Photos of Nanking
Under the Japanese Occupation
After the battle, many Nanking citizens, who had abhorred bad deeds done by
the Chinese military in the city, welcomed the Japanese military. This is a
photo of Japanese soldiers and the Nanking citizens giving cheers, on the day
of the Japanese militarys ceremonial entry into Nanking (Dec. 17, 1937, 4
days after the fall of Nanking). The citizens are wearing armbands of the
flag of Japan, which were given to all civilians of Nanking to distinguish
them from hiding Chinese soldiers in civilian clothing. ("Sino-Japanese War
Photograph News #15," the Mainichi
Shimbun newspaper, published on Jan. 11, 1938)
soldiers distributing gifts to Chinese citizens in Nanking.
Photo from the British newspaper North China Daily News, published in China
in English on December 24, 1937, eleven days after the
Japanese occupation of Nanking
soldiers playing with Chinese children in Nanking using toys, and their parents
wearing armbands of the flag of Japan. Photo taken on Dec. 20, 1937, seven
days after the occupation, and published in the pictorial book, Shina-jihen Shasin Zensyu, in 1938.
The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, published on Dec. 18, 1937, five days after the
occupation, reported scenes of the city in the article
entitled, "Nanking in Restoring Peace":
(Right) Japanese soldiers buying from a Chinese;
(center top) Chinese farmers who returned
to Nanking cultivating their fields;
(center bottom) Chinese citizens returning to Nanking;
(left) Street barbershop, Chinese adults and children smiling.
The Asahi Shimbun, published on
Dec. 21, 1937, eight days after the Japanese occupation, reported
scenes of Nanking in the article entitled, "Kindnesses to
(Right top) Chinese soldiers under medical treatment;
(left top) Chinese soldiers receiving food from a Japanese;
(center) Japanese soldiers buying at a Chinese shop;
(right bottom) Chief Yamada talking with a Chinese leader;
(left bottom) Chinese citizens relaxing in Nanking city
people sick or wounded in a hospital in Nanking
and Japanese medics nursing them. Photo from the North China
Daily News on December 18, 1937, five days after the occupation of Nanking.
soldiers nursing Chinese wounded soldiers. Photo taken in Nanking
on December 20, 1937, seven days after the occupation, by
the correspondent Mr. Hayashi; placed in the Japanese pictorial magazine, Asahi-ban Shina-jihen
Gaho, and published on January 27, 1938.
"The Chinese citizens did not fear the Japanese and willingly cooperated
with me for photo-taking," testified the press photographer Shinju Sato.
Photo taken in Nanking Safety Zone on December 15, 1937, two days after the
occupation of Nanking.
Nanking citizens with armbands of the flag of Japan selling vegetables on the
street on December 15, 1937.
Chinese boy smiling and Second Lieutenant Takashi Akaboshi,
who led a fight along the Yangzi River. Photo taken near the walls of Nanking just after the Japanese occupation (courtesy of Takashis wife).
When Japanese soldiers distributed food and sweets, Chinese adults and
children gathered together. (December 18, 1937, in Nanking.
From the Tokyo Nichinichi
medics giving treatments to Chinese children in Nanking
for plague prevention. Photo taken on December 20, 1937, seven days after the
occupation, by the
correspondent Hayashi. (From Asahi
Graph, book 30, No. 3, published on January 19, 1938.)
Chinese citizens rejoicing to receive confectionery from Japanese soldiers on
December 20, 1937, in Nanking. (From Asahi-ban Shina-jihen
Gaho, published on January 27, 1938.)
prisoners of war going home smiling. From Japanese pictorial book, Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho,
"Scenes We Want to Show to Chiang Kai-shek," published on August 5,
Liu Qixiong, a Chinese soldier who was hiding in
the Nanking Safety Zone and caught as a POW. He was used as a coolie for a
while, but later became the commander of a brigade for Wang Jingwei's pro-Japanese government. (Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho,
No. 14, January 1, 1938)
soldier handing paper money to a Chinese family in the
Nanking Safety Zone. Photo taken on December 27, 1937, fourteen days after the
Japanese occupation, by the correspondent Mr. Kageyama; from Asahi-ban
published on January 27, 1938.
merchants selling to Japanese soldiers in Nanking.
Photo from the pictorial magazine Mainichi-ban
published on February 1, 1938.
Chinese Christians having worship service in Nanking
with Reverend John Maggie, American pastor, after peace returned to the city.
Photo from the Asahi Shimbun
newspaper published on December 21, 1937, eight days after the Japanese
occupation, in the article entitled "Nanking Smiles." The article
stated, "Hearing their hymns, we noticed, Oh, today's Sunday.'"
women coming out of
shelter and protected by the Japanese military. Photo taken on December 14, 1937,
the day after the fall of Nanking, by the correspondent Kadono,
and published in the Asahi Shimbun
on December 16, 1937.
Chinese people hired by Japanese soldiers to carry food. Photo taken on
January 20, 1938, in Nanking. The Japanese
distributed the food to the citizens, and there was no death by starvation in
Nanking. (From Shina-jihen Shashin
Chinese prisoners of war with legs or arms cut off recuperating in Nanking
Concentration Camp in early spring of 1938.
(From Mainichi Graph - Nihon no Senreki.)
Chinese prisoners of war playing music with handmade instruments in Nanking
Concentration Camp (Mainichi-ban Shina-jihen
Gaho, No. 59, May 20, 1939.)
Citizens celebrating the start of Nankings self-government
on January 3, 1938, waving the Japanese flag and the Chinese five-color flag.
Watch Documentary Movies of Nanking at Youtube
(These are valuable records of the peaceful and restoring city of Nanking
just after the Japanese occupation)
* Chinese refugees and the
Nanking Safety Zone
* Japanese soldiers
distributing certificates to Chinese citizens
* Japanese soldiers
preparing for the new year 1938 and the Chinese children celebrating New
Forged Photos of the "Massacre"
Iris Chang's book, The Rape of Nanking,
dated this photo as having been taken just after the Nanking Massacre.
However, the alleged Japanese soldier standing by wears a military uniform
with a turned-down collar with class badges on it. This style was not
introduced until after the uniform revision on June 1, 1938. In addition, the
photo does not tell how the pictured dead were killed, by massacre or in
battle, and there were many Chinese soldiers in ordinary clothes.
Design of Japanese Army uniforms before and after the June 1, 1938 revision.
In the fall of 1937, the Associated Press (AP) distributed this photo as
a Japanese soldier using a Chinese national as a guinea pig for bayonet
practice. Iris Chang's The Rape of
Nanking carries the same kinds of photos of Japanese atrocities. However,
the soldier wears a turned-down-collared uniform, which no Japanese soldier
wore at that time, so the man is not a Japanese soldier. The January 1939
issue of Lowdown, an American magazine, commented about these photos
that this was in fact a communist Chinese officer torturing a Chinese
This photo is explained as Chinese people buried alive by the Japanese as a
part of the Nanking Massacre. However, the Japanese soldiers are not
threatening the Chinese with guns. The Chinese look like they are going in
willingly. And the color of true Japanese military gaiters were similar to their
uniforms, whereas the gaiters in the photo are rather whitethe color of
Chinese military gaiters. Also, the size of each person is unnatural.
Professor Higashinakano concludes that this was a
composite of plural photos.
