Dokodemo Door!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weekend to Tokyo

I look back at the first semester here and decided that I didn't do as much travel in my off hours as I would have liked to.

So, this being the last weekend before classes start, I decided to make a jaunt out to Tokyo. The last time I was there was in 2003, for a total of 1 day.

The length of this trip is going to be barely adequate, but it will give me a chance to see the what has to be the most internationally-known Shinto site: Yasukuni Shrine, which manages to feature notoriously in the news once every few years (though things have certainly been rather quiet on that front lately.)

Yasukuni commemorates the roughly 2.4 million souls who died in the service of Imperial Japan in conflicts going back to the 1860s. This cohort includes a number of Class-A war criminals from the Pacific War who were secretly enshrined in 1978, irreversibly merging them with all the other kami. Or so the priests tell us. (One can't unscramble an omlette, after all...)

Every so often, a Prime Minister will visit the shrine, perhaps even using state money to purchase flowers, precipitating diplomatic protests from South Korea and China. Having read about this place multiple times in the past, I figured ought to have a look for myself.


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