good to look at:

="I Will Never Forget": Voices of Survivors=

Genocide & Mass ViolenceThe Nanjing Atrocities

Three testimonies from survivors of the Nanjing Atrocities are included below. They are only three of many and each has been translated from Mandarin Chinese.

All include memories of extreme acts of violence and trauma. Gender violence is prominent in each testimony and great care and sensitivity should be considered in any use with students.
Survivor testimonies—firsthand accounts from individuals who lived through war and atrocities—supplement what we learn from historians and other secondary sources. Their voices offer perspectives on difficult and often unimaginable situations people experienced during war and collective violence. We must remember that testimonies given decades later are voluntarily given and are based on individual experiences and personal memories. They are also self-edited and must be understood and listened to with these factors in mind.
At the same time, some scholars suggest that the very thing that makes survivors’ accounts so powerful can also affect their reliability. While some read survivors’ stories as evidence to be weighed along with other sources, we know these accounts offer something more. They teach us not only about the past, but about memory as well. For many people they force a confrontation with the past, reminding us that behind numbers or documentary accounts are human beings.
  • Testimony of Wen Sunshi
  • My name is Wen Sunshi, this year I turn 82 years old. My house was originally in the Xiaguan district of Nanjing. I was married in 1936 of the Chinese lunar calendar. My husband’s original surname was Guo, but because my family had arranged the marriage, he changed his name to Wen—my surname.
  • When the Japanese entered the city on the December of 1937, many retreating Chinese Nationalist troops attempted to cross the river to escape, with some even coming to my house to board. When the sky was getting dark, my entire family took refuge at the nearby [Hutchinson International].
En route, we saw Japanese warships rake down crossing Chinese troops with indiscriminate machine gun fire.
  • The refugees at the [Hutchinson International] were many. One day, six or seven Japanese troops arrived, all of them armed with guns, knives hanging by their waists. They took six or seven maidens from the crowd of refugees. I was among those taken. There was also a maiden I recognized, her name was Little Qiaozi. One Japanese soldier forced me into an empty room. I can remember him being chubby, with a beard. Once we were both in the room, he used a knife to force me to take off my pants—I would be killed if I didn’t. I was thus raped in this manner.
  • After the rape, the Japanese soldier turned to me and said “opened path, opened path” and I was released. In order to avoid the Japanese soldiers coming again to hurt us, that night, the manager of the [Hutchinson International] ferried us—about eighteen maidens—to the cellar of the Egg Beating room. Those among us also included several maidens who had escaped from the Suzhou prefecture of Jiangsu. I hid in that cellar for several months, with the owners secretly sending me food. Only after the situation was deemed “peaceful” did I return to live with my mother and father. I had lived in the [Hutchinson International] for more than a year before I had returned home.
  • My husband knows that I was raped by a Japanese soldier, but empathizes with me. He passed away a couple of years ago. In my home, I can’t bear to tell my sons and daughters, and I’m worried that other people will find out and look down upon me.
  • At that time, my cousin was only eighteen-years-old. He was taken away by the Japanese troops and never returned. I personally watched as the Japanese troops massacred many people. We had a neighbor, elderly Ms. Zhen, who was about eighty-years-old. She thought that because she was old, she could remain at home and be fine. In actuality, she was brutally murdered by the Japanese, with her stomach slashed open. There was also a tea specialist, who couldn’t bear leaving his home. He was also murdered by the Japanese.
  • Testimony of Chen Jiashou
  • My name is Chen Jiashou. I was born on September 16, 1918. When the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Nanjing in 1937, I was living in a small Nanjing district with my Uncle, Mother and Father, my two brothers and my sister. At that time, I was only 19 years old. I was an apprentice. After the Japanese invasion, I, along with several other people, collectively escaped to a refugee camp by Shanghai Road. At that time, since the refugee camp had run out of food, I ventured out to replenish the supply. But because of some casual remarks I made while lining up, I was taken by some nearby Japanese soldiers and brought to a pond adjacent to Shanghai Road. Having not stood there for more than two minutes, I watched as a group of armed Japanese soldiers hustled several lines of about two hundred Chinese troops toward the edge of the pond, surrounding them with weapons to prevent them from escaping.
  • At that time, I was also ordered to stand among the front line of Chinese soldiers. I was only 19 years old, and terribly frightened.
  • Thus, the instant the Japanese soldiers opened fire on us all, I immediately fell toward the ground, faking my death. Struck by the flying bullets, my Chinese comrades all piled up on my body. Right up till it got dark and the Japanese soldiers had all left, I lay under the dead bodies, not daring to move. Only then did I climb out from under the pile of bodies. It was thus how I became a fortunate survivor of the Nanjing massacre.
  • I was captured again by the Japanese near Sanhe Village, and sent to work at a Japanese-occupied silk factory near nowadays’ Nanjing medicine factory. It was at this time that I witnessed more Japanese atrocities first-hand. One time, after I finished transporting ten barrels of gasoline to the Japanese military depot near the train station, Japanese soldiers brought me to a basement. Aside from large wooden boxes, the basement also contained a bed. The two Japanese soldiers ripped off the bedsheet covers and indiscriminately opened fire upon it. On the bed lay four women, all dead.
  • Another time, as I came back from transporting provisions, I walked near the main hall of the Nanjing medicine factory. I saw a few hundred ordinary citizens collapsed on the road. Driving a truck, the Japanese troops evidently saw them as well, but simply paid no attention and pretended not to see them. They drove directly over the people, transforming the place into a bloodbath.
  • I will never forget a memory like this:
  • One day after work, I walked to the entrance of Changshan Park. A man surnamed Tse heard the sound of a Japanese truck, so stuck his head out to take a look. Coincidentally, he caught the eyes of the Japanese troops, who immediately disembarked and tied Old Tse up, forcing him to kneel on the ground. One of them took out a bayonet, and violently hacked at Old Tse’s head. Unfortunately, though the back of Old Tse’s neck was sliced through, his head hung on by the remaining front part of his neck—he was still breathing and alive, collapsed on the floor. Seeing this, the Japanese soldiers then raised their leather boots, mercilessly kicking him around the Changshan Park’s grounds. It was only then, with his head severed and his body trashed, that Old Tse passed away.
  • I will never forget the violence, the atrocities and the aggression that the Imperial Japanese soldiers enacted during the Nanjing Massacre.
  • Testimony of Mr. Chen Deshou. Interviewed by Yanming Lu. Chen: My last name is Chen, spelled with the “ear” and “east”, De is the “de” from virtue, and Shou is the “shou” from longevity. My name is Chen De Shou.
  • Lu: What year were you born?
  • Chen: 1932
  • Lu: You were born here in Nanjing?
  • Chen: Yes, in Nanjing.
  • Lu: What type of work did your parents do?
  • Chen: My mother was a housewife, my father was in clothing, he owned a clothing store.
  • Lu: What did your grandparents do?
  • Chen: My grandfather was a tailor, he also made clothes.
  • Chen: My grandmother too.
  • Lu: So your family ran a tailoring shop?
  • Chen: No, a clothing shop, a clothing store.
  • Lu: Do you remember what it was like in your family store at the time?
  • Chen: Yes.
  • Lu: Can you talk a little about it?
  • Chen: Life in our household was a full one. There was my paternal grandfather, my paternal grandmother, my parents and a younger brother. My mother was pregnant. My father’s sister also lived with us, and she had two kids who came to live with us. Life was very hard. In 1937, at that time, Japan, the Japanese troops . . . they were setting off bombs, throwing bombs, see at that time, they wanted to . . . to . . . hiding from the planes. Around December of 1937, there were so many people, they fled to escape the troubles. Why didn’t our family go? Because our family was in the clothing ordering business, and my father got a contract to make uniforms for the soldiers, uniforms that were for the local army. This money though, was stuck, so there was no cash, and without the money, you couldn’t escape, right? So we didn’t leave, we lived in this house. Where was our house? It was near Nanjing’s Sanshan Rd, in what is now the street just behind the Gan Family Courtyard. My house was #4. . . .
  • Life was pretty happy and full. Now on December 13, there came change that turned our world upside down. At that time, at the end of the alley, at the end of the alley we lived in, it was called TianQing St. The Japs started a fire, they started a fire at the end of the alley, and the blaze was fierce. My father, being a warm hearted man, he went out to put out the fire. And he never came back. From the moment he left that day, he never came back, he was gone. So only my grandparents, my mother, my aunt, the young and the old, were left at home. On the morning of that day, a Japanese devil
took a bayonet, a rifle, and with the bayonet he came in. When he came in, we thought everything was as usual, my grandfather even brought out candies for him, telling him to eat, and treating him as a guest. He said he didn’t want that, he said one sentence: “I want a woman.” My mother was pregnant, with a big belly, so he didn’t want her. He dragged my aunt, and at the time she was nursing my little girl cousin. The house we lived in had 3 rooms, each behind the other, we were in the third, in the third room. He took my aunt, and dragged her from the third room to the second room, he was going to humiliate her, he was about to rape her.
  • My aunt was an educated woman, she would rather die than submit, so she struggled, she struggled with that Japanese devil. Then the devil picked up a knife, and stabbed my aunt, piercing her 6 times, in her thigh as well, she was bleeding there as well as from her chest. At the time when he dragged her to the front, my grandmother, and I was an obedient little boy, she brought me forward, so I witnessed my aunt’s death with my own eyes. I was 6 at the time, only 6, but I was old enough to remember things. My aunt handed my little cousin over to my grandmother, and said, “Mother, my heart aches, please give me some sweetened water.”
  • So my aunt, my grandmother, my grandmother carried my little cousin to the back, and poured a bowl of sweetened water, from the third room to the second and back to the front. When she got there, my aunt had already stopped breathing, she didn’t get to taste the bowl of sweetened water her mother brought. So, just like that, my aunt died. And then that very night, my mother, she gave birth to her child, at that time she gave birth. Giving birth at that time, when there was no one there to help, was extremely difficult. So we stayed at home.
  • At this time, we kept my aunt’s body in the second room, within that room’s entry we put down a door, and her on it, she lay there close to 3 days, we had no other choice, grandfather was old, around 70, he was an old man. We had no one in the house who could work, we couldn’t get a coffin, right. The child my mother bore didn’t have anything to eat, in a few days our household food ran out. The Japanese devils, were really hateful to the extreme, see, he could kill without batting an eyelid. He could rape and kill without batting an eyelid. And then, on the third day, a Japanese soldier arrived—this was a soldier, not a Japanese devil. He had a short gun on him, a short gun. And then he also spoke Chinese, he could understand my grandfather, and he could talk so my grandfather understood. He said that back in Japan he was a shop keeper, not a soldier, he was conscripted, he didn’t have a choice, he was conscripted here, and from the looks of him he wasn’t a soldier, he was a petty official. He took my grandfather out to the streets, found a couple of youths, and then found a few able bodies and went with them to a coffin shop and brought back a coffin to our second room, that is the room before ours, and put my aunt in the coffin. We couldn’t bury her, so we had to put her on the ground open to the sky, like that. And then he took my grandfather, and went out, to a rice shop and a soy sauce shop and found some food, then put it in a bag and carried it back to us, and so we survived this hardest of hard times, see.
  • Now the Japanese devils, they wouldn’t let a single woman off the hook, right. After my mother gave birth, she put the bloodied paper on the floor. When they came they’d want to see it, and after they saw it, they knew she’d had a baby, they didn’t want her and they’d leave. This harassment went on everyday, there was nothing we could do.
A group of elderly people hold certifications and pose for the camera.
A group of elderly people hold certifications and pose for the camera.

