On April 29, the Day of Showa, I went to visit Yasukuni Shrine, alone.
This is its second torii, a shrine gateway.
I had prepared an A4 piece of paper.
It says "Down with the Day of Showa," and features a Hinomaru crossed out. It also includes my Japanese blog URL, http://d.hatena.ne.jp/toled/ and my Twitter ID, @toled. I signed my name, Yujiro Tsuneno.
Then I put the paper on one of the legs of the torii.
Quickly I moved away.
What is Hinomaru? It is the Japanese equivalent of the Nazi swastika. It was adopted as the national flag of the Empire of Japan at its inception. Even after its defeat in 1945, Hinomaru was not abandoned. It has continued as the symbol of the country, and if you take a short walk in any city here, you can find it everywhere, at government buildings, streets, schools, commercial outlets and so on, testament to the continuation of the Japanese imperialism, colonialism, and militarism.
The Day of Showa is the birthday of Hirohito, the Showa Emperor. Unlike Adolf Hitler, he survived his defeat. He was not put on trial. He did not even step down, and his reign persisted for decades until his death in 1989. The Day is designated as a national holiday.
And Yasukuni Shrine has been commemorating the deaths of the Japanese soldiers who fought in the Asia-Pacific region. Yes, it is still there, and visited by politicians, some prime ministers included, ordinary Japanese, and international tourists.
So that is the context. As for why I did what I did, if you are interested, throw some comments below, and maybe I will post another entry.
Although I did not intend it, some people pointed out that I broke the law and said they notified the police. I have no idea how likely, but it is possible that I get arrested for my humble attempt at expressing dissent in the near future. So if you are a journalist and would like to interview me before that happens, please contact me at yt5486yt at gmail.