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Yasukuni: Why the Emperor Stopped Going

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 3:57 am Print
Tomita Tomohiko's MemoThere have been two relatively important Japan history-related news items in the news of late. There have been revelations about US covert funding of Japanese political parties (perhaps more on this in another posting) and separately, evidence has emerged, scooped by Nikkei, to suggest that emperor Showa (Hirohito) stopped going to Yasukuni shrine because of his displeasure at the enshrinement 分祀(ぶんし) of war criminals there in October 1978 as martyrs. There has been a lot of speculation over the years the exact reason he stopped going. I will save my own thoughts on this issue for later but in this posting I just want to assemble some of the material on this available in the news online. Emperor Showa made his last visit to the shrine in November, 1975 after the issue had become more political with prime minister Miki's (三木武夫) visit on August 15th of that year. A former Imperial Household Agency grand steward who served in the position for ten years beginning in 1978, the late Tomita Tomohiki (富田朝彦 d. Nov. 2003), kept a record of statements made by the emperor. (English: Asahi, Mainichi, NYT, Yomiuri I II, III, BBC Japanese: Asahi I, II, III, IV, V, VI, Mainichi: I, II Yomiuri: I, Sankei: I ) In one of Tomita's recorded memos from April 28th, 1988, the emperor is quoted as saying, among other things, that:
"Class-A war criminals have been enshrined. Even Matsuoka and Shiratori (have been enshrined). I've heard that Tsukuba dealt cautiously with the matter, but ..." (Mainichi trans.) 「私は 或(あ)る時に、A級(戦犯)が合祀され その上 松岡、白取(原文のまま)までもが 筑波は慎重に対処してくれたと聞いたが」 "That's why I haven't paid a visit to the shrine since then. That's my belief." (Mainichi) 「だから私あれ以来、参拝していない、それが私の心だ」
The most immediate result of this revelation, if Tomita's quote of the emperor is to be believed and the emperor is telling the truth (some argue that he did not have the freedom to make this sort of decision alone), will be the end of a long-running debate over the emperor's motivation for ending his visits. This news, however, can also have, for better or for worse, an influence on the continued debate over whether prime ministers should visit the shrine. Interestingly, if you embrace the classic positions of anti-shrine and anti-emperor left or the the pro-emperor and pro-shrine right (and there are many more positions one could take), what the emperor said or what his motivation for stopping doesn't necessarily have any bearing on the arguments. That doesn't change the fact that the symbolic and rhetorical value of this issue has already reverberated throughout the Japanese and international media. Political Response: Koizumi - Has declared that visiting the shrine is a "personal decision" and will continue to go. See this Yomiuri article on his response. LDP Party Secretary General Koga Makoto - Is interested in pushing Yasukuni towards removing the war criminals from the shrine. Cabinet Secretary Abe Shinzo (Probable future PM)- Casts doubt on the memo on 20th, suggests emperor Showa had several reasons for ending his visits but otherwise seems uncomfortable with the whole thing by 21st. As seen here: 安倍氏は20日の午前と午後の記者会見で「政府としてコメントすべき立場ではない」などと繰り返すのみ。谷垣財務相も記者団に「天皇陛下がどういうふうにおっしゃったというのを政局と絡めて言うつもりはない」。 Foreign Minister Aso Taro - Has previously indicated that he wants to turn Yasukuni into a state-run facility (and「靖国神社の非宗教法人化」) and has previously suggested that the current emperor should visit the shrine. Tokyo Governor Ishihara - This Mainichi article quotes Ishihara as saying, on the 21st: 「そのお気持ちはよく分かりますね」と語った。自身が今年も靖国神社を参拝することを明言し、「私が戦争の責任者と思っているA級戦犯について祈るつもりは毛頭ない」と語った。 He added his standard take on the trials: 「占領軍が勝手に決めたもので、気の毒な立場の人もいるし、明らかに戦争の責任者もいる」と指摘。戦勝国による東京裁判を「一方的に勝者が敗者を裁く裁判に正当性はないと思う。