Yasukuni Shrine was the ideological symbol of Japanese militarism used to mobilize the people for the war of aggression. Before and during the war, state Shintoism was the dominant religion, and Yasukuni Shrine was a military-religious institution administered by the Departments of War and Navy. At the time, people were taught to offer their lives to "His Majesty", the emperor and the state, in order to be praised as the "souls of the fallen war heroes." Yasukuni Shrine was the place where imperial army soldiers had to pledge to fall as cherry blossoms of Kudan (the name of the district where Yasukuni Shrine is located); fallen soldiers' families had to express gratitude to the emperor for his mercy in tears; and young boys pledged to follow the example of the fallen soldiers. In 1978, Tojo Hideki, who was responsible for prosecuting the war of aggression, along with other 14 Class-A war criminals, was secretly enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine. Now, about 2.1 million war dead are enshrined with 47,000 Koreans and Taiwanese who were mobilized in the war under the colonial rule.
The incident represents the notorious suppression of the freedom of speech in a frame-up by the Special Political Police (Tokko) under the Law for Public Order Maintenance during the Pacific War. The journalists and others were convicted of promoting communism. The incident broke out when Tokko used Hosokawa Karoku's magazine article to assert that the magazine editors' party in Toyama Prefecture was actually a meeting held to prepare the reconstruction of the JCP. About 60 editors were rounded up on suspicion of "propagating communist ideology." Five of them were tortured to death in jail without determining their guilt or innocence. Even after Japan surrendered to the Allies by accepting the Potsdam Declaration, the "guilty verdict" was not revoked. In March 2003, the last defendant died and their families took over the lawsuit.
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