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The Rape of Nanking

Discussion in 'Massacres and Atrocities of the Second World War' started by Jim, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Between December 1937 and March 1938 one of the worst massacres in modern times took place. Japanese troops captured the Chinese city of Nanking and embarked on a campaign of murder, rape and looting.

    Based on estimates made by historians and charity organisations in the city at the time, between 250,000 and 300,000 people were killed, many of them women and children.

    The number of women raped was said by Westerners who were there to be 20,000, and there were widespread accounts of civilians being hacked to death.

    Yet many Japanese officials and historians deny there was a massacre on such a scale.

    They admit that deaths and rapes did occur, but say they were on a much smaller scale than reported. And in any case, they argue, these things happen in times of war.

    The Sino-Japanese Wars


    In 1931, Japan invaded Chinese Manchuria following a bombing incident at a railway controlled by Japanese interests.

    The Chinese troops were no match for their opponents and Japan ended up in control of great swathes of Chinese territory.

    The following years saw Japan consolidate its hold, while China suffered civil war between communists and the nationalists of the Kuomintang. The latter were led by General Chiang Kai-shek, whose capital was at Nanking.


    Many Japanese, particularly some elements of the army, wanted to increase their influence and in July 1937, a skirmish between Chinese and Japanese troops escalated into full-scale war.

    The Japanese again had initial success, but then there was a period of successful Chinese defence before the Japanese broke through at Shanghai and swiftly moved on to Nanking.

    Chiang Kai-shek's troops had already left the city and the Japanese army occupied it without difficulty.

    'One of the great atrocities of modern times'


    At the time, the Japanese army did not have a reputation for brutality.

    In the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5, the Japanese commanders had behaved with great courtesy towards their defeated opponents, but this was very different.

    Japanese papers reported competitions among junior officers to kill the most Chinese.

    One Japanese newspaper correspondent saw lines of Chinese being taken for execution on the banks of the Yangtze River, where he saw piles of burned corpses.

    Photographs from the time, now part of an exhibition in the city, show Japanese soldiers standing, smiling, among heaps of dead bodies.

    Tillman Durdin of the New York Times reported the early stages of the massacre before being forced to leave.

    He later wrote: "I was 29 and it was my first big story for the New York Times. So I drove down to the waterfront in my car. And to get to the gate I had to just climb over masses of bodies accumulated there."

    "The car just had to drive over these dead bodies. And the scene on the river front, as I waited for the launch... was of a group of smoking, chattering Japanese officers overseeing the massacring of a battalion of Chinese captured troops."

    "They were marching about in groups of about 15, machine-gunning them."

    As he departed, he saw 200 men being executed in 10 minutes to the apparent enjoyment of Japanese military spectators.

    He concluded that the rape of Nanking was "one of the great atrocities of modern times".

    'The memories cannot be erased'


    A Christian missionary, John Magee, described Japanese soldiers as killing not only "every prisoner they could find but also a vast number of ordinary citizens of all ages".

    "Many of them were shot down like the hunting of rabbits in the streets," he said.


    After what he described as a week of murder and rape, the Rev Magee joined other Westerners in trying to set up an international safety zone.

    Another who tried to help was an American woman, Minnie Vautrin, who kept a diary which has been likened to that of Anne Frank.

    Her entry for 16 December reads: "There probably is no crime that has not been committed in this city today. Thirty girls were taken from the language school [where she worked] last night, and today I have heard scores of heartbreaking stories of girls who were taken from their homes last night - one of the girls was but 12 years old."

    Later, she wrote: "How many thousands were mowed down by guns or bayoneted we shall probably never know. For in many cases oil was thrown over their bodies and then they were burned."

    "Charred bodies tell the tales of some of these tragedies. The events of the following ten days are growing dim. But there are certain of them that lifetime will not erase from my memory and the memories of those who have been in Nanking through this period."

    Minnie Vautrin suffered a nervous breakdown in 1940 and returned to the US. She committed suicide in 1941.

    Also horrified at what he saw was John Rabe, a German who was head of the local Nazi party.

    He became leader of the international safety zone and recorded what he saw, some of it on film, but this was banned by the Nazis when he returned to Germany.

    He wrote about rape and other brutalities which occurred even in the middle of the supposedly protected area.

    Confession and denial

    After the Second World War was over, one of the Japanese soldiers who was in Nanking spoke about what he had seen.


    Azuma Shiro recalled one episode: "There were about 37 old men, old women and children. We captured them and gathered them in a square."

