As I left the Imperial Palace East Gardens I decided to make a quick visit to the nearby Yasukuni Shrine. The shrine houses the spirits of roughly 2.5 million people who died for Japan in conflicts from around 1868 to 1954. While the shrine may seem innocuous to Westerners it’s controversial among Japan’s neighbors (namely China, Korea, and Tawian) because among the spirits housed in it are 1,068 convicted war criminals, fourteen of which received Class A designation (meaning they were deeply involved at every level of the deeds committed). Any time a notable Japanese government official has paid a visit to the shrine there’s been a minor international fracas that strained Japan’s relations with it’s neighbors for a short period. When I visited Yasukuni there didn’t appear to be anything going on and I looked around for a few minutes before moving on. For most visitors to Tokyo I’d say Yasukuni isn’t a high priority place to visit but for someone like me who studies history it’s an interesting spot to check out.
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