Yasukuni is a shrine to house the actual souls of the dead as kami, or "spirits/souls" as loosely defined in English. It is believed that all negative or evil acts committed are absolved when enshrinement occurs. This activity is strictly a religious matter since the separation of State Shinto and the Japanese Government in 1945. The priesthood at the shrine has complete religious autonomy to decide to whom and how enshrinement may occur. They believe that enshrinement is permanent and irreversible. According to Shinto beliefs, by enshrining kami, Yasukuni Shrine provides a permanent residence for the spirits of those who have fought on behalf of the emperor. Yasukuni has all enshrined kami occupying the same single seat. The shrine is dedicated to give peace and rest to all those enshrined there. It was the only place to which the Emperor of Japan bowed.
The site for the Yasukuni Shrine, originally named Tokyo Shoukonsha (東京招魂社) was chosen by order of the Meiji Emperor. This shrine was to commemorate the soldiers of the Boshin War who fought and died to bring about the Restoration. It was one of several dozen war memorial shrines built throughout Japan at that time as part of the government-directed State Shinto program. In 1879, the shrine was renamed Yasukuni Jinja. It became one of State Shinto's principal shrines, as well as the primary national shrine for commemorating Japan's war dead. The name Yasukuni, a quotation from the classical-era Chinese text Zuo Zhuan, literally means "Pacifying the Nation" and was chosen by the Meiji Emperor.
After World War II, the US-led Occupation Authorities issued the Shinto Directive. This directive ordered the separation of church and state and effectively put an end to State Shinto. Yasukuni Shrine was forced to become either a secular government institution or a religious institution independent from the Japanese government. Since in 1946, Yasukuni Shrine has continued to be privately funded and operated.