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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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Epilogue Contesting Memories

Epilogue Contesting Memories

Yasukuni Shrine as a Countermonument

(p.190) Epilogue Contesting Memories
Yasukuni Shrine

Akiko Takenaka

University of Hawai'i Press

The epilogue introduces recent tours conducted on the Yasukuni shrine grounds, which reappropriate the space of the shrine and transform it into a counter monument: a site that can be used to question the official narrative propagated by the shrine itself. Through their spatial practice, the tour guides introduce a new, dynamic way to engage with both the political issues associated with the shrine and Japan’s troubled postwar legacies. More specifically, the practices of these activist guides diverge both from proposals to alter the shrine or replace it with a new national war memorial, and from conservative supporters who strive to maintain the shrine as it is. At the same time, the new narratives focus the blame for the Asia-Pacific War on the shrine, thereby reinforcing the narrative of victimhood and, hindering Japan’s much needed efforts to reconcile with the rest of Asia.

Keywords:   counter-monument, gunkoku shōnen (boy of a militant nation), National School system, Motomiya (original shrine), Chinreisha (spirit pacifying shrine)

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