Survivors of the 1937 Nanjing massacre pose for a photo during a ceremony in Nanjing on July 6, 2013.

Mrs V: Sorting fact from fiction is about the events at Nanking is difficult because journalist commentators and historians always write with subjectivity (point of view or bias) to some degree. Historiography is the study of these views so that we can compare and contrast them and make judgements about how accurate their portrayals might be. At some point there must be "original documents". First hand accounts by those who are bystanders and neither Chinese or Japanese. This is where I find the thoughts, comments and observations of John Rabe so interesting. He was a Nazi and therefore on the same "side' as the Japanese in terms of objectives. Yet we hear about his frustration, disbelief and observations of the events and see and feel something that is purely his own.

Fogel, Joshua A (editor) The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography, Univeristy of California Print, 2000.

"Japanese intellectuals and Historians where were critical of their militaristic regime accepted responsibility for the Nanjing Massacre within a year after the surrender [1945]. It was after 1960 ...that the "revisionist" [historians who have another look at the evidence] reaction ...became potent [strong] enough to claim that the critical were distorted and to demand a rewriting of the school texts which would eliminate harsh descriptions of Japanese aggression in East Asia. From the 1970's on the public Japanese discussion seemed dominated by such provocative actions: Prime Minister Nakasone's visits to the Yakusume military shrine, the threatening of critics of Hirohito's wartime role, the repeated statements by the LDP nationalists that Japan behaved no worse than any other nation state....

...the numbers of victims has been a highly charged issue, at least until recently efforts to agree on a plausible [believable] range by Chinese and Japanese historians. Japanese Nationalists could argue that if the toll were only ...40,000 instead of 300,000, Nanjing was "no big deal".... could such an horrific event lie quietly for so long and only in the last few years explode with such force? How did the Nanjing Massacre become a metonym [name for something] for Japanese behaviour in China ...
...Until recently, the atrocities that took place in Nanjing have not been accorded [given] the importance or status they warrant [deserve] in modern history, except by scholars. ...[Chinawas determined to be self reliant and to not play the victim]. Thus, althoughthe Chinese regime made the Japanese government jump through ...political hoops to reestablish diplomatic and trade relations, it did not demand reparations payments for the devastation that the Japanese wrought during the war. ...

The following information is from PDF Documents of Nanjing Massacre-Unesco.

It is the NOMINATION FORM to nominate that the Nanjing Massacre gets placed in the INTERNATIONAL MEMORY OF THE WORLD REGISTER.
These were the nominating bodies:
The Central Archives of China
The Second Historical Archives of China
Jilin Provincial Archives, China
Shanghai Municipal Archives, China
The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders.
(The above are the owners and custodians of the nominated documentary heritage.)

from page 3.
Name: Documents of Nanjing Massacre

The documents have gathered together views of experts over their years of research on Nanjing Massacre, with full descriptions of the documents' features, their historical values and impact. All the descriptions have the full support of academic research. The title, for instance, is a standardized Chinese official terminology, and also in line with the customary description of the incident by the public. The documents consist of three parts:
The first part concerns the files on the atrocities committed during the period of the massacre (1937-1938),
The second part is related to the post-war investigation and trials of Japanese war criminals documented by The International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the Chinese Nationalist Government's Military Tribunal (1945-1947)
and the third part deals with files of Japanese war criminals documented by the judiciary authorities of the People's Republic of China (1952-1956).

...Evidences and files on the Nanjing Massacre were recorded in real time during the massacre. At that time, a Japanese officer took films photographed by him to the Huadong Photo Studio, Nanjing for processing which had recorded consecutive [one after the other] beheading attempt against Chinese people. Luo Jin, then an apprentice at the studio, printed 16 extra photos and made an album of them. These photos were listed as important evidence by the Nanjing War Criminals Tribunal. Tsen Shuui-fang, then responsible for running a refugee asylum at Jinling University, a missionary school located in the Nanjing International Safety Zone, wrote a diary to record the entire process of Japan's atrocities. Her diary, better known as "China's Annie Diary", was once kept in the university archives, and is now preserved by the Second Historical Archives of China. During the massacre, 17 foreigners who stayed in Nanjing set up the International Safety Zone Committee. John Magee, an American citizen, risked his life to shoot a documentary film on Japanese atrocities. The film was then processed secretly at Shanhai Kodak company, and taken out of China. Later, it was shown in Berlin, London, Washington and other places. In 2002, David Magee, John Magee's son, donated a set of the original film and the video camera left over by his dad, to the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders.

In August 1945, right before their surrender, the Japanese troops burnt and destroyed a large amount of files and evidences with a plan and purpose. Residual files that weren't burnt due to time limits were buried underground hastily. In the 1950's, some of these buried files were found in Changchun, Jilin Province and Dalian, Liaoning Province. For example, during the renovation of the building that used to be the headquarters of military police of Japanese Kwantung Army in Changchun, Jilin Province in the 1950's, some buried remnants of files were discovered accidentally. A total of more than 100 thousand volumes of those files were found after preliminary filing and are kept in the Jilin Provincial Archives, China. Among them, 5 items are related to Nanjing Massacre.

Among the files and evidences, there are:
(1) the "Investigation Report on Resumption of Policing in the governed area of Nanjing Military Police (Ultimatum)" by Shigeru Ohki, the Central China Military Police Commander of Japanese Imperial Troops, recorded the "policing resumption" in Nanjing and its surrounding area from February 1 to 10 in 1938. The report reflects that "the Imperial Japanese troops garrisoning different places were still immersed in the momentum of victory, which led to military discipline laxation and various criminal activities." "Comfort facility status" shows that, in Nanjing, the Japanese garrison troops consisted of roughly 25,000 soldiers with 141 "comfort women" in total. "the number of soldiers to which one 'comfort woman' offered sexual service was 178.

