newest of the many temples and shrines I visited in Kyoto
Not what I expected to see in a Kyoto temple --
a stained glass window created in memory of the more than
48,000 foreign soldiers who perished on Japanese soil or
territories under Japanese military control during World War II
Also within the temple grounds can be found what appears
to be a memorial to the Japanese military pilots
who flew and fought in World War II
Among the thousands of temples and shrines in Kyoto are ones that are super famous and others that don't seem to get talked about or visited that much. Take as examples Kiyomizudera and the Ryozen Kannon Temple within walking distance of it that's considerably younger and less well known.
While some people are drawn to the temple by the sight of its 80 feet high statue of Kannon (aka Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy), others may hesitate to enter it because of it having been established as a memorial to those who fought and died in the Second World War.
Should you do so though, you'll find spaces dedicated to the memory of non-Japanese soldiers who perished on Japanese controlled territory along with those who served in the Japanese military during World War II -- and while it's true enough that the memorial to the Allied soldiers is more modest in size and somewhat neglected in feel, I do appreciate its existence and think that the reasons behind its establishment are indeed sincere.
More than incidentally, while doing some research for this blog entry, I came across the following in John H. Martin and Phyllis G. Martin's Kyoto: A Cultural Guide about this religious establishment:-
"The Ryozen Kannon Temple...marks the repentance most Japanese feel for the extremes to which nationalism took the nation."
"In 1955, ...a momento mori was constructed by a transportation firm to honor the war dead of the Pacific War (World War II in the Pacific and Asia). It honors not only the Japanese soldiers who died in combat but also the dead of the Allied Forces who opposed Japan. After paying the entry fee, the visitor receives a lighted incense stick; this is to be placed in the large incense pot before the shrine where prayers may be said for the peaceful repose of the dead..."