John Nelson. 2003. Social Memory as Ritual Practice: Commemorating Spirits of the Military Dead at Yasukuni Shinto Shrine.
Journal of Asian Studies. vol. 62 (2): 443-468.
(reproduced with permission from the Association of Asian Studies)
In May 2003, the attached article was published in the flagship journal of the Association of Asian Studies. For those unfamiliar with the process, the article was first read and accepted for consideration by the journal's editor, then sent to independent and anonymous scholars specializing in Japanese history for detailed comment and critique. I had to then respond to these reviews and make corrections (or vigorously defend my presentation). A second draft was then submitted and the entire process repeated. Finally, after achieving a general consensus (but not necessarily agreement between the author, editor, and reviewers), the article was published. [Download the article in PDF format (176kb)].
Having researched the shrine and surrounding issues (such as the rise of nationalism associated with the middle school history textbook controversy [see my article "Signs of Recovery for Japanese Nationalism? The "Citizen Movement" for Reclaiming Cultural Identity through Textbook and Educational Reform.") 2001. Pacific Rim Report 15, University of San Francisco, Center for the Pacific Rim. I decided to try and pull together in one article everything I had learned about Yasukuni Shrine. While there are shortcomings in my presentation regarding the details of enshrinement, I believe that the article is a useful summary as well as an accurate analysis of the shrine's current status and role in Japanese society.
It is my hope that younger scholars, having abundant patience and formidable diplomatic skills, can continue research and analysis of Yasukuni Shrine--one of East Asia's most important and volatile flashpoints.