(2) During the Japanese invasion of China, mails were inspected by the Japanese military police, and contents considered sensitive in newspapers, letters, publications were deleted, detained or forfeited [stolen]. These contents were also excerpted, sorted out and compiled into weekly or monthly summary reports. According to the "Post Inspection Weekly Report" of the Japanese military police collected and kept by Jilin Provincial Archives, there is an excerpt of a letter from someone under the signature of Zhi in Lauterstein Germany (transliteration of names, now BAden-Wuerttemberg, Germany) to Mr Yuan at No. 27, Oxford Avenue of British cocenssion in Tianjin in January 1, 1938. The letter mentioned that Japanese's heinous behaviour in Nanjing: femakiles aged 14 and above, even nuns, had all been victimised by their vices. The archives indicated that those information were published in British newspapers based on the letter a British priest sent from Nanjing. "The Priest had repeatedly exhorted Japanese commanders but of no avail. Those exhortations were purely from humanitarian considerations." In the letter from Mr Lai (the recipient's brother) in London to Lai Wenlin in shquiao, Ningxiang County, Hunan Province on January 29, 1938, the seventh item in the letter wrote:"According to newspaper reports yesterday, Japanese soldiers raped tens of thousands of women in Nanjing, even twelve-year-old girls were not spared. Countless women were murdered after being raped. These Japanese are inhuman."

Post-war archives on the Nanjing Massacre were based on the investigations of the massacre. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, consisting of representatives from the United States and 10 other countries, and the Chines Nationalist Government's Military Tribunal conducted trials of Japanese war criminals such as Iwane Matsui and Tani Hisao. Nanjing citizens'petitions and questionnaires concerning Japanese atrocities, archives on the two tribunals' investigations, especially those of the Nanjing Military Tribunal with regard to court hearing, cross-examination, defence, as well as rulings have long been stored at the Second Historical Archives of China and the Nanking Municipal Archives.

In July 1950, the former Soviet Union handed over to China about 1000 Japanese war criminals who were captured during the Battle of Manchuria. A special military tribunal of People's Republic of China Supreme Court opened two gtrials of the criminals, respectively in shenyang and Taihuan in June 1956. The confession files of Hiroyuki Nagatomi and Hisao Ota, which were related to the Nanjing Massacre, are now kept at the Central Archives of China.

On December 13, 1937, after capturing Nanjing, the capital of China at that time, Japanese troops launched a massacre against Nanjing residents and disarmed Chinese soldiers which lasted as long as six weeks. All the submitted items, like the photos taken by the Japanese army, the documentary film shot by American priest John Magee, diaries (known as China's "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Tsen Shui-fang, a Chinese lady serving in the Nanjing International Safety Zone, faithfully recorded the crimes including massacre, rape, arson and robbery committed by the Japanese army in Nanjing from December 13, 1937 to March 1, 1938.

The archives also include evidences revealed from the trial of International Military Tribunal for the Far East formed by the United States, China, Britain, Soviet Union, Australia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, India, the Philippines and other countries and from the trial of China Judiciary against the Nanjing Massacre after Japan's unconditional surrender in August 1945.

Released on November 4, 1948, The Judgement of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East says "all resistance had ceased as the Japanese Army entered the city on the morning of 13 December 1937. The Japanese soldiers swarmed over the city and committed various atrocities.""Organised and wholesale murder of male civilians was conducted with the apparent sanction of the commanders on the pretense that Chinese soldiers had removed their uniforms and were mingling with the population. Groups of Chinese civilians were formed, bound with their hands behind their backs, and marched outside the walls of the city where they were killed in groups by machine gun fire and with bayonets." "Estimates made at a later date indicate that the total number of civilians and prisoners of war murdered in Nanking and its vicinity during the first six weeks of the Japanese occupation was over 200,000. That these estimates are not exaggerated ... These figures do not take into account those persons whose bodies were destroyed by burning, or by throwing them into the Yangtze River, or otherwise disposed of by Japanese." "The German Government was informed by its representative about 'atrocities and criminal acts not of an individual by of an entire Army, namely, the Japanese,' which Army, later in the Report, was qualified as a 'bestial machinery'."

The above-mentioned items have indisputable authority and authenticity being the testimony of Nanjing Massacre as a historical fact.

=Wrestling with the Reality of War: Tsen Shui-Fang=

Genocide & Mass ViolenceThe Nanjing Atrocities

While most Chinese with a higher social standing chose to leave Nanjing, there were a handful of Chinese nationals who chose to remain and help. Some were well educated and helped manage and serve as translators while others helped prepare and distribute food, helped with sanitation, or served as police. Professor Zhang Lianhong said of these Chinese:
  • Chinese rescue workers in the Safety Zone labored frequently under tremendous difficulty and stress. For unlike Westerners, if they did not handle matters with extreme discretion, they would easily be singled out by Japanese soldiers and killed. Therefore, not only did they have to work very hard, they had to be on constant alert for possible Japanese cruelties. After witnessing the Japanese atrocities, seeing how fellow Chinese were brutalized and slaughtered, the only thing the Zone workers could do was to hide the hatred in their hearts and endure the disgrace as well as the insults in order to complete the tasks at hand. In short, the Chinese workers were important components of the rescue undertakings; nothing could have been accomplished in the Safety Zone without their strenuous efforts.

Tsen Shui-Fang was one such Chinese national working within the Safety Zone. The tremendous amount of coordination and details to administer often fell in her hands as she remained Minnie Vautrin’s most trusted assistant. Because Tsen was a Chinese national and a woman, she was particularly vulnerable to the wrath of the Japanese soldiers. For many years she served as the guardian for the dormitories at Ginling College in Nanjing. Along with several other Chinese men and women, Tsen chose to remain in Nanjing throughout the occupation and served many essential roles, including protecting the very vulnerable and providing information and supplies for the thousands living within the zone’s borders.
Tsen Shui-Fang kept a daily diary documenting her experiences during the occupation of her homeland. As her written words convey strength and courage, she also shares the shame and humiliation she feels living under occupation. As we read her entries, how does she share insights about her nationality? What particular challenges does she write about and face as a Chinese woman surviving under occupation?

  • Wednesday, December 8th
  • The Safety Zone was established two months ago. Because Japan denied the need for establishing a safety zone [in Nanjing], it delayed its response. . . . Later, Japan replied that it might or might not recognize [the neutrality of] the Safety Zone. Two months ago, the International Committee decided to establish the Safety Zone with or without Japan’s recognition but did not raise its flags at the boundaries of the zone until today. . . .
  • According to the International Committee’s regulations, all the private residences [in the zone] should be available for borrowing or renting. The public buildings have yet to be opened [to receive refugees]. The city’s south and Hsia Kwan are all on fire. Some fires were set by our army for the sake of strategy; some started by the Japanese troops from outside of the city. . . . We have decided only to receive women and children, but not men. Currently we plan to receive 2,700 people. . . . This is our plan. However, we have no idea how many will eventually come.

  • Saturday, December 11th
  • There is no law and order on the streets. Our soldiers are about to flee shortly, nor are there any policeman. Some foot soldiers looted the North Gate Bridge areas and so did the civilians. A few military policemen who maintain order have shot several looters.

  • Sunday, December 12th
  • Now, the artilleries are shelling continuously. Our soldiers are probably going to retreat. We heard they say that the Japanese army is approaching Wuhu and will probably surround the army. No one is on the street, nor are any goods for sale. Only refugees fleeing for their lives.

  • Monday, December 13th
  • Last night, our troops retreated, and no artillery sound could be heard this morning. This afternoon at 2:00 p.m., the Japanese soldiers entered the city from Shuihsi Gate. When our [campus] policeman Huang spotted Japanese soldiers on Canon Road from the South Hill, he ran, taking off his police uniform. After he reached #400 Building, he was so scared that he fell down, his face becoming pale. He was really a coward. We, at once, went to the South Hill to observe and saw more than ten soldiers standing behind Old Shao’s house. All the workers were frightened. . . .
  • I feel so sad. Nanking has not had peace since four months ago and fell only after three days’ fighting. It is really pathetic. I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow. Today, two more poor babies were born.

  • Tuesday, December 14th
  • Many more refugees came [to the college] today. All fled to here from the Safety Zone because the Japanese soldiers came to their homes to demand money and to rape. Quite a few people were bayoneted to death on the streets. The situation in the Safety Zone is [terrible] like this and it is even worse outside the Zone. Nobody dares to go out of the Safety Zone. Most of the dead were young men.

