The shrine was made in remembrance of the heroes of the war who died defending its own empire which is in fact a tribute to all of them, as seen by the efforts of the Meiji King to establish shrines to make them and their names immortal. The shrine is said to have about 1000 convicted war criminals out of which 14 shrines are of Class A criminals, criminals against establishment of peace and plotters and starters of wars. The visit by many Japanese government officials, including the Prime Ministers of the past and present is protested heavily by China, South and North Korea, and Taiwan in particular among others (Woolf, 2013).
The visit is nothing but to pay homage and tribute to the warriors who laid their lives for the continuance of peace in Japan, which to this day is not forgotten by many Japanese, hence they visit the shrine on a regular basis. The controversy extends to the fact that the religion of Shinto had specific beliefs that death creates unquiet spirits, that the unsettled spirits must be shined to calm. In addition, that the wondering spirits and evil Kami are feared, hence the shrines were prepared to settle down all unsettled and unquiet spirits. So the belief developed that the shrine in particular is full of settled souls. The controversy is also more about the freedom of religion as against the mourning of the dead criminals proved by a visit to the shrine.