Visit a Shrine where is enormously controversial in the Asia-Pacific region. Walk into Yasukuni Shrine, was founded in 1869 with the dedicated to souls of about 2.5 million. In Shinto religion, the souls become ‘kami’, or revered spirits. As a Malaysian, once have facing the World War II, regarding possible moral issues, we don’t think a tourist with an open mind would have much to lose.
The souls, who made ultimate sacrifice for Japan war, in the conflicts accompanying the Meiji Restoration such as the Satsuma Rebellion, the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, the Manchurian Incident, the China Incident, the Greater East Asian War (World War II) and etc. These wars broke out as the starting point of modern Japan. Among the enshrined are Yoshida Shoin and Sakamoto Ryoma who are famous historic figures for their activities which lead to the Meiji Restoration. There also enshrined are many soldiers, men, women and children, including various pet animals, whose died in wars.
Entrance to Yasukuni Shrine, first we are go through the massive gray, metal Daiichi Torii (First Shrine Gate or Great Gate), one of the tallest torili in the Japan at 22m(72 feet). After that, passed through the Monument Of Hitachimaru and Soul-Comforting Spring, a memorial Fountain – Statue of a mother Offering water. In front of us is Japan’s first ever Western-style bronze statue, that of Omura Masujiro, the first Minister of War after the Meiji Restoration, which was erected in 1896.
Further on is the Daini Torii (Second Shrine Gate), which is a smaller arch than the first, and right beyond it the Shinmon gate (pagoda-style rather than an arch) which leads into the shrine area. We walk to another arch, the Chumon Torii (Third Shrine Gate) leads into the courtyard of the Haiden Main Hall. Haiden Main Hall is where people pay their respects. NOTE: No allowed take photo of the Haiden. Behind Main Hall is the Honden Main Shrine, but it is usually strictly restricted access.
Even in today’s Japan, people believed that souls of the deceased remain eternally on earth and guard there, and thus as an object of worshipping because such traditional way of thinking along with the belief of Shinto is still inherited. Yasukuni shrine not only is a place to commemorate in a manner of Shinto, a traditional Japanese faith and a place for all the Japanese to show their appreciation and respect to those who died to protect their country.
Probably, people who cherish their own positions, ideas and reason will understand the difference and will understand the importance of Yasukuni Shrine which was established for commemorate and to show appreciation and respect to those who dedicated their precious lives to their mother country .
If you want to know the inherit sincerity and records of enshrined divinities of Yasukuni Shrine, you can visit next to the shrine buildings stands the Yushukan. Yushukan is a large museum, mainly consisting of artifacts, materials, Japanese weapons used in modern warfare, military artifacts, wartime data, and about 100,000 pieces, and about 5,000 remains of soldiers. Because of the limited time, so we haven’t visited it.
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