  • Friday, December 17th
  • Now it is midnight. I am sitting here to write this diary and cannot go to sleep because tonight I have experienced the taste of being a slave of a toppled country. . . . This kind of slavery life is very difficult to endure. If I were not struggling for the survival of our Chinese race, I would commit suicide. . . .
  • These several days, I have been frustrated to death, having no idea what’s going on with the war, no communication with the outside world. Embassies have no Westerners left. Not many Americans are here, and they are helpless. The refugees come here to seek shelter and insist on coming in. It really made me angry to death. It’s better not to let them in than see them being dragged from here; it is better not to see what happens to them outside. Each night, outside, every place is burning. . . . Why must Chinese people suffer like this? Today, several times soldiers went to the South Hill. I do not want to write any more. When thinking about the Chinese people, I cannot help but feel heartbroken. Another boy was born today.

  • Sunday, December 19th
  • Today at noon, Riggs came. He intended to ask married women with husbands to go home so the Japanese soldiers would not come [to Ginling] to find [women] so often. Because they have all run into refugees camps, no women are left outside. What [Riggs] meant was that it is okay for women with husbands to return home, but not for maidens. If a husband stays home alone, Japanese soldiers would accuse him of being a [Chinese] soldier because he has no family. Although there is nothing wrong with this reasoning, yet, as soon as I heard it, I cried. I thought that my own country is not strong, so it suffers this kind of humiliation. When can we shed the shame?

  • Tuesday, December 21st
  • The [Japanese] soldiers dispatched here last night were for protection in name only. They came to change shift. Vautrin thought that the officer was so nice to send people to protect [us]. In fact, he is resentful of losing face because no matter how [we] receive girls from [the] outside, the soldiers still come to take them away, day and night. I told Vautrin, “You should not forget that we are their enemies. You should not believe their sweet words.” What they say is not what they believe in their hearts. Now, they [the Westerners] all see every inhuman deed and empty words sweet words which the Japanese engaged in. Sometimes, when Vautrin went to the Japanese consulate to report their troops’ bad deeds, I said to her that the more you report, the more harm they would do. Fortunately, there are still two Germans here. Not adequate to have only Americans. Now, the several Americans are also helpless, deadly tired too. But, on the other hand, if there were not several Americans here, the Chinese would only face a death road. . . . [Vautrin’s] days are simply unbearable; sometimes at mealtime, the Japanese soldiers came and everybody left, but Vautrin had to face them. They come several times a day. And we have no idea what they will do. It really makes people tremble. Last night again, two soldiers came and took [raped] two girls on the ground. It’s really heart-rending. In the past, I heard people say that they [the Japanese soldiers] were inhuman. Now, it has indeed become a reality.
A group of men and women stand in fronto of Ginling College
A group of men and women stand in fronto of Ginling College

Minnie Vautrin (front, third from left), Tsen Shui-fang (front, fourth from left) and others from the Committee that organized religious work for refugee women and girls stand in front of Ginling College. The Safety Zone was a demilitarized zone for Chinese civilians set up on the eve of the Japanese breakthrough in the Battle of Nanking (December 13, 1937). Following the example of Jesuit Father Robert Jacquinot de Besange in Shanghai, the foreigners in Nanking created the Nanking Safety Zone, managed by the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone led by German businessman and Nazi party member, John Rabe. The zone and the activities of the International Committee were responsible for saving the lives of many thousands of Chinese civilians during the Nanking Massacre.

external image kids_0.jpg?itok=VfM7ktrs&timestamp=1414698469

Refugee children at Ginling College during the war in Nanjing.


The Nanjing Massacre in 1937 is considered by both Chinese and international scholars to be one of the most horrific atrocities committed by the Japanese military during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Although the Japanese had been nibbling away at Northeastern China for sometime, starting with the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 and focused mainly in Manchuria, the Second Sino-Japanese War (in Chinese the War of Japanese Resistance) is considered by many to have started after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident on July 7, 1937.

This Incident led to the break-out of full-scale war between China and Japan. By August, the Japanese military had advanced as far as Shanghai.

The Battle of Shanghai was one of the longest, bloodiest battles in the War of Japanese Resistance. Although fighting began in Shanghai on August 13th, it did not end until the end of November, over four months later.

After suffering devastating losses from the Battle of Shanghai, the Japanese army determined [decided] to march on the Nationalist capital of China, Nanjing, where Chiang Kaishek's government was located.

Having expected an easy victory in Shanghai, the Japanese military was angered and frustrated by the toll the battle took on their soldiers. In their frenzied march from Shanghai to Nanjing, the Japanese soldiers killed and looted in the name of conquering Nanjing and eventually forcing Chinese surrender. By the time the soldiers reached the city, they were hungry for goods, women, and revenge [according to The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiograhy, Ed. Joshua A Fogel (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2000), 18].

On December 13, 1937, the Japanese troops entered the city of Nanjing. The preconditions for disaster [the conditions that seem likely to cause a disaster] were further augmented by the [Chinese] Nationalist Army, whose chaotic, cowardly [note this is an emotive word] retreat from the city not only left Nanjing's civilian population defenseless, but also stranded around 100,000 troops.

These Nationalist troops disguised themselves in civilian clothing to blend in with the crowds, making if difficult at times to distinguish between the combatant and the noncombatant [this is according to Sun Zhaiwei, "Causes of the Nanking Massacre," Nanking, 1937: Memory and Healing, ed. Fei Fei Li, Robert Sabella and David Liu (Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 2002) 36.]

When the city fell, those who remained in Nanjing and in the surrounding area were subjected to what Chinese-American author Iris Chang has dubbed "six weeks of horror" [Iris Chang. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1997), 81. ]

The first six weeks to of the Japanese occupation are considered the most concentrated period of the atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers against the civilians of Nanjing. The Nanjing Massacre is most well-known for the slaughter and rape of many thousands of Chinese civilian non-combatants.

Although the exact number is still contested, most scholars concur [agree] that the total number of Chinese victims (including both civilian and soldiers) was on the scale of hundreds of thousands; the official Chinese government figure, which is prominently displayed at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing, is 300,000. Civilians were not merely killed; they were often killed in brutal, inhumane fashions:

Among the mass killings, in addition to those who died by the sword and firing squad, others were burned, buried alive, or downed. Several, after being soaked with gasoline, were set on fire by gunshot, causing the wounded person to lie covered in flames, rolling and writing underground, until finally dying a miserable death. Individual, sporadic acts of torture and killing included splitting, gutting, slicing, piercing alive, and dog biting. Some were even burned with acid and then left, burning all over. Others were tortured to death. Two Japanese lieutenants amused themselves by having a killing contest. The first one to reach 100 killed won the "game". Then they raised the limit to 150. In addition to killing, the Nanking Massacre also involved rape, arson, theft, and other violent crimes. The Japanese troops who attacked Nanking raped tens of thousands of women, many of whom were then murdered. Sun Zhaiwei, pgs 36-37

The innumerable [countless] rapes by Japanese troops led to another well-known name for the Nanjing Massacre: the Rape of Nanking.

The Nanjing Massacre was by no means an isolated occurrence, but rather one of many atrocities committed by the Japanese military in conquered areas of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. [Joshua A Fogel]

Such wartime atrocities are by no means limited to the Japanese, but are a stain on the written history of humanity as a whole.

When looking at atrocities such as the Nanjing Massacre, it is all too easy to slip into demonising the Japanese. This is a dangerous tendency is unfair to blame an entire ethnic group for the evils committed by a small subsection of the population.

Unfortunately, the propaganda in China's Patriotic Education Campaign has often erred on the side of over-generalising "the Japanese" which is a dangerous trap to call into. ...[When it comes to what nations think and believe, we generalise at our peril. Charles S. Maier]

It is often the case that a specific historical event will take on a symbolic meaning that is greater than the objective details of the event itself. Such has been the case with the Nanjing Massacre. It is the Nanjing Massacre, rather than any other actrocity in the Second Sino-Japanese War that has evolved into a powerful, modern-day symbol of Japanese military aggression in Chinese national rhetoric [thinking, talking and writing].

In the 1990's, the Nanjing Massacre was utillised as an important symbol in China's Patriotic Education Campaign , initiated by Jaing Zemin in 1994 through the CCP (Chinese Communist Party's) Propaganda Department.

Through creating a stronger correlation [connection] between the Nanjing Massacre and Japanese aggression, Jiang Zemin contributed to the decline of Sino-Japanese relations during his term as President of the PRC (People's Republic of China).

