Canadian Confronts Right-Wingers At Yasukuni

Raw : This video of a Canadian visitor to the Yasukuni Shrine confronting former General Tamogami has been getting a lot of attention on the internet.

The incident apparently took place on August 15th, the day on which people come to the Yasukuni Shrine to pray for those who died in the Pacific War. The Canadian, who is identified as Pierre Pariseau, informs Tamogami that the kind of speeches he was giving in Japan would get him arrested in Germany. His statements anger the crowd of right-wingers around Tamogami, and they start yelling at Pariseau.

The following goes down:

•Pariseau keeps ranting about how this kind of speech would be illegal in Germany. Satoru Mizushima rants back about how he is being disrespectful, etc.
•As Pariseau is trying to walk away, Mizushima keeps grabbing him. A cop shows up and gets in the way. The cop then grabs Pariseau as Pariseau insists he is going home.
•Right-wingers with cameras follow Pariseau as he leaves the area. At one point he tries to walk into the middle of a busy road. (To catch a taxi?)
•Police completely surround Pariseau and force him against a wall. They question him about what happened. He keeps pointing at the camera, possibly because he does not want to be filmed. The camera footage ends with Pariseau being escorted down the street by a bunch of cops.
This site claims that police made Pariseau apologize:

Canadian Pierre Pariseau questions former Gen. Toshio Tamogami during commerations for the 64th anniversy of end of World War Two at Yausukuni shrine in Tokyo, Japan on Aug 15th 2009. Gen. Toshio Tamogami was dismissed after publishing an essay asserting that Japan was not the aggressor in World War Two. Long term Japan resident Pierre Pariseau was attempting to leave the shrine after being grabbed and shoved by supporters of the General as he attempted to get a taxi he was prevented from doing so by police. He was taken to a police box near Ichigaya station for 2 hours. He was released after writing a letter of apology to Yasukuni shrine,Channel Sakura and Gen. Toshio Tamogami. Mr Pariseau asked the General if he knew “That he would be arrested in Germany for doing what he was doing?” Established in 1869 by the Meiji Emperor to commerate those who died in the Boshin War. The shrine now houses the souls or ‘kami’ of Japan’s war dead including 14 A-class war criminals who were interned among the 2.5 million war dead in 1978. Visits to the shrine by Japanese Prime Ministers create tensions with Japan’s Asian neighbors.

It was really dumb of Pariseau to start an argument with a crowd of right wingers in the middle of their most sacred territory on the day they gather to honor the war dead. He could have been seriously injured.

The Yasukuni Shrine is not a public forum. It is a privately owned and operated religious site and it has the right to ask police to make troublemakers leave the grounds of the shrine. The shrine is not under an obligation to allow dissenters to come in and challenge its supporters. Pariseau would have been a lot safer if he’d joined the left wing protest going on outside the shrine that day. That being said, however, it seems that the police went a bit overboard in surrounding and detaining him.

Japan is not Germany. It does not restrict free speech by outlawing certain historical views. People are allowed to share opinions on history, even if those opinions are stupid.

Interesting related link: Pierre Pariseau writes about right wingers and glorification of war in Japan. ["Could anybody blame the paranoid Kim Jung Il for wishing to acquire a nuclear deterrent?"]
- video encodings still in process -