This photo was identified as Nanking Massacre victims on the shore of the Yangtze River, but these bodies were the Chinese
soldiers who died in battle, not a massacre. Hashimoto, a Japanese soldier
who fought there, testified, "The Chinese soldiers carried their rifles
or machine-guns but none of them were in regular military uniform." Sekiguchi also testified, "None of them showed signs
of surrender." Thus, the Japanese army had to continue to attack them
and many of the Chinese soldiers were shot or drowned in the river. In this
photo are the bodies that were washed up on shore.
This photo is used as purported evidence of Nanking Massacre victims, but
there was no such custom of gibbeted heads among the Japanese after the
1870s. Among the Chinese, however, this custom was still observed in the
1930s, and several photos of gibbeted heads appeared in cities of China
in those days. Chinese Nationalists and Communists often killed pro-Japanese
Chinese people and gibbeted their heads on streets as a warning. Iris Chang's
The Rape of Nanking has the same
photo with a larger background behind the heads on page 113. Looking at the
photo, those who had experienced Nanking testified that the background is not
This photo was identified as a Japanese soldier executing a Chinese. However,
the alleged Japanese soldier is swinging the sword down with one hand. This
is indeed Chinese way. The Japanese never swing a sword down with one hand,
but with both hands. It is clear that this was a Chinese prearranged
performance. The man with the sword appears in other forged photos, also.
This photo is used as purported evidence of infant victims of the Nanking
Massacre and is displayed at the Nanking
Museum in China. However, this photo was
not taken in Nanking, for the photo is from a postcard sold in China in war
days as the one taken at Tiyelien in Manchuria.
There was no custom of slaughtering infants even of the enemy throughout
Japanese history, although this custom frequently appears in Chinese
chronicles. Denialists suggest that this photo is in fact a picture of
victims of Chinese civil war.
It is well known in Japan
that General Iwane Matsui of the Japanese army
saved from the battle a Chinese infant who was found crying. He let his
subordinate carry the child on his back when marching into Nanking,
named her Matsuko, and continued to nurture the
This photo of a gibbeted head appeared in Life
magazine on January 10, 1938. The caption stated that the head was of an
anti-Japanese Chinese man and had been placed there on "Dcember 14, just
before the fall of Nanking."
However, December 14 was not before the fall of Nanking.
The caption also gives the impression that the Japanese military were
responsible for this atrocity, but in China there were a lot of cases
of gibbeted heads due to personal hatred or civil war, and there is no
positive proof that the Japanese were responsible for these acts.
This photo from Life magazine on
January 10, 1938, was taken on December 6, 1937 and explained as a Chinese
man carrying his son who had been wounded in the Japanese bombing. This was
not a photo after December 13, 1937, the day of the fall of Nanking.
The soldier on the left wears a cap that looks Chinese. The movie, Battle of China, and others, used this
photo as a depiction of the Nanking Massacre.
Purported evidence of a Japanese public execution in Nanking.
However, the surrounding people wear summer clothes, so this photo is not
related to the Japanese occupation of Nanking,
which took place in winter. There was no custom of public execution in Japan after the 1870s, although it remained in
in the 1930s. Denialists allege that this was a prearranged pose set up by
the Chinese for propaganda purposes.
This photo is explained as an old woman who was killed by the Japanese
military and skewered with a pipe thrust into her vagina, without proof that
the criminal was really Japanese. This photo has no accompanying reliable
information about the evidence: who judged it and how. This kind of killing
by skewering was a Chinese practice frequently seen among the Chinese in
those days and in Chinese chroniclesnot among the Japanese.
This photo is described as a Japanese sailor after beheading and used to show
a Japanese atrocity. However, the uniform of the man with a sword is
different from a Japanese sailor's. And, if we look closer, the severed head
is so short-haired that the standing "sailor" could not possibly
hold it up by grabbing its hair. In addition, the part under the severed head
is blackened, which may cause us to speculate that this was actually a
touched-up photo of a live man with the area around his head blackened
sitting next to the sword-holding man. Denialists allege that this was a
prearranged pose set up by the Chinese for propaganda purposes.
This photo was taken in the ruins of Shanghai
by H.S. Wang, a Chinese American photographer, and first appeared in Life magazine on October 4, 1937. This
became one of the most influential photos to stir up anti-Japanese feeling in
and is still used to show Japanese atrocities in relation to the Nanking
Massacre. However, a correspondent of the Chicago
Tribune News Service later presented other photos taken at the same hour
and same place showing evidence that this had been a staged photo: the baby
was brought there by the photographer to create a dramatic photo.
Lies and Propaganda
These forged photos
above were distributed by the Chinese Nationalist Party propaganda bureau to
enlist the support of the United States for their war against Japan. Theodore
H. White, who had been an adviser to the Chinese propaganda bureau,
confessed, "It was considered necessary to lie to it [the United States], to deceive it, to do anything to persuade America. . . . That was
the only strategy of the Chinese government. . . ."(In Search of History: A Personal Adventure)
Historians say that the Chinese chronicles were the
history of those who deceived and of those who were deceived. The alleged
Nanking Massacre was one of their deceiving means.
more fake photos
The So-Called Nanking Massacre
was a Fabrication
The Japanese Military in Nanking (Nanjing) was Humane
The alleged massacre, which was said to have been
Japanese Military in Nanking, China, did not take place.
Those who committed atrocities were Chinese soldiers.
(Japanese Christian pastor and non-fiction writer)
What is the Alleged Nanking
The alleged Nanking Massacre,
commonly known as the Rape of Nanking, is the name of a genocidal war crime
said to have been committed by the Japanese military in the city of Nanking,
the then capital of the Republic of China, after it fell to the Imperial
Japanese Army on December 13, 1937. There is a dispute about whether it
really occurred or not.
Massacre affirmationists claim that during the
occupation of Nanking, the Japanese army committed numerous atrocities such
as rape, looting, arson and the execution of prisoners of war and civilians.
They say that the Japanese massacred about 300,000 Chinese people in Nanking
during the six weeks after the Japanese occupation of the city. On the outer
wall of the Nanking Massacre Memorial Museum in China is written
"300,000" as the number of the massacre victims. Many Chinese
children visit there every year to be planted anti-Japanese feeling in their
Massacre denialists claim that newspapers, photos, documentary films, records
and testimonies in those days all tell the Nanking Massacre of 300,000 people, a large-scale massacre or even a
small-scale massacre, did not take place. According to denialists, the
so-called Nanking Massacre was a fabrication and false propaganda spread
by Chinese Nationalists and Communists for their political purpose.
Today, we have numerous reliable pieces of evidence showing that the massacre
did not actually occur. Firstly, I will give a brief explanation of what
actually occurred in Nanking, and then, show the details.
What Actually Occurred in Nanking
In 1937, to end the China Incident, the Japanese military advanced on China
and fought against Chiang Kai-sheks Chinese military in Nanking. During the
battle, every civilian who remained in the city took refuge in the Safety
Zone, which was specially set up within the walls of Nanking. The Japanese
military did not attack it, and no civilian was killed.
Until the time of the Japanese occupation of Nanking, the Chinese military
had committed numerous bad deeds such as plunder and rape among citizens. The
citizens who had abhorred them welcomed the entry of the Japanese military
into Nanking, giving cheers and rejoicing (see the picture at the top of this
Just before the Japanese occupation, the population of the city was about
200,000. One month after the
occupation, many Chinese citizens came back to Nanking learning that peace
had returned, and the population increased to about 250,000. Newspapers
in those days had numerous photos of Chinese citizens who had come back to
Nanking and lived peacefully, buying, selling and smiling with Japanese
In the battle of Nanking, many Chinese
soldiers discarded their military uniforms to run away, killed Chinese
civilians to take off civilian clothes, and hid themselves among Nanking citizens.