日本人自身が裁くべきだった」と批判する一方、「裁判に正当性がないと言っても、断罪された人たちに罪がないというのはおかしい」 More on recent political responses in this Yomiuri article. Yasukuni Shrine's Response: The shrine has mostly been responding to suggestions that the war criminals be separated out. As a number of articles have mentioned, the shrine officials have categorically declared that the enshrinement process cannot be reversed and that the government is in no position to pressure the shrine to do anything. Media Responses (May Update in Future): Conservative Yomiuri: Supports state facility for mourning the war dead (国立の戦没者追悼施設建設). Editorial on 21st: "It may be advisable to grant Yasukuni Shrine the freedom to conduct religious activities in a manner that fits its wishes, while exploring alternative options for honoring the war dead. Probable measures include erecting a state-run memorial for the war dead or expanding the government-run cemetery for unidentified fallen soldiers in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. We believe considering such alternatives is the only way to resolve the Yasukuni dispute." In the Japanese version of this editorial: 靖国神社には、宗教法人としての自由な宗教活動を認める。他方で、国立追悼施設の建立、あるいは千鳥ヶ淵戦没者墓苑の拡充などの方法を考えていく。「靖国問題」の解決には、そうした選択肢しかないのではないか。」 Right-Wing Nationalist Sankei: Believes that the Tomita memo should not have any influence on the debate on the shrine, and that it has only limited academic value. See their editorial of the 21st: 「富田氏のメモは後者の説を補強する一つの資料といえるが、それは学問的な評価にとどめるべきであり、A級戦犯分祀の是非論に利用すべきではない。まして、首相の靖国参拝をめぐる是非論と安易に結びつけるようなことがあってはなるまい。」Wants Koizumi to not be influenced in the least and continue to go to the shrine as a "representative of the people": 小泉純一郎首相は富田氏のメモに左右されず、国民を代表して堂々と靖国神社に参拝してほしい。」 Scholars, Blogs, and the rest (May Update in future): This Yomiuri article quotes a few responses:
Ikuhiko Hata, a Nippon University lecturer specializing in contemporary history, said: "For many years, I've considered Mr. Tomita as being honest and faithful. I would say that the diaries and memos of his that I've read are highly reliable and recount what the emperor actually said." "Regarding the reasons the emperor stopped visiting the shrine, there has been little evidence from those who were close to the emperor. Therefore, arguments were often premised on speculation. But, the newly discovered memo now provides crucial evidence that Emperor Showa felt displeasure. Future discussions therefore will be made based on this information," Hata said. He added: "Matsudaira, the then chief priest, made the decision to enshrine the Class-A war criminals without obtaining consent from the bereaved families, or confirming the emperor's opinion. The priest should have followed the correct procedures." Prof. Isao Tokoro of Kyoto Sangyo University, specializing in legal history, said, "If we assume that the memo actually records Emperor Showa's remarks, we should examine it very carefully." "For example, it is difficult to assess whether the statement 'even Matsuoka and Shiratori' indicates that the emperor was critical of the enshrinement of Class-A war criminals per se, or displeased over the enshrinement of certain specific war criminals," Tokoro said. "Emperor Showa may have regretted that he authorized the decision to go to war. We should not jump to quick conclusions that he felt such displeasure. Rather, we should reexamine the documents together with the memoirs of late former Grand Chamberlain Yoshihiro Tokugawa, which have already been published," Tokoro added.
-Interesting discussion of the influence of the emperor's statement on public opinion in this blog posting over at 「ぼくら党」の言論ブログ -Yesterday apparently an unlit Molotov coktail was hurled at the headquarters of Nikkei newspaper headquarters, the newspaper which scooped this story. (Japanese: Yomiuri) -Asahi has an article with some responses by various people they interviewed. This Asahi article provides a useful list of the 14 enshrined war criminals at Yasukuni, their political/military positions and sentences/fate after the Tokyo trials: Enshrined War Criminals, the "Showa Martyrs" (昭和殉難者) 【絞首刑】(肩書は戦時、以下同じ) 東条英機(陸軍大将、首相) 板垣征四郎(陸軍大将) 土肥原賢二(陸軍大将) 松井石根(陸軍大将) 木村兵太郎(陸軍大将) 武藤章(陸軍中将) 広田弘毅(首相、外相) 【終身刑、獄死】 平沼騏一郎(首相) 小磯国昭(陸軍大将、首相) 白鳥敏夫(駐イタリア大使) 梅津美治郎(陸軍大将) 【禁固20年、獄死】 東郷茂徳(外相) 【判決前に病死】 松岡洋右(外相) 永野修身(海軍大将) This Mainichi article from the 20th provides a useful little Yasukuni timeline: ◇靖国神社とA級戦犯合祀を巡る動き◇ 1945年8月 終戦の玉音放送 1946年4月 国際検察局がA級戦犯容疑者28人を起訴    6月 松岡洋右被告が病死 1948年11年 極東国際軍事裁判(東京裁判)でA級戦犯のうち7人に絞首刑判決 1951年9月 サンフランシスコ講和条約調印 1956年4月 厚生省(当時)が「祭神名票」送付による合祀事務に対する協力を都道府県に通知 1966年   A級戦犯の「祭神名票」を靖国神社に送付 1975年8月 三木武夫首相が現職首相で初めて終戦記念日に参拝。私人としての「参拝4原則」を強調    11月 昭和天皇が最後の参拝 1978年10月 靖国神社がA級戦犯14人を合祀 1985年8月 中曽根康弘首相が公式参拝。「宗教色を薄めた形式なら公式参拝は合憲」との官房長官談話を受けて 1986年8月 近隣諸国に配慮して中曽根首相が参拝断念 2001年8月 小泉純一郎首相が13日に参拝。以降、毎年参拝 2005年6月 小泉首相が衆院予算委員会でA級戦犯について「戦争犯罪人であると認識している」と答弁  ◇内容を精査し、冷静な分析必要 A closer look at a picture of the passage in Tomita's records from this Asahi article: Memo Picture .


