Prime Minister Abe Has the Right to Visit Yasukuni Shrine:
Japan Fought to Liberate Asia, to Destroy Racism, and to Defend Itself
“Putting our hands together to pray for those people who left behind their mothers, their beloved wives, and children, and for the souls who perished on the battlefield: This is common practice for leaders the world over”.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke those words after he visited Yasukuni Shrine in Kudankita, Tokyo, on the 26th of December — one-year after the inauguration of his administration. Yasukuni Shrine is a site built to honor the 2,466,000 ‘yobashira’, which were the war dead that sacrificed their lives since the year 1853 to protect Japan. It’s similar to the People’s Heroes Monument in China, the Seoul National Cemetery, and Arlington National Cemetery in the United States.
However, the governments of other countries do not see Yasukuni Shrine as analogous to their own places, and they have been criticizing Prime Minister Abe’s visit as follows:
- “The visit was an attempt to beautify the war history of Japan and its aggression towards foreign lands and colonialism, and a scheme to overturn the international community’s judgment towards Japanese militarism. It is a challenge against the established post-WWII order.” (A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry).
- “Our government cannot help but feel outraged and angry about the visit to the Yasukuni Shrine where war criminals have been enshrined to beautify Japan’s past colonial rule and its war of aggression” (A statement from the South Korean government).
- “Japan is a valued ally and friend. Nevertheless, the United States is disappointed that Japan’s leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan’s neighbors.”(statement from the U.S. Embassy).
This self-righteous type of thinking that continues to foster the singular, but over-simplified idea that a “democratic nation destroyed Japan, which was a fascist nation,” may indeed be due to the underlying framework that has viewed WWII as a battle between “democracy and fascism”. That a victorious nation would brand a defeated nation as “evil” and trumpet its own righteousness is nothing out of the ordinary. However, it’s not been the case that a defeated nation has always been an “evil nation.” For example, from the perspective of the Tibetans, the Uighurs and the Inner Mongolians, their human rights have been violated, their people have been massacred, and the military dictatorship of China has invaded their territories.
Japan Fought to Liberate Asia, to Destroy Racism, and to Defend Itself
Why did Japan feel compelled to fight the United States and other countries? There were a number of reasons, and two of them have remained at the historical forefront. The first was that Japan had to fight out of “self-defense”.
When the world depression took place beginning in 1929 and prior to the Secon World War, European nations began to develop and to foster economic blockades. They put high tariffs on foreign trade, which included colonized territories, in order to protect their own national economies. On the other hand, Japan with its relatively small economic domain, sought opportunities inside Mainland China, and assisted with the building of the Manchukuo, as the Manchus had requested of them.
However, these interests clashed with the United States, which wanted to expand its presence in Mainland China. They ordered an economic blockade named the “ABCD Line”, and they prevented Japanese importation of natural resources such as oil. This decision alienated Japan, which lacked natural resources of its own, and forced its leadership to enter into war. With regard to this fact, the Chief Commander of the General Headquarters, Douglas MacArthur, said in front of the U.S. Congress after the war, “Japan basically entered the war in self-defense”.
The second point was that Japan fought against the colonial rule of Western powers in Asia and to destroy racism.
At the start of the 20th century, the United States began to exclude Japanese people. Various states increasingly deprived Japanese immigrants of naturalization rights and citizenship. Congress passed the “Immigration Act of 1924,” which they primarily aimed at Japanese immigrants. Many Japanese were concerned with the actions of the U.S.
In that context, Japan fought for the idea to liberate Western-colonized, Asian countries. It launched attack after attack against Western military powers. Indeed, the people of the Philippines, India, Burma (now Myanmar), Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore, which Western powers once ruled, stood up for themselves, and they won their independence. Many of those countries have remained pro-Japanese ever since the end of war.
During the war, Japan felt that it had legitimate reasons for self-defense, for the liberation of Asian colonies from Western imperialism, and for the destruction of white supremacist, racist acts of violence. The Japanese indeed waged a “holy war”.
In Terms of Historical Accuracy, China, Korea, and the United States Should Seriously Reflect on Their Fabricated Version of Events and the Lies They Created to Justify Their War Crimes
Even 70 years after the war, China, Korea, and the United States continue to criticize Japan on historical grounds. However, the fact is, in terms of history, China, Korea, and the United States ought to be ashamed of the historical revisions that they apparently made once the war ended.