Some Westerners remaining in Nanking sheltered Chinese military officers
secretly, breaking the agreement with the Japanese military to be neutral. Many of the Chinese soldiers not only
hid weapons to prepare urban warfare, but also raped Chinese women and put it on an act of Japanese soldiers for
anti-Japanese maneuvering purpose. The Japanese military found out these
illegitimate soldiers, and there were those who were executed by the Japanese
military; however, these executions were recognized as legitimate under
It is also a fact that there were around ten or several tens cases of small
crimes such as plunder and rape committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking.
However, these were similar to the crimes which soldiers of other countries
also committed in occupied territories, and the Japanese criminals were
There were such things, but the Japanese military did not massacre anyone in
Nanking. The Japanese military rather
did many humane aid activities to Nanking citizens and POWs. There was no
single Chinese citizen who starved to death under the Japanese occupation.
Seeing these Japanese activities and being moved by them, there were even
Chinese POWs who later joined Wang Jingweis
Those who committed atrocities were Chinese soldiers. Many Chinese soldiers
discarded their military uniforms and chose to hide themselves among Nanking
citizens. Since they couldn't be naked, they killed civilians to take off
their civilian clothes. Espy, the American vice-consul at Nanking, and others
witnessed these scenes. Those who
massacred Chinese people were Chinese soldiers.
The Chinese military in those days was rather a crowd of robbers, than to
be called a disciplined military. They plundered Chinese villages of foods,
raped women and burnt the villages. Civilians
who were killed in and around Nanking were mostly killed by the Chinese
military. There are many testimonies about it. The Chinese
government has been putting these Chinese soldiers atrocities on an act of
the Japanese military to establish the government authority over Chinese
The following are the details.
Evidence that the Japanese Military Did Not Massacre
Return of the Populace
The population of Nanking just
before the Japanese occupation was about 200,000.
About a week before the Japanese attack on Nanking, on November 28, 1937, the
head of the Police Department of Nanking, Mr. Wan, announced at a press
conference for foreigners, "About 200,000 people still live here in
Nanking." Five days after the Japanese occupation, on December 18, 1937,
the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, which was a group of
Westerners remaining in Nanking, announced that the population of the city
was about 200,000. Later, on December 21, the Foreigners Association in
Nanking referred to 200,000 as the population of Nanking.
How could the Japanese kill 300,000 citizens in a
city that held only 200,000 people?
One month after
the Japanese occupation, many Nanking
citizens who had escaped the city came back to Nanking, learning that
peace had returned, and the population increased to about 250,000. There is a
record that the Japanese troops distributed food to that number of citizens.
On January 14, 1938, about one month after the Japanese occupation, the
International Committee announced that the population of Nanking had increased to about 250,000.
Japanese military had published Good Citizen Certificate
to Nanking citizens from the end of December 1937 to January 1938 to
distinguish them from Chinese soldiers hiding in Nanking in civilian
clothing. The total number of the certificates reached about 160,000,
although this figure does not include children under the age of ten and old
people above the age of sixty. Professor Lewis Smythe,
who was in Nanking as a member of the International Committee for the Nanking
Safety Zone, wrote in his letter to Tokuyasu
Fukuda, a probationary diplomat of the Japanese Embassy in Nanking, that
according to this figure, the population of Nanking was about
citizens thus came back to the city, and the population increased. Would the
citizens have come back to a city in which there had been a massacre?
On the day when the Japanese troops entered Nanking, more than 100 press
reporters and photographers entered together with them. The press corps were not only from Japan, but also from European and American
press organizations, including Reuters and AP. However, none of the press
corps reported the occurrence of a massacre of 300,000 people. Paramount News
(American newsreels) made films reporting the Japanese occupation in Nanking,
but did not report the occurrence of a
The British newspaper North China Daily
News, which was published in China in English on December 24, 1937,
eleven days after the Japanese occupation of Nanking, carried a photo taken
in Nanking by their photographer. The photo was entitled "Japanese
distribute gifts in Nanking." In the photo are Japanese soldiers
distributing gifts, and Chinese adults and children receiving the gifts and
rejoicing. Is this the scene of a massacre?
The Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek,
who had escaped from Nanking just before the attack by the Japanese military,
broadcasted radio addresses hundreds of times to the Chinese people until the
end of the Pacific War. He never
mentioned the Nanking Massacre even once. This is very unnaturalif the
mass slaughter really occurred.
At the time of the Japanese occupation of Nanking, a major Japanese
newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, published
many photos of Nanking. Five days after the occupation the newspaper reported
on the peaceful scenes of Nanking.
In one of the photos, Japanese soldiers are buying something from a Chinese
without carrying their guns. In another photo, Chinese farmers who returned
to Nanking are cultivating their fields. In others, a crowd of Chinese
citizens are returning to Nanking carrying bags, and Chinese adults and
children wearing armbands of the flag of Japan are standing around a street
barbershop and smiling.
The Asahi Shimbun also reported
scenes of Nanking eight days after the occupation in an article entitled,
"Kindnesses to Yesterday's Enemy."
In one of the photos, Chinese soldiers are receiving medical treatment from
Japanese army surgeons. In another, Chinese soldiers are receiving food from
a Japanese soldier. In other photos, Japanese soldiers are buying goods at a
Chinese shop, a Japanese officer is talking with a Chinese leader across a
table, and Chinese citizens are shown relaxing. Are these the scenes of a
massacre? Articles from other dates are similar, reporting that peaceful
Chinese living returned to Nanking. Many Chinese civilians came back to the
city; farmers began to cultivate their fields and merchants began to do
business again. How can we say there was a massacre in the city?
The sources of these photos are very clear. They can be seen at the National
Diet Library of Japan. We cannot deny that they were taken in Nanking just
after the Japanese occupation.
The Japanese Military Did Not Attack Civilians
Before the battle of Nanking, the commander General Iwane
Matsui ordered the Japanese army to be very careful not to kill any
During the battle, every civilian took refuge in the Nanking Safety Zone,
which was specially set up to protect all the civilians of Nanking. The
Japanese army knew that many Chinese soldiers were also in the Zone;
nevertheless, the army did not attack it, and there were no civilian victims,
except for several who were accidentally killed or injured by stray shells.
This Nanking Safety Zone was managed by the International Committee for the
Nanking Safety Zone, which was a group of professors, doctors, missionaries
and businessmen from Europe and the USA. They did not leave Nanking before
the beginning of the battle, but chose to remain in the city. The leader of
the Committee was John Rabe, and after the Japanese
occupation, he handed a letter of
thanks to the commander of the Japanese army. The following is an excerpt
from his letter of thanks:
December 14, 1937
Dear commander of the Japanese army in Nanking,
We appreciate that the artillerymen of
your army did not attack the Safety Zone. We hope to contact you to make
a plan to protect the general Chinese citizens who are staying in the Safety
Zone. We will be pleased to cooperate with you in any way to protect the
general citizens in this city.
--Chairman of the Nanking International Committee, John H. D. Rabe--"
the Japanese military wanted to massacre every Nanking citizen, it would have
been very easily done if they only bombarded the Nanking Safety Zone, because
it was a narrow area and all civilians gathered there. The Japanese military
did not attack it, but rather protected all the people of the Zone.
