Pro


I’ve lived in Tokyo for a long time, years.

Many years.

One of the most controversial places in Tokyo is the Yasukuni Shrine, it’s always in the news and I’ve never been there. For those that don’t know when the press talks about Japanese politicians pissing off Asia by paying their respects at a Tokyo Shrine, Yasukuni is the one they’re talking about.

Built in 1869 to honor those that died fighting for Japan it has served that purpose for decades including honoring all the men, woman and children who died fighting against the Russians in 1905, WWI all the wars in between, and of course WWII. After WWII the total count of Kami, or spirits, the shrine contained was almost two and half million. At that time the other Asian countries didn’t have a problem with it as the American occupation authorities forbid allowing the war criminal spirits, ghosts, or Kami, into the shrine. In 1969 the Japanese decided to let into the Yasukuni the spirits of “War Criminals”. Since then the rest of Asia goes crazy every time a public figure mentions the shrine, as they view politicians visiting the shrine as honoring these war criminals while the politicians themselves say that they are honoring everyone who died for Japan.

Every August 15 (The day Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945) there is a celebration, period of mourning where people come pay their respects and pro and anti-Yasukuni demonstrations take place. The demonstrations get very heated and always bring out the hard core right wingers who try and fight the anti-Yasukuni protesters. In 2010 the two sides came to blows but since then a massive police presence keeps the two apart. Here are some of the pictures I took when I was there.

I chose a station a little farther away but still 5 police dressed in riot gear were there to greet people.
I chose a station a little farther away but still police, plane clothes cops and heat dressed in riot gear were there to greet people.
This is one of the buses of the Right Wing Political groups, very pro-Emperor, pro-Military, etc
This is one of the buses of a Right Wing Political group, very pro-Emperor, pro-Military, etc
Inside the Yasukuni shrine is a museum and these statues are to honor the horse, dogs and birds that died for Japan
Inside the Yasukuni shrine is a museum and these statues are to honor the horses, dogs and birds that died for Japan
Lots of media including this foreigner with a huge ... steady cam?
Lots of media including this foreigner with a huge … steady cam?
The gates of Yasukuni Shrine
The gates of Yasukuni Shrine
Lots of people like to Cos Play in the Shrine.  Here people are dressing up like soldiers during the war
Lots of people like to Cos Play in the Shrine. Here people are dressing up like soldiers during the war
Singing Cos Play
Singing Cos Play

Yasukuni Gate

Police all around the shrine keep out both left and the right wing protesters.  Inside its very family friendly
Police all around the shrine keep out both left and the right wing protesters. Inside it’s very family friendly
This guy might be old enough to have actually been in the war
This guy might be old enough to have actually been in the war
There were cops everywhere and I counted at least 50 of these riot busses on the streets surrounding the shrine
There were cops everywhere and I counted at least 50 of these riot busses on the streets surrounding the shrine
More Police
More Police
Police building the barricades
Police building the barricades
Japanese infrastructure right next to the shrine
Japanese infrastructure right next to the shrine
Here is where protesters are supposed to stay, in these pens
Here is where protesters are supposed to stay, in these pens
Along the Shrine are a number of political displays
Along the Shrine are a number of political displays
Free the Falun Gong
Free the Falun Gong

Bad China

Bad China 3

Police with yellow straps
Police with yellow straps
There were lots of people talking about various political angles, notice the men black behind him
There were lots of people talking about various political angles, notice the men in black behind him
When these guys marched by the crowd with nuts with encouragement and GanBaTes.  I was really confused as I thought there was big tension between the crowds
When these guys marched by the crowd with nuts with encouragement and GanBaTes. I was really confused as I thought there was big tension between the crowds
Then I realized they were the pro-Yasukuni people.  Here are the anti-Yasukuni people notice the fingers.
Then I realized the flag holders were the pro-Yasukuni people. About an hour later were the anti-Yasukuni people notice the fingers in the crowd, lots of jeers and objects being thrown when this picture was taken.
Lots of the flippin of the Bird
Angry, angry crowds right here
There was a flag like this during the anti-Yasukuni protest.  The Kanji mean negative a think not sure if it represents a party.
There was a flag like this during the anti-Yasukuni protest. The Kanji mean “negative” (I think) not sure if it represents a party.

When I was reading about what to expect while visiting the shrine I came across this guy talking about how in 2009 he got caught up in the energy during a full-on Yasukuni riot. At one point a Right Wing nut attacks him, as a visible foreigner, and takes his camera then he remembers what happened next:

With hardly any time to have thought about what had happened, another man grabbed me, though he was quickly restrained by the police, who then, much to my chagrin, released him right in front of me as they ran off to deal with other problems. This man ,too, came up to me and shook my hand, saying- This is amazing isn’t it? Where else but here could you see energy like this? (all over the world?!?!)

I thought about it for a second, looked around, … My assailant and some other people standing nearby who had been listening in, laughed and said…. hey, you are right!

The more I think about it, the more that thought rang true. The surge of primeval energy, the cathartic release of a years worth of tension, the bloody noses, and noise and exhaustion — AlienTimes

During the protest this year one guy, somehow, managed to get over a police barricade, two police cordons and then attack protesters holding a giant effigy of Emperor Hirohito as a Nazi skeleton during the War. The police basically just push him back into the crowd but the cheer he gives reminds of that blog.


Here are the police everywhere, notice the riot buses blocking the route to the shrine
Here are the police everywhere, notice the riot buses blocking the route to the shrine
A glitch in the Matrix
A glitch in the Matrix

If you liked this check out our other Image based articles:
Gaijinass Images

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