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Modernistic Views of the Nanjing Atrocity

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Modernistic Views of the Nanjing Atrocity

“Japanese people do not say something appropriate. When Iris Chang published her book ‘The Rape of Nanjing’ in 1997, an American ambassador gave explanation that Japanese is deeply repentant for accepting that they killed hundreds of thousands Chinese people. Did the Japanese representative really mean to take all criticisms without anything to say? Not only the representative of Japan but also we, the Japanese people, have a problem about explaining historical facts in foreign language especially in English. There are the facts, which are not yet lifting the veil in Japanese historical records. We should provide and send those in English translation.” Hiromichi Moteki, the Deputy Chairman for Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, has given a speech of the Nanjing Massacre history that it should be reexamined and proved there is no evidence that Japanese Imperial army killed 300,000 Nanjing people. Not only Moteki is trying to broaden the historical facts, but also many Japanese historical researchers delve into the matter. Even though Nazi Germany, where there were dreadful massacres during World War II and Millions of people were approached unwilling dead by hunger, heavy laboring, poison gas, human experimentations by soldiers and doctors, they are reexamining own responsibilities and investigates the atrocities without regard for any limitation. Unlike Germany under the Nazi political power, Nanjing incident is still globally denounced because of its complexity: Japanese side insists that they apologized but they mainly do not agree on the number of death that China has claimed. In contrast, China claimed the Japanese Imperial armies killed at least 300,000 and Japanese government has not yet apologized and compensate officially.
Katsuichi Honda, the Yomiuri news journalist, and other journalists such as Yoshiko Sakurai assumed that there are two problematic factors that led to the recent debate. Since 1982, the Japanese Ministry of Education has authorized and reinterpreted textbooks ‘the invasion of China’ to ‘advanced against China’. Thus, many countries especially Korea and China have trembled with rage. Also when the book called The Rape of Nanjing (1997), written by Chinese-American woman Iris Chang, became best selling book in America and influenced many people to feel antipathy on Japanese sadism. The debate has not been reached to the end yet, and in fact, the debate has been inflamed by new records and new witnesses. Do China and Japan willing to have an undoubted evidence to conclude the matter from bottom of their heart? This essay will explore the history of Nanjing Atrocity, different perceptions from both China and Japan about the issue, and the most relevant views of Nanjing atrocity in a modern society.
The Nanjing Atrocity
There are many names representing the event, such as the Nanjing atrocity, the Nanjing massacre, the rape of Nanjing, and most commonly, the Nanjing incident. Note that this essay uses ‘The Nanjing Atrocity’ even though ‘Nanjing Incident’ is more familiar to use nowadays by the reason of existing four different events in Nanjing since the mid-nineteenth century. For example, the contemporary Japanese historical book, written by the researcher of modern history, Hideo Tanaka, has mentioned one of the Nanjing incidents among four, which occurred in 1927 during Nationalist Chinese Armies under Chang Kai-shek occupied Nanjing, and raid the residents includes foreign consulate.
The Nanjing atrocity was occurred in the battle of Nanjing. The battle was a part of Sino-Japan war, which had begun with the Marco-polo Bridge incident on July 7, 1937, and continued with the second battle of Shanghai. Since 1931, China and Japan have been involved severe fights constantly. China lost territories piece by piece. They begun putting up a defense line in Nanjing, the capital city in Republic of China, and the Nanjing atrocity had began after the fall of Shanghai. Chinese commander-in-chief of the Nanking Defense groups and the military leader, Chang Kai-shek announced that the city would not surrender and would fight to death. However, their defense strategic did not play well. Their plan began to fall because of the defenders, Chinese troops, and Nanjing civilians were fleeing from battles and tried to escape to safer area. In December 1937, the Japanese army lunched an all-out attack for several weeks. The Nanjing atrocity was the tremendously remarkable incident because the incident occurred in six-week periods; raping mass innocent both young and adult women, murdering mass people, arson attacking, and plundering. Most historical researchers explain the numbers of massacre is at least 300,000, and around 20,000 women were raped by the Japanese soldiers. Also during the battle of Nanjing, Japanese Imperial Army tried various methods to kill Chinese people. There were three of the most dreadful incidents which Nanjing atrocity becomes the history that should not be forgotten.
