Exploring Tokyo

A picture says a thousand words. Tokyo is another Asian beehive. The Shinjuku and Shibuya districts are wall to wall with people. There are a few gems tucked around the city though.

This is the Cemetary of the Forty-Seven Ronin. Caught between their Samurai vows to their late lord and their vow to obey the Emporer, the Ronin disobeyed a direct imperial edict and then surrendered to the Emporer’s justice. After much debate, he allowed them to commit ritual suicide as restored Samurai, returning their house to honour.

I also visited the grave of the last Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu. The Samurai shogunate ruled Japan during the Age of Empire, isolating it from the rest of the world and preserving Japan’s unique society.

Akibara district is home to modern Japanese culture, including cartoons about giant robots and disturbing girl band AKB48. The 48 member troupe of teenage girls regularly rotate their members, normally dismissing those who get a boyfriend. They have received accusations of coercing plastic surgery on new members, to resemble the girl they replaced.

J-pop is big here. The performers all look like schoolgirls and the audience is 99% male. It’s a little weird, honestly.

Japan regularly suffers from both natural and man made disasters, personified in city-wrecking monster Godzilla. Here he is, bellowing atop the Tokyo cityscape.
Japan’s internet speeds are surprisingly slow. Manga cafes offer some light reading and an internet connection, for those into Japanese cartoons. This cafe also rents booths which can be slept in. I lasted half an hour, I don’t want to sit on the floor in the dark.

I struggled on whether to include the next photo in my blog. If you read my stories for adventurous fun, just skip the rest of this article. I have some great shots of Mount Fuji lined up for you to look forward to tomorrow.

I visited Yushukan museum, which chronicles Japan’s history from the Samurai Wars through to the end of WW2. It’s Tokyo’s second biggest museum and adjacent to Yasukuni shrine, chronicalling two million deceased Japanese soldiers.

It’s a professional operation, all the dates are right, the English is excellent and the displays are well maintained. I detected some small pro-Japanese bias in the early Samurai exhibits but put it down to translation errors.

As the timeline progresses, the historical context becomes increasingly warped, placing the Japanese in the most rational, understandable positions while deamonising foreign powers.

By the end of the tour, I had to leave before I started correcting the exhibits or lecturing the staff. The museum makes no mention of the Rape of Nanking, The Asian Holocaust, the brainwashing of the japanese peasantry, the sex slaves taken by Japanese soldiers or the torture of allied prisoners of war. It did point out when atrocities were committed by Soviet or US troops.

The narrative then went even further, portraying the WW2 Japanese as the liberators of Asia from imperial powers and champions of racial equality.

I wasn’t allowed to take photo’s, but I snuck these two out.

Anyone with even the most basic understanding of history will know this story is fabricated. This ‘museum’ is a disgrace and I am ashamed that I paid money to enter it.

I’m glad I got that out of my system. Hopefully I can find another museum to restore my faith in Japan.

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One thought on “Exploring Tokyo

  1. Have you considered becoming a journalist? Your narrative fascinates the reader, drawing them into world of thoughtfulness, debate and knowledge; just the right skills for a first class professional writer. Oh, and by the way, so looking forward to the 10th when your feet are once more firmly planted Anglo terra-.firma. Take care. Nx

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