Showing posts from May, 2016

Is Prime Minister Abe planning "a revival of Shinto as a state religion"?

by Nobuo Ikeda
Japan's attempts to revise its war record are worrying to the rest of Asia — The Economist (@TheEconomist) May 23, 2016
It seems that a stereotypical news coverage of Japan is on the rise again as the Ise-Shima Summit approaches. The majority of such coverage is criticism of “Abe's ultra right wing regime” thanks to their flawed association of ideas that the Ise shrine equals a state religion of Shinto which equals nationalism. I assume that the above column was written by an editor for Asian affairs based in London. Because he is typically relying on a secondary source of information, such as Japan Times, a number of basic errors are cited in the column.
Firstly, Shinto is not a religion as he understands it. There are neither doctrines nor a founder. When it began is also unknown. The name, 'Shinto' was given to the collective ancient faiths of various folks f…

A-bombs were unnecessary for the surrender of Japan

Obama will be the first president of the United States who visits Hiroshima, but will not apologize because there are still many people who believe A-bombs prompted the surrender of Japan and "saved millions of lives".

It is wrong, argues Prof. Hasegawa, by quoting many government documents. President Truman decided to drop A-bombs on July 25, before the day of Potsdam declaration. So it was a lie that Truman later said that he decided A-bombimg because Japan rejected the declaration (Japan didn't answer).

Even if its aim was not surrender, did the A-bomb save lives by earlier surrender? No, says Prof. Hasegawa. In the Gozen Kaigi (the meeting in front of Hirohito) on August 9, the main issue was preserving the Kokutai (body of the State) and the A-bomb was scarcely discussed.

As the discussion was confused, the final decision was made by Hirohito himself. He said that he didn't believe the Army and there was no prospect of winning. It is impressive that he never …