The second torii of Yasukuni Shrine, built in 1887, is the largest bronze torii in Japan

The second torii of Yasukuni Shrine
The second torii of Yasukuni Shrine
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Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo was originally called Tokyo Shokonsha. Shokon means to honor the dead. As the name suggests, the shrine was built to enshrine those who died in the service of the Japanese nation after the Meiji Restoration. Although there is controversy over who is enshrined at the shrine, it is up to the religion to decide who to enshrine in the first place. Even Christianity treats saints differently depending on the denomination. For example, St. Nikolai, who is considered a saint in the Japanese Orthodox Church, is not considered a saint in the Catholic Church, nor in the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches such as the Armenian Apostolic Church, Coptic Orthodox Church, and Syrian Orthodox Church. There is even a religion called Mandaism, which considers Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad as false prophets sent from the world of darkness, so it is difficult to establish a standard that everyone can agree on.

What was personally interesting to me was when I spoke with the owner of the hotel where I stayed in Gyeongju, Korea. Behind a man who had received prewar Japanese language education and was fluent in Japanese, there was a picture of him making a peace sign at the Yasukuni Shrine. He told me that his brother was enshrined at the Yasukuni Shrine because he went to war as a Japanese soldier during World War II and lost his life in the south. I had heard that some of the bereaved family members claimed that the enshrinement in the Yasukuni Shrine was against their will and a violation of their personal rights, so I was surprised to hear the man say, "I am more Japanese than you, who can recite the Imperial Rescript on Education." He seemed to be rather proud that his brother who died in the war was enshrined in Yasukuni Shrine, so I really thought that the way of perceiving the joint enshrinement differs from person to person.

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Shooting Date

Jul 2023

Posted On

March 20, 2024

Modified On

March 26, 2024


Kudan, Tokyo


Street Photography



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