    "There was a woman holding a child on her right arm... and another one on her left."

    "We stabbed and killed them, all three - like potatoes in a skewer. I thought then, it's been only one month since I left home... and 30 days later I was killing people without remorse."

    Mr Shiro suffered for his confession: "When there was a war exhibition in Kyoto, I testified. The first person who criticized me was a lady in Tokyo. She said I was damaging those who died in the war."

    "She called me incessantly for three or four days. More and more letters came and the attack became so severe... that the police had to provide me with protection."

    Such testimony, however, has been discounted at the highest levels in Japan.

    Former Justice Minister Shigeto Nagano denied that the massacre had occurred, claiming it was a Chinese fabrication.

    Professor Ienaga Saburo spent many years fighting the Japanese government in the courts with only limited success for not allowing true accounts of Japanese war atrocities to be given in school textbooks.

    There is also opposition to the idea among ordinary Japanese people. A film called Don't Cry Nanking was made by Chinese and Hong Kong film-makers in 1995 but it was several years before it was shown in Japan.


    Story from BBC NEWS
     
  2. Forgive Darkness

    Forgive Darkness New Member

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    I always use the Rape of Nanking as an example of Japanese atrocities in the war. Some consider Japan's invasion of Manchuria to be the start of World War 2 and I agree honestly. From there Japan committed so many massacres on the Chinese people. I did a project on the Rape of Nanking and the images were unbelievable.
     
  3. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Any chance of sharing this FD.. :ponder:
     
  4. Forgive Darkness

    Forgive Darkness New Member

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    Are you wanting to see the images or my project. The project I did back in the 10th grade of highschool so I do not have it anymore. But I can still pull up some of the images. A picture says a thousand words afterall. I need your permission first because they are quite disturbing.
     
  5. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    About Nanjing Massacre

    In December 1937, Nanjing fell to the Japanese Imperial Army. The Japanese army launched a massacre for six weeks. According to the records of several welfare organizations which buried the dead bodies after the Massacre, around three hundred thousand people, mostly civilians and POWs, were brutally slaughtered.
    Over twenty thousand cases of rape were reported. Many of the victims were gang raped and then killed. The figure did not include those captives who were sent to army brothels (the so-called "comfort stations").

    A Japanese Historiography of the Nanjing Massacre.

    Japanese conception of the Nanjing Massacre has evolved throughout the last sixty years. To this date, there have been five phases in its progression. The first phase was the history of the Massacre during the Asia-Pacific War (1931-1945). In this period, there was no Nanjing Massacre in the public Japanese awareness. In spite of commemorations of Chinese deaths after the fall of Nanjing, lantern parades took place throughout Japan to celebrate the capture of Nanjing. Newspapers praised the Japanese military for fighting bravely in China. Japanese read literature that portrayed humane and courageous Japanese soldiers fighting for the "liberation of Asia from the Western invasion." Although Timperley's Japanese Terror in China fully discussed Japanese atrocities in Nanjing and was translated into Japanese, it was not widely read.

    [​IMG]

    With the Japanese defeat in 1945, the second phase of the Massacre in Japanese historiography began. At the Tokyo War Crimes Trial (1946-48), the Japanese public learned of various atrocities committed by the Japanese army in China, including the Nanjing Massacre. Newspapers reported the trial in detail. For instance, the day following the testimony of Robert Wilson, a doctor who witnessed Japanese brutalities in Nanjing, the newspaper Asahi reported that "...horrible acts of the Japanese Army were first revealed to the people." Headlines such as "Insatiate Atrocities for Three Months" (Mainichi) and "Children, Too, Were Massacred; Revealed Massacre at Nanjing" (Asahi) were sensational enough to attract the attention of the people in Japan. Although the trial taught the Japanese public about the Massacre at Nanjing, the Massacre did not become a symbol of Japanese war crimes against the Chinese. Rather, it was a reminder of an atrocious Japanese military that dragged Japan into a reckless war with the United States leading to tremendous Japanese sacrifices.
    Although the Massacre failed to become a public memory commemorating the Chinese deaths in Nanjing in 1937-38, the history of the Massacre, as well as other wartime Japanese atrocities in Asia, became a standard in Japanese history. Accounts of events in Nanjing appeared in elementary and junior high school textbooks that were edited by the Ministry of Education. In the historical academy, historians reflected upon a national education during wartime that had facilitated people's support for the war. They rejected historical education that was used to teach unscientific imperial myths and morals justifying national sacrifice for the emperor and Japanese overseas aggression.

