On August 15, Junichiro Kozumi, Prime Minister of Japan, will be commemorating the 61st anniversary of the end of World War II by worshiping at the Yasukuni Jinja shrine. It's already a matter of controversy, as 14 of the dead military leaders honored there were convicted of serious war crimes. While these enemies of mankind amount to only a few of the thousands of soldiers and sailors honored at the Yasukuni Jinja, the shrine's on-line brochure makes it clear that it considers any war criminals "martyrs," convicted of a "sham" trial by the Allied powers at the aftermath of the big war. Now, Kozumi has been to the Yasukuni Jinja before. And he's facing an election campaign against conservative hard-liners who want to prove that Kozumi is sweet on America. (I mean, there Kozumi was, bopping around Graceland.) But there's an argument to be made that this shrine visitation is part of the steady nationalist rewriting of World War 2 as something the Imperial government was forced into by circumstance.  I'm not sure if Kozumi is a regular reader of Cinematical, but if he really wants to do himself and the anniversary a honor, why doesn't he stay home and have a look at a war memorial anyone could admire: The Criterion edition of Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu?
categories Features, Cinematical