For instance, China has often criticized Japan over the “Rape of Nanking”. Yet, Japanese historians and eyewitnesses have completely denied the events as mere propaganda and gross exaggerations from the government. The Chinese would like us to believe that 200,000 to 300,000 people died, but modern historian Kenichi Ara’s research revealed that the government of the Chinese Republic fabricated this number in time for the trial of Japan’s war leaders in Tokyo.
Furthermore, Reverend Magee, who was in Nanking as an American Missionary and who attended the Tokyo Trials after the war to report on numerous murders and rapes that the Japanese soldiers allegedly perpetrated said that he had only witnessed one actual murder when the lawyers asked, “How many murders did you really witness?” At that time, the Japanese government and military did not give any orders to murder the masses or rape civilians; there has been absolutely no evidence for those claims to date.
It is simply convenient for China to continue to feed this fabrication, which has created tensions between Japanese and Chinese people in a governmental effort to campaign against Japan and to dishonor it. Justice and truth are not the goals of Mainland China with these accusations, but rather they seek to damage the reputation of Japan, and cause a rift between the U.S. and Japan, as both countries have recently been connected as close allies, and both live under the same value systems that encourage the rule of law and civil liberties. It is important that the U.S., while seeking greater conciliation with China at this time, realize that China seeks to create a rift between Japan and the U.S. and will use any reason, even fiction, to achieve their ends.
In recent years, Korea has continued to attack Japan on the issue of “comfort women”, which was also unfair propaganda. Evidence has yet to surface for those Korean women that claimed Japanese military personnel and officials forced them to entertain their sexual fantasies.
The only testimonials, which exist to date, originated with the women that sought financial compensation from Japan. Those people were actually “legal prostitutes” that served military officials. They made four times the amount of university graduates at the time — around 300 yen — and some even made more than generals in the army. Many sent money back to their parents at home, and some prostitutes even built homes for their families with their earnings.
Indeed, military officials actually recruited prostitutes to prevent rape and crimes against innocent women and children, and most of the prostitutes came from Japan. This was not a systematic plan designed to impact Korea or Korean women; rather it was another sad testimony of the poverty, greed, human weakness, and other unwelcome realities of war. Of course, today’s consciousness regarding “human trafficking”, which has since spread throughout international society, was not in existence at the time.
The discussion of this issue has not been along moral lines (that perspective is for a different article at another time); rather it has been about the reality of war time conditions. While people might look down on the concept of legal prostitution, it was the hope of the WWII Japanese military to mitigate crimes and abuses, rather than to contribute to them as the current American army has done with its silence on the issue of institutionalized rape in its ranks.
The question should be why did China and Korea propagate such historical inaccuracies? Perhaps the reason was that both countries failed to win independence on their own, and they have been harboring resentment towards Japan, which was a supposedly defeated country that rose to become a first class nation in the global community. Furthermore, because China and Korea’s politics and economies have been suffering so much, they have been trying to replace their people’s general level of dissatisfaction over their government officials with anti-Japanese sentiment.
The United States has also had a horse in the race to discredit the image of post-war Japan. By the spring of 1945, Japan already lost most of its soldiers, and its supplies ran short. Victory was impossible. However, despite the fact, in that year, America used firebombs to burn down most of the cities in Japan, and during the Tokyo air raids, it killed 100,000 Japanese men, women, and children in just one night. Moreover, in August of that year, it experimented with new atomic bomb technology over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where it murdered 110,000 and 70,000 people respectively. In these three incidences alone, the American military destroyed the lives of almost 300,000 civilians.
In an American effort to legitimize its war crimes and atrocities, the military ordered the Tokyo Trials at the end of the war, which gave authority to its wartime propaganda department’s historical fabrications such as the “The Rape of Nanking”. The winners of the war re-wrote events in order to label Japan as one of the most evil, fascist countries in the world.
China, accusing Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine as a challenge to the established post-WWII order, is totally hypocritical and self-serving. The fact is that when the U.N. was established there were no recognized communist regimes in China. The nation that was referred to in the U.N. Charter was originally the Republic of China (Taiwan), led by Chiang Kai-shek, which was the intended permanent member of the Security Council.
During the war, the United States was not fully aware of the threat of communism.
