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Yasukuni ShrineHistory, Memory, and Japan's Unending Postwar$
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Akiko Takenaka

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824846787

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824846787.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Mobilizing Death

Mobilizing Death

Developing the Myth of Yasukuni

(p.23) One Mobilizing Death
Yasukuni Shrine

Akiko Takenaka

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter 1 traces the beginnings of the myth that developed around Yasukuni Shrine during the Asia-Pacific War: that dying for the emperor results in enshrinement at Yasukuni as a god—the most highly honored of all achievements for a Japanese. I investigate the process through which the idea of a national memorial was developed using memorial practices observed by members of the Chōshū domain (central actors of the Meiji Restoration) in the decade leading up to the Restoration. Existing beliefs and rituals associated with death were incorporated into the foundation of the shrine. My close analysis of these early memorial practices demonstrates, however, that the idea of encouraging death by attaching a particular value to it, which ultimately became the Yasukuni myth during the Asia-Pacific War, was not present at the time of the shrine’s foundation.

Keywords:   Boshin War, Meiji Restoration, Tokyo Shōkonsha, Myth of the War Experience, shōkon ritual, son’nō jōi (revere the emperor; expel the barbarian), Battle of Aizu, Satsuma Rebellion

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