Abe honors war dead at Chidorigafuchi cemetery

TOKYO —

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday attended a ceremony to honor the nation’s war dead at Chidorigafuchi cemetery where the unidentified remains of thousands of Japanese soldiers are interred.

Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery was built 1959 to house the remains of unidentified Japanese who died overseas during World War II.

The Tokyo memorial, maintained by the environment ministry, honors 358,260 dead, mainly soldiers, whose remains have been returned to Japan, but also some civilians who died overseas.

Abe laid a wreath at the cemetery ahead of a formal service of remembrance held at a large hall in Tokyo.

Japan Today

  • -9

    MGigante

    Quick! Someone cue the obligatory outrage from the PRC and South Korea! Japan is doing stuff related to history! D:

  • -7

    J.basher

    Are the leopard changing it spot....hmmmm

  • 22

    semperfi

    The men and women who died serving their country deserve to be honored, irrespective of current politics, irrespective of who won or lost the battles.

  • 8

    Tamarama

    I hope this gets plenty of coverage in China too - for all the right reasons.

  • -3

    EthanWilber

    Abe should visit Chidorigafuchi cemetery to give his deep and sincere prayer for peace instead of going war-criminals riddled Yasukuni Shrine last Dec. That would have saved him tons of headraces and sting criticism including that from long-term allies such as the US and Australia.

    Abe might learn a valuable lesson, after Yasukuni Shrin ill-fated visit.

  • 1

    ianruxton

    This is excellent news!! The onus is now firmly on the US, China and South Korea to welcome this move strongly. Otherwise it will be clear that they just want to use Yasukuni as a stick to beat Mr Abe with, and don't really care about the issues beyond that.

  • -8

    Nightshade 2014

    I always seem to zoom in on something minor and probably irrelevant. The article says: "...built 1959 to house the remains of unidentified Japanese who died overseas during World War II." War ended 1945; cemetery opened 1959. That's 14 years. Where were the remains before then?

  • -4

    Strangerland

    Seems like he already learned his lesson - if he hadn't, he would have gone to Yasukuni again. Good on him for recognizing that Chidorigafuchi is a more appropriate place to pay respects than Yasukuni.

  • 2

    hokkaidoguy

    He went last year too, but it was a non-story in the foreign press.

  • 6

    JeffLee

    "Someone cue the obligatory outrage from the PRC and South Korea!"

    You obviously don't understand the issue. The outrage is over Yasukuni, not Chidorigafuchi. No one has said that the Japanese are not allowed to honor their war dead.

  • 2

    Soulknyt

    To answer your question on when the cemetary was built in 1959, and why its its taken 14 years. The answer is that many soldiers rremains have been taken from war sights from China, Korea and even other Japanese islands. Sometimes the remains cannot be identified and are instead buried there.

    I think its a great move for Japan to remember their dead like this, anyone who complains would have to complaint about Arlington, or the other cemetaries around the world. As for the PRC, ofcourse they will winge, its in their nature to do so, they will take cheap shots at Japan for anything.

  • -3

    SamuraiBlue

    Chidorigafuchi ONLY commemorates the service men killed in action during WW2 and does not recognize any others that had given their lives outside the forementioned service.

    This is only going to becon more trouble then good.

  • 1

    Nightshade 2014

    In that case, it's a triumph that Japan has been able to negotiate the return of remains from neighboring countries and islands and give them a final resting place. That's showing honor to those who gave their life.

  • 0

    Sensato

    I am very pleasantly surprised by this. I honestly thought we would never see Abe visit Chidorigafuchi. This gives me hope for Japan.

    This must have ruffled some feathers with the uyoku extremists who support Yasukuni and its sham war 'museum'.

  • -8

    MGigante

    You obviously don't understand the issue. The outrage is over Yasukuni, not Chidorigafuchi. No one has said that the Japanese are not allowed to honor their war dead.

