Yasukuni Jinja is a Shinto shrine that is at the center of an international controversy. It is a shrine to war dead who served the Emperor of Japan during wars from 1867–1951. This eligibility includes civilians in service and government officials. Yasukuni is a shrine to house the actual souls of the dead as Kami, or "spirits/souls" as loosely defined in the English words. Furthermore it is believed that all negative or evil acts committed are absolved when enshrinement occurs. This activity is strictly a religious matter since the religious separation of State Shinto and the Japanese Government. The priesthood at the shrine has complete religious autonomy to decide to whom and how enshrinement may occur. It is thought that enshrinement is permanent and irreversible by the current clergy. Due to the enshrinement of International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) war criminals and the nationalist approach to the war museum, the Yasukuni Shrine and the Japanese Government have been criticized by China, Korea, and Taiwan as being revisionist and unapologetic about the events of World War II.
Of the 2,466,532 people contained in the shrine's Book of Souls, 1,068 were convicted of war crimes by a post World War II court. Of those, 14 are convicted Class A war criminals ("crime against peace"). The war crimes tribunals were carried out by the IMTFE, which comprised the victors of World War II including Australia, Canada, the Republic of China, the Provisional Government of the French Republic, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The main problems arose from how the IMTFE used a method of information collection called "Best Evidence Rule" that allowed simple hearsay with no secondary support to be entered against the accused. The Indian Justice Radha Binod Pal found that due to the significant procedural flaws of the proceedings, that the court was an invalid form of victor's justice and revenge. As these problems with the tribunals left much to be argued about convicting the accused, and that the living convicted criminals were all released from prison by 1958 gave many Japanese people a reason to believe that they were not war criminals. The opinion of victor's justice was based on that there were none of the victors facing tribunals for mass civilian killings in firebombings of major cities, the mass deaths of non-repatriated Japanese soldiers, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Furthermore Justice Pal's position was that as none of the defeated countries would sit in judgment of their own people, as it could never be considered fair. Five of the 11 judges released dissenting opinions. No justice on the court disagreed as to the scale and horrifying nature of the atrocities of the war.
Yasukuni Shrine (靖国神社 or 靖國神社, Yasukuni Jinja?) is a Shinto shrine located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. It was created by Emperor Meiji to commemorate the individuals who had died in service of the Empire of Japan during the Meiji Restoration. The shrine lists the names, origin, birthdate and place of death of 2,466,532 men, women and children and spans from the Boshin War of 1867 to World War II.
The Yasukuni Honden shrine only lists the names of those who died in service of the Empire of Japan as it was created by Emperor Meiji specifically for this purpose. The Yasukuni Chinreisha shrine was created by the priesthood to commemorate those who fought in opposition to the Empire and everyone else who had died in war; it includes the Japanese soldiers of the Tokugawa Shogunate and Republic of Ezo as well as those representing foreign militaries such as the British, US, Chinese, Korean and South East Asian forces.