The Tokyo Shrine That Will Never Find Peace

What’s Left to Salvage in a Monument That Refuses to Accept the Sins of the Past?

The Yasukuni Shrine is an island of calm in an otherwise bustling city. Mature pines and cypress trees surround it, screening it from Tokyo’s relentless traffic noise. Shady walkways, sacred ponds and dozens of cherry trees make it a public haven for the many Japanese people who come here to honor their ancestors.

But if you look more closely, you’ll find clues to the regional rage and global controversies that plague this place. The shrine is dedicated to all those Japanese soldiers who sacrificed their lives on the battlefield since …

How a Charismatic Populist Destroyed Christmas | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How a Charismatic Populist Destroyed Christmas

One Hundred Years Ago, Italian Nationalists Went to War With Their Own Country, Bringing the Border City of Fiume a ‘Christmas of Blood’

In 1920, in a small town outside Turin, Italy, 17-year-old Luigi De Michelis was everything his middle-class parents could have asked for. His teachers liked him, which was important to …

It’s Time for the U.S. to Manifest Humility | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

It’s Time for the U.S. to Manifest Humility

America’s Political Crack-Up Is an Opportunity to Learn More From the Rest of the World

Political hysteria has conquered America—and made the United States much more like the rest of the world.

So argued the London-based essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra during a fast-paced and wide-ranging …

How Globalization Engenders Ethno-Religious Nationalism

From Myanmar to the United States, Growing Transnationalism Is Weakening Secular States While Driving the Spread of Ideology

When Franklin Graham, the son of the famous Christian evangelist Billy Graham, praised President Donald Trump for banning Muslims from entering the United States, he said that America was at …

How Modern India Was Built on the Legacy of British Institutions

Indians Have Drawn From a Dark Colonial Past to Create a More Liberal and Open Society

In the years after India’s independence in 1947, Britons tended to congratulate themselves on their legacy to the subcontinent.

Although the empire’s successor states, India and Pakistan, had been born amid …

The Philosopher Who Coined the Term ‘Nationalism’ Also Preached Inclusivity

275 Years Ago, Johann Gottfried Herder Imagined Nations Forming Around a Common Language and Culture, Not a Common Enemy

Since the French Revolution, a brilliant cast of ideologies has starred on the world stage, ranging from conservatism to liberalism to communism. Yet the -ism that has been most resilient, …