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Japan trip

Past and future planned - events/ outings/ training sessions/ offline meets/ camps/ matches etc.
Katana
Posts: 1004
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:22 pm
Location: Gujarat

Re: Japan trip

Postby Katana » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:44 am

Sorry for the short hiatus. Got caught up in work. To continue my travelogue........

One day I and my son( the ladies decided to shop around :roll: ) decided to visit the Showa-kan, or the National Showa Memorial Museum. This show cases the life and times in Japan during the Showa era, that is the period corresponding to the reign of Emperor Hirohito, from 1926 to 1989. The late Emperor's reign saw nationalism peak in Japan, innumerous wars, total surrender and occupation by foreign powers, followed by economic strength. However, this is a misnomer, because most refer the Showa era as the most inglorious period of Japanese history, namely their defeat and surrender to the USA.

Located in Kudan Minami, Chiyoda, close to the Indian Embassy (4 blocks away, 15 mins walk), this is a rather small and off track museum from the regular tourist trails. It show cases life from the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in 1937 to their final surrender in WW2 and the subsequent economic revival of the country. The exhibits are well curated, displayed and looked after but language is a problem. None of the exhibits are labelled in English although the museum does provide an English audio guide.

A prior understanding of modern Japanese history is an added advantage if one were to visit this museum.


Justice alone is the mainstay of government and the source of prosperity to the governed, injustice is the most pernicious of things; it saps the foundations of the government and brings ruin upon the realm - Sher Shah Sur, Sultan-ul-Adil.

Katana
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Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:22 pm
Location: Gujarat

Re: Japan trip

Postby Katana » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:20 pm

My last foray, on 16th. June, was to see the monument to Justice Radha Binod Pal. I'm sure not many of us would be aware that an Indian Judge( in pre-Independent India) sat on the Tribunal at the Tokyo Trials post World War 2 or the Great Far East War as the Japanese call it, and had the gumption to dissent from the judgement as given out by the Allies and in particular the US. In fact, he passed judgement that all Japanese officers including Generals and Admirals on trial were not guilty because the Occupation Forces (USA) themselves did not have the right to try them.

First, a little background history. My father is a bit of an arm chair historian, with modern Indian history as his 'speciality', and Jinnah and Netaji as his favorite subjects. So one fine day, before I left he tells me, please go to Yasukuni shrine if you can, and look at what an vanquished foreign nation can do to honour one of our country men who stood up to a victorious force calling the trail and executions of military leaders a sham. After he told me the whole story, I was really intrigued to understand the story behind Japan's reverence towards Justice Pal.

So I take the train from Kawasaki to Tokyo central, change twice in the Metro subway and land up at Kudanshita Station and realise midway that I had left my camera behind at home!. This is one of the few places in Tokyo where photography is permitted.

The Yasukuni Jinja is diagonally opposite the entrance and first thing to greet you are massive 'toraii' of cypress and bronze followed by the main gates bearing the chrysanthemum crest of the Royal Family. The 'shrine' is actually a cluster of 'jinjas' dedicated to all those (called 'kami') who served their motherland in times of strife, from soldiers to women in production units, to children bombed by the US Navy on Okinawa, even pigeons, horses and dogs who died on the battlefields. This was originally built by Emperor Meiji, but subsequently enlarged by following monarchs. There are no physical idols or such, but their names are kept in registers and thus considered divine and minor deities. They are worshipped in the shinto fashion and ritualism is prominent.

Towards the right of the main shrine is the 'kaikan' or museum proper. Also called the Yushukan, it houses memorabilia of the martyred people are enshrined here, including their arms, armour, firearms, service weaponry, even a zero fighter and a 'suicide torpedo'. The most touching are last letters and wills(a few thankfully deciphered in English) to wives, mothers and children before men went into battle knowing fully well that they shall not return.

On the western side of the kaikan, in typical minimalist Japanese manner is the monument to Justice Pal. A large stone tablet containing a photograph of the late Judge with a write up in Japanese on the left is all that there is to it. Below, the photograph is the Japanese gist of the judgement that Justice Pal delivered. Fresh flowers are placed everyday and the place is kept neat and clean. On inquiring if any Indians visted the monument, I was told of few and far in between. Although, the late Judge's son did pay his respects sometime in 1995.

There is another monument to Justice Pal in Kyoto too, at the Kyoto Ryozen Gokuku.

The Jinja itself has gathered immense controversy, I would not like to dwell on it since it would be OT.


Justice alone is the mainstay of government and the source of prosperity to the governed, injustice is the most pernicious of things; it saps the foundations of the government and brings ruin upon the realm - Sher Shah Sur, Sultan-ul-Adil.

Biren
Posts: 177
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:51 am
Location: delhi

Re: Japan trip

Postby Biren » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:02 pm

Lovely reading Katana.. enjoyed thoroughly.. Thanks for writing

Cheers
Biren



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brihacharan
Posts: 3112
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:33 pm
Location: mumbai

Re: Japan trip

Postby brihacharan » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:08 pm

Thank you Katana :D
Enjoyed going through your travelogue :D
Briha



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Vikram
Posts: 4135
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:14 am
Location: Tbilisi,Georgia

Re: Japan trip

Postby Vikram » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:09 pm

Justice Radha Binod Pal


Katana, I am one of those Indians who I did not know of this man until I read your post. :oops: Irrespective of the justness of the trials of Japanese army officers, to know that an Indian judge performed a role is fascinating.

Thank you for a lesson in history. :cheers:


Best-
Vikram


It ain’t over ’til it’s over! "Rocky,Rocky,Rocky....."

sa_ali
Posts: 880
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:50 pm

Re: Japan trip

Postby sa_ali » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:58 pm

same here never know about any such instance of indian judge presiding over something like this, Its truly an honor to know it.



Katana
Posts: 1004
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:22 pm
Location: Gujarat

Re: Japan trip

Postby Katana » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:24 pm

I myself did not know about Justice Pal till my father told me! On the other hand everyone seems to know about Netaji's ashes at the Renkoji Temple in Tokyo. I was in a double mind whether to visit or not. Since, it is only theorised, as yet, about the ashes being actually his, I pushed the visit down the list of my 'must sees'.

Somehow, i just did not get enough time........there's a lot more I want to see and study about in Japan. Especially the similarities that I see between the samurai bushido codes and our very own 'kshatriya dharma'.


Justice alone is the mainstay of government and the source of prosperity to the governed, injustice is the most pernicious of things; it saps the foundations of the government and brings ruin upon the realm - Sher Shah Sur, Sultan-ul-Adil.


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