The reason why the Japanese military attacked Nanking was similar to the
reason why the American and the allied militaries once attacked Baghdad of
Iraq at the Gulf War in 1991. The alliance wanted to get rid of the Iraqi
dictator who was doing bad things to neighboring countries. Similarly, Japan
wanted to get rid of Chiang Kai-sheks dictatorship which was giving torments
to many Chinese people and also to Japan. General Matsuis purpose of the war
was not to take the land, but to save Chinese civilians from his dictatorship
and from the Chinese civil war, killing among the Chinese themselves. Japan
wanted to establish in China a strong Chinese government not of communists,
not of Western powers, but of the Chinese people who were willing to build in
cooperation with Japan the great Asia
which would not be invaded by communists or exploited by Westerners. It was
impossible for such Japanese military to kill Chinese civilians.
Traditionally in Japan, Samurai warriors lived inside walls of castle, and
inhabitants like farmers and merchants lived outside the walls. Civilian
cities were not walled. War was a fight only among warriors, and they never
killed civilians. If a Samurai killed innocent civilian either in his land or
enemys land, the Samurais lord blamed him as against the Samurai spirit,
and punished him. While, in China, inhabitants like farmers and merchants
lived inside a walled city, and in wars the inhabitants inside were often all
slaughtered along with warriors. In Chinese chronicles, we often read such
massacres. The Chinese language has the word which writes slaughtering castle
and means slaughtering all people within the city. It was a Chinese culture.
The Japanese never had such a culture. Nanking was a walled capital city, and
the idea of massacring all inhabitants was Chinese, not Japanese.
Total Number of Buried Bodies
battle of Nanking, the Japanese military entrusted the burial of the war dead
to the Chinese.
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo Trial) used the
burial records of about 40,000 bodies
by the Red Swastika Society, a Chinese voluntary association in Nanking,
as evidence of killings of the Japanese military. The Tribunal also used the burial
records of 112,267 bodies by the Chung Shan Tang (Tsung
Shan Tong), a 140-year-old charitable organization. The combined total was
However, concerning the Chung Shan Tang, none of the documents which were
written by members of the International Committee in Nanking or the Japanese authorities
in Nanking mentioned that the Tsun Shan Tang was
engaged in the burial work. Kenichi Ara, a researcher of modern history,
showed evidence in an article of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper that the
Chung Shan Tang's burial report of 112,267 bodies had been entirely forged
and that they had actually buried no bodies. The Chung Shan Tang's report was
a false one added after the war to amplify the number of burials.
It was a fact that the Red Swastika Society engaged in the burial work. They
buried almost all the war dead in Nanking, and according to the Society, the
burials reached about 40,000. This is far from 300,000. In addition, these
40,000 were killed in battle, not in a massacre, because among the bodies were almost no corpses of women and children. This means that the Japanese military did
not massacre civilians. I will mention the details later.
Denial of Massacre in Testimonies
Shudo Higashinakano, a
professor at Asia University in Tokyo, published a compilation of the
testimonies of Japanese soldiers who had participated in the Nanking
operation in his book entitled, The
Truth of the Nanking Operation in 1937. In these testimonies, no Japanese
soldiers testified that there had been a massacre. For instance, Colonel Omigaku Mori stated, "I have never heard or seen any massacre in Nanking."
Kenichi Ara, a researcher of modern history, published a compilation of the
testimonies of Japanese press reporters, soldiers and diplomats who had
experienced Nanking during the Japanese campaign. In these testimonies, also,
no one testified that there had been a massacre of civilians. Yoshio
Kanazawa, a photographer from the Tokyo
Nichinichi Shimbun newspaper, testified,
"I entered Nanking with the Japanese army and walked around in the city
at random every day, but I have never
seen any massacre nor heard it from soldiers or my colleagues. It is
impossible for me to say that there was a massacre. Of course, I saw many
corpses, but they were those killed in battle."
Tokuyasu Fukuda, who was in Nanking as a Japanese
diplomat, testified, "It is a fact that there were crimes and bad
aspects of the Japanese military, but there
was absolutely no massacre of 200,000-300,000, or even 1,000 people.
Every citizen was watching us. If we had done such a thing (massacre), it
would be a terrible problem. Absolutely it is a lie, false propaganda."
Kannosuke Mitoma, a press
reporter of the Fukuoka Nichinichi Shimbun newspaper, worked as the head of
the Nanking branch office at the time of the Japanese occupation. In those
days his daughter attended the Japanese elementary school in Nanking (from
the first grade to the fifth). She testified, "I used to play with neighboring Chinese children in Nanking, but I
have never heard even a rumor of the massacre."
Humane Activities and Fellowship in Nanking
A chief of infantrymen testified, "We defeated the enemy and saw
thousands of them dead on the ground of Nanking. But finding a Chinese
soldier still alive, our captain gave him water and medicine. The Chinese
soldier folded his hands and said "Xie xie" (Thank you) with tears welled up in his eyes.
In this way, our infantry company
saved 30-40 Chinese soldiers and let them go home. Among them were many
who cooperated with us and worked for us. When they had to part from us, they
were reluctant to leave, shed tears and then went home."
A sergeant major of infantrymen testified, "On the way to Nanking, I was
ordered to stand as a guard having a rifle one night when I noticed a young
Chinese lady in Chinese dress walking toward me. She said in fluent Japanese,
You are a Japanese soldier, aren't you." And she continued, I ran away
from Shanghai; other people were killed or got separated and I thought it
would be dangerous for me to be near the Chinese military, so I've come here."
"Where did you learn Japanese?" said I, and she said, "I
graduated from a school in Nagasaki, Japan, and later, worked for a Japanese
bookstore in Shanghai." We checked but there was nothing suspicious on
her. And since we did not have any translator, we decided to hire her as a translator. She was also very good at
cooking, knowing Japanese taste, and turned on all her charm for all of us,
so we made much of her. She sometimes sang Japanese songs for us, and her
jokes made us laugh. She was the only woman in the military unit but made our
hard march pleasant. Before the beginning of our attack to the city of
Nanking, the commander made her return to Shanghai."
A first lieutenant testified, "When we had just entered the Nanking
Safety Zone, every woman was dressed in rags with her face and all her skin
dirtied with Chinese ink, oil or mud to appear as ugly as possible. But after
they got to know that the Japanese
soldiers were strictly maintaining military discipline, their black faces
turned to natural skin, and their dirty clothes turned to fine ones. Soon, I
became to come across beautiful ladies in the streets."
Another soldier testified, "When I was washing my face in a hospital in
Nanking, a Chinese man came to me and said, "Good morning,
soldier," in fluent Japanese. He continued, "I was in Osaka for 18
years." I asked him to become a translator for the Japanese army. He
later went to his family, came back and said, "I told my family, 'The Japanese army have come. So, you are now all
safe.'" He cooperated faithfully
with the Japanese army for 15 months until we reached Hankou." If
there had been a massacre of civilians in Nanking, it would have been
impossible for the Chinese man to work for the Japanese.
Naofuku Mikuni, a press reporter, testified, "Nanking
citizens were generally cheerful and friendly to the Japanese just after the
fall of Nanking, and also in August 1938 when I came back to Nanking."
He points out that if the Japanese crime rate was very high, such
cheerfulness would not have been seen in the city.
