Large crowds of demonstrators carried signs calling for the funeral canceled as they marched through Tokyo while banging drums, chanting, and yelling.
There may have seemed to be an endless debate between supporters and opponents of the contentious state funeral for the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But what most vividly depicted the story of a country still sharply divided over the legacy of possibly the most divisive leader in its modern history were the photographs from Tuesday’s ceremony.
Akie, the widow of Shinzo Abe, strolled while wearing a black kimono and carrying a silk-covered urn containing her husband’s ashes. It was set down on a sizable altar decorated with white chrysanthemums. The giant picture of Abe, the longest-serving Prime Minister of Japan, hung above it.
Politicians have only ever received a state funeral in Japan’s post-war history, and Tuesday’s ceremony to honor Abe generated much controversy.
To attend it and pay their final respects to the late Japanese leader, representatives from 217 other nations traveled to Tokyo. In addition to Abe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also traveled to Tokyo and said his final goodbyes. The cost of this funeral is reportedly the highest ever. On July 8th, Shinzo Abe was fatally shot. The suspect was immediately taken into custody.
Shinzo Abe was murdered on July 8th. After the incident, Abe was brought to a hospital, where he passed away. At the time of the tragedy, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke in Nara city for the elections. In Nara City, the rally took place close to Yamatosaidaiji Station. In the meantime, Abe was shot from behind by a former Japanese Navy officer. He received three hours of hospital treatment, but it was too late to save his life. Tetsuya Yamagami is the accused’s name. A 41-year-old man. He resides in the city of Nara.
Following that, his family cremated him on July 15th, following Buddhist custom. Tuesday’s State Funeral serves a symbolic purpose. As a memorial, Abe’s ashes were scattered within. Representatives from 217 nations arrived for Abe’s final farewell. People discussed their earliest memories of Abe during this time.
In Japan, most people follow the Buddhist tradition of cremating the deceased. This custom calls for the family members to wet the dead’s lips after death. This is referred to as the ‘last time’s water.’ On the day after the death, there is a custom known as “Wake,” where friends gather to see the deceased person for the last time. Memories are shared during this period. Men arrive dressed in black ties, white shirts, and suits. Women arrive at the same time wearing black attire.
Storing the ashes in a vase is also common in Japan. A tomb-shaped almirah is created for this. People make small almirahs the size of tombs to hold their ashes. Family members also come here occasionally to pay respects.
After Abe’s murder in July, parts of Tokyo still appeared more like a police state than the capital of one of the most stable countries in the world. As thousands of protesters came to the streets, 20,000 police officers and more than 1,000 troops crowded the neighborhoods near the enormous funeral hall.
When mourners gathered to pay their respects in July, they shouted, “Abe-San, thank you very much,” realizing that he had provided Japan with a sense of security and stability with his passing.
When a state funeral was announced, the atmosphere altered. However, it has moved forward despite mounting widespread opposition in Japan, with surveys indicating that almost 60% of people were against it.
The line of mourners bearing flowers spanned more than 3 kilometers outside the Budokan, the Tokyo venue where the burial was being held. They came to pay their final respects while carrying flowers and wearing all black.
Abe’s funeral exposed the ugly reality of a divided society, which contradicts the stereotype that Japan is a monolith, a uniform refuge of social harmony for the middle class.
For many of the hundreds who attended the public funeral, the former Prime Minister led a valiant yet unfulfilled campaign to turn Japan into a “normal country.”
He emphasized a sense of national pride in Japan’s significant contributions to the world rather than lingering guilt about atrocities committed during the war.
Former Prime Minister Abe was a very well-known person. After World War II, he helped Japan regain its international prominence, according to Masae Kurokawa, 64, one of the mourners.
But both during his life and after his death, Abe inspired just as much rage as he did adoration.
Large protesting crowds marched through Tokyo while yelling, banging drums, and waving placards calling for the cancellation of the burial.
Similar anti-Abe protests took place across the nation.