Ones upon a time, I would have associated the word August with the summer
holidays, beaches or mountains.$B!!(B Nowadays, I associate August with those
hot summer days in 1945. Japan lost the War in the 15th of August 1945.
The Yasukuni shrine holds $B!H(BMitama matsuru$B!I(B, the festival to honor the
war dead, from the 13th to the 16th of July.$B!!(B The shrine is situated in
the center of Tokyo, just next to the Emperor$B!G(Bs Palace.$B!!(B The shrine has
an approach of 400m in length and 20m in width.$B!!(B During this period, the
shrine area becomes a site of village festival filled with fair stalls.
Ten thousands of lanterns make tall fences surrounding the area.
Many people visit the festival. The line of the crowd begins at the subway
station, actually begins at the platforms. $B!!(BThe 20m wide approach is totally
filled by the crowd. Strolling, watching stalls, taking stand-up meals,
the line proceeds 200m. At the center of the approach in length, the crowd
meets a dancing circle with sounds of drums giving the rhythm and tempo.
The crowd proceeds another 200m with fair stalls and reaches the shrine.$B!!(B
There are many young women, much more young women than aged men.
Many of prime ministers of Japan have visited the Yasukuni shrine. Each time when a Japanese prime minister visited this shrine, big international quarrels evoked.$B!!(B The image of the crowded vivid festival doesn$B!G(Bt fit together with the international diplomatic arguments. The shrines, temples, churches or cathedrals are religious facilities.$B!!(B The religion is based on the beliefs of the virtual images such as spirit, the next world, the heaven and the hell. $B!!(BNobody can argue seriously those virtual images. No funeral party is for the dead but for the living.
Naturally there are many people who lost husbands, fathers or brothers
in the war.$B!!(B They would keep the memory of the dead. $B!!(BThey wouldn$B!G(Bt
like the memory fade away. Therefore people visit the monument to fill
their void hearts.$B!!(B The Yasukuni shrine is neither the victory monument
nor the monument of the lost war. $B!!(BSuch jolly crowd at the Yasukuni shrine
festival proves to us the role of the shrine as a war stimulant is over.
In August, we enjoy the village festival, and remember the origin of the
shrine, the foolishness and the cruelty of the war.