1. Contest to Cut Down a Hundred Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun carried on a large-scale report published in 1937, Japan; the contest to cut down a hundred! Two-second lieutenants already up to eighty. This ‘contest’ started by the two military officers Mukai and Noda in November before the Japanese Imperial Army entered Nanjing. Their actions seemed very popular in their motherland, and the reports helped propagating strength of the Japanese military effectively. After a few days later, the second report showed that the two officers’ killing contest was at fever pitch; it’s 89-78 in the “Contest to Cut Down a Hundred”, A close race, how heroic! There was another report says that the contest extended to hundred and fifty because Mukai and Noda had already killed over hundred people, so they created new contest to decide the winner.
The Strict Punishment The Japanese Imperial armies, however, were on edge because of a sudden attack. They had close guard since the battle of Shanghai: Many Chinese bogus students and citizens (who were actually soldiers against the Japanese army) made a raid which shed the Japanese soldiers’ blood.
Inside of Nanjing Safety Zone, there were few foreigners, many citizens, surrendered Chinese soldiers, and also, the bogus students and citizens. The Japanese Mop-up army disclosed about six thousand Chinese people who looked like the impostors for 4 days. Japanese soldiers were told to clean up the enemy for strict punishment, and the ways the Japanese soldiers did was just indiscriminate executions. Moreover, around 13,000 prisoners were killed near Wufu Mountain. Based on Japanese officer, the prisoners were forced to enter the inside of a semicircle of Japanese troops with machine guns and rifle. The mass shooting continued for an hour. Officer kept firing his rifle until dark night, and even his hands got tired. Some of the soldiers walked into the corpses and stubbed the bodies to make sure the prisoners were already dead.

Brutal Attack on Women “Chinese women were raped by the Japanese soldiers…young girl, adult women, and even old ladies. None of the soldiers denied raping them, and killed them after all.” The most dreadful of all the atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers was the savage rape of the Chinese women. Old ladies, little girls, and adult women were not able to escape rape. Some women had been kidnapped by the Japanese army from cities or villages, and were distributed to fifteen to twenty Japanese soldiers. The Japanese soldiers, who involved with Chinese women outside of their army camps, got order to kill the women from the officers. According to the note of protest written by international committees of Nanjing Safety Zone, there are 436 notes only protest against rape. Most of Chinese citizen, either female or male, who refused to obey Japanese military, were killed dreadfully. For example, there was a Chinese woman killed by stubbing by one Japanese soldier who coerced her into sex. Moreover, the two patients of an university hospital were forced to be sex slaves, and were stubbed ten times. One was middle-aged woman, raped ten to twenty times a night. And another one was a young beautiful girl, raped forty times a night. The one of the eyewitness, Reverend James M McCallum, recorded in his diary; “ ––– Rape! Rape! Rape! We estimate at least 1,000 cases a night… Women are carried off every morning, afternoon and evening. The whole Japanese army seems to be free to go and come as it please, and to do whatever it please.”
The records of victims of the Nanjing atrocity, which was written by foreign journalists and ex-military officers, are officially used as references by historical researchers. Although there is not much information, a Japanese textbook also shows that Nanjing Atrocity was not only tremendous murdering but also brutal attack on women, and people should remain what Japan has done in their history. However, the result of this matter has not yet finished. Some of Japanese researchers have found new evidences that Nanjing atrocity was fabricated by the Chinese government. In contrast, China shows tenacious opposition and deep-seated distrust of Japanese government. The debate has grown more and more heated because some Japanese journalists started saying that Nanjing atrocity did not existed.
Alternative Perceptions of The Nanjing Atrocity
People are still arguing about Nanjing atrocity. However, they fought mainly about the numbers that Japanese army killed in the Nanjing atrocity. Even famous authors and politicians disagree with the statistic which people use to refer Nanjing atrocity nowadays. To counter argue that numbers, they verified almost 140 pictures, which are recognized as the Nanjing atrocity, as fabricated. Also, the reliability on diaries created by foreign journalists who helped Chinese in Nanjing Safety zone. Those professors and researchers continuously combined and split whenever they disagree with.
