Home > Japanese Culture > Enshrined spirits rest in peace

Enshrined spirits rest in peace

I was supposed to write an article about Jomon era. Oh my God…since I now have a fever, I can’t go to my office to get photos of Dogu from a book with the scanner in my office. Sorry, Mugami, I hope you would wait for me for the time being.

Instead of Jomon era, I’ll introduce Yasukuni shrine to you.

I visited the shrine at the end of the last year. I’m not saying I’m definitely on the side of hawk, conservatives. I completely know A-classed war criminals are enshrined in there However, as one of Japanese, I’ve wanted to visit this shrine.

Yasukuni, had its previous name ‘tokyo shoukon sha, was established in 1869, in Meiji era. Almost shrines have their God, such as Ise jinguu. In Yasukuni, people died for Japan have been called eirei and enshrined. eirei are, what we call, ‘spirits of the people died for Japan.’ As I wrote in this blog, only Japanese are enshrined in gokoku shrine in each prefecture in Japan. In Yasukuni, people who was forced to change their nationalities, such as Taiwanese, are also enshrined as eirei. This is one of the difference between Yasukuni shrine and other gokoku shrines.

Look at this picture. You can see a big gate called torii in the left side of the photo. I just imagined the color of torii usually is vivid red. The one of yasukuni has a rusty and muddy red and that makes torii itself have a strange atmosphere.

You can see the lion thing on the right side of the photo? It’s called komainu(an imperial gurdian lion), the imaginary creature. Usually, there is a pair of komainu on the both sides of the gate in shrine. The right side of komainu has its mouth opened. And the left side one has its mouth closed. Opened mouth on the right and closed mouth on the left, we call them a un, which means ‘the perfect interaction between two.’

This is the main street toward the main hall of the shrine. You can see the statue in the middle of the street. He is Masujirou Omura, who is the man having influenced on establishment of the shrine.

This is the main gate of the shrine, called shin mon(the gate of God).

This is the sub-main hall of the shrine, called hai den, where people usually pray. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit the main hall. You can see the mark in the cloth hanging down in the middle of the hall. Chrysanthemums are used as the family emblem of emperor.

This is the monument for Dr. Radha binod Pal, who was the judge of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He claimed that there was no justice among these trials because of the feeling of revenges by Allies. Now that his judge is treated as the theory in the laws of nation.

I’m not trying to judge which was right and wrong during the war. I think I should learn what things happened more.

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  1. January 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Hi H.P. 🙂

    Sorry to hear about your fever. Other than that, how are you?

    I love reading about this shrine, and have to read more about it. This is one thing of the past that is causing issues in the present. Thanks for the pictures.

    One mouth open, and one mouth close, the imperial guardian lions; humans can learn for that.

  2. January 19, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    How are you today? Are you taking anything for your fever? Have you seen the doctor?

    Get well soon. 🙂

    • honeypotter
      January 21, 2010 at 1:26 am

      Hi, girlgeum! Thanks for your concern. 🙂

      I’ve finally got better. The fever has finally gone down. I got a sick leave today, however, my subordinate of subsidiary asked me to go with him and negotiate with his obligator tonight… I had to keep standing in front of the door… It was so cold… 😦

      I’m glad you got interested in this article. 🙂

      It’s a quite sensitive topic, so quite difficult to write.

      • January 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm

        You’re gonna get sick again. 😦

        Take care of yourself.

  3. Mugami
    January 19, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    They call the lions, “shiisa” down in Okinawa, don’t they? Down there they’re everywhere, I thought? Thanks for the article! I’m just a sucker for new facts about historical culture! 🙂

    And I’ll wait. I know you got a life, man! You’ll get to The Jomon when you get to it. I gotchya. I think of it like a buddhist: You do not strain water through tea leaves and expect a good tea. You must let the leaves steep, let them impart their flavor, and only then may you taste the full-bodied flavor of a well prepared tea.

    Get my point?

    You could write the article now, but the one I wait for will be better. 😉

    Hayaku nai! Boku wa ko shi tantan.

    (Is that right? I was going for “Don’t hurry! I will patiently wait for the opportunity to be pleased. That whole yojijukugo idiom thing about aiming with a tiger’s eyes I’m not too sure of. 😦 I’m trying, what more could I do.)

    Anyways, get well. Relax. Chill. Take your time. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. 😉

    • honeypotter
      January 21, 2010 at 2:07 am

      Hi, Mugami! How’s your day? Me, I got a high fever and had tough days. 🙂

      Yeah, ‘shiisa‘ or ‘shi-sa-‘, are placed in a lot of areas in Okinawa as gurdian. Both of komainu and shi-sa- have the same root.

      >You do not strain water…

      Yeah, I know what you meant, and I’m sure you like photos I’m going to show you, especially dogu…hehehe 🙂

      >Boku wa ko shi tantan

      Wow! You know such a phrase(koshi tantan) and know the meaning as well. Yeah, ko shi, in this phrase, ‘the eye of the tiger’, and you can use it such a situation, like this; ‘I’m waiting for the enemy has come, and will kill him with one shot.’ or ‘I’m waiting for the picher throwing his straight pitch, and will hit the ball.’ Like a tiger keeps silent, has no sound, and tries to catch his/her feed.

      Hmmm, how could I suggest other expression in Japanese in this case? How about ichiniti senjuu? It means, ‘I strongly longed for it as if just a day would have become a thousand year.’ And how about this one? It’s an idiomatic phrase, not yojijukugo. ‘kubi wo nagaku shite matu‘ We often use this phrase when we can tell someone that we can wait for you whenever it takes. ‘kubi wo nagaku are originated from crane, a bird. When cranes try to get their feed from someone, they have their neck straightened. The Japanese saw cranes’ straightening their neck and got such an expression; ‘kubi wo nagaku shite matsu‘.

      So please wait for me, having your neck straightened. 🙂

  4. Mugami
    January 24, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Man! You sure threw down a gauntlet for me!

    English is generally very straight-forward in colloquial speech. Even in literary it is not nearly as flowery as nihongo. But I will try to find as close a match as possible to them both. It may take a few days because I’ve never heard them used before. Gomen. Koku ja arimasen. 😉

    • honeypotter
      January 25, 2010 at 2:01 am

      Hi, Mugami! How’s it goin’?

      I finally got some photos for an article on Jomon era. All I have to do is think my plot of it. But it’s quite difficult. 😦

      By the way, there are many differences between English and Japanese because of the difference of cultures. For example, ‘carrots and sticks’, I guess you often use these words when you teach or instruct someone, we have such words like this; ‘ame to muchi’, which literally means ‘candies(like lolipo) and whips.’

      “koshi tantan” is often used with a verb “ukagau”. Like this; “watashi wa koshi tantan to chance wo ukagau”

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