We have to remind ourselves that the Tripartite Pact between Japan, Germany and Italy was meant to prevent Communism. (Before signing a pact, Japan had come to realize that Hitler had deadly, destructive thoughts against the Jewish people. That is why persons such as Mr. Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat serving in Lithuania, appeared and helped several thousand Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas to them.) After China became a communist country, America regretted that it imposed a pacifist constitution on Japan and had to fight both the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Today, the United States and Japan have become strong allies, but when it comes to certain historical issues, the U.S. continues to side with China and Korea. They criticize how “Japan has becoming right-wing”, but they fail to acknowledge the atrocities committed towards Japanese civilians during the War, both in the United States and Japan. This apparent, Obama administration stance can cause a rift between our two countries — the very intention of the propaganda from the Chinese government. It is leading to a buildup of aggression, which might in turn cause China to rationalize an invasion of Japan. Our sincere hope is for America to see through this evil strategy and truthless manipulation, to face its past mistakes, to work toward a stronger alliance with Japan, and to continue to protect and to promote liberty around the world together with its allies.
President Truman Regretted His Decision to Use Atomic Bombs
In 2013, Master Okawa spoke to the spirits of people such as Hideki Tojo, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and President Harry Truman, who all participated in the War, as Master Okawa wished to reveal their true thoughts (See note below).
Master Okawa recorded President Truman’s spiritual message in June of 2013. Among the highlights of that message, Truman apologized for his decision to use the atomic bombings. “It was wrong to drop the bombs, and I didn’t apologize to anyone at the time. America actually dropped them as a scare tactic, and it wanted the Soviets to notice.” The spirit of Truman revealed how “the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was different from the one that fell on Hiroshima, because American scientists wanted to know the difference between their destructive powers”.
After Master Okawa channeled Truman, he also called President Roosevelt, who was the man in charge during the outbreak of the war with Japan. In that message, the spirit of Roosevelt claimed, “Through the prisoners we captured, we discovered how to decrypt their codes”. He acknowledged that he knew what Japan wanted to do at Pearl Harbor prior to the attack. Roosevelt allowed Japan to carry out its plan, which sacrificed many American lives, all to heighten the war momentum in his country.
In May of the same year, before Master Okawa communicated with the ex-American leaders, he met with the spirit of the Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, the leader of wartime Japan. Prime Minister Tojo talked about how the Americans of yesteryear discriminated against the Japanese as they did toward many of their own citizens of “color”.
When the subject fell upon the issue of “comfort women” and the Nanking incident, the spirit of Prime Minister Tojo tearfully cried:
“Such a thing never happened. The Japanese military had the highest moral standards in the world. Let them treat me like I am the devil from hell, but I will never ever accept them saying that ‘the Japanese military had repeatedly committed looting and assault, breaking the law and order.‘ Damn me to eternity if you must, but to honor the 3,000,000 war dead who sacrificed themselves for Japan is simply the duty of the Japanese!” Just as other countries honor their war dead, so Japan must have the right to grieve and honor those lost in service. It is the moral imperative of the living never to forget. The issue is not one of condoning war, but rather remembering those young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
In October of 2013, Master Okawa called forth the former president of Korea, Park Chung-Hee, who signed the 1965 Japan-Korea Basic Treaty. Former President Park was a famous leader that realized high levels of economic growth for his country, which people referred to as a “Miracle on the Han River”.
Park’s spirit strongly sounded a warning when he addressed the issue of his daughter’s leadership, Park Geun-hye, the current president of Korea. He said, “I believe that the survival of the Korean nation is at risk”. Mrs. Park has repeatedly voiced “anti-Japanese sentiments” on her visits to foreign countries. She has been fostering warm relations with the Chinese Communist empire just as the United States has been attempting to resign from its duties as the world’s policeman.
Furthermore, on the subject of “comfort women”, Park Chung-Hee denounced the issue, “It was basically a tool for harassment. It wasn’t something that the government should have done”. On the territorial dispute over Takeshima (Korean name: Dokdo), he said, “Korea stole it from Japan in the chaos and aftermath of the war. There was no doubt about it”.
NOTE: Master Ryuho Okawa of the Happy Science Group, with some 11 million followers and, over 1400 published books, has given more than 2100 sermons since the religion’s inception in 1986. His books have been translated into over 26 languages. Furthermore, since its beginnings in 2010 as “evidence for the existence of the spiritual realm”, Master Okawa has called forth over 300 spiritual personalities in his “spiritual message series“, a mind-boggling phenomenon indeed.
The phenomenon of “spiritual messages” refers to the phenomenon of channeling the words of spirits from the spiritual realm, and the ability for it belongs to those who have accessed a high level of enlightenment. It is not the same as the type of “spiritual messages” where the messenger falls into a trance losing consciousness and the spirit alone talks. The contents of Master Okawa’s spiritual messages belong to the spiritual beings, and they include viewpoints that may contradict those of Master Okawa’s and/or the Happy Science Group.
