These hot days have reminded me of August 15th, the memorial day of the declaration of the surrender, which is just around the corner. Every August, Yasukuni Shrine, which is the national memorial of Japan, becomes one of the major topics in the media. NHK, which is the leader of anti-Japanese movement if you ask me, makes war related programs ad nauseam and reiterates its claims that the Japanese committed so many crimes during the Second World War.
Japan's Prime Minister Abe visited the shrine at the end of the last year and Obama's response to it surprised me. He expressed "disappointment" at the visit. There was a dash of controversy in Japan about how to translate "disappointment" into Japanese, that is, was Obama serious or was he forced to say so by someone? Anyway, it's clear that he didn't hold a good opinion of the visit. Those who had fought the United Nations in the war are also honored in the shrine, which would be the major reason of his disappointment.
By the way, do you know anything about Washington National Cathedral, which honors Robert Edward Lee and Stonewall Jackson who fought for the U.S. to continue slavery and were named war criminals after the war? Naturally, the facility is also for people who had died for the sake of the country. I think this mourning place is just the counterpart of Japan's Yasukuni Shrine!
Obama's standard of value is obviously conflicting between his country and Japan. The Cathedral towering over the heart of the city has been the place for mourning and prayer. State funerals of lots of the U.S. Presidents and memorial events for historic figures have been held and numerous U.S. citizens have visited the Cathedral. People haven't minded that two above-mentioned generals were honored in the same place. This fact didn't come to an issue so often, but when the memorial ceremony of late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was held there, the fact was a magnet for controversy.
A columnist of the Washington Post, John Kerry, threw doubt on the fact: Why are Lee and Johnson, who fought to block racial equality, honored at this place where Mr. Mandela, who lived for non-violent struggle for racial equality, is honored? Professor Evie Terrono at Randolph-Macon College explained that it was inconsistent to honor people who had tried to destroy the capital in the Cathedral which lies in the capital.
The spokesman of the Cathedral said that history has both aspects of good and bad. The spirit of the dead should never be blamed with respect to what they had done in life. That's apparently why Obama and his colleagues visit the Cathedral, but he and his Administration have bruited misleading impressions about Yasukuni Shrine.
The former Bush Administration admitted to then prime minister Koizumi that he formally visited the shrine. It additionally advised him not to cave in to China's pressure. What Obama is doing now is quite contrary to the Bush era.
Kevin M Doak, who works at Georgetown University, insists that Japan's prime minister should visit Yasukuni Shrine often and the attitude of Obama Administration toward the shrine is clearly hypocritical, judging from their attitude to the Cathedral. I really think so.
counterfeit virtue 偽善
Washington National Cathedral ワシントン国立大聖堂
bruit sth about (フォーマル) ＜…＞を言い触らす, 広める
a misleading impression 誤解を招きかねない印象