Brij Tankha on 靖国神社にて知る。
印度の雑誌Frontlineに掲載された印度人日本史家Brij Tankha氏*1による〈靖国〉論。

“Why Yasukuni hurts

靖国神社とはそもそも”a shrine for the victors in a civil war”であったこと。

The practice of mourning soldiers in its present form is not an old custom. It was during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 that a special ceremony was created for soldiers who died in battle (Gunjin sogi shidai) and as the war spread, Buddhists groups began to publish rules and explanations for mourning to inform the people, as these were departures from accepted practice. These ceremonies were initially restricted to soldiers and not to any other people who died in war. The remains of soldiers who died fighting were formally received and treated as those of "heroes". Buddhists treated all the dead as equal and did not see them as becoming spirits (rei), but said that they attained Buddhahood (hotoke ni naru).

But from 1938 they began to describe the soldiers as `spirit of the departed hero' (eirei, a word straight from the State Shinto lexicon), and invested them with all the accompanying political baggage. In 1988 the Supreme Court overturned the judgment of two lower courts and ruled against Nakaya Yasuko, a Christian widow, who sought to prevent the state from enshrining her husband, a member of the Self-Defence Force who died in an accident.


A major impetus for trying to make Yasukuni a national shrine comes from the shrine management. Survivors of the war and their relatives are slowly passing away and these declining numbers mean fewer visitors and dwindling revenues. Recognition as a national shrine would bring state support and improve the shrine's dwindling resources.

The Yasukuni visit also needs to be understood in the context of the growing insecurities about Japanese economic and political strength, which fuels a divisive debate and promote a defensive nationalism. Koizumi's popularity taps into one vein of this rising nationalism, but it would be short-sighted to view Japan only from this position. There is widespread support for a more open and confident nationalism that can accommodate differing views.


Many sections of society, including religious groups, support a national shrine to mourn the dead, not just soldiers but all those killed in battles, regardless of their nationality (for instance, forced Korean labour or foreign prisoners of war who died in attacks on Japan). Close to Yasukuni is the war memorial for the unknown solider in the Chidorigafuchi cemetery. This memorial, built after the war, is one such candidate. Visits there would arouse no passions and yet serve the purpose of honouring all those who died. They would also signal the emergence of a more confident and forward-looking Japan.
ところで、「国家神道(state Shinto)」に対置して、”kami Shinto”という言葉が”popular religion”とほぼ同義として使われているのだが、この言葉は国際的にはけっこう通用している言葉なのだろうか。検索で探し出したのは、

Shinto, or "the way of the gods," has no official religious influence in Japan. Shinto is Japan's own religion, created by the Japanese for the Japanese. The name SHINTO, however, comes from two Chinese words--SHIN, meaning "good spirits," and TAO, meaning "the way." These spirits are known as kami, a word which a Westerner could translate as "god." However, the Japanese kami and the Western concept of God are not the same. Shinto is based on man's response to his natural and human surroundings. It is a way of life woven into the character of Japanese thought and conduct.
Kami Shinto is a simple religion. In fact, it is one of the simplest known. There are no images, no sacred books, and no commandments. It was originally a way of thinking, a way of looking at life. As a religion, it is concerned with a variety of gods--the spirits of trees, animals, and mountains; the principles of love, justice, and order; and the god-like ancestors, heroes, and Emperors. The chief heavenly deity is Amaterasu Omikami, the Sun Goddess. The worship of these kami is centered in private, personal meditation as well as in the observance of ceremonies and festivals which are closely related to the community and national traditions. To have unity with the kami, a person must have a bright, pure correct heart. If a person does not have these qualities, he is in disfavor with the kami.


 “Some Basic Concepts in Shinto”
“Shinto Religion of Japan”

*1:“Dr. Brij Tankha (b. 1947) is an Honorary Fellow and Former Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies. He has also been directing the East Asia Programme in the institute. He is a Reader in Modern Japanese History at the Department of East Asian Studies University of Delhi. Educated at St. Stephen's College, Delhi University and School of International Studies, JNU, he has also been at Hitotsubashi University and Tokyo University as Visiting Fellow. His work has been on the intellectual and social history of modern Japan. He has published in various scholarly journals and is currently working on a project on Japan and Asia.”( )