On Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Meiji Shrine — the Shinto religion’s main shrine in Tokyo — to seemingly gain more appeal to his right-wing supporters. With the company of his wife Akie, Abe offered prayers for the country’s prosperity and continued peace, as well as the health of the emperor and the empress.
The Meiji Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo was built to commemorate Emperor Meiji, who is a symbol of Japan’s imperialism and militarization in the 19th and 20th century. During the Meiji period, Shinto was declared Japan’s state religion; some priests became government officials and shrines were given subsidy. During the World War II, Shinto was used to wage war in the name of the emperor. When the war ended a new Japan emerged, separating any religion from the state.
After Abe has concluded with his prayers, he spoke with the press and said that he was also hoping to visit the Yasukuni Shrine war memorial. It can be remembered that in October last year, Abe’s visit to the shrine had sparked outrage among neighboring countries, South Korea and China particularly, as well as some citizens. Yasukuni holds some 2.5 million Japanese soldiers who died during the second World War, which included 14 war criminals, and is seen as a reminder of the country’s past aggressions.[via Zee News]