-backside-ness...

I was surprised to see a museum in the grounds showing exhibits on the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese war.

This is the first shrine I know that houses a war museum... although I must also add that I enjoyed a 'sex' museum at one shrine in Ehime prefecture...

The entrance fee was rather expensive for a poor student like me then, but it was the only museum that I enjoyed browsing...

These days, NHK runs a number of programs highlighting the 60th anniversary of the end of the pacific war.

Most if not all focus on the sufferings of Japanese civilians and the damage brought about by bombings from US warplanes.

You see and hear old folks crying about losing their children in the war... about the scarcity of food and clothing... pitiful scenes indeed...

But unfortunately, Japan once again fools herself by implying that nothing happened before the US came by, air raiding and destroying her cities...

Somewhat like Malaysia pretending that Malaysian history only started when Parameswara staggered meekly into Melaka, tail tugged between his legs...

Yesterday, Prime Minister Koizumi flew into Korea to meet President Roh Moo Hyun.

As expected, Japan and Korea failed to see eye to eye with regards to history.

After previously setting up a joint committee to study their adversarial historical relationship, Japan rejected Korea's proposal to incorporate their joint findings into school texts so as to infuse a common understanding among their youth.

Why waste time setting up this committee, I wonder...

At the same time, Koizumi remains adamant on visiting Yasukuni Shrine despite the numerous calls from politicians from both the ruling parties and opposition parties to reconsider.