TOKYO: Japanese pilgrims came to pay homage to the war dead in the pouring rain at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine,
The shrine’s surroundings were more subdued on August 15, which marks Japan’s surrender in World War II. Japanese nationalists, recognizable by their blue or black uniforms, bowed their heads in respect as a loudspeaker inside the shrine called on worshipers to pray for a minute for the war dead.
The official ceremony was broadcast through loudspeakers in the precincts of the sanctuary, the voice of the Prime Minister preceding that of Emperor Naruhito.
Different groups of nationalists at the shrine refrained from shouting Banzai to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Some Japanese nationalists dressed in Imperial Army uniforms sported masks with Japan’s Rising and Radiant Sun flag, an ancient symbol of the Imperial Army.
A 17-year-old explained that the army uniform he wore was comfortable and that he wore it so that people remember those who sacrificed their lives for the nation and so that war wouldn’t happen again.
On the outskirts of the shrine on Yasukuni Street, activists gathered to denounce Chinese “plans to spread its hegemony in East Asia.” They also called for the “independence of Taiwan” and criticized “the human rights abuses that Chinais committing against minorities, including Muslims, who seek independence.”