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This book is the first authoritative volume in English on Yasukuni, the controversial Shinto shrine in the heart of Tokyo, dedicated to the Japanese war dead. Twelve convicted and two suspected Class A war criminals are enshrined at Yasukuni, while the shrine's museum narrates an account of Japan's actions in the Second World War that is best described as revisionist. Visits to the shrine by cabinet members often set off protests at home and abroad, especially in China, Korea and Taiwan, and Yasukuni remains a source of considerable mistrust between the Chinese and Japanese governments. Despite the controversy, the former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made annual visits from 2001-6. The distinctive feature of this volume is that it sets out neither to commend Yasukuni nor to condemn it; it seeks, rather, to present authoritative yet divergent views, thereby allowing the contributors to render more complex an issue which, in the media at least, has long been portrayed in starkly simplistic terms. It accommodates chapters by leading pro-Yasukuni and anti-Yasukuni Japanese intellectuals; it carries multiple Chinese perspectives; and there are also contributions from Western commmentators who offer their own insights on the shrine and its place in post war Japanese diplomacy, ideology and history.

Buy Yasukuni, the War Dead and the Struggle for Japan's Past book by John Breen from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9781850659075
ISBN-10: 1850659079
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 138mm x mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 13-Mar-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


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Author Biography - John Breen

John Breen is Senior Lecturer in Japanese at SOAS, University of London. He has published widely in English and Japanese on issues of state and religion in modern Japan. He is the co-author of Shinto: a Short History (Blackwell, forthcoming).

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