One thing about being an American is visiting our national shrines in Washington D.C., which include dignified memorials to the veterans who fought in World War II and the solemness of Arlington National Cemetery, which I took my son to this year. Japan, in contrast, has almost no visible signs of the Pacific War, as it’s usually called in Japanese — there are no memorials or shrines in mainland Japan (though there are on Okinawa), and the closest thing to Arlington is Yasukuni Shrine, where the souls of 2.4 million Japanese soldiers are symbolically enshrined, though not without controversy. (One puzzling exception to this: a park in the neighboring city of Kiryu there’s an old Japanese Zero fighter on display that kids and climb on, why I cannot say.) One inescapable leftover from World War II are unexploded bombs which are regularly uncovered even 67 years later. This week saw two of them, one in Tokyo that forced a neighborhood to evacuate while it was disarmed, and another in Sendai which caused the city’s airport to close.
Japan’s proposed WWII memorial. I am totally going to hell for posting this.