Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

Japan to remove exhibit from war museum

by David Pilling

Yasuku­ni shrine offi­cials have agreed to delete a con­tro­ver­sial exhib­it and dis­cuss fur­ther changes to the shrine’s mil­i­tary muse­um, crit­i­cised by many for gloss­ing over Japan’s wartime his­to­ry.

Offi­cials from the shrine will meet a lead­ing con­ser­v­a­tive his­to­ri­an today to dis­cuss the alter­na­tions. These are like­ly to focus on exhibits that accuse the US of delib­er­ate­ly forc­ing Japan into the sec­ond world war, but are unlike­ly to address more con­tentious dis­plays relat­ing to the Japan­ese inva­sion of Chi­na and south-east Asia.

How­ev­er, agree­ment to make changes would show that Yasuku­ni, which has become a flash­point in Japan’s rela­tions with Asia, is sen­si­tive to out­side pres­sure even though it is a pri­vate reli­gious organ­i­sa­tion.

The muse­um, which was ren­o­vat­ed in 2002 to reflect what many con­sid­er a revi­sion­ist view of Japan­ese­his­to­ry, is adja­cent to the shrine, which hon­ours Japan’s war dead, includ­ing a hand­ful of con­vict­ed war crim­i­nals.

Hisahiko Okaza­ki, a rightwing polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor, said muse­um staff and an advi­so­ry his­to­ri­an from Japan’s self-defence force had agreed to meet him today to dis­cuss poten­tial changes.

The meet­ing fol­lows acol­umn in yes­ter­day’s Sankei news­pa­per, in which Mr Okaza­ki called for the removal of an exhib­it accus­ing Franklin D. Roo­sevelt, the for­mer US pres­i­dent, of engi­neer­ing a war with Japan to strength­en the US econ­o­my.

The exhib­it says the plan to force Japan into war fol­lowed the fail­ure of Roo­sevelt’s New Deal. Mr Okaza­ki said the shrine had agreed yes­ter­day to delete that ref­er­ence.

An offi­cial from Yasuku­ni shrine said there had been con­tact between the shrine and Mr Okaza­k­i’s office but he declined to con­firm whether there would be a meet­ing today. It con­firmed that a review of the muse­um’s con­tents was under way.

Mr Okaza­ki, a strong sup­port­er of prime min­is­te­r­i­al vis­its to Yasuku­ni, said: “This is very sig­nif­i­cant. At least we can take out the thorn with the US. This kind of inter­pre­ta­tion is unnec­es­sary and inac­cu­rate.”

Thomas Schi­ef­fer, US ambas­sador to Japan, has expressed dis­like of the Yasuku­ni muse­um, which he says presents a skewed and dis­turb­ing view of Japan as wartime vic­tim.

How­ev­er, the ambas­sador has refrained from com­ment­ing on the con­tro­ver­sial vis­its to the adja­cent shrine of Junichi­ro Koizu­mi, prime min­is­ter, which have inflamed opin­ion in Chi­na and South Korea.

Mr Okaza­ki said there was no need to alter oth­er parts of the exhib­it relat­ing to Asia, even though many his­to­ri­ans have said these dodged issues such as the Nanking mas­sacre and the use by the impe­r­i­al army of South Kore­an sex slaves.

He defend­ed some of the muse­um’s appar­ent glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of war, say­ing cura­tors had cho­sen mere­ly to use con­tem­po­rary mate­r­i­al that nat­u­ral­ly reflect­ed the wartime gov­ern­men­t’s views.


No comments for “Japan to remove exhibit from war museum”

Post a comment