    The outrage is over Japan "glorifying" the war by visiting Yasukuni, true; however, considering the rationale for their protests, it would be totally consistent with Chinese and South Korean policy to protest this visit for the same reason they protested collective Abe's push for collective self-defense: perceived ideas of increasing Japanese militarism, and the glorification of the war.

  • 6

    SugarFreeGummyBears

    Don't try to over-analyze this. He simply paid tributes to the Japanese war dead. It is clearly different from the Yasukuni shrine in that it has no political or nationalistic sentiment.

    And I don't see any Korean or chinese news outlet making a fuss about it, so neither should you.

  • -2

    Mr. Perfect

    Good.... but...., I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when Abe and his advisers discussed this decision and his previous visit as something tells me this has been well thought out and his intentions are far from what they simply appear to be!

    • Moderator

      Readers, please note that the prime minister attends this event every year.

  • 3

    Vincehwr

    Now this is what I call a good gesture. The media should capture that more not the visit in Yasukuni.

  • 6

    Upgrayedd

    Chidorigafuchi only honors the unidentified war dead. The identified dead are honored at Yasukuni. One of the criteria of being interred at Yasukuni is that they must know your name.

    Personally, I think the government should build or sponsor a secular memorial at Chidorigafuchi which honors both unidentified and identified dead without the racist undertones that come through across the street at Yasukuni.

  • -7

    JoeBigs

    TamaramaMay. 27, 2014 - 07:57AM JST I hope this gets plenty of coverage in China too - for all the right reasons.

    Never happen, the Communist Party needs to keep the hatred flowing.

    hokkaidoguyMay. 27, 2014 - 08:44AM JST He went last year too, but it was a non-story in the foreign press.

    If Communist China and South Korea were to print this they could keep up their propaganda war.

    StrangerlandMay. 27, 2014 - 08:32AM JST Seems like he already learned his lesson

    SensatoMay. 27, 2014 - 09:35AM JST This gives me hope for Japan.

    I can see you didn't know that he does this every year.

    The problem is Communist China and South Korea never say a peep about this in their news. If they did their propaganda would lose a bit of weight.

  • 0

    Sensato

    I can see you didn't know that he does this every year.

    @JoeBigs No, I did not know that Abe visits Chidorigafuchi every year, even though I follow the news in Japan fairly regularly.

    I wish that the media would give this more coverage, and that Japan's politicians would make this their prime venue for honoring Japan's fallen soldiers. This is good for Japan and good for peace in the region.

  • -1

    YankeeX

    Abe is wishing up in not visiting Yasakuni! US has advised him that this cemetery is a more similar comparasion to Arlington!

  • -1

    taj

    You've almost got it, Upgrayedd, but Chidorigfuchi is a cemetary, which contains remains and Yasukuni is a shrine. Nobody is (no bodies are) interred there. Just the names are written and the "spirits reside". It is possible that people who's bodies were not recovered have been listed in Yasukuni, and their remains are actually interred in Chidorigafuchi.

  • -10

    Mister Ed

    Considering most of the so called war "crimes" were either a) defending Asia from Russia or Western imperialists, or b) defending Japan from the USA and judged by the very same parties, the use of the word to confer "badness" looks a bit weak these days.

    War against "China" is a little more difficult because which China was it referring to? If it was war again the Nationalists, then from the Communist point of view, that was a good thing, as the anti- racist imperialism.

    The only people upset by that would be those with racist or imperialist leanings.

    Of course, attacks against civilians I don't agree with at all ... but everyone did that.

    The visit is no big thing. It's just a job any prime minister has to do one a year. Means nothing.

  • 0

    warispeace

    The way he keeps going with his inflammatory rhetoric and push for more military spending and overseas involvement in conflicts, he and future prime ministers will be honouring new war dead.

