Akiko TakenakaAug 24, 2016
History, Memory, and Japan's Unending Postwar
University of Hawaii Press 2015
Akiko Takenaka's new book looks carefully at Yasukuni Shrine as a war memorial, examining its role in waging war, honoring the dead, promoting peace, and building a modern national identity. Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan's Unending Postwar (University of Hawaii Press, 2015) pays special attention to the significance of memory and spatial practice in shaping Yasukuni as belief, site, and issue. The chapters guide readers from the pre-history of Yasukuni tracing the origin of an important myth that developed around Yasukuni Shrine during the Asia-Pacific War: the idea that dying for the emperor would result in enshrinement at Yasukuni as a god through the very different uses of the space as a venue for popular entertainments and celebrations, the popularization of beliefs associated with the shrine outside of Tokyo and the nationalization of the Yasukuni myth, the practices associated with Yasukuni during total war mobilization during the Asia-Pacific War, the politics and legalities of enshrinement at Yasukuni, and postmemory at Yasukuni today. Its a clear and compelling study of an important issue that will be of interest to many readers. Enjoy!