by Yoshibumi Wakamiya
Translated from the International Herald Tribune by the people at JAPAN FOCUS.
…The true culprit in suicide attacks is not the individual who sacrifices his or her life, but the organizations and leaders who praise, encourage or order such attacks. Likewise, unless we look squarely at the mistakes made by the imperial army and national leaders who forced Japan to fight a reckless war at the cost of the lives of young kamikaze pilots, there is no way we can truly mourn for the war dead, including kamikaze pilots, and in the same breath pray for peace.
At the time, as the central facility for state Shintoism, Yasukuni Shrine played a leading role in whipping up fighting spirit and encouraging kamikaze pilots. Even now that the shrine is officially no more than one of countless religious corporations, it continues to serve as the spiritual base for people who still believe Japan’s path was right and inevitable as it entered the “Greater East Asia War.”