Japanese Historical Text Initiative at UC Berkeley

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 10:49 am Print
A recent message on H-Japan from Yuko Okubo at UC Berkeley announced an interesting online resource: The Japanese Historical Text Initiative Here is a part of that announcement which outlines some of the materials already available:
The Japanese Historical Text Initiative (JHTI) is a rapidly expanding database made up of historical texts written during the last 1292 years. The original version of every paragraph in every text is cross-tagged with its English translation, making it possible for any researcher to see, on the same screen, both the original and English translation of any word or phrase appearing in any JHTI text. The texts now included are of the following types: Ancient chronicles. These were compiled by officials of the Imperial Court in compliance with edicts handed down by occupants of the throne. The three oldest chronicles have been placed on JHTI: (1) the Kojiki (completed in 712 CE) and cross-tagged with its English translation by Donald L. Philippi, (2) the Nihon Shoki (completed in 720) with its translation by W. G. Aston, and (3) the Shoku Nihongi (covering 697 to 791) with its translation by J. B. Snellen. Ancient gazetteers. These texts were submitted by provincial officials in compliance with an Imperial edict handed down during the first half of the 8th century. Only a few remain. We are inserting on JHTI the original of the most complete extant gazetteer, the Izumo no Kuni Fudoki (submitted in 733), and linking it with Michiko Aoki's translation. Remaining portions of other gazetteers will be added and linked to translations by Professor Aoki. Ancient religo-civil code. In 927, at the close of the Great Reform period that began in 645, a comprehensive compilation of religious and civil law (the Engi Shiki) was submitted to the Imperial court. The first 10 books are made up of religious (Kami) law. All other books are devoted to civil law. The originals of the 10 Kami books have been placed on JHTI and cross-tagged with Felicia Gressitt Bock's translation. Medieval stories. After the Great Reform period, and during early years of the emerging feudal age, the most valuable historical texts were stories written about what was said and done by powerful leaders of aristocratic and military clans. Three are being placed on JHTI: (1) the Okagami (covering the years 866 to 1027) with the translation by Helen Craig McCullough; (2) the Eiga Monogatari (covering the years 794 to 1185) with the translation by William H. & Helen Craig McCullough; and (3) the Taiheiki (completed around 1371) with the Helen Craig McCullough translation. Other translated texts of this type will be added later. Medieval and early-modern interpretive histories. Between 1219 and 1712, three great interpretive histories were written, mirroring the religious and political interests of their authors. The originals and translations of two are being placed on JHTI: (1) the Gukansho (completed in 1219) has been linked with the Delmer M. Brown and Ichiro Ishida translation, and (2) the Jinno Shotoki (completed in 1339) with the H. Paul Varley translation. The third history of this type, the Tokushi Yoron (completed in 1712), will soon be cross-tagged and inserted with the Joyce Ackroyd translation. The Japanese state and Imperial Shinto. After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, and in response to increasing pressure from Western powers, the Japanese state adopted reforms in all areas of public life, including religious life. After World War II the government collected and published important religious orders issued between 1868 and 1945. This is entitled Meiji Igo Shukyo Kankei Horei Ruisan (Collection of Religious Orders Issued since the Beginning of Meiji) and it is being placed on JHTI, and is being linked with translations by Brown and Okubo. In 1937, the Japanese government published and distributed its official interpretation of Imperial Shinto. Entitled Kokutai no Hongi (Principles of Nation-Body) this has been placed on JHTI and cross-tagged with the English translation by John Owen Gauntlett. Scriptures of Japan's New Religions. After Japan was forced to adopt a constitution that freed religion from state control, numerous New Religions emerged and flourished. The strongest two have amassed 10 million or more members. Their teachings are rooted in the Lotus Sutra (Hokke-kyo) and this Sutra, thought to be the earliest of the Mahayana scriptures, will be placed on JHTI and cross-tagged with the English translation by Banno Kato et al and revised by W. L. Soothill and William Schiffer et al. The Ofudesaki written by the founder of Tenri-kyo will also be added, and linked with the translation by Iwao P. Hino.
This is an exciting project and I hope it continues to develop, adding material and ironing out problems as it does. I have only given the site a quick look but a few quick observations: 1) Searching some of the materials requires obtaining a password, which apparently is available from one of the site administrators. 2) There is a fascinating "Frequency of Appearance" feature which allows you to search a single or in all of the texts for the frequency of certain words. 3) The design of the website still needs some work. The site uses frames, which is fine, but the encoding is not set in the HEAD tag for some of the files, which renders the Japanese characters wrong in some cases unless the visitor manually chooses the correct encoding in their browser (example: their logsel.cgi file produces files without encoding, which is just lazy programming) or has the default encoding set to the appropriate Japanese encoding. 4) Some of the search pages still need work, as well as the browse function. For example, browsing the Kojiki lists the language as "Japanese and English" but only the English appears except in the footnotes. 5) Some links on the site are still broken (the search page for nihon shoki was broken at the time of writing this post)

