The yasukuni shrine and the competing patriotic pasts of east asia

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Abstract

Criticisms of Japan's controversial Yasukuni Shrine have highlighted two problems: the enshrinement there of the spirits of executed war criminals; and the distorted, patriotic war narrative presented in its war museum, the Yushukan. This article focuses on the second problem, while acknowledging the Yushukan's recent attempts to defuse it through revisions to its exhibit narrative. It undertakes some philosophical legwork to sort out the categories that the Yushukan narrative can be defined under: whether it is a historical narrative or something categorically distinct from that definition. Finally, it argues that even if the Yushukan narrative is categorically distinct from both historical and individual memory-based narratives, it is still answerable to their criticisms. This analysis is shown to have application to other national, patriotic narratives of the Asia-Pacific War in East Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-177
Number of pages31
JournalHistory and Memory
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

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