The upcoming August 15th anniversary of Japan’s surrender, as well as National Foundation Day in February, are dates when one expects to see large gatherings of nationalists at Yasukuni Shrine. Despite its infamous nature, however, at other times of the year, Yasukuni is generally very welcoming, with little in the way of noticeable controversy except for its rather revisionist museum.
So what the relevance of yesterday was I don’t know, but a sizeable group of right-wing extremists were there for a ceremony of some sort or another. To be absolutely fair, they were quiet, respectful in regards other visitors, and they also paid their respects in an equally thoughtful manner. But of course kitted out in their uniforms, and as a decent-sized group, they made for a striking sight. Plus perhaps more significantly — considering the hawkish nature of the current Prime Minister — they provoked thoughts of Japan’s past, present, and possibly more importantly, its future.