Political commentator George Will has a very thought-provoking editorial about the political history and ramifications of Prime Minister Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni shrine. Will doesn’t particularly condone the visits, nor does he demonify them. This is by far one of the more objective viewpoints I’ve ever seen on the whole problem. Will makes a very poignant observation at the end:

The controversy about Yasukuni should not mystify Americans. With their comparatively minor but still acrimonious arguments about displays of Confederate flags, Americans know how contentious the politics of national memory can be, and they understand the problem of honoring war dead without necessarily honoring the cause for which they died.

Update: My friend Mitch did a detailed analysis on this editorial showing that it really isn’t neutral, nor does it really have much to do with the Yasukuni problem in the first place. I won’t pretend to be an expert or even slightly knowledgeable in this area, so I’ll bow to Mitch’s superior knowledge and intellect. I think what caught my eye on the article is that it was the first time I had ever read anything that wasn’t a spittle-flying condemnation of Koizumi and Yasukuni, since I don’t really read any Japanese right-wing news or literature.