There are five different categories which help people to distinguish clearly in Japan, which are the party of 300,000, excessive numbers, reasonable numbers, underestimated numbers, and the party of illusion. Communist parties of China and Iris Chang believe that the number of victims reached 300,000. Ichikatsu Honda and other six more famous journalists and politicians believe that it was around 100,000 to 200,000. Ikuhiko Hata, the researcher of contemporary Japanese history, believes in 20,000 or more. Yoshiko Sakurai and other four famous journalists and politicians believe that there were around 10,000. And almost ten Japanese famous journalists and politicians, which includes Shintaro Ishihara, believe that the victims were just 10 or none. They already read many research materials through, yet the opinions have not matched at all. There is one obvious reason why they disagree with others: they defined ‘Nanjing’ and ‘Massacre/Atrocity’ differently.
People who want to increase the number of damage, they regard invasion from Shanghai to Nanjing as questionable. They consider ‘Nanjing Massacre’ as the incident that had occurred in Nanjing includes six suburbs of Nanjing city. Contrary, people who have another opinion about Nanjing atrocity, they limit the area only in the city of Nanjin. Furthermore, illusion party justify the murder of prisoners who surrender to the Japanese army, which mean that the Japanese army has right to kill them if there were too many prisoners, and if the soldiers were not able to take care of them. On the other hand, people criticize the case of attacking the escaped Chinese soldiers.
This argument will not end because this is neither an argument with scientific evidences nor factional historiography, but it is an argument with full of ideology.
The Most Relevant View of The Nanjing Atrocity
To what extent the ideological argument among five different types of people tries to know fact and fable of the Nanjing atrocity day after day. They exhume new evidences as if they found a mammoth tusk. They give asset for understanding a truth of Nanjing atrocity, but other researchers disagree so they give critical review on the research paper, and go back to the first circulation point––– people are unable to see its end. Young generations who ever studied about contemporary Japanese and Chinese history would think the atrocity of Nanjing had just happened in war time. Either how many Japanese military killed or raped the Chinese people, they accept the incidents but not to be overwhelmed by the past.
Some researchers have tried a new approach to the Nanjing atrocity, not to have emotional argument, but to have so-called the most relevant view on the Nanjing atrocity. The most relevant view is based on the theory of False Memory Syndrome. Some of memories are true, some are mixture of illusion and fact, and some are false due to escaping terror. As an example of alien abduction, abductees (who were abducted by aliens, UFO) claimed that they got physical examinations on the plane. However, Suzan A Clancy’s book ‘Abducted’ is conveyed the mechanism of how people become to believe that alien kidnapped them: The abductees have no such memory that they were kidnapped, but they have started judging their memories that there are such memories in corner of their brain by watching, reading and listening to TV shows, books, and movies. This can be implied to the testimony of the Nanjing atrocity.
People conclude that we should not completely trust on any testimonies of incidents that had happened in dozen of years ago. People are not able to know if there are huge twisted memories. Some people become witnesses although they had not seemed a fact collates to the incident or become totally opposite.
The Nanjing atrocity is a mass murderer and mass rape conducted by Japanese Imperial army in 1937, two years before the outbreak of the World War II. The class A criminals were founded guilty as capital punishment by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Japanese government compensate to China for such dreadful incident was occurred and caused great numbers of death. It seemed that everything has gone through without any obstacles, however, when Japanese Ministry of Education reinterpret the Nanjing atrocity, Iris Chang published the Rape of Nanjing, and the report of accomplishment of the Massacre Memorial Hall, the Nanjing Massacre denial and debates have launched by many countries. There are different people so called revisionists, conservitists, and negationists based on the estimates of the death toll, credibility on pictures of the incidents, and historical records created by foreign journalists, the Chinese witnesses, and the Japanese ex military officers. Some Japanese journalists and social scientists such as Katsuichi Honda play a prominent role in countering revisionists’ historiographies. The dreadful attacks occurred during the battle of Nanjing was inflexible histories unless there are rigid and absolute truth or evidences that none of people go against on that. Yet, there are people who believe that Nanjing Massacre and all of the incidents, which include brutal attacks on women, indiscriminate massacre, and the killing contest, were fabricated. This statement creates more difficulty on finishing its debate, and in fact, the real argument has transformed into the outlet of their ideologies.
