Speaking Of Asia

Samurai and song: Shinzo Abe at Budokan

The discordant notes over Abe’s funeral do not detract from the work of Japan’s most consequential post-war leader.

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe's funeral at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on Sept 27, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

Perhaps the most poignant moment at Mr Shinzo Abe's deeply dignified funeral came when the giant screen overhead showed him playing a soft tune on the piano, finishing with a gaze of deep sensitivity towards the audience.

Mr Abe, who was Japan's longest-serving post-war prime minister when he retired abruptly in August 2020, released the video a few months before he was assassinated. The tune, Hana wa Saku, or Flowers Will Bloom, was made to mourn those lost in the 2011 earthquake in Tohoku.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.