[Therefore] the historiography of the Nanjing Massacre is not just about the past, but equally about the present.

When I use the term "historiography," I mean the collective body of materials through which the Massacre has been interpreted from 1938 until the present. Not only does this historiography include the work of historians and journalists, but also entertainment, such as novels and films; physical sites, such as the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall; educational resources such as textbooks, documentaries, and even websites; and even government-initiated propaganda.

My [Emily Matson's] understanding of historiography follows that of China scholar Michael Berry, whose research for A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film is based on the premise "that fiction, film and other popular media play an important and fundamental role in shaping popular conceptions and imaginations of history and, in this case, historical atrocity." [Michael Berry, A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 3.]

Historiography is always biased by the sociopolitical circumstances surrounding the person or group interpreting the historical event.

In turn, the historiography of an event can have a significant impact on the present.

As European studies scholar Charles S. Maier puts it, "Historical self-reflection cannot escape politics and will always be deeply affected by it because different versions of the past are so important for legitimating [making valid/real] claims on power in the present." [Fogel]

However, I [Emily Matson] take this idea a step further: I believe that not only is historiography influenced by the present, but that it also influences the present.

In the case of the Nanjing Massacre, its historiography in mainland China - most of which has been controlled by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) - has had a significant effect on both how the Chinese people view the Japanese and, subsequently, on international relations between China and Japan.

Sun Zhaiwei is a widely recognised Nanjing Massacre historical scholar in mainland China, and his arguments are representative of those of the mainlaind Chinese scholarly community. [said by Sun Zhaiwei, pg 35 himself] Since he was the editor-in-chief of an influential book on the Massacre published in mainland China, we [Emily Matson] can assume that his views reflect the Chinese Communist Party officially-sanctioned view of the Massacre. This is because scholarly work published in China, especially when it deals with politically sensitive topics, is censored for consistency with official truth claims. [Emily Matson says in her footnotes that 'we can safely assume this because up to the present in China, anything that contradicts government-sanctioned views is censored, and will not appear in the press or in published scholarly works that are circulated among the public.]

Since Sun's research was conducted in the 1990's, we [Emily Matson] can also assume that he was influenced by Jiang's Patriotic Education Campaign...

...An integral part of the Patriotic Education Campaign was the teaching of history in a manner to promote nationalism; thus, this affected how Japanese military atrocities were presented in popular media and in the classroom [in China].

To promote nationalism among the youth, more time was spent in class learning about modern Chinese history and the CENTURY OF HUMILIATION, particularly the Second-Sino-Japanese War [according to Takashi Yoshida, The Making of the 'Rape of Nanking' (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). 156.]

As part of this , Japanese military atrocities in general and the Nanjing Massacre in particular, were elaborated upon and emphasized more in both the classroom and in the public sphere than they had been previously [in China].

Sun describes the inhumane actions of the Japanese soldiers in the Nanjing Massacre in horrific and nuanced [emotionally biassed - according to Emily Matson - ] detail, which is the representative depiction of the Massacre in the contemporary Chinese scholarly community during the 1990's.

Sun's research on the historical details of the Nanjing Massacre has been widely accredited in mainland China.

In one of his most influential works of research, "The Nanking Massacre and the Nanking Population," he asserts that the death toll in Nanjing was even greater than 300,000, the official number of victims adhered to [stuck to] by the Chinese government.

Not only was Sun's work influential in the perceptions of the Nanjing Massacre in mainland China, but also in the international community. His research was cited in Iris Chang's Rape of Nanking, which was also published in 1997 and contributed to a greater awareness of the Massacre in the West. In fact, Chang heavily relies on Sun's research, and considers him to have conducted the most thorough study of the death toll in Nanjing.

A scholarly work based on a historical event can have a strong influence on other scholarly works, just as Sun's research did on Chang's book. cn have a significant effect on both public opinion and, indirectly, government responses. For instance, less than a month after Sun had presented his research at Princeton, he also participated in a conference in Tokyo, "How to Perceive the Nanking Massacre: Verifications by Japanese, Chinese and American Researchers," on December 13-14, 1997.

...1997 was the 60th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre. It was quite a sensitive year for Sino-Japanese relations, particularly in light of the fact that by 1996, relations between China and Japan were already at an all-time low. ...

The historiographical depictions [history stories] of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre during the 1990's shaped both international perspectives on the Massacre and Sino-Japanese relations during and after this period.

[...the author, Emily Matson follows the "constructivist theory of international relations. This theory involves the relationships and views of individuals as well as political relationships between nations.

the author, Emily Matson, believes that different actors have different interests and objectives that influence international relations and can be found in many different societal spheres - not only in government, but also in education, scholarly circles, the media, literary circles, etc:]

The author believes an important component of international relations between two nations is how the people of two nations perceive the other. In this case how the Chinese people view the Japanese people and vice versa.

...Public attitudes have a powerful, often unintentional effect on diplomatic relations that cannot be taken lightly.

Historiography is not static [standing still] but evolves constantly. In the case of the Nanjing Massacre, from the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949 to the present, the Nanjing Massacre has been used for different political agendas [reasons] in China, not only to heighten Chinese nationalism. ...

...For example, during the Korean War, Chinese propaganda used the Nanking Massacre to promote anti-American sentiments [feeling], claiming that Americans who remained in Nanjing during the winter of 1937 chose to protect their property over protecting Chinese lives. [this info has come from Fogel, Joshua (editor) The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography. (Berkely, California: University of California Press, 2000), pg 24.

In the 1960's, the PRC government used the Nanjing Massacre [to show up the old] Guomindang government in Taiwan, recalling the cowardicd of the Guomindang troops as they abandoned the civilians of Nanking in the face of the Japanese invasion.

During the 1960's the government also chose not to publicise details of the Massacre. ...this was because, as a young nation that had just rid itself of foreign encroachment, the PRC did not want to promote a "victim mentality', but rather a strong mentality that emphasised revolutionary progress.

This can be contrasted with the 1980's and 1990's, when the PRC had begun its economic development under Deng Xiaping's open Door Policy and was no longer an unstable, fledgling [small chick] nation.

The Nanjing Massacre became a big part of the PRC's nationalist rhetoric [content in propaganda and speeches]in the 1980's. There were events like the 1982 Textbook Controversy and the 1985 protests triggered by the 40th anniversary of the end of WWII.

As part of the commemoration of this 40th anniversary, the Nanking Massacre Memorial Hall was opened on August 15, 1985. This was a significant step in the historiography of the Nanjing Massacre, and it represented the government's official view on the Massacre.

Although the Memorial was created to commemorate the past, it was also intricately linked to both domestic and international politics in the 1980's.

Within China, the ultimate focus of the Memorial was (and still remains) to connect the nations past to the present leadership of the Communist Party and to promote national loyalty through patriotic education.

...the symbol of past Japanese military aggression, the Massacre became a focal point for anti-Japanese sentiments among the Chinese public.

Although anit-Japanese protests increased in China of 1980's the Chinese public ended up focussing their protests on the shortcomings of their own government, ultimately culminating [ending] with the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. [Government versus protestors]

As a result of Tiananmen, Deng Xiaoping's political reputation was damaged and he retired from politics in 1992.

In 1993, Jiang Zemin became the president of the PRC. During the Jiang era, from 1993-2002, Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated significantly due to a number of factors, including China's hardened stance on Taiwan, China's continued nuclear tests, the Diaoyu Islands territorial dispute and China's stance against Japan becoming a permanent member on the United Nations Security Council.

Emily Matson though is focussed on Jiang's PATRIOTIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN and how it created a stronger correlation between the Nanjing Massacre and Japanese aggression in the Chinese popular psyche [world view].

The PATRIOTIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN led to increasing anti-Japanese sentiments among the Chinese public and in turn, Sino-Japanese diplomatic tensions were exacerbated [made worse].

...after reading the Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang ...i [Emily Matson] came to realise that the book had multiple flaws but she still considered it to be an important starting point for research on the historiography of the Massacre.

...[Emily Matson] read more serious scholarly books dealing with the historiography of the Nanjing Massacre from the perspectives of American, Chinese and Japanese scholars. Of particular use ...were the works of Joshua Fogel, Takashi Yoshida and Susan Shirk.

...there had been strong anti-Japanese sentiments during the Mao era (1949-1976), particularly among the older generation who still had bitter, painful memories of the Japanese occupation ...However, Mao was such a strong leader that he could control these public sentiments [feelings]. ...even though those in Mao's generation had the most reason to hate the Japanese, during the Mao era (1949-1976), Mao and his premier, Zhou Enlai, promoted peaceful and friendly relations with Japan, as Susan Shirk notes. During the 1950's, when the Cold War was in full swing, Mao and Zhou sought good relations with Japan as a counterbalance against the United States.

