[Tokyo] – Confusion and anger at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo today, where a young apprentice Shinto priest made a mistake that is bound to shake the shrine to its foundations, and Japanese politics with it.
The young apprentice, whose name has not been made public, accidentally enshrined the “kami”, or spirits, of 247 international celebrities. The celebrities include a wide choice of actors, singers, and otherwise famous people, from actress Jennifer Aniston to Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook.
Yasukuni shrine is at the center of international controversy, because 14 convicted Class A war criminals are enshrined at the shrine, which is seen as a symbol of Japan’s imperialist past in many of Japan’s neighboring countries. The enshrinement of 247 celebrities, some still alive, is likely to further spread this controversy all over the world.
The family of Michael Jackson, who is among the celebrities who were accidentally enshrined, has made a short public reaction to the enshrinement. “We have no idea what this is all about.” They added that their lawyers are investigating any potential links between Michael and World War II war crimes.
Meanwhile, the chief priest of the shrine has reacted against nearly 500 requests to undo the enshrinement. “Our rulebook – though completely arbitrary – is very clear on this subject: once a kami or spirit is enshrined, it has been merged with the other spirits, and they cannot be separated any more”.
“It is very regrettable, but the spirits of Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein and all the others will be here forever, whether they like it or not”.