Japan 2017: Yasukuni Shrine

We visited the Yasukuni Shrine for the cherry blossoms, but the controversial museum (YuShukan) was such a scene-stealer that I wound up taking way too many pictures of the exhibits instead.

Mitsubishi Type 0 Carrier-based Fighter Plane (a.k.a. Zero Fighter), Model 52
Zero Fighters were first deployed in September 1940, and was so successful against Russian planes in the Battle of Chongqing that modifications were made based off it. Models 52s were massively-produced during World War 2 than any other Zero aircrafts. Their narrower wingspans, rounded wingtips, and individual exhaust stacks fitted to the Sakae 21 engine gave these planes an advantage of speed. Scott, a war history buff, commented that Zero fighters were excellent at the beginning of the war, but the Japanese weren’t able to innovate as quickly later on and were soon overtaken by American fighter planes.
Check out the seats used in the Zero Fighters.
Model 89 (1929) 15cm Cannon
An 8-ton tractor was used to transport this cannon barrel and carriage. This specimen is the only 15cm cannon in Japan.
Model C56 Locomotive No. 31 from the Thai-Burma Railroad
This train was produced in 1936 and was one of 90 cars commandeered to the South of Japan for the Greater East Asian War (a.k.a. Pacific War).
We also visited a small gallery featuring Sengoku and Edo Period armour there.
Here’s a diagram mapping out the terms for the armour worn in the Azuchi-Momoyama Period, which was the final stage of the massive civil war that was the Sengoku Period. The Azuchi-Momoyama Period marked a change in Japanese society and culture, which transited from the medieval era to the early modern era.
1: Mogami gusoku armour with dark blue string by sugake (Edo Period). This hoe-shaped helmet crest bears a Chrysanthemum branch, and is decorated with Sanskrit characters.
2: Kashidori(jay) yukinoshita five-leaved cuirass gusoku armour (Edo Period). The chest-piece is made of heavy iron, and also features a kohaze (clasp fastener) which was rarely seen in then.
3: Red-lacquered two-leaved cuirass gusoku armour (Early Edo Period). Red armour proliferated during the era, and generals who donned them were usually nicknamed ‘Red Ogre’.
4: Gusoku armour with purple string (Azuchi-Momoyama Period). This armour has 57 Paulownia Tomentosa flowers adorning it.
There were no English translations for this display, but here’s a katana blade and arquebus from the Edo Period, accompanied by a drawing of how it was used at the bottom.
Battle haori with dark blue canvas and gold-stitched peacock pattern, (Azuchi-Momoyama Period)
It’s said that this beautifully-adorned coat belonged to Hideaki Kobayakawa.
Black-lacquered mackerel-tail kabuto (helmet) (Azuchi-Momoyama Period)
Heteromorphic helmets were the in thing during this period, so it was likely that this helmet that mimicked a Mackerel’s tail was aimed to attract public attention.
Black-lacquered swallow-tail kabuto (Azuchi-Momoyama Period)
Kabuto in the shape of Mount Fuji (Azuchi-Momoyama Period)
This helmet was said to have belonged to one of the seven spearmen of the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583. Apparently a samurai picked it up and fell over backwards because he thought that it was going to be a lot heavier than it actually was!
Black-lacquered kabuto in the shape of rabbit ears (Azuchi-Momoyama Period)
Many military commanders used the rabbit motif as it represented agility.
Stirrup with cherry blossom pattern silver brass inlay (Edo Period)
Here’s an obligatory ‘we-came-here-to-see-sakura’ photo at Yasukuni Shrine.