In the 1970's, after relations with the Soviets [Russia] had spiralled downward, Mao sought to use Japan as a counterbalance against the USSR. Indeed, during the Mao era, Sino-Japanese friendship was a major theme in political education and media propaganda [according to Susan Shirk].

If Mao needed to mobilise the public against an international threat, he would target the United States or the Soviet Union as scapegoats, but never Japan. This was because "good relations" with Japan were seen as crucial as a "buffer" to Western imperialism [America]and later Soviet Russia's style of Communism.

Mao was such a powerful figurehead for the Chinese people and what he said was followed.

...In 1972, ...Mao did not seek an apology from Japan fro the atrocities committed during Second Sino-Japanese War. He believed that forcing a generation of Japanese to shoulder the indemnity [guilt or reparations] from a war they did not commit was unfair [according to Susan Shirk].

But... in the September 1972 joint communique between the Government of China and the Government of Japan, the Japanese side expressed that is was "keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches [tells off] itself.

After this apology, neither Mao [China's leader] nor Zhou considered it necessary for Japan to make any further verbal concessions.

There were few publications [writings] on the Second-Sino-Japanese War in the 1970's precisely because Chinese leaders had instructed scholars to steer clear of this sensitive historical topic.

Mao's approach can be strongly contrasted with Jiang's: Jiang both aggressively emphasised the history issue in the Patriotic Education Campaign throughout his term [rule]. He vigorously sought an official apology from Japan during his 1998 diplomatic visit to Tokyo [Japan].

Mrs V : The fact that the Chinese leaders [prior to this] renounced China's demands for war reparations from Japan and were content with the 1972 Japanese expression of "keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused" in the joint communique between the countries, shows that China and Japan were able to reach a compromise - not seen in Sino-Japanese government interaction today.

JIANG HAD ANOTHER REASON TO FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THE NANKING MASSACRE. Emily Matson writes that Jiang's personal experiences with the Japanese military during the Second Sino-Japanese War shaped his intense dislike of both Japan and the Japanese.

...Jiang first attended university Nanjing while it was still under Japanese occupation. ...Although his time in Nanjing was not more than a few years, the destruction wrought by the Japanese in the city must have left a powerful impression on his young mind. ...considering his background, it is not coincidental that his Patriotic Education Campaign in the 90's strongly emphasised the Nanjing massacre as a symbol of Japanese aggression.

When Jiang was mayor of Shanghai in the 1980's he had to deal with many of the anti-Japanese protests that were triggered in urban centers such as Beijing and Shanghai response to events [in Japan] such as the Textbook Controversy and the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII.

The Tiananment Square Massacre also strongly influenced Jiang and his Patriotic Education Campaign. Of the 1980's protests that snowballed into the Tiananmen Crisis, 1985 was dominated by anti-Japanese student protests triggered by the 50th anniversary of WWII, the Textbook Controversy and[Japanese leader] Nakasone's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. ...The focus was also on rebutting ... a "second occupation," which reffered to the domination of Japanese goods in the foreign products sold in Chinese markets.

Nakasone's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in 1985 triggered an inner-party struggle [in China] as Communist party members disagreed on how to best approach China's Japan policy. The timing of the protests were right before the shift in China's Japan policy which suggests that public opinion [against Japan] indeed played an important role in influencing political decisions in China on Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations. [this is according James Reilly, Strong Society, Smart State: The Rise of Public Opinion in China's Japan Policy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012)]

Reilly says that "...the 1985 protests also marked the first time in ...China's nationalist rhetoric on Japan's wartime invasion had contributed to anti-Japanese demonstrations. It would not be the last."

In 1986 there was a second round of student protests - this time, however, the students' target was not Japan, but their own government. they resented the fact that their anti-Japanese protests in 1985 and 1986 had never been reported by the press, and spoke out for freedom of speech and freedom of the press in China.

In 1989, the third round of student protests, which culminated in the tragic Tiananmen Massacre that received worldwide attention was also focused on the shortcomings of the Chinese government, particularly government corruption and the lack of democratic political reform.

As a response to this domestic security crisis, China's leaders decided that the focus of China's youth must be redirected from domestic to foreign issues. thus they started to reemphasise China's Century of Humiliation which has served to legitimise [make true] the CCP as the only political party in china able to stand up to the foreign imperialists and the suffering that they inflicted on China.

the teaching of modern Chinese history from a CCP-sanctioned perspective was a major part of this patriotic education policy. However, this patriotic education policy went far beyond school textbooks; it also included a wide range of activities for patriotic education that would take place museums (such as the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall), in literature and film ...newspapers and television.

Chinese patriotic education has since focussed ...on the Japanese invasion of China, symbolically culminating in the horrors of the Nanking Massacre, than on the crimes of any other imperialist power during the Century of Humiliation.

the Century of Humiliation actually lasted for 110 years, starting in 1839, the date of the first Opium War, when the British military forced the rulers of the Qing Dynasty to open up their markets to the opium trade. This led to a century of foreign powers - first Western powers, and later Japan - encroaching on china and exploiting its people and natural resources. ...the Chinese Civil War, between the GMD and the CCP started in 1927 but was put on hold by the Second Sino-Japanese War, at which pointed a United Frontbetween the two parties was formed in order to fight the Japanese.

Why did the Patriotic Education Campaign end up ...emphasising Japanese military atrocities, as opposed to other historical grievances from Western imperialism during the Century of Humiliation? First it is important to note that the original purpose of the patriotic education was not to promote anti-Japanese sentiments. Its main goal was to legitimise the CCP through both celebrating the long-standing, glorious tradition of Chinese society and by portraying the CCP as the only political entity that was able to save China from victimisation by foreign powers and end the Century of Humiliation.

the Patriotic Education Campaign's main purpose was to boost support for the CCP and its objectives of economic progress and strengthening the state. For example, in Chinese history textbooks, it has been taught that World War II ended because of the heroic efforts of the CCP in the War of Resistance against Japan.

Since the Patriotic Education Campaign's objective was to place the CCP in as positive alight as possible, tragedies inflicted upon the Chinese people by the CCP itself such as the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Massacre were not mentioned!!!.

Jiang Zemin and the CCP Propaganda Department formulated their "Outline of Implementing Patriotic Education"in August of 1994, stating that: "It is the sacred duty of the press and publishing, radio, film and television departments of all levels to use advanced media technology to conduct patriotic education to the masses."

Emily Matson considers that the atrocities committed in WWII by the Japanese military, particularly the Nanking Massacre, were relatively fresh in the collective Chinese psyche and held much potential for involving strong emotional reactions.

The Japanese invasion of China in the early 20th century inflicted more lasting damage on China than that of the other, earlier imperialistic advances by Western powers. Thus it was natural for Japan to be the scapegoat for Chinese nationalism, alleviating pressure on the CFDP and placing public scrutiny [notice] on Japan instead of them.

In this way, the CCP was able to place the history of the Chinese people's pain on Japan's shoulders, and salvage its own reputation among its domestic audience [the Chinese people].

"by placing the lion's share of the blame for China's past suffering, longstanding backwardness and current socioeconomic difficulties on Japan, the new narrative evaded many sensitive issues that might hurt national self-respect or the [communist] party's prestige. [this is according to Yinan He, "Remembering and Forgetting the War: Elite Mythmaking, Mass Reaction, and Sino-Japanese Relations, 1950-2006," History and Memory 19.2 (2007)."

Inciting China's "indignant youth" to focus their energy toward foreign issues, particularly those related to Japan, was a way to encourage them to contribute to developing their country. the youth are one of the most prosperous sections of Chinese society, and their strong emotional reactions to Japan's wartime legacy have helped create a strong sense of nationalism among them. [According to Callahan, 10; Evan Osnos, 'Angry Youth: the New Generation's Neocon Nationalists," The New Yorker (July 28, 2008)]

During the Second Sino-Japanese War itself, from 1937 to 1945, the Nanking Massacre did not stand out as a salient symbol of Japanese aggression. Many atrocities were inflicted upon the Chinese people by the Japanese military, including mass killings, human experimentation and biological warfare, the use of chemical weapons, bombings, forced labour, torture of POW's, rape, looting and the comfort women [according to Japanese Nanjing Massacre scholar Yoshia Takashi ].

The Nanjing Massacre did not play a significant role in Chinese domestic politics until the 1980's. Along with the rise of patriotic education, the Nanjing Massacre reentered the Chinese national consciousness in the mid-1980's and began to play a prominent role in government propaganda and popular media.