Not only these Japanese persons, but also James McCallum, who was in Nanking as an American medical doctor,
wrote in his diary on December 31. 1937, "Today I saw crowds of people
flocking across Chung Shan [Zhongshan] Road out of
the Zone. They came back later carrying rice which was being distributed by the Japanese from the
Executive Yuan Examination Yuan."
McCallum also wrote, "I must report a good deed done by some
several very nice Japanese have visited the hospital. We told them of our
lack of food supplies for the patients. Today they brought in 100 shing [jin (equivalent to six
kilograms)] of beans along with some beef. We have had no meat at the
hospital for a month and these gifts were mighty welcome. They asked what
else we would like to have."
Are these the scenes of a city in brutal massacre?
Chinese Soldiers Discarded Military Uniforms
Mochitsura Hashimoto, a Japanese soldier who fought
in the battle of Nanking near the Yangtze River, testified, "Though the
Chinese soldiers carried their rifles or machine-guns, none of them were in
regular military uniform." Other veterans testified, "None of them
showed signs of surrender." Therefore, the Japanese army had to continue
to attack them, and many of the Chinese soldiers were shot or drowned in the
river. However, pictures of these dead
soldiers in civilian clothingwho had been killed in battlewere later
used in the Western world as "evidence of the massacre of
Many of the Chinese soldiers in Nanking discarded their military uniforms,
and became illegitimate" combatants. F. Tillman Durdin,
an American News correspondent, wrote in his article in the New York Times on December 22, 1937,
"I witnessed wholesale undressing
of a [Chinese] army.... Many men shed their uniforms.... Others ran into
alleys to transform themselves into civilians. Some soldiers disrobed
completely and then robbed civilians of their garments." Durdin also wrote that Chinese soldiers who reached the
Yangtze River tried to escape using junks, but "many were drowned in
periods of panic at the riverbank."
Japanese veterans testify that, when they entered Nanking, they saw
throughout the city piles of Chinese military uniforms that had been taken
off and abandoned on the ground.
Among the Chinese soldiers who discarded uniforms, those who ran away from
the battle fields were killed by the Japanese military, or by a "Chinese supervisory unit"Chinese
soldiers who were ordered to kill any of their fellow soldiers trying to flee
from the battlefield. The US military and the Japanese military do not have
such a unit, but Chinese soldiers trying to escape from battle field were
killed by the supervisory unit who was waiting behind. These killed ones did
not wear military uniforms, but they were actually soldiers.
There were also Chinese soldiers who discarded military uniforms and killed
Chinese civilians to obtain civilian clothing and to hide themselves among
citizens. James Espy, the American vice-consul at Nanking, reported to the
American Embassy at Hankow concerning conditions
before the fall of Nanking, writing, "During the last few days some violations of people and property
were undoubtedly committed by them [Chinese soldiers]. Chinese soldiers in their mad rush to
discard their military uniforms and put on civilian clothes, in a number of
incidents, killed civilians to obtain
The Chinese military was basically a scratched-together army of hooligans,
having no military discipline or concept of international law. They were the
same as bandits. They did not protect Chinese civilians, but rather plundered
of them, set fire to houses, raped women and killed civilians. They did these
things also in Nanking, as we will see the details later.
Incorrect Reports of Civilian Casualties
One of the sources of the Nanking Massacre story was the description of Miner
S. Bates, who was in Nanking as a member of the International Committee for
the Nanking Safety Zone and later was a key witness of the Tokyo Trial. He
wrote on January 25, 1938,
"Evidence from burials indicates
that close to forty thousand unarmed persons were killed within and near the
walls of Nanking, of whom some 30 percent had never been soldiers."
Firstly, it is
noteworthy that Bates never mentioned 300,000 or several hundred
thousand victims. Not only he, but also any other people in those days did not mention
such a large number. 300,000 was the figure amplified after the war as a
political propaganda. Bates wrote 40,000. Secondly, Bates wrote that these
40,000 victims were unarmed persons, and some 30 percent (12,000 persons)
were civilians. These words would give people the impression that they were
killed by the Japanese military. Was the description correct?
No, it was incorrect and tricky. "Evidence from burials, which Bates
referred to, was the burial list of the Red Swastika Society, a Chinese
group, who buried almost all
of the war dead under the request of the Japanese military. According to the
list, they buried close to 40,000 bodies. This was the total number of all
who were killed in Nanking, except Japanese soldiers. Most of the bodies were
of armed Chinese soldiers, not unarmed persons."
Bates estimated that some 30 percent out of the 40,000 had been civilians. However, Professor
Tadao Takemoto (Tsukuba University) and Professor Yasuo Ohara (Kokugakuin University) point out that the evidence from
burials" of the Red Swastika Society in fact contains only 0.3% of women and children.
The burial list has the distinction of sex and rough age. If the Japanese
military killed many civilians, the percentage of women and children must
have been very high, yet it was actually almost none. In addition, these
burial records include burials that were carried out not only of the period of the Japanese Nanking campaign,
but also of
some period after the campaign. If the evidence" is limited to only burials
during the campaign, the number of women and children among the burials would
become less than 0.3 %. This shows
a clear contradiction to the thought that the Japanese military massacred
We must also note that many
Chinese civilians, who were male and adult, were killed by the Chinese
soldiers who discarded military uniforms and tried to obtain civilian
clothing, as in above-mentioned report of Espy. Thousands out of the 40,000
bodies must have been such
civilian adult men killed by these Chinese soldiers. Even the women and
children as 0.3 % out of the 40,000 could have been the victims of these
Chinese Soldiers Killed Civilians
It is a question why Espy testified that there were civilians killed by
Chinese soldiers, while Bates did not mention any such things. Bates rather
declared that the Japanese military was responsible for all of these, not
mentioning or hiding facts about these Chinese assailants. It turned out after the
war that Bates had been an adviser to
the Chinese Nationalist Party. He was after the war decorated by Chiang
Kai-shek, the head of the Party, for his contribution."
Bates was a cooperator to the strategy of the Chinese Nationalist Party. The
Partys strategy was to do
anything to convey the news of a miserable state of China and atrocities of
the Japanese to the world for dragging the United States into the war against Japan.
Professor Higashinakano claims that Bates' report
was made in accordance with this strategy to deceive the United States.
As for the
civilian victims to have been far from 300,000 or 40,000, we have the war damage investigation made by
Professor Lewis S. C. Smythe, who was in Nanking as
a sociology professor. It was the only scholarly on-the-spot investigation in
those days, which we can considerably trust. According to him, the total
number of civilian victims (killed
or missing) in the urban area of Nanking was 6,600. I will mention the details later.
Not only this is very far from 300,000 or 40,000, but also this is the figure
not specifying who the assailants were. This figure in fact included many civilians killed by the Chinese
military. The Chinese military in Nanking took away civilian young men
from the Safety Zone and made them soldiers or do hard work. Chinese soldiers
also killed many civilian male adults to take civilian clothes and run away
from the battlefield. Most of these 6,600 civilian victims were the victims
by the Chinese military, not the Japanese.
This is why the China Year Book 1938-1939 removed the reference to
"massacre" and only recorded the accusation of Bates. In fact, when
an officer from the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo visited Nanking in
April 1938, four months after the Japanese occupation, to hear from Bates
detailed information about the Japanese occupation, he did not say one word
about the massacre. Bates could not tell about the massacre to the man who
actually saw the peaceful scenes of Nanking.
Bates' Testimony: True or False?
