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Ex-Taiwan President pays respects to fallen brother in Yasukuni shrine

June 7th, 2007 . by Matt

Lee Yasukuni
Lee leaving Yasukuni Shrine

Ex-Taiwan President Lee has made an appearance at Yasukuni shrine, where he believes that his brother exists there as a spirit (kami or 英霊).

Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui on Thursday visited Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where his older brother–who died in the Philippines while serving in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II–is enshrined.

Lee told reporters after the visit: “I was with my brother after 62 years. It made me cry.”

However, the visit is likely to trigger further criticism from China, as Beijing considers Lee as the representative of Taiwan’s independence movement.

Lee, 84, was accompanied by his wife, Tseng Wen-hui, and married writers Shumon Miura and Ayako Sono at the shrine, which enshrines Class-A war criminals along with other war dead.

At a press conference he gave at a Tokyo hotel before going to the shrine, Lee said there was no political motive for his visit. “[My elder brother and I] got along very well, but we parted 62 years ago in Kaohsiung [in southern Taiwan], and that was it. At our home, there’s no hair or bone from my brother–even no plate to remember him,” Lee said. “Now, Yasukuni is the only place where he rests.”

Lee said after arriving in Japan on May 30: “I can’t bear not to visit Yasukuni Shrine and pay tribute, as a brother and out of human nature.”

It is unreasonable to suggest that Japanese people, or non-Japanese people with dead family members enshrined, should not go to Yasukuni shrine to pay their respects to their dead. Is there anyone out there that is going to say Ex-President Lee went there to worship war criminals?

17 Responses to “Ex-Taiwan President pays respects to fallen brother in Yasukuni shrine”

  1. comment number 1 by: infimum

    Of course there is.

    Taiwan’s Lee visits Japan war shrine

    Taiwan’s Lee visits Tokyo’s Yasukuni war shrine

  2. comment number 2 by: GarlicBreath

    Good for him. Yasukuni is very beautiful. Very peaceful place.

  3. comment number 3 by: Rei

    Financial Times wrote ‘Taiwan, which was a Japanese colony between 1895 and 1945, is a rare exception in Asia in that there is little anti-Japanese sentiment.’

    All asian nations except Taiwan have anti-Japanese sentiment? Is Mr Lee a rare Asian who have visited Yasukuni shrine?


    The Prime minister of Myanmar, the King of Thailand, the Cabinet minister of Indonesia, the colonel of Indian national army, and great Tibetan reader 14th Dalai Lama have visited Yasukuni shrine.

    Why have these Asians visited Yasukuni shrine? Because they all know what the greater east asia war means.

  4. comment number 4 by: egg

    Mr.Lee cannot freely enter Japan (not so easy as an ordinally person I mean),and visit a shrine where his brother is enshrined. I must say it might be hard for him to be a politically great figure.
    Anyhow I feel happy for him that he managed to do what he wished to do for years.

  5. comment number 5 by: pacifist

    I think retired politician is merely a citizen. He can go everywhere he wants to go.

    China’s claim is nothing more than arrogance. They still can’t understand what democracy is.

  6. comment number 6 by: pacifist

    ‘Taiwan, which was a Japanese colony between 1895 and 1945, is a rare exception in Asia in that there is little anti-Japanese sentiment.’

    Two Koreas, which were a Japanese colony between 1910 and 1945, and China are rare exceptions in Asia in that there is little pro-Japanese sentiment.

    The reporter of Financial Times may have written the wrong article by mistake…

  7. comment number 7 by: AG

    What bugged me about this incident is that the Reuters called the Yasukuni as a “war shrine.”

    Would it be too reactive if I sense some malign intent here? Shame on Reuters.
    Also, shame on Chusonji temple, which yielded to
    China’s pressure and treated Mr. Lee as non-VIP.
    Some work of Buddist minds.

  8. comment number 8 by: AG

    Sorry about the above miss-tagging.
    May be I should stay away from using it.

  9. comment number 9 by: Ken

    ‘Taiwan, which was a Japanese colony between 1895 and 1945, is a rare exception in Asia in that there is little anti-Japanese sentiment.’
    Really the Financial Times does not seem to know anything about Asia.
    They are still regarding Asia as their colony, aren’t they?

  10. comment number 10 by: straycat

    My grand father also fallen in Phillipine during the WW II. He left nothing except for his name and rank. Ten years ago, my grand mother told me before she was gone that he had been enshrined in the Yasukuni Shrine. So I pay respects my grand father anytime I visit the shrine.

    May wish Mr.Lee’s brother and my grand father at peace forever in the Yasukuni Shrine….

  11. comment number 11 by: Ken

    A Chinese terrorist is reported to have thrown 2 PET bottles filled with beverage to Mr. Lee.
    Those who do so to VIPs in mainland are sentenced to death, aren’t they?
    This criminal should be punished in accordance with Chinese criminal law.

  12. comment number 12 by: jjok

    What is the corresponding word to 鎮魂 in English? I always feel some wrongness whenever I see phrases such as “honor war dead” used in ordinal militaristic countries. It is a place to ease/settle down the spirits who unhappily died in wars (otherwise unhappy souls will curse). It is something like a salon or a lighthouse for wondering spirits. (So they will go away if they do not want to stay there. If the war bereaved want to take back their spirits, just take care the spirits well and ask them not to go to the shrine. Or do they just want to erase the records as collaborationist?)

    Anyway, what the practice or purpose will be called when they play requiems? That may close.

    AG, although “war shrine” is against views of most of Japanese that the place for 鎮魂, it is a common description for this kind of facility, such as war memorial park, and there is no particular intension compared to NYT and BBC’s promotion of a term, sex slave.

  13. comment number 13 by: Ken

    Korean medium accused former Taiwan Pres who highly evaluated Japanese contribution to Taiwan during annexed era and said Yasukuni issue had been made up by China and Korea.
    This medium did not prefix his honorific title neither and reported the violence by Chinese terrorist as baptism.
    Koreans must be disliked by Taiwanese further more.

  14. comment number 14 by: General Tiger


    Koreans must be disliked by Taiwanese further more.

    Given that Lee isn’t that loved in Taiwan either, (along the lines of being a traitor to the KMT and other things), I see that as highly unlikely.
    Sad to see that given his status, he can’t quietly go to the shrine. At least he had a brother there, unlike some of those politicans that just uses the publicity generated by visiting the shrine.

  15. comment number 15 by: Ken

    Following wonder is not posted so let me put up here.
    Koreans have been cooking and selling dog soup in a church of LA.
    Suprisingly enough, most of the dogs were their pets.
    It seems to cost $200 for dog soup and $400 to use the church.

  16. comment number 16 by: consoleman

    May he would to be bury there after he die along with rest of his family. I’ll be happy to kill him & his family myself and carry their dead bodies to Yasukuni Shrine.

  17. comment number 17 by: egg

    I can`t decide whether your hatred is aimed at Mr.Lee or Yasukuni Shrine but do you have some personal reasons to hate them? Suggesting murder is not normal so I guess that you must have had such a tragedic experience related to them. Such a pity. I will express my sympathy against you.