People cannot end its debate, but they can at least transit their perspective of the incidents to believe what they have read Nanjing atrocity as remarkable history, not to obsessed with numbers and pictures even thought those seems very chaotic. Recent social scientists and journalists give a caution to be more distrust on whatever they watched, heard, and read.

[ 1 ]. Moteki, H. (2007). Nanjing Jiken Wa Nakatta (eng: There was no such event, the Nanjing Massacre ). Ningen No Mori. (S. Mizushima, Interviewer) Channel Sakura.
[ 2 ]. Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact. (2006). MISSION STATEMENT. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact:
[ 3 ]. IB Theory of Knowledg. (2011, March 11). Debate of Numbers: Nanking Massacre. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from Debate of Numbers: Nanking Massacre:
[ 4 ]. Honda, K. (1999). The Nanjing Massacre. (F. B. Gibney, Ed., & K. Sandness, Trans.) p 13. Armonk, New York, United States: M.E. Sharpe.
[ 5 ]. Sakurai, Y. (2006, December 23). Yoshiko Sakurai. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from China Uses Nanjing Massacre to Blame Japan Until Now:
[ 6 ]. Tanaka, H. (2006). Another Nanjing Incident; the record of Japanese victims. Japan: Fuyoshobo.
[ 7 ]. Honda, K. (1999). The Nanjing Massacre. (F. B. Gibney, Ed., & K. Sandness, Trans.) p 8. Armonk, New York, United States: M.E. Sharpe.
[ 8 ]. Nanjing Massacre. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2011, from Intisol:
[ 9 ]. Home of Nanking Massacre. (2005). Retrieved March 9, 2011, from 1937 Nanking Massacre:
[ 10 ]. Honda, K. (1999). The Nanjing Massacre. (F. B. Gibney, Ed., & K. Sandness, Trans.) pp 123- 127. Armonk, New York, United States: M.E. Sharpe.
[ 11 ]. Honda, K. (1999). The Nanjing Massacre. (F. B. Gibney, Ed., & K. Sandness, Trans.) pp 241- 246. Armonk, New York, United States: M.E. Sharpe.
[ 12 ]. Omata, Y. (1982). Invasion. Minatoku, Tokyo, Japan: Contemporary History Institute Publishing.
[ 13 ]. J, K. J. (n.d.). The Truth of Violence Towards to Chinese Women. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from The Nanjing Massacre:
[ 14 ]. Chen, D. C. (2001). The Forgotten Holocaust: Nanking Massacre. Retrieved March 9, 2011, from The Forgotten Holocaust::
[ 15 ]. Re-examining Pictures that are Proofed to be the Nanjing Atrocity. (2005). Retrieved March 10, 2011, from List of the 143 Nanjing Atrocity Pictures:
[ 16 ]. The Association for Advancement of Unbiased View of History. (2008, January 31). Nanjing Massacre Fake Photos: Examination of so-called "archive photos". Retrieved March 10, 2011, from ABC of Modern Japanese History:
[ 17 ]. Kubo, A. (n.d.). The So-Called Nanking Massacre was a Fabrication . (Remnant Publishing, Christian Publisher in Japan) Retrieved March 10, 2011, from Remnant Publishing:
[ 18 ]. Hata, I. (1988). The Nanking Atrocities: Fact and Fable. (P. W. Joseph, Ed.) Retrieved March 11, 2011, from Depart of Political Science at Wellesley College:
[ 19 ]. The FMSF. (n.d.). Memory and Reality. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from FMSF Online:
[ 20 ]. Clancy, S. A. (2006). Abduction: Why People Testify of Abduction by Alien (Japanese Translation). (M. Hayashi, Trans.) Tokyo, Japan: Hayakawa Publisher.
[ 21 ]. Yamamoto, H. (n.d.). Can We Trust Testimonies of the Nanjing Atrocity? Retrieved March 10, 2011, from Yamamoto Hirochi's Web Site:

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