Friday, April 4, 2008

Some Good News for "Yasukuni"

As has been widely reported here and elsewhere, movie theaters in Tokyo and Osaka, and now Nagoya, have canceled scheduled screenings of the film "Yasukuni" for fear that its supposed "anti-Japanese" sentiment would cause protests and other inconveniences. But the good news, at least for those of us in the Kansai area, is that theaters in Osaka and Kyoto will be showing the film after all (thanks to E.K. for the heads up on this).

Osaka's Dai Nana Geijutsu Gekijo theater... said it will screen the film as originally planned for seven days from May 10. Kyoto Cinema also plans to screen the movie in August.

...[T]he operator of the Osaka theater, said it was important that "Yasukuni" be showed.

"If screenings of the movie are cancelled across the nation, it sends out a message that anything unsavory can be stopped just by the threat of protest or harassment," he said. "There'll be people who criticize it, and others who think its message is correct. But you can't get much discussion about the movie if you don't screen it."

Finally, a little bit of sanity...

Read the whole story at Mainichi Daily News.

Link to "Kansai theaters defiantly plan to screen controversial war shrine movie 'Yasukuni'"

Another story appears in The Japan Times Online.

Link to "Osaka theater to screen 'Yasukuni'"

To be fair, the conservative Daily Yomiuri did run an editorial calling for freedom of expression, freedom of speech and apparently the freedom of controversial films to be viewed.

...[O]dious actions that seek to suppress the freedom of expression and freedom of speech must not be repeated.

Starting next month, 13 theaters from Hokkaido to Okinawa Prefecture are scheduled to show this film. We hope the movie theaters, in close coordination with the police, will do their best to prevent any unsavory incidents arising from this situation.

Read the entire editorial.

Link to Daily Yomiuri Editorial, April 2, 2008

In a related but slightly dated story (oh there are so many fascinating things related to Yasukuni Shrine), there is a group called Arei Raise that rap about kamikaze and other nationalist themes.

(Image borrowed from News dal Gioponne)

Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine has found itself with an unexpected hit on its hands -- a rap song dedicated to kamikaze pilots and using lyrics from their farewell letters written immediately before their suicide missions...

Arei Raise can trace its origins to a song contest Yasukuni Shrine held two years ago to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the war. Yasukuni was looking for a song that would get people to love Japan and the patriotic young rappers responded.

Read the story at Mainichi Daily News.

Link to "Rappers keep the kamikaze spirit alive"

You can hear the song by clicking here.

(from H-Japan)

John Breen ed., Yasukuni, the war dead and the struggle for Japan's past
(Hurst and Columbia University Press, 2008).

Edotor's blurb: The distinctive feature of this book is that it sets out neither to commend Yasukuni nor to condemn it. It seeks rather to present authoritative yet divergent views in order to render more complex an issue too often portrayed in starkly simplistic terms. The book contains chapters by (in alphabetical order) John Breen, Kevin Doak, Nitta Hitoshi, Caroline Rose, Philip Seaton, Seki Hei, Takahashi Tetsuya and Wang Zhixin.

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