Humanity Is Now Asking, “What’s Right on a Global Level”
In the summer of 2013, Master Okawa announced the “The Okawa Statement – My Proposal” (A Statement for Prime Minister Abe’s Reference). Below is the complete text.
Our country once presented the Kono (1993) and Murayama (1995) Statements, proclamations from the Japanese government, but the official views provided in those statements were based on groundless rumors that have not been proven with any historical facts. As the result of those statements, the souls of about 3 million soldiers, who lost their lives in the Greater East Asia War, as well as their bereaved family members, have been inflicted with a deep sense of guilt. Our country and its people in the post war times have been saddled with a baseless, masochistic view of history, which has greatly misled the historical perception of our country. On behalf of the government, I would like to repent for it officially.
Japan fought in the Greater East Asia War in order to free the colonies in Asia from the great Western powers, to defeat racist policies that come from white supremacy, and at the same time, as a just exercise of our country’s right to defend ourselves. Due to the insufficient power of the Japanese government, Japan lost the war to the United States, after it dropped two Atomic Bombs. Yet, I believe this was a holy war to emancipate our fellow Asian countries whereby a part of the fervent aspiration of the Japanese gods was manifested.
I vow here and now, from this point on Japan shall become a guardian of peace and justice that will forbid any country from invading and colonizing any other country through unjust, aggressive policies. I hope the Japanese government will organize a national defense force that will not only serve for the peace of our own country but also contribute to the perpetual peace of the world. Furthermore, by this statement I declare the Kono and Murayama Statements retroactively invalid.
The “Kono Statement“, referred to in the Okawa Statement, was based on the testimony of an ex-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993, who according to government research, admitted that the Japanese military had forced women to work in brothels. However, various researchers have criticized his study.
It has come to light that the birth dates of half of the 16 women, said to have been witnesses, were not known, and that they might have actually been working at locations where no brothels existed. Above all, no one conducted any background investigations, and the accounts of those women were accepted without any substantiation or accurate proof.
Thus, the entire point of the Kono statement has already been invalidated from the scholarly criticisms based on a complete lack of historical research. No one has ever produced concrete evidence for the crimes. On account of that flawed “Kono Statement”, the international community has negatively viewed Japan, especially Korea, which has not dropped its claim that the Japanese military enslaved Korean women for sex.
At the roots of China and Korea’s historic lies and accusations have been twisted forms of thought control. They have acted on the belief that they had the right to revise history for the benefit of their countries. To cover up for their domestic deficiencies and shortcomings, they’ve damaged the reputations of other countries’ citizens. Japan should not have ever accepted or suffered from such accusations. Japan must never forgive or condone such inappropriate behavior ever again, even for the sake of the international community’s view on what is “right” and “wrong”.
Looking a long way back in history, Western countries have inflicted pain and suffering on colored peoples all over the globe for 500 years, including the massacre of natives in both North and South America, slave trade, and the colonization of Asia and Africa. The European peoples who were the original colonizers of America stole the land from the Native Americans and within 400 years decimated a population of approximately 2,000,000 Indians down to 350,000. Western nations, too, have much to atone for. Thus we must all learn from the past.
If one were to look into the distant past, one would see how Western countries have been inflicting pain and suffering on the world’s colored population for over 500 years. This sad history has included the massacre of natives in both North and South America, slave trades, and the colonization of Asia and Africa. The people of Europe, who were the original colonizers of America, stole their lands from the Native Americans. Within 400 years, they decimated the population of approximately 2,000,000 Indians down to 350,000. Western nations have much too much to atone for. Indeed, every country has lessons to learn from the past.
Japan has fought for years to bring an end to a negative, international perception of its history. In 1919, at the Paris Conference where the League of Nations enacted its terms, the ambassador for Japan, Makino Nobuaki, requested a specific inclusion for the “elimination of racism”. The American President Woodrow Wilson, who served as the chairman for the Conference, immediately rejected the representative from Japan. He said, “Such a huge inclusion must be unanimously offered.” Nevertheless, Japan was clearly the first to list the “elimination of racism” as an action item for humanity at an international conference.
Even though Japan lost the war, it still advocated further independence movements among Asian and African countries. Japan has stood alone as a country of compassion and as a global leader. Why won’t the allied powers allow their long-held prejudices and misconceptions to fade?
The still prevailing caricature of Japan in some countries as an “evil nation” should cease. Pressure is currently mounting as to the meaning of “justice” on a global scale. Discussions have actually been based on the above historical lies and accusations. We hope that those nations, which still spread untruths, will review their policies and correct their positions.