    These historians, most of whom were Marxists, began to publish studies that they had not been able to publish during the war. They were not only active and influential in writing but also participated in democratic and peace movements, such as an anti-nuclear weapon petition campaign. In postwar Japanese historical discourse, it has been these progressives who have been most influential. Conservatives and nationalists have been challenging the progressive version of imperial history, which, in their eyes of many conservatives, "demonized" wartime Japanese history. Therefore, in Japan, the term "revisionist" is associated with conservatism and is at odds with the progressive view of history, whereas in the United States, the term often refers to liberals who are fighting against conservatives. The Cold War helped Japanese revisionists gain influence. American policy makers did not want Japan to become a communist country, but a country that could buffer against the spread of communism in Asia. In the early 1950s, both Japanese and American policy makers agreed that the Japanese government should foster a spirit of patriotism that would bring the Japanese closer together should self-defense be necessary. This was the time when the representation of Japanese aggression in Asia was toned down in school textbooks. The word "aggression" was replaced with "advance" in many textbooks in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Eventually, the description of the Massacre disappeared from textbooks altogether. With the reopening of China to the world in the early 1970s, the third phase of the history of the Massacre within Japan began. In 1971, Asahi journalist Katsuichi Honda published an article series called "Chûgoku no tabi" in Asahi. Honda, who had been a correspondent in Vietnam and saw many American atrocities there, wanted to examine Japanese atrocities during the Asia-Pacific War, including the Massacre. In his 40-day trip to China, he visited war memorials and interviewed survivors. His articles, which included vivid photographs of remains of human bodies and of faces of his interviewees with tears and sorrows, were sensational and touched on something that many people wanted to forget.

    [​IMG]

    Although Honda received support from many of his readers, he also received criticism, and even threats from others. Revisionists such as Shichihei Yamamoto and Akira Suzuki challenged Honda's account of an alleged killing competition between the two second lieutenants who competed to behead 100 Chinese. Yamamoto and Suzuki published articles in Shokun and Bungeishunjû claiming that the competition was something like an urban myth. Suzuki's efforts won him acclaim within the publishing world, and he received the Ôya Sôichi Nonfiction Award in 1973. For those historians sympathetic to the experience of Chinese civilians and soldiers massacred by the Japanese invaders, these repeated denials of the truth of the Massacre and claims of Japanese innocence were outrageous. They responded immediately, pointing out inaccuracies in the challenges to long-standing accounts of the Massacre. In school textbooks, the Massacre appeared again in the 1970s partly because of the decisions made by the Tokyo District Court and the Tokyo High Court which favored Saburô Ienaga, who edited a textbook that had previously been disqualified for use by the Ministry of Education. The textbook controversy in 1982 opened another phase of the Massacre's history within Japan. The campaign of the Ministry of Education to tone down the representation of wartime Japanese aggression caused intense international protests. Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese governments officially submitted protests to the Japanese government. As a result, the Japanese government promised that it would take steps to correct the textbooks. Such government actions that yielded to "foreign intervention" offended revisionists and motivated them to once again challenge wartime Japanese history, including that of the Massacre, which they considered to have been "written by the left" in the postwar period. In 1984, Masaaki Tanaka wrote “Fabrication of Nanjing Massacre," which claimed that the Massacre was merely a myth created by the Tokyo trial and by the Chinese government. His work relieved those who were troubled by the postwar portrayal of wartime Japan. Even distinguished scholars, such as Shôichi Watanabe and Keiichirô Kobori, both college professors, admired Tanaka's work. The progressives, again infuriated, set up The Study Group on the Nanjing Incident in 1984. It had some twenty members, including historians, journalists, lawyers, company employees, and others, and it met at least once a month. The members of the group actively published their studies on the Nanjing Massacre, such as Nankin Daigyakusatsu [The Nanjing Massacre] (1985), Nankin jiken chôsa kenkyûkai, Nankin jiken genchi chôsa hôkokusho [The report of a field trip to Nanjing] (1985). Since 1984, the members of this study group have published twelve books exclusively discussing the Nanjing Massacre. Ultimately, revisionists realized that it was impossible to deny the truth completely. Even an organization of war veterans now officially acknowledges that at least 10,000 illegal killings took place, that is, at least 10,000 Chinese were massacred in Nanjing [Nankin senshi (1989)]. The revisionists have altered their strategy. They began by claiming that the indiscriminate killing of 200,000 people insisted on by the Tokyo Trial or the 300,000 deaths insisted on by the Chinese government never took place. They now argue that the Nanjing Massacre was a fabrication because relatively few people were killed, and that of the deaths that did occur, only a small number were illegal under the laws of war. In addition, they argue that the incident was no more terrible than many other atrocities committed by various nations in 20th-century history. In their opinion, the event in Nanjing does not deserve the special attention it has received. With the death of Hirohito and the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the fifth phase of the history of the Massacre within Japan has begun. Although revisionist claims have not changed since the 1980s, they have gained new supporters. Since many of them have been successful in their own careers and have had ready access to the media, the revisionists have been able to make louder noises than ever. For instance, Nobukatsu Fujioka, professor of Education at the University of Tokyo, a new face in the debate, has repeatedly claimed, both in books and newspapers, that more than 200,000 civilians could not possibly have been "massacred unless ghosts were killed." His claim is only based on what his predecessors argued in the 1980s. Revisionist claims are based not on historical materials, which confirm mass atrocities in Nanjing in 1937-38, but on their own wish to describe how "just" Japan stood up to an "unjust" Western invasion for the sake of Asian people.

