Yasuhisa Tokugawa is a descendant of the Tokugawa family consisting of the legendary Shoguns such Ieyasu Tokugawa. Yasuhisa, now 64, had a successful career in the oil business from which he retired.
Now he’s doing what you’d probably expect a retired business man to do: he became the head priest of the most controversial shrine in Japan.
On 19 January, Yasuhisa Tokugawa was appointed the head priest of Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. He was chosen for this position after serving as a priest at Shiba Toshogu Shrine in nearby Minato where he presided over the funeral of Princess Kikuko Takamatsu, the aunt of the current emperor of Japan.
Yasukuni Shrine has long been a source of controversy in Asia. The purpose of this shrine is to honor and protect the souls of people who died serving the emperor of Japan. This mostly consists of soldiers who died in battle.
However, a number of convicted and executed war criminals are also listed among the war dead. This move has outraged countries such as China and Korea, and has divided opinions in Japan.
For Japanese politicians, a visit to Yasukuni Shrine tends to send a bold message about their militaristic leanings. Current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had paid a visit shortly after winning the general election last year, a move which understandably ruffled a few feather both in and outside Japan.
Yasuhisa Tokugawa is the great grandson of Yoshinobu Tokugawa who was the last Tokugawa Shogun shortly before the end of the shogunate in Japan.