Japan Focus Back Online

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 10:28 am Print
Japan Focus is easily one of the best sources of articles online about Japan and Japanese history. I include the site among those I visit each day but since early June there has only been a short "under construction" message. Today I noticed that the e-journal is back online with an explanation for its downtime:
Japan Focus was closed by an anonymous hacker on June 2. We are now up and running with a redesigned site that offers important new features including advanced search capabilities.
I hope this was not a targeted attack and that they did not lose any content in the attack. Fortunately, they have not only restored their site after the attack but added more advanced search capabilities to access their excellent archive of articles by some of the best scholars working on Japan. If you haven't visited the site before, you can read more about it on their about page and visitors can also subscribe to receive email updates.


AHC #5

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 4:42 pm Print
Miland Brown has the latest edition of the Asian History Carnival up at his World History Blog, and it's a very nice collection.

We're still looking for hosts for August and beyond, however: time to step up and make your mark in the historical blogosphere!


What books sell?

Filed under: — Morgan Pitelka @ 8:28 pm Print
Or perhaps more to the point, what books are given the chance to sell? The other day I was in a local chain bookstore and took the following photo of the "World history" shelf ostensibly dedicated to China (and thus also Japan). I wanted to look in more detail at the books that are given shelf space in places like Borders and Barnes and Noble. As you can see, the following books appear:
  • Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (Harper Perennial)
  • Milton Meyer, Japan: A Concise History (Littlefield Adams)
  • Manabu Miyazaki, Toppamono: Outlaw, Radical, Suspect, My Life in Japan's Underworld (Kotan Publishing)
  • W. Scott Morton, J. Kenneth Olenik, and Charlton Lewis, Japan: Its History and Culture (McGraw Hill)
  • Thomas Cleary, Soul of the Samurai (Tuttle Publishing)
  • Liza Dalby, Geisha (University of California Press)
  • Marius Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan (Belknap Press)
  • [Book that is impossible to make out but that was clearly published by Osprey, which means it must be one of those books on the samurai or on famous battles of Japan]
  • Mark Ravina, The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori (John Wiley and Sons)
  • Edwin Reischauer and Marius Jansen, The Japanese Today: Change and Continuity (Belknap Press)
  • George Sansom, A History of Japan, vol. 2-3 (Stanford University Press)
  • R. H. P. Mason and J. G. Caiger, A History of Japan (Tuttle Publishing)
  • Paul Varley, Japanese Culture (University of Hawaii Press)
So, judging from this shelf, the types of writing about Japan that bookstores are willing to try to sell are:
  1. books about geisha
  2. books about samurai