As a truly horrific and tragic atrocity, the Nanjing Massacre has served well as a focal point for remembering the Century of Humiliation and foreign aggression, specifically against Japan.

Although there were other massacres in other cities during the Second Sino-Japanese War, none of them were equal in intensity or scale to the Nanking Massacre. In addition, whereas atrocities such as unit 731 and the "comfort women" happened slowly over a longer period of time, the time frame of the Massacre was shorter and more intense, making it ideal for a symbol of Chinese suffering.[Yoshida].

In the 1980's 90's there was a great flourishing of popular media related to the Nanjing Massacre, commemorating its horrors and serving to symbolise Japanese aggression as part of the Century of Humiliation. in turn, this focus on an external scapegoat, Japan, through the narrative [story] of the Nanjing Massacre served both to domestically legitimise the CCP and to take the focus off of domestic issues.

The primary focus of these publications was to "prove'the brutality of the Nanjing Massacre and to provide evidence that the atrocities had, indeed, occurred to the extent the Chinese government claimed (their official figure is 300,000 victims) According to Yoshida the emphasis on these 1985 publications was on historical documents and eyewitness accounts.

According to Berry the "theme of of proof or testimony, jianzheng , looms large in historical accounts of the Nanjing Massacre.

This theme was not only limited to historical publications, such as documentary film, photos, wartime diaries, and witness testimonials, but also present in film and literature at the time. For example, in August1983, an 85-page booklet titled Historical Sources: Materials on the Nanjing Massacre Committed by the Japanese Army of Invasion was published by the Research Committee on Historical Materialsof the City of Nanking. According to Yoshida, although the booklet was only meant for a small audience of domestic viewers, the fact that it was even published represented a shift from the earlier CCP stance, when very little scholarship [academic writing] on the Massacre was permitted circulation in China.

Many books on the Nanjing Massacre have been purposefully published on historically significant dates. For instance, as the 40th anniversary of World War II on August 15, 1985 approached, many scholarly books on the Nanking Massacre, mostly concerned with "proof" ...were published in China.


These included:
Historical Materials on the Nanjing Massacre Committed by the Japanese Army of Invasion which included a translation of Dr Lewis S.C Smythe's book War Damage in the Nanking Area, survivor testimonials, eyewitness reports, and diaries from soldiers and civilians
Japanese War Atrocities: The Nanjing Massacre, published by Gao Xingzu a professor at Nanjing University.

In 1987:

A month before the 50th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre Archival Materials on the Nanjing Massacre Committed by the Japanese Army of Invasion was published. This included a number of declassified documents from the Massacre.

All of these publications reflected the government-approved, politically correct view of the Massacre; the government kept a close watch over classified documents related to the Massacre that were preserved in the Number Two China Historical Archives and the Nanjing City Archives.

Government restrictions on what could be included:

Photographs must show Japanese brutality only; Japanese villains must not have human faces; it must be accepted that the Japanese military ferociously killed at least 300,000 innocent Chinese after the fall of Nanjing; and the literature must contribute to stirring patriotism and loyalty to the part among the people in China, including Taiwan (Yoshida).

December 1987

The Nanjing Massacre, was written by Chinese journalist and reportage writer Xu Zhigeng. According to Robert Chi, speaking at an international conference in Italy, the book was an immediate success and sold 150,000 copies in its first month on the market.

Novels Published included:
The Fall of Nanjing, by Zhou Erfu was made available to the public on the 50th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre in 1987 as a "symbolic literacy commemoration". Many after this. Then films


The Memorial Hall was opened in Nanjing on August 15, 1985, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of WWII. As with the literature and film on the massacre during the 1980's, the opening date of the memorial was intentionally chosen to trigger the greatest impact among the public. The Memorial Hall places a heavy emphasis on the burden of proof: on the facade of the Memorial Hall, inscribed on a stone wall, the words "Victims 300,000" loom large. This represents the key role the high death toll plays in the politically correct narrative [story of history] of thge Massacre in post-1980's China. ( according to Fogel)

The Memorial Hall is a testament to the success of the Chinese Communist Party CCP, [instead of any other Chinese group] bringing China out of its Century of Humiliation into an era of national strength and economic prosperity. Thus the MemorialHall has become a part of the CCP's historical narrative, placing the Massacre within a larger framework [context] of the revolutionary development in China.

...the Nanjing Massacre Memorial's architect, Qi Kang, describes the first phase of construction of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial, which was finished in 1985, as focussed on the themes of "disaster, indignant grief, and depression. (According to Callahan). ...The second phase of the Memorial, which was completed in 1995 for the 40th anniversary of the end of WWII, focuses more on the themes of "pain"and "hatred" than it does on grief (according to Callahan again). While the focal point of Phase One is mourning and commemoration of the victims, Phase Two is more active, "focusing on China's unfinished historical business with Japan."

...It is also part of the regime's political agenda in promoting Nationalism in China's youth through patriotic education. For instance, since 1996, it has become mandatory for Chinese schoolchildren to visit the Memorial (according to Fogel).

...films and novels about the Massacre, both from the Chinese mainland and from the international community, were abundant in the 1990's. The year 1995 is especially significant for popular media concerning the Nanjing Massacre as it was the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII. This anniversary, where Japanese military aggression was the central focus, played an important role in the Patriotic Education Campaign.

...Iris Chang's book published in 1997 The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of WWII...quickly rose to the New York Times bestseller list, where it remained for over two months, and received popular critical acclaim, favourable reviews and little public criticism among US audiences (this is according to Masahiro Yamamoto, Nanking:Anatomy of an Atrocity (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2000), 3.) The American public quickly accepted Chang's book as an authoritative source on the Massacre. ...Largely due to the influence of John Hershey's report on Hiroshima, the American pulbic's perception of Japan had largely been as victims, not as victimisers". (According to Yoshida). Through Chang's efforts, many Americans learned about the Massacre for the first time.

In the beginning of the 21st Century Chang's The Rape of Nanking triggered an outpouring of Nanjing Massacre scholarship [writing from historians] particularly in the United States, but also in the international community. Much of this was in reaction to the black-and-white, emotionally-based portrayal of the Japanese in her narrative (according to Yoshida). Not only does Chang present the "Rape of Nanking" as a historical atrocity, she portrays it as an injustice that continues into the present. What she dubs as the "second Rape of Nanking" is the attempt by "the Japanese" today [1997] to cover up the Nanking Massacre as if it had never happened. As Chang claims:

Whatever the course of postwar history, the Rape of Nanking will stand as a blemish upon the honor of human beings. but what makes the blemish particularly repugnant is that history has never written a proper end for the story. Sixty years later the Japanese as a nation are still trying to bury the victims of Nanking - not under the soil, as in 1937, but into historical oblivion ...The book strated out asn an attempt to rescue those victims from more degradation by Japanese revisionists [people taking another look at the history as it had been written up till then] and to provide my own epitath [tomb stone] for the hundreds upon thousands of unmarked graves in Nanking. Chang

This claim is patently false, and fails to sufficiently recognise the wide range of voices that exist [on the subject] in contemporary Japan. ...Chang unintentionally equates "the Japanese" with "the Japanese revisionists" the far right wing in Japan that seeks to tone down the Nanjing Massacre and Japan's war crimes. The most extreme right-wing members claim that the Massacre never happened. However, this extreme group comprises a small minority in Japan, and through lumping the Japanese into a homogenous [everyone is the same] group of revisionists, Chang does a disservice to the many serious Japanese scholars such as YOSHIMI YOSHIAKI, AWAYA KENTARO, KASAHARA TOKUSHI and HONDA KATSUICHI who have laboured long to increase both Japanese and international awareness of the Massacre. (According to Joshua a Fogel "Book Review: the Rape of Nanking: the Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. by Iris Chang)

[according to Emily Matson] As a journalist by training, not a historian, Chang's knowledge of history, particularly of Japanese History, is shaky at best. She paints a simplistic portrayal of the Japanese military occupation of Nanjing, using flawed sources such as David Bergamaini's Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, in which there is no room for "good' Japanese or "bad" Chinese. However, some of Chang's historical research is fairly accurate, such as her description of the Japanese invasion of Nanjing. In addition, her work has both increased the knowledge of the Nanjing Massacre among the American public and furthered international Nanjing Massacre scholarship [history writing and thinking].