  • 0

    toshiko

    Japanese custom of visiting this type is called O-haka-mairi. People visit graveyard, usually, on the same day the person died. Everywhere in Japan. It is nice PM give homage to unknown soldiers. Better than visiting Yasukuni even his constituents ancestors souls were enshrined there since Meiji Ishin, There is no record China and S Korea protested abe's visit.

  • -1

    mw775

    Has anybody who is commenting negatively about Yasukuni ever been there? If not, then how can you INTELLIGENTLY comment on it? It is NOT a shrine to war criminals. Rather it is the repose of the souls of all of those who died for Japan throughout all of its wars, including those of non-soldiers (nurses and some postal workers, for example). The souls of the "Class A" war criminals, executed for Crimes Against Humanity, also repose there. They indeed died for Japan regardless of the (justified) condemnation of the court. It has been a familiar drum beat for China and Korea, who neither understand nor care about the true meaning of the place. Something good to use in their political games.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Mister Ed: "War against "China" is a little more difficult because which China was it referring to?"

    The giant nation not so far west of Japan... ummm... called "China", which wasn't communist until 1949.

    "Of course, attacks against civilians I don't agree with at all ... but everyone did that."

    Aw, shucks! Then it's all good then!

  • -2

    toshiko

    @mw775: Writers here write their opinions because they know Japan is not opinion=controlled country but in democracy since 1945. Abe's visit is the subject of this thread. We discuss here and we learn from other people's comments/ No one is fabricating in this thread.

  • -6

    OssanAmerica

    EthanWilberMay. 27, 2014 - 07:58AM JST Abe should visit Chidorigafuchi cemetery to give his deep and sincere prayer for peace instead of going war-criminals >riddled Yasukuni Shrine last Dec.

    1068 convicted war criminals out of 2,466,532 (0.0004) constitutes "riddled" to you?

  • -6

    Wrong Righter

    The men and women who died serving their country deserve to be honored

    @Semperfi- I think its pretty difficult, forced and contrived to describe what was done as "serving their country". They may have served the emperor or Tojo or the god of war, but I must take offense at the notion that they served Japan.

    As such, I don't think they should be honored. Those who went unwillingly should be remembered with pity, and those who went willingly should be remembered with shame.

    To actually honor them is to justify what they did, which I say again, was not service to this country.

    The onus is now firmly on the US, China and South Korea to welcome this move strongly.

    @ianruxton- Not quite. It would be viewed as a step in the right direction if he stopped going to Yasukuni and only went to Chidorigafuchi, but that is not what is happening.

    And if it was, it is not required that any country praise it strongly. Nobody should need such a pat on the back just for being decent.

  • -2

    Wakarimasen

    They should be recognised for making the ultimate sacrifice for the glorious emperor and motherland. How stupid war is!

  • -2

    Wrong Righter

    1068 convicted war criminals out of 2,466,532 (0.0004) constitutes "riddled" to you?

    @OssanAmerica- Way to pick nits. Its still 1068 murdering criminals too many. You cannot honor any of them without honoring all of them. They are all one kami now, that is what the priests say. I would not pee on Yasukuni if it were on fire.

  • -2

    MyJT2014

    Whether we like it or not he is the head of the nation and his is his duty to serve and to honour his country. Less we forget!

  • 1

    WilliB

    Good for Abe of going to Chidorigafuji. It is a beautiful and dignified place, and a place without the ideological dirt of Yasukuni Shrine.

    Now just stay away from Yasukuni and tell your cabinet members do to the same!

  • 1

    Guillaume Varès

    The men and women who died serving their country deserve to be honored

    No. These people did not serve their country, they served (most of them unwillingly) the political regime in place (a militarist dictatorship)… the same way that German soldiers did not serve Germany, they were coerced in serving the Nazi administration.

    Therefore they did not die for Japan. Most of these soldiers were conscripts and were also the victims of State brutality. And those who committed war crimes do not deserve to be honored.

  • 5

    anbinh

    Now I know that the Emperor and the Empress of Japan also go there to pay respect. The two magnificent flower vases are all from them.