    [​IMG]

    In other words, "Japan" and "Japaneseness" are the issues behind their claims. In their minds, "the Japanese" should be proud of "Japan" regardless. Japan must have a national history that can be respected by its people. Revisionists regard progressive accounts of imperial Japanese history, especially as they appear in the textbooks, as full of masochism, darkness, and apologies. To revisionists like Fujioka, progressive views deeply discredit Japan and destroy national pride. Fujioka and his allies even claim that progressive views are a Communist version of Japanese history. They cannot believe that their fellow Japanese, the progressives, are focusing on such shameful parts of the Japanese past such as the Nanjing Massacre, military sex slaves, and chemical and biological warfare. To revisionists, progressives are a psychological aberration that they will never understand.

    Today all Japanese school textbooks mention the Massacre. Of seven junior high school textbooks that have been used since spring 1997, every one mentions the Massacre. In six out of the seven textbooks, the estimate of Chinese who were killed is at least 200,000; four of them also introduce the Chinese official figure of 300,000. Only the textbook by Teikokushoin, whose share is 2% of the total market, does not mention any numbers, although it says that "the Japanese killed very many Chinese including women and children."
    Moreover, today revisionists have enemies not only in Japan, but also in China and in the United States. Continuous revisionist challenges actually increased the number of published historical accounts of the Massacre published around the world. Iris Chang and James Yin, for instance, might not have studied the Massacre as much detail as they did, if revisionists had never claimed preposterously that the Massacre was mere fabrication. It is unfortunate to say, however, that revisionists will continue to claim that the Massacre was fabricated by the Tokyo trial and the Chinese government and has been facilitated by "unJapanese" Japanese progressives. To these people, war is like a game played by states; killing is regrettable, but justifiable in war. Fujioka and his contemporaries even praise Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs that killed Allied POWs, Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese because the bombs prevented Japan from being divided by the United States and the Soviet Union. They are much too preoccupied with "nation-state" oriented thought. However, the bright side of the long historiographic conflict over the Massacre is that the history and memory of the Massacre have clearly been internationalized, and peoples, whatever ethnic or national origin, have been working together to remember the Massacre in order to prevent from another massacre in world history. Histories used to be, and in a sense still are, "nation-state" oriented. They privilege the role of a certain nation's "subjects," and they at best undervalue, and at worst ignore, the horrible experience of others. People, however, should realize that grief over the death of loved ones is the same regardless of nationality or ethnicity; they should try to create a history that can be shared by not just a nation, but others all around the world.

    Source: Takeshi Yoshida
     
  6. krrish

    krrish New Member

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    Japanese soldiers activities during world war II were not less than that of beasts.Gang raped were common for them.The rape & murder cases at Nanking is countless.

    Jim, your collections deserve appreciation.:thumb:
     
  7. tongyun

    tongyun New Member

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    This is one of the events in WW II that just gets my blood boiling because I am Chinese. It's also hard to deal with the fact that many of the Japanese leaders didn't have to face the harsh punishments their Nazi counterparts faced because the United States wanted the results of scientific experiments performed on the Chinese. What really irks me now is that some Japanese deny it ever happened.
     
  8. FREEDOM War44

    FREEDOM War44 New Member

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    Alot of war criminals.

    Yes a lot of war criminals got away with a lot of war crimes.I had read a article on how
    many war criminals never even got tried for there war crimes.
     

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