Miner Bates testified in the Tokyo Trial after World War II that he had seen
many civilian dead bodies lying about everywhere in his neighborhood for many
days in Nanking after its fall. It was one of the sources of the Nanking
Did he tell a fact? According to the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun on December
26, 1937, which reports when correspondents Wakaume
and Murakami visited Professor Bates at his official university residence on
December 15, two days after the fall of Nanking, Bates welcomed them in a
good humor, shook hands with them and said, "I am so happy that the
orderly Japanese military entered Nanking and peace has been restored to the
city." The correspondents did not see in his neighborhood the
civilian dead bodies lying about everywhere," which Bates testified to
Yuji Maeda, a Domei Tsushin
correspondent who spent days in the Nanking Safety Zone like Bates did,
denies that there were massacred bodies as follows: Those who claim that a
massacre took place in Nanking assert that most of the victims were women and
children. However, these supposed victims were, without exception, in the
Safety Zone and protected by the Japanese Security Headquarters. The Nanking
Bureau of my former employer, Domei Tsushin, was
situated inside the Safety Zone. Four days after the occupation, all of us
moved to the Bureau, which served both as our lodgings and workplace. Shops
had already reopened, and life had returned
to normal. We were privy to anything and everything that happened in the
Safety Zone. No massacre claiming
tens of thousands, or thousands, or even hundreds of victims could have taken
place there without our knowing about it, so I can state with certitude that
none occurred. Chinese soldiers were executed, some perhaps cruelly, but
those executions were acts of war and must be judged from that perspective.
There were no mass murders of non-combatants." (World and
Japan magazine issued by Naigai News Agency, #413, April 5, 1984)
Not only these correspondents, but also Japanese veterans and other press
reporters testify that they did not see any massacred civilians in Nanking.
Correspondent Kondo of the Asahi
Shimbun newspaper testified about his experience in Nanking, "There
was a fierce battle at the Guanghua Gate. I saw
corpses of both Chinese and Japanese soldiers there, but I did not see any
Jiro Nimura, a Mainichi
Shimbun photographer, testified, "I climbed up a wall of Nanking and
entered the city with the 47th regiment. Inside the walls I saw only a few
dead bodies." And Isamu Tanida, a staff officer of the 10th Army,
testified, "On December 14, the city was already quiet and I heard no
shots there. In the afternoon I walked around in the city taking some
pictures, when I saw a few corpses of Chinese soldiers only."
A veteran of the 7th Regiment, which was assigned to sweep the Safety Zone,
testified that the regimental command had been, "Don't kill citizens. Don't dishonor the army," and they had
followed this command. He testifies, "Absolutely there was no
massacre." Thus, nobody saw the alleged massacred civilians inside the
Safety Zone, as well as outside it.
The information given by Bates on the massacre of civilians was not what he
witnessed, but an incorrect estimation, or what he heard from the Chinese
officers whom the members of the International Committee had sheltered. There
is no name of Bates in the "witness" section of any Committee murder
case reports. Bates' report on Japanese atrocities is written all in a
hearsay style. In addition, he could not prove the massacre of civilians when
he was required to show proof by Consul John M. Allison.
Information Source of Durdins
Miner Bates was an information source for the press also. On December 18,
1937, the American correspondent F. Tillman Durdin
wrote in the New York Times, all
the alleys and streets were filled with civilian bodies, including women and
However, this article was not what Durdin himself
witnessed, for Durdin wrote, "Foreigners who
toured the city and saw that all the alleys and streets were..." Durdin thus wrote what he had heard. Who were the
foreigners"? They were Rabe, Bates, and other
International Committee members; however, no one in Nanking actually saw such
civilian corpses in alleys and streets. So didnt Durdin.
Durdin in fact wrote this article based on what he
had heard from Bates, for Bates drove Durdin to the
harbor on December 15 to see him off, and Durdin
got on board a ship and left Nanking at 2:00 p.m. Bates later wrote in a
letter of April 12, 1938, that he had
given a memo about the incidents of Nanking to Durdin
and other correspondents on December 15. Durdin's
article was written according to this memo that Bates handed him. Bates was a
source of false information on the alleged massacre of civilians in Nanking.
In 1938, the book entitled What War
Means written by H.J. Timperley was published. Timperley, who was not in
Nanking, but in Shanghai, wrote in the book sensationally about the massacre
of Nanking civilians. This book is famous for having given a strong influence
to the US public opinions. The information source was also Bates, for
Timperley wrote so in the book. Bates, as an adviser to the Chinese
Nationalist Party, was thus eager to drag the United States into their war
against Japan by telling how bad Japan was. Concerning the strategy of the
Chinese Nationalist Party, American journalist Theodore H. White, who had been an
adviser to the Chinese Nationalist propaganda bureau, confessed:
It was considered necessary to lie to it [the United States], to deceive
it, to do anything to persuade America. . . . That was the only strategy
of the Chinese government. . . ." (In Search of History: A Personal Adventure)
Chinese Soldiers Killed by Chinese Supervisory
The American correspondent F. Tillman Durdin
reported in the New York Times that
he had witnessed on December 15 a lot of bodies of dead Chinese soldiers
forming a small mound six feet high at the Nanking Yijiang
gate in the north.
Concerning this mound of Chinese dead, Professor Tokushi
Kasahara interviewed Durdin
on August 14, 1987. Durdin stated that the mound had been formed before the
Japanese military reached there, and that the Chinese soldiers had not
been killed by the Japanese military. He said, "The bodies were Chinese
soldiers who tried to escape.... I think that the mound of bodies had been
formed before the Japanese military occupied there. In that area there was no
combat of the Japanese military."
Professor Higashinakano, the bodies witnessed by Durdin had been killed
by the Chinese supervisory unit that had been waiting behind to kill
Chinese soldiers trying to escape from the battlefield. The American or
Japanese military never have such a unit, but the Chinese military always had
such a unit to kill their fellow soldiers.
Professor Bunyu Ko at Takushoku University in Tokyo estimated that throughout
the Sino-Japanese war the victims killed by such Chinese supervisory units
had been more than those killed by the Japanese military.
In Nanking also,
there were many Chinese soldiers who were killed by the Chinese supervisory
unit, not by the Japanese military. The casualties that Miner Bates and other
Committee members mentioned included such victims.
Only Legitimate Executions
When the defeat of the Chinese military became definite in the battle of
Nanking, Chinese soldiers had three choices. The first was to surrender, and
those who surrendered were taken as POWs (prisoners of war). The second was
to escape from Nanking. Those who ran away were killed either by the Japanese
military or the Chinese supervisory unit. The third was to hide, wearing
civilian clothes, in the Safety Zone which had been specially set up inside
the walls of Nanking for civilians. Every Nanking citizen was taking refuge
in the Safety Zone, and many of the Chinese soldiers took this choice and hid
themselves in the Zone.
After the fall of Nanking, the
Japanese military did a mop-up operation to find those Chinese soldiers
hiding in the Zone. Those who were caught and found hiding weapons were
executed. They were considered to have been preparing a street fighting or
guerilla activities. According to Professor Higashinakano,
the Japanese military executed several thousand such dangerous Chinese
soldiers. Some scenes of this execution were witnessed by both Western and
Japanese press reporters.
The question is whether or not the executions by the Japanese military were
legally justifiable. Legitimate combatants who have become POWs are under the
protection of international conventions, which govern their treatment. They
are immune from capital punishment unless they violate laws or regulations.