  • 0

    KevinPhilipsBong

    Propaganda is considered central to the operation of the Chinese government

  • -1

    SamuraiBlue

    Guillaume Varès

    I disagree. If what you say is true then ALL who served and died at war falls under your category. There were no good and/or evil, only winner and loser.

  • -1

    EthanWilber

    Ossan aMay. 27, 2014 - 01:01PM JST 1068 convicted war criminals out of 2,466,532 (0.0004) constitutes "riddled" to you?

    In case you don’t know: there was only one Adolf Hitler out of 5,300,000 military deaths in World War II Germany plus another 5 million of Holocaust deathes.

    The point is that number of war criminals in in Yasukuni Shrine is only party of the story, it’s the horrendous crimes committed by those war criminals against humility matter most.

    That is why Abe’s Yasukuni Shrine visit did draw barrage of criticism from international community and that is why Japan's ultra nationalists and revisionists such as Abe, Hashimoto, Ishihara, Momii … are dangerous not only to Japan but also to the world.

    History has proven that glorifying war criminals is futile no matter how much time and efforts put in.

  • -1

    SamuraiBlue

    EthanWilber

    In case you don’t know: there was only one Adolf Hitler out of 5,300,000 military deaths in World War II Germany plus another 5 million of Holocaust deathes.

    The point is that number of war criminals in in Yasukuni Shrine is only party of the story, it’s the horrendous crimes committed by those war criminals against humility matter most.

    In case you did not know, Hitler is not enshrined at Yasukuni nor any other shrines in Japan for that matter.

  • -3

    OssanAmerica

    Wrong RighterMay. 27, 2014 - 03:54PM JST "1068 convicted war criminals out of 2,466,532 (0.0004) constitutes "riddled" to you? @OssanAmerica- Way to pick nits. Its still 1068 murdering criminals too many. You cannot honor any of them without >honoring all of them. They are all one kami now, that is what the priests say. I would not pee on Yasukuni if it were on >fire.

    To expose an absurd statement is far from nitpicking. To condemn 2,465,464 people, many who lived and died way before WWII, because of 1098 people is ridiculous. Don't like Yasukuni, then don't go there.

  • -1

    EthanWilber

    SamuraiBlue, Maybe you overlooked my replay above. That being said . thank you to assist me to reemphasize the keys.

    Below is the essenes of my comments: (if read carefully, you should get it)

    The point is that number of war criminals in Yasukuni Shrine is only party of the story, it’s the horrendous crimes committed by those war criminals against humility matter most.

    That is why Abe’s Yasukuni Shrine visit did draw barrage of criticism from international community and that is why Japan's ultra nationalists and revisionists such as Abe, Hashimoto, Ishihara, Momii … are dangerous not only to Japan but also to the world.

    History has proven that glorifying war criminals is futile no matter how much time and efforts are put in

  • -3

    OssanAmerica

    EthanWilberMay. 27, 2014 - 09:48PM JST That is why Abe’s Yasukuni Shrine visit did draw barrage of criticism from international community and that is why >Japan's ultra nationalists and revisionists such as Abe, Hashimoto, Ishihara, Momii … are dangerous not only to >Japan but also to the world.

    Abe's visit did not draw the "barrage of criticism" that you paint. China and South Korea claim that Abe visited to worship the war criminals and to bring back Japanese militarism. In contrast, the United States expressed disappointment only because the visit would be used by China and South Korea to enflame the current tensions. The U.S. recognizes that Abe made the visit to pray for peace. "We take note of the Prime Minister’s expression of remorse for the past and his reaffirmation of Japan's commitment to peace." http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20131226-01.html The Nationalists in Japan are but one segment of a democratic system.They are not considered a threat to anyone, Japan or the rest of Asia. In contrast Fascist China with it's military and territorial expansion is indeed considered a threat to peace in the region by most of Asia as well as the U.S, and Australia. China's daily actions in the South and East China Seas has really made this "blame Japan" argument pointless, the world is not stupid.