  3. books about yakuza
  4. books about Emperor Hirohito
  5. textbooks and general histories
It is also interesting to note that only one of these books is by a woman author (Dalby's popular geisha book); only one is by a Japanese author (the new translation of Miyazaki's popular autobiography); and only two of these books are published by academic publishers (the Varley textbook, which I use but which my students sometimes complain about [not a reflection of the book so much as of the students, alas], and the Sansom books, out of which Stanford UP must have gotten an incredible profit over the years). I guess the two Belknap texts, one by Jansen and one by Reischauer (updated by Jansen), should also be included, as Belknap is an imprint of Harvard UP. There are some fine books here, to be sure, but I can't help but notice how many of these books are by scholars who are either no longer alive or who have long been retired. The youngest scholar represented here is Mark Ravina, associate professor of history at Emory University, whose previous book, Land and Lordship in Early Modern Japan, probably cannot be found on the shelves of ANY chain bookstores, much like most serious scholarship on Japan. Mark is a great historian and absolutely deserves to have his most recent book sold to the general public, but I wonder why many other books that would probably be equally popular are not also found here or on similar shelves? The serendipitous tie-in with Tom Cruise's The Last Samurai is of course the answer. I know that as an intellectual I'm not supposed to care about popular perception of my field, my profession, or for that matter my research, but I do. In practical terms, the extra income would really help in a profession that pays poorly in the early years. Plus, it would be nice to know that in addition to the 100 or so students whom I encounter in the classroom each year, someone other than my fellow Japanese historians was benefiting from my attempts to write interesting and innovative histories.



Filed under: — sasaki @ 10:23 pm Print
 お久しぶりです。  先日、日本の毎日新聞が興味深い世論調査の実施していたのでご紹介します。ソースは以下のサイトです。まだ新聞そのものを見ていないので、具体的な質問内容や結果、対象人数など、分からないことが沢山ありますが、だいたいの傾向は分かると思われます。  これは、主として日本国民と国会議員両者に対する戦争観についてのアンケートです。以下では国民の方のアンケート結果に関する記述のみ、簡単にまとめておきます。 Q1 第二次大戦をめぐる日本政府の謝罪・反省について A1 十分(36%) 不十分(42%) 謝罪・反省は必要なし(11%) 無回答など(11%) Q2 対米開戦への評価 A2 無謀な選択だった(59%) やむを得ない選択だった(33%) Q3 対中戦争で侵略的行為が行われたと思うか A3 どちらとも言えない(45%) 侵略だと思う(40%) Q4 極東国際軍事裁判(東京裁判)への評価 A4 不当な裁判だが、戦争に負けた以上、やむを得なかった(59%) 戦争責任者を裁いた正当な裁判(17%) 戦勝国が一方的に裁いた不当な裁判(10%) ・・・・・・・・・  この記事だけではちょっと情報が少なすぎて、判断するのが難しいのですが、個人的にはアジア・太平洋戦争について、それが「不可避」であったこと、侵略かどうかの判断のつけられない戦争であったこと、といった認識が思ったよりも多い印象を受けました。  ちなみに、2000年5月にNHKが実施した世論調査では・・・ Q5 先の戦争は、アジア近隣諸国に対する侵略戦争だった。 A5 そう思う(51%) そうは思わない(15%) 昔のことだから、自分には関係ない(7%) わからない・無回答(28%) Q6 先の戦争は、資源の少ない日本が生きるためにやむを得ないものだった A6 そう思う(30%) そうは思わない(35%) 昔のことだから、自分には関係ない(4%) 分からない・無回答(31%)  となっています(吉田裕『日本人の戦争観』岩波書店、2005年、文庫版へのあとがき)。  質問の仕方や選択肢が違うので、安易に比較はできませんが、「やむをえない戦争」であったという認識が一貫して根強いことと、「侵略かどうか」という判断について、近年迷いが生じていること、ぐらいは読み取れるかもしれません。  以上、ご参考まで。 

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