The killing of such POWs without legitimate cause would indeed constitute an
unlawful massacre. However, the
Chinese soldiers who were arrested in the Safety Zone were not entitled to
the privileges of POWs because they did not meet any of the four qualifications
of belligerents as stipulated in the Hague convention of 1907. These four
1. To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates
2. To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance
3. To carry arms openly
4. To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war
Those who did not satisfy these qualifications were deemed to be illegitimate
combatants and were not eligible for protection under international law. This
principle was upheld in the 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of POWs.
The execution of such illegitimate combatants was customarily practiced in
each country, and the execution was thought to be legitimate. Unfortunately,
the Chinese soldiers did not have the wit to follow this international law.
Massacre denialists thus claim that the execution of the Chinese soldiers,
who were in civilian clothing and hiding weapons, was legitimate.
The Japanese military executed these Chinese soldiers; however, the Japanese
military did not execute all the captured Chinese soldiers. They employed many of them as a labor force,
and they numbered about 10,000 by the end of February 1938. Some of them were
registered as civilians.
POWs Not Executed
Massacre affirmationists often refer to the
division commander Kesago Nakajima's diary, in
which is written that Nakajima "thought about disposing 7,000-8,000
prisoners of war at Xianho Gate" according to
the military policy, "Accept no prisoners." However, it was only a
plan. There are in fact records showing that the 7,000-8,000 POWs about whom
Nakajima wrote were not killed but sent to the concentration camp in Nanking.
It is also known that Kesago Nakajima was later
removed from his post because he had been found appropriating the equipment
of the residence of Chiang Kai-shek in Nanking for his own use.
The records also show that the
concentration camp received about 10,000 POWs in total, including the
prisoners sent by Nakajima. Many of the 10,000 POWs were later released, hired as coolies or sent to
the concentration camp in Shanghai. Nearly 2000 of them became soldiers for Jingwei Wangs pro-Japanese government. One of these was Qixiong Liu, who had been hiding in the Nanking Safety
Zone, was caught as a POW and used as a coolie for a while. Later he became
the commander of a brigade for Wangs pro-Japanese government.
Many Japanese soldiers testify that "Accept no prisoners" always
meant "Unarm them and let them go
home." They actually did so when there was no need to send them to a
concentration camp. Staff officer Onishi said,
"They could go home walking. There never was any military order or
divisional order to kill POWs."
Japanese Lieutenant General Yasuji Okamura once wrote his surmise based on
what he had heard from his staff officers in Shanghai. "It is true that
tens of thousands of acts of violence, such as looting and rape, took place
against civilians during the assault on Nanking.... (and)
front-line troops indulged in the evil practice of executing POWs on the
pretext of (lacking) rations."
This description is also often referred to by massacre affirmationists;
however, Okamura was not in Nanking and his surmise was based on a report he
heard in Shanghai. Since the Westerners of the International Committee, who
were in Nanking, reported only 450 cases of atrocities such as looting, rape
and murder committed by the Japanese military, Okamura's surmise of
"tens of thousands of acts of violence" was clearly based on an
It is a fact, as Okamura wrote, that some officers thought to execute POWs on
the pretext of lacking rations; however, the POWs were not executed after
Nobody in Nanking Witnessed 300,000 Victims
Reverend John Magee, who was in Nanking before and during its Japanese
occupation for years, filmed scenes of Nanking, and the film is often
referred to in relation to the alleged Japanese atrocities. However, Magee's
film shows no scenes of clearly
massacred victims. The captions are alleged atrocities of the Japanese,
but the movie has no scenes of Japanese soldiers executing POWs, no scenes of
thousands of dead bodiesin fact, the movie shows mostly scenes of living
John Magee also wrote about some alleged Japanese atrocities; however, most
of those were hearsay. So was the famous horrible incident in the following.
"On December 13, about 30 soldiers
came to a Chinese house at #5 Hsing Lu Koo in the
southeastern part of Nanking, and demanded entrance. The door was opened by
the landlord, a Mohammedan named Ha. They killed him immediately with a
revolver and also Mrs. Ha, who knelt before them after Ha's death, begging
them not to kill anyone else. Mrs. Ha asked them why they killed her husband
and they shot her dead. Mrs. Hsia was dragged out from under a table in the
guest hall where she had tried to hide with her 1-year-old baby. After being
stripped and raped by one or more men, she was bayoneted in the chest, and
then had a bottle thrust into her vagina. The baby was killed with a bayonet.
Some soldiers then went to the next room, where Mrs. Hsia's parents, aged 76
and 74, and her two daughters aged 16 and 14 were. They were about to rape
the girls when the grandmother tried to protect them. The soldiers killed her
with a revolver. The grandfather grasped the body of his wife and was killed.
The two girls were then stripped, the elder being raped by 2-3 men, and the
younger by 3. The older girl was stabbed afterwards and a cane was rammed in
her vagina. The younger girl was bayoneted also but was spared the horrible
treatment that had been meted out to her sister and mother. The soldiers then
bayoneted another sister of between 7-8, who was also in
the room. The last murders in the house were of Ha's two children,
aged 4 and 2 respectively. The older was bayoneted and the younger split down
through the head with a sword. "
about this crime from the 7-8 year old girl who had been bayoneted but
survived and told this whole story two weeks after the crime. Magee wrote
that he had recorded this story, adding some corrections" to what the
girl told him with the help of her relatives and neighbors. Magee thought
that these "soldiers" had been Japanese; however, they could not be Japanese, but Chinese.
Magee wrote that this had happened on December 13, but on December 8 every
citizen had been already forced to move to the Safety Zone by the Chinese
army, and was inside the Zone. The family in the story was outside the Zone,
and it was most dangerous and highly unlikely that they were outside it on
December 13 when the Japanese military entered the city. It is thus very
likely that the crime was actually
committed before December 8 or 13 by Chinese soldiers. In addition, the
practice of thrusting items into females vaginas was
typically Chinese. Such a practice often appears in Chinese chronicles. The
Japanese never had such a custom.
The murder case witnessed by Magee himself was, as he testified in the Tokyo
Trial, only one: a Japanese
soldier shooting a Chinese who had begun to run away when questioned about
his name and identity by the Japanese soldier. The Japanese soldier was
searching Chinese soldiers in mufti (ordinary clothes), and such a killing is
recognized as legitimate under international law. In other words, Magee did not see 300,000 or even
40,000-60,000 massacred victims in his all days in Nanking.
According to Magee, the cases which he himself witnessed other than the
above-mentioned killing were only one rape and one rubbery. The rest were all
hearsay. The alleged rape he witnessed was that he had seen a Japanese
soldier coming toward a mans wife; however, Magee did not actually see a
rape. The Japanese soldier might have come to question the woman or her
husband. The alleged robbery was that Magee had seen a Japanese soldier
coming out of a house with an icebox in his hands. In other words, Magee did not personally see any horrible
crimes committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking.
Nanking was not filled with Japanese atrocities.
Low Crime Rate of Japanese Soldiers
It is a fact that
Japanese soldiers committed a relatively small number of crimes in the city.
On Dec. 18, 1937, five days after the fall of Nanking, the commander of the
Japanese army, General Iwane Matsui, held with his
whole army a memorial service to express condolences to both the Chinese and
the Japanese war dead. In his speech he scolded his men for what he had heard
about crimes of rape and looting committed by Japanese soldiers in the city.
"A group of soldiers dishonored our
Imperial Army by performing outrageous conduct. What the hell have you done?