  • 0

    SamuraiBlue

    EthanWilber

    The point is that number of war criminals in Yasukuni Shrine is only party of the story, it’s the horrendous crimes committed by those war criminals against humility matter most.

    Only Part? It sounds more like all of it to me. As for Crime against humanity , I consider any and all wars falls under this term.

    History has proven that glorifying war criminals is futile no matter how much time and efforts are put in

    I guess you have never read a history book objectively since it glorify various tyrants through out the world. Basically history is written by the victors.

  • 0

    avigator

    Somebody likes stirring the pot here and there.

  • 0

    toshiko

    This article is about Abe went to Chidori-ga-fuchi but even someone wrote as if Hitler was enshrined in Yasukuni. It is Japanese custom to go to tombs in shrine and/or temple at their festivals or mei-nichi or dead people. That Abe did not forget Japanese custom.

  • -2

    Mister Ed

    @SmithinJapan

    China then was a divided nation subject to the Imperial powers at the time, and the Maoist had started their struggle beforehand.

    @EthanWilber

    Most of them did not commit any "horrendous crimes" at all. They were just in positions of seniority and their abilities a threat to the new Asian order the USA wanted to bring about.

    The court a piece of theatre ... justice at the hands of the victors who themselves were never tried for their crimes.

  • 0

    CrisGerSan

    I am glad to see this honourable visit recognized and covered here. it was a worthy event. I esp like some of the positive and intelligent comments here, many more than in the past. the best was:

    Has anybody who is commenting negatively about Yasukuni ever been there? If not, then how can you INTELLIGENTLY comment on it? It is NOT a shrine to war criminals. Rather it is the repose of the souls of all of those who died for Japan throughout all of its wars, including those of non-soldiers (nurses and some postal workers, for example). The souls of the "Class A" war criminals, executed for Crimes Against Humanity, also repose there. They indeed died for Japan regardless of the (justified) condemnation of the court. It has been a familiar drum beat for China and Korea, who neither understand nor care about the true meaning of the place. Something good to use in their political games.

  • 1

    WilliB

    mw775:

    " Has anybody who is commenting negatively about Yasukuni ever been there? If not, then how can you INTELLIGENTLY comment on it? It is NOT a shrine to war criminals. Rather it is the repose of the souls of all of those who died for Japan throughout all of its wars, including those of non-soldiers (nurses and some postal workers, for example). The souls of the "Class A" war criminals, executed for Crimes Against Humanity, also repose there. "

    I have been to Yasukuni, of course. No, it is not "a shrine for war criminals", but war criminals were enshrined there in the 70`s, and yes that was a big decision and a big scandal in Japan, even before any foreign governments made a stink of it. A memorial to fallen soldiers is one thing; enshrining war criminals is quite another.

  • -3

    OssanAmerica

    WilliBMay. 28, 2014 - 02:50AM JST I have been to Yasukuni, of course. No, it is not "a shrine for war criminals", but war criminals were enshrined there in >the 70`s, and yes that was a big decision and a big scandal in Japan, even before any foreign governments made a >stink of it. A memorial to fallen soldiers is one thing; enshrining war criminals is quite another.

    The Class-A War Criminals were enshrined there in 1978. Yet China (PRC) and South Korea made no comments about any Yasukuni visits until 1985 when anti-Japan sentiment began in China. PRC did not exist until 1948, 3 years after WWII ended. South Korea was part of the Japanese Empire and Korean soldiers were fighting in the Imperial Japanese military. Frankly, the only country that is qualified to make an issue of the War Criminals is Taiwan (ROC) who was not only a member of the victorious WWII allies but a member of the Far East Tribunal that convicted there very War Criminals. Yet Taiwan does not make Yasukuni, or anti-Japan sentiment for that matter, an official political and diplomatic tool as China(PRC) and South Korea does.

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