Yasukuni Shrine
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Pining for the Old Days
Much maligned in the Western press as being the place that right-wing Japanese politicians visit to pay their respects to dead war criminals, Yasukuni Shrine’s main objective is actually to enshrine anyone, military or civilian, killed in the service of the former Empire of Japan as the result of involvement in military conflict up until World War II. Despite its nefarious reputation, it is actually quite a pleasant place to visit, with interesting architecture and several memorials—including a museum housing Japanese Imperial Navy weaponry, and a perfectly preserved Zero fighter plane. One of the more unique attractions, however, is the parade of right-wing fanatics who periodically drop by—either to protest something having to do with China or Korea or to just express their devotion to the Emperor and longing for times past. Some of these blowhards go one step further and dress up in Imperial Army uniforms, making for some very entertaining eye candy and photo ops (just keep your snapping secret—they’re generally not happy to have their pictures taken, especially by foreigners).
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