Japan must embrace feminine side
Hamish McDonald; 5/9/09
There could be a strange gender war building up in Japan, where notions of national authenticity, war and peace are bound up in concepts of masculinity and feminism in ways less thinly disguised than in many other countries. Japan’s temple of masculinity is undoubtedly the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. It’s an impressive place, approached up a wide avenue lined with sombre trees to a huge bronzed gateway. The main building, of fine weathered timber under a low roof, hung with white banners of mourning, has an eerie, understated elegance. It was a quiet day at Japan’s main war memorial when I visited this week. A few people, young and old, bowed at the main entrance and clapped their hands to waken the Shinto gods, as 2.6 million war dead have become.