Yasukuni, the War Dead, and the Struggle for Japan's Past (Columbia/Hurst)

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9780231700429: Yasukuni, the War Dead, and the Struggle for Japan's Past (Columbia/Hurst)
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Located in the heart of Tokyo, Yasukuni is a controversial shrine dedicated to the Japanese war dead. It holds the remains of twelve convicted and two suspected Class A war criminals, and its museum features an account of Japan's involvement in the Second World War that many would describe as revisionist. Visits to Yasukuni by cabinet members often spark protests in Japan and abroad, especially in China, Korea, and Taiwan, and the shrine's existence continues to foster a sense of mistrust between the Chinese and Japanese governments.

As the first authoritative volume in English on Yasukuni, John Breen has edited a book that neither commends nor condemns the monument. Instead it renders more complex an issue that, in the media at least, has been portrayed in starkly simplistic terms. Breen presents authoritative yet divergent views on the shrine and its place in postwar Japanese diplomacy, ideology, and history. Critical contributions are written by leading Yasukuni and anti-Yasukuni Japanese intellectuals, as well as Chinese and Western commentators. Yasukuni is a provocative symbol of Japan's nationalist past. With this book, English-speaking readers can now access a full portrait of the shrine's significance and its unique position in the highly contested history of Japan.

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About the Author:

John Breen is senior lecturer in Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. With Mark Teeuwen, he has coedited Shinto in History: Ways of the Kami and coauthored A Brief History of Shinto.

Review:

In following Yasukuni over several years, I've come to see in John Breen's work the deepest and most reflective approach to the multiple problems that the shrine has posed: in war and war memory, in Japanese religious praxis, in state-shrine-society relations, and in Japan-China-global relations. Where the literature has spun endlessly around the issue of the Prime Minister's visits to the shrine, Breen's work, and this volume, cut far deeper into all of the above mentioned realms, and offer important new perspectives. Casting Yasukuni in multiple historical, ideological, political, and religious frameworks, this volume contributes much that is fresh and provocative.

(Mark Selden, Cornell University, and a coordinator of Japan Focus)

A must-read for all who are concerned about the future of pacifism in Japan.

(Jennifer Chan Journal of Japanese Studies 1900-01-00)

An authoritative volume on Yasukuni has been absent from our shelves for too long. Breen's collection will no doubt have its place there.

(Janemil Kolstø Religion 1900-01-00)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780199328031: Yasukuni the War Dead and the Struggle for Japan's Past

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ISBN 10:  019932803X ISBN 13:  9780199328031
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2008
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9780231700436: Yasukuni, the War Dead, and the Struggle for Japan's Past (Columbia/Hurst)

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9781850659075: Yasukuni, the War Dead and the Struggle for Japan's Past

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9780199326587: Yasukuni the War Dead and the Struggle for Japan's Past

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