For our final episode on Shinto and the Japanese state, we’ll focus on the postwar controversies of Shinto: what was the role of the emperor going to be? How would Shinto fit in the new political order? And what on earth are we going to do with Yasukuni? The answers to these questions are what give shape to much of the controversy surrounding Shinto in modern Japan.
Listen to the episode
In the Realm of a Dying Emperor.
Shinto and the State.
Shinto: The Way Home.
Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation
Hitorizumo is a folk tradition in Mie prefecture where a sumo wrestler fights the invisible spirit of a rice plant in order to ensure a good harvest. Right now I guess the rice plant is giving him a run for his money. No, I will not put pictures of the Kanamara-matsuri on the site.
Atsuko Ikeda, elder sister of Emperor Akihito and one of two sai’o (Chief Priests) of Ise Shrine. The position must be held by a female member of the Imperial family, but thanks to reforms during the American Occupation those who leave the immediate nuclear family of the Emperor lose their imperial titles.
Kuroda Sayako, the second sai’o of Ise Shrine.
Nakasone Yasuhiro (mid-right,behind the shrine priest) bears the dubious distinction of being the first PM to visit Yasukuni after the decision to enshrine Tojo and 16 other war criminals.
Abe Shinzo visiting Yasukuni in 2012.
Yasukuni remains a site of nationalist and militarist rallies to this day, particularly on August 15th (the anniversary of Japan’s surrender).
If I could do it all again I’d spend much more time on that one time Justin Bieber visited Yasukuni Shrine. Courtesy of Slate.com.