Chang furthered international scholarship mainly through her discovery of primary source documents. Arguably her most important contribution was the discovery of the Diary of John Rabe. Often referred to as the "Schindler of Nanking" RAbe was a German businessman of the Nazi Party who was in Nanking at the time of the Massacre. As the German head of the Safety Zone Committee in Nanjing, Rabe helped shelter thousands of Chinese refugees from the Japanese army. His diary is an important primary source document for research on the Massacre because it provides an eyewitness account of the atrocities. Rabe's original diarhy also included more than 20 photographs. Not only was Rabe's diary important in its daily observations of events in Nanjing, but it has also helped historians to confirm survivors testimonies according to Yoshida.

...Chang was able to make photocopies of primary source documents from US archives to give to scholars in Nanjing. This included the diary of Minnie Vautrin who was an American missionary who, along with John Rabe and other foreigners, saved thousands of lives by sheltering Chinese refugees in the Nanjing Safety Zone. [Plus Vautrin took] countless photographs and over a thousand pages of information concerning the tokyo Trials [to China] none of which had ever been seen before by Chinese scholars.

The reception of Chang's book in mainland China was very positive.

...When looking back at the beginning of the 21st century, anti-Japanese protests among the Chinese public have only increased in scope. In 2003, protests broke out across China after news circulated of Japanese businessmen arranging an "orgy" with hundreds of Chinese prostitutes in Guangdong on September 18th, one of China's National Humiliation days. In 2004, violent riots broke out in Beijing among Chinese soccer fans after the Japanese team beat China in the Asia Cup.

...2005 saw some of the most intense anti-Japanese protests to date: on April 9th, more than ten thousand students marched to Zhongguancun, an electronics market in Beijing's university district. The symbolic target of the student protests was Japanese electronic products displayed in shops; students violently smashed store windows and billboards advertising Japanese goods. There were several triggers for these protests. First, the Japanese government had recently approved a new textbook that white-washed the Nanjing Massacre and denied Japan's guilt for military aggression during the Second Sino-Japanese War. In additio, Koizumi had recently visited the Yasukuni Shrine yet again. Protestors sore shirts with blood-stained images of Koizumi and carried signs. At the same time, the United nations was considering Japan's reapplication to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. ...[According to Shirk, the largest demonstration was in Shanghai on April 16th when an estimated crowd of one hundred thousand demonstrated].

Two decades after the first round of anti-Japanese protests in China and the triggers were the same: textbook revisions [by the Japanese] and a Prime Minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine. However, in 2005, the Chinese Communist Party was much less equipped to deal with popular animosity toward Japan. With Koizumi's rise to power at the beginning of the 21st century and the continuing of patriotic education in mainland China, anti-Japanese public sentiments on the mainland have only continued to escalate. THE CCP HAS UNLEASHED A MONSTER IT CAN NOT CONTAIN. ...MOST NATIONALIST PROPAGANDA FROM THE 1980'S TO THE EARLY 2000'S WAS FOCUSED ON REMEMBERING JAPAN'S WARTIME ATROCITIES.

IN RESPONSE TO ANTI-JAPANESE PUBLIC SENTIMENTS, JAPANESE PUBLIC OPINION TOWARD CHINA HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY MORE NEGATIVE IN THE 21ST CENTURY. This was noticeable in 2004 after the Asia Cup protests, when Japanese public opinion on china sharply dropped. ...In 2005 after anti-Japanese protests, a poll by the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun showed that the majority of the Japanese public favoured a containment strategy toward China. ...
...As of 2006, only 28 percent of the Japanese and 21 percent of the Chinese had positive views of each other, and people in both countries consider the other competitive, greedy and arrogant [according to Shirk]

What can we conclude ... Firs, historiography, public sentiments, and international relations are intricately intertwined. In the case of China and Japan, it is impossible to clearly separate the Chinese historiography of the Century of Humiliation and events such as the Nanjing Massacre from the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda. ...It is impossible to separate this from anti-Japanese public sentiment in China and the role this has played in aggravating Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations. this should also serve as a strong wake-up call to both governments as the react and respond to public sentiments. Jiang Zemin's Patriotic Education Campaign and domestic politics can have unintended repercussions on international diplomatic relations.

Without awareness of the Patriotic Education Campaign's role in mobilising public opinion in China, it would be all too easy to blame the rough patches in contemporary Sino-Japanese relations on Japan's former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. ...During his time in office, Koizumi certainly did aggravate China.

The information directly below is from:
Why look at Nanking?
Charles Maier has labelled the Nanking massacre as “the emblematic massacre of the Pacific War[1], and summarily states how the event plays a central role in the recently highly politicised historical arguments between Japan and China.[2] It can be seen as an event, embodying inextricable links between nationalism, historiography, memory and politics and it is this reason why studying such representations of Nanking is so worthwhile.
What is the problem?
The problem is historical inquiries are essentially subjective pursuits, so how can historians use some tangible form of truth to bring those responsible to justice? Or are events of the past inevitably so buried by the dichotomies presented in theoretical historical enquiry, that any pursuit is useless? A dangerous trend has emerged amongst right wing historians in Japan which utilizes holes in the theory of history to pursue a flawed historical narrative, fundamentally based upon exploiting the inequities in theoretical history. Key Japanese historians Osamichi Higashinakano[3], Masaaki Tanaka[4] and others use these loopholes to deny the Nanking massacre, argue it as a Chinese fabrication, and portray Japanese militarism in East Asia before and during World War Two as necessity. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East of 1946 also known as the Tokyo post war trials did not succeed in the same way as the Nuremburg proceedings did. Problems with consistency and the process used to reach the verdicts produced, has led some to argue a bias victors case of justice. The proceedings created an aura of confusion surrounding the subsequent historical narrative. Add to this; Japanese nationalism and war guilt, Chinese nationalism and theoretical dichotomies in historical studies, and the result is one of the most heated historical problems facing East Asia today.
The divergence and lessons learnt.
The historical literature on this topic is typified by divergence rather than convergence, therefore historians need to accumulate a large body of works on the topic and critically examine them through extensive comparison. The historicism is roughly split into two sides, right wing Japanese scholars who deny the massacre, and everyone else who believes a massacre took place. The extent of that massacre is debated, but its existence is generally not denied by others outside of right wing Japanese circles. Straight away it can be seen that the right wing denial stands as an outlier in a transnational perspective. Therefore this should indicate something is awry. Closer inspection of both the arguments articulated to validate denial claims reveals almost a complete reliance on the theoretical problems of history, rather than evidence based arguments. Basing a historical perspective largely on a theoretical possibility, and not evidence is not substantial enough to produce valid history! This path leads to views the likes of Higashinakano’s and Tanaka’s denial.
Comparing the two sides through a collective analysis of academic literature can be used to delineate the core arguments of each side, and historians can see that denial is the least likely conclusion. It is apparent that the historians who deny a massacre at Nanking in 1937-38, rely heavily on the intricacies presented by the problems in theoretical history. These problems stemming from the nature of history as a subjective representation of the past, render the hypothetical notion of a widely conjured myth of a massacre at Nanking an unfortunate reality. However if historians are to pursue a tangible form useful history for both educating the contemporary and informing the future, historians should weigh up claims by all parties along the historiographic spectrum equally, the evidence they use and how they articulate their claims and conclude which is the more likely. Upon doing this consultation with the wider body of existing professionalised historical knowledge, historians will be able to perceive a higher degree of truth. In turn from this, the moral and ethical lessons from the past can be learned and applied to modern society.
After all, isn’t that why we study history?
Further reading:
  • Bob Tadashi Wakanayashi.2007. The Nanking Atrocity 1937-38, Complicating the Picture. New York
  • James Burnham Sedgwick. 2009. Memory on Trial: Constructing and Contesting the ‘Rape of Nanking’at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, 1946–1948. Modern Asian Studies
  • Hau-Ling and Lian-hong. 2010. The Undaunted Women of Nanking. The Wartime Diaries of Minnie Vautrin and Tsen Shui-Fang. Southern Illinois University Press
  • Supling Lu.2004. They were in Nanjin, The Nanjing Massacre Witnessed by American and British Nationals. Hong Kong University Press.
  • Takashi Yoshida. 2006. The Making of the Rape of Nanking. History and Memory in Japan, China and the United States. Oxford University Press

[1] Charles Maier, 2000. Foreword’ in Joshua A Fogel’s; The Nanking Massacre in History and Historiography University of California Press. p. 7.
[2] James Burnham Sedgwick. 2009. Memory on Trial: Constructing and Contesting the ‘Rape of Nanking’at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, 1946–1948. Modern Asian Studies,43. p 1232.
[3] Higashinakano Shudo. 2005. The Nanking Massacre: Fact versus Fiction: A Historian’s Quest for the Truth. Asia University. Tokyo.
[4] Masaaki Tanaka. 2000.What really happened in Nanking: the refutation of a common myth.Sekai Shuppan