Yasukuni Shrine and Emperor
Showa Emperor of Japan (Emperor Hirohito) stopped voluntarily going and praying in the Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, from a certain period of time after WWII.
The emperor visited the Shrine on November 21, 1975 as his last religious mission to Yasukuni.
It is said that it was because class-A war criminals of the Tokyo Tribunal of War Criminals established in Tokyo by the US and allies' supreme commander General MacArthur after WWII were enshrined in the Yasukuni Shrine in 1978 with other war victims.
Traditionally the Yasukuni Shrine was the place to worship fallen soldiers who fought for the emperor in and after the civil war on the Meiji Restoration of the imperial authority of 1860s.. Accordingly, it had been customary for the emperor to make a pilgrimage to the Shrine on appropriate occasions.
So, after the second world war, Showa Emperor sometimes visited the Shrine. But after he knew that class-A war criminals of the Tokyo Tribunal of War Criminals were also enshrined there in 1978, he stopped this de-facto duty.
The class-A war criminals were those leaders of the Empire of Japan who led the nation to wars against China, the US, etc. in 1930s and early 1940s. When the Empire surrendered in the summer of 1945 to the US and its allies, they were arrested by US officers subject to the order from General MacArthur. And they were judged in the special court set up by the General.
There were 28 class-A criminals who were took to the court, and seven of them were sentenced to death. Hideki Tojo, an Army general of the Empire who was prime minister at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, was one of the seven ex-elites to be executed in 1948 by the American forces that were occupying Japan after WWII.
So, the Yasukuni Shrine decided to regard those executed class-A war criminals as ordinary service members who lost their lives in wars made for the emperor and the Empire of Japan. The Shrine did not take them as criminals but respectable military men like others who had died in previous wars and civil wars.
However, Showa Emperor did not accept it. For the Emperor, who was in the imperial throne from 1926 to 1989, those class-A criminals were not ordinary fallen-soldiers who fought and died for the Imperial House and the Empire. The Emperor could not worship them as gods, though every fallen soldier was believed to become a god in principle, according to the shinto religion.
Showa Emperor refused to pay religious respect to those ex-top elites of the Empire, namely the class-A war criminals, who had once led the Empire with the Emperor himself before WWII.
Of course after WWII, Showa Emperor never led the defense forces of Japan as the supreme commander. The Emperor became a symbol of peace-loving Japan after WWII. He also became very friendly to the US and even officially visited Washington DC in 1975.
And, it looked as though Showa Emperor trusted the US military forces stationed in Japan subject to the Japan-US Security Treaty after WWII more than the old Imperial Army and Navy that were disbanded in 1945.
By avoiding showing religious respect to those class-A war criminals in the Yasukuni Shrine, the Emperor expressed implicitly or explicitly his standpoint after WWII not only to the Japanese people but also American parties concerned.
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Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.