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 …

The Birth of Wheelchair Basketball | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Birth of Wheelchair Basketball

World War II Veterans Popularized the Sport—And Changed the Game for the Disability Rights Movement

On an unremarkable Wednesday evening in the spring of 1948, 15,561 spectators flocked to New York’s Madison Square Garden to watch two teams of World War II veterans play an …

What We Don’t Understand About Fascism | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What We Don’t Understand About Fascism

Using the Word Incorrectly Oversimplifies History—And Won't Help Us Address Our Current Political Crisis

At the moment, fascism has to be the most sloppily used term in the American political vocabulary. If you think fascists are buffoonish, racist, misogynist despots, the people who support …

The West Virginia Hotel Workers Who Ironed the Sheets of Their Enemies | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The West Virginia Hotel Workers Who Ironed the Sheets of Their Enemies

After World War II Broke Out, Hundreds of Axis Diplomats Were Detained in America’s Rural Luxury Resorts

In the 1930s, as the drumbeats of war in Europe and the Far East grew louder, Americans maintained their workaday lives and strived for business as usual—as did their employers. …

The World War II “Wonder Drug” That Never Left Japan | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The World War II “Wonder Drug” That Never Left Japan

For Workers and Soldiers, Taking Methamphetamine Was a Patriotic Duty That Hooked a Generation

Amphetamines, the quintessential drug of the modern industrial age, arrived relatively late in the history of mind-altering substances—commercialized just in time for mass consumption during World War II. In fact, …