What you did was unworthy of the Imperial Army. From now on, keep military
discipline strictly and never treat innocent people cruelly. Remember it is
the only way to console the war dead."
It is noteworthy
that General Matsui never mentioned the occurrence of a massacre. Later, he
testified in the Tokyo Trial on Nov. 24, 1947:
"After the fall of Nanking, some
young officers and men committed atrocities, for which I deeply feel sorry.
However, I never heard or saw in
Nanking a large scale massacre or atrocities such as the ones the
prosecution insists upon, and it was never reported when I was in Shanghai,
Thus, it is a
fact that some crimes were committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking.
However, the crime rate was much lower than that of cities occupied by the
Chinese or the Russians. One may say that the Japanese crimes in Nanking were
in fact similar to the ones committed by soldiers of the American occupation
forces in Japan after the US-Japan war. Japanese press reporters who were in
Nanking testify, "Nanking citizens were cheerful." If the crime
rate was very high, that could not have been possible.
Yasuto Nakayama, a staff officer of the Japanese
army in Nanking, testified in the Tokyo Trial:
"I heard the alleged Nanking
Massacre story for the first time after the war ended. I think we need to
consider this in four parts. The first one is massacre of civilians, which I believe never occurred. The second
one is massacre of POWs, which I believe never occurred, except the ones
mistakenly told. The third one is infringement on foreign rights and
interests as well as their property, which I think occurred in part, but it
is not clear still today which committed it, the Japanese or the Chinese. And
the fourth ones are rape to women and looting to citizens, which I think
occurred on a small scale and I deeply feel sorry for them."
Hirotsugu Tsukamoto, a Japanese judicial officer who was in
charge of punishment of the military criminals in Nanking, testified:
After the entry into
Nanking, unlawful acts were committed by Japanese soldiers and I remember
having examined these cases. I think that there were four or five officers involving in the above cases I disposed, but
the rest were cases mostly sporadically committed by the rank-and-file.
The kinds of crimes were chiefly plunder and rape, while the cases of theft
and injury were few. And to the best of my knowledge I remember that there
happened few cases that resulted in death. I remember that there were a few
murder cases, but have no memory of
having punished incendiaries or dealt with mass slaughter criminals."
According to the testimony of this
judicial officer, it seems that the crimes of Japanese soldiers in Nanking
numbered around ten, several tens or so at the most. Of course, these
Japanese criminals were strictly punished. This crime rate was relatively
low, compared with the one of other countries' soldiers in occupied
territories of World War II.
Truth About the Alleged Atrocities
of the Japanese
In February, 1938, the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone,
which consisted of Westerners living in Nanking, forwarded to the Japanese
Embassy a report of about 450 cases of crimes allegedly committed by Japanese
soldiers in Nanking, such as murder, rape, and looting. This report is often
referred to as showing Japanese atrocities. How can we think of this?
Most of these 450 cases were based on hearsay, with the exception of only a
few cases that the Committee members themselves witnessed or directly
confirmed. And even if these 450 cases were all true, murder cases numbered only 49, which are far different from
300,000, the alleged number of massacre victims. In other words, first of all
we can say that this report proves a large-scale massacre did not take place
As for the 49 murder cases of the report, the ones which were witnessed by
the Committee members themselves number only 2, which were both legitimate,
such as killing when a Japanese military policeman found and shot a suspicious
man who did not answer to his question and suddenly ran away. None of the
Committee members in Nanking witnessed illegitimate murders.
As for rape cases, Professor Tadao Takemoto and
Professor Yasuo Ohara
"How many cases of rape (including
attempted) were reported in the documents by the Safety Zone Committee? The
total number was 361. Among them, there were only 61 cases which definitely
clarified who witnessed the cases, or who heard and reported them. Among
these cases, only seven cases were clarified to be crimes committed by
Japanese soldiers, and were notified to the Japanese Army in order to
disclose the fact and to capture the suspects.... Furthermore, as reported in
the article in the Chicago Daily News dated February 9, 1938, the Japanese
Army investigated about the seven
cases and severely punished the criminals. The punishment was so severe
that some complaints were expressed among the soldiers."
Tokuyasu Fukuda, who had been in Nanking as a
probationary diplomat of the Japanese embassy, testified about the actual
situation of this International Committee and their report of 450 cases, as
"The nature of my duties required me
to visit the office of the International Committee almost everyday.
At the office, I saw Chinese men come
in one after another, saying, 'Japanese soldiers are now raping 15-16
year old girls in such and such a place,' or 'Japanese soldiers are
committing looting at a house of such and such a street,' etc.. Rev. Magee,
Rev. Fitch and several others were typing these charges immediately to report
to their countries. I warned them again and again, 'Wait, please. Do not report them without confirming.'
Occasionally, I hurried with them to the scene of the rape, looting, etc.,
but found nothing, nobody living there, and no trace of it; I experienced
such cases often. I believe that Timperleys book What War Means (1938) was written based on such unconfirmed
those days, Japan was not at war against Western countries yet; however, many
Westerners including those living in Nanking were basically hostile to Japan.
The Westerners in Nanking were even sheltering Chinese military officers
secretly, breaking their promise with the Japanese military, without knowing
that the Chinese men whom they were
sheltering committed numerous crimes such as rape, looting and murder among
Chinese civilians and then blamed the Japanese for their attacks. I will
mention the details later. The Westerners thus sent any information of
alleged Japanese atrocities without confirming or any proof to stir up
anti-Japanese feeling in Western countries.
Atrocities Committed by Chinese
veterans testify that those who committed "rape, looting, arson and
murder" were not the Japanese military, but rather the Chinese military.
A sergeant major testified, "We reached a Nanking suburb, where the
troops of Chiang Kai-shek once had been. Hearing from the inhabitants, we got
to know the inhabitants had been
plundered of all their food and household goods by the Chinese army, who
also had forced the village men work very hard. How poor the people of such a
Itaru Kajimura, a
Japanese second lieutenant, wrote in his diary on January 15, 1938when the
battle of Nanking had already ended and his unit was stationed near
Shanghaithat a nearby Chinese village had been attacked by 40-50 remnants of
a Chinese defeated army. The village people had come and asked his unit for
help. Kajimura and about 30 men hurried there with
the village people, but it was after the enemy had already committed looting,
rape, and murder in the village and gone. Kajimura
wrote, "Chinese civilians, who
were attacked by Chinese soldiers, asking Japanese soldiers for help. What a
contradiction! This one thing shows what Chinese soldiers are." He
also wrote that the village people had been "very reluctant" to
part from the Japanese unit.
F. Tillman Durdin, an American news reporter who
covered Nanking, wrote, "(From December 7 the Chinese army) set fire to nearly every city, town, and village on
the outskirts of the city (Nanking). They burned down...entire
villages...to cinders, at an estimated value of 20 to 30 million (1937) US
dollars." Durdin also wrote that the damage
from the fire was more than that from the Japanese air raid.
James Espy, the American vice-consul at Nanking, reported to the American
Embassy at Hankow concerning conditions before the
fall of Nanking, writing, "During the last few days some violations of people and property were undoubtedly committed by
them [Chinese soldiers]. Chinese
soldiers in their mad rush to discard their military uniforms and put on
civilian clothes, in a number of incidents, killed civilians to obtain their clothing."
Those civilians who were killed by such Chinese soldiers were many, and that
the "civilian victims," whom Westerners in Nanking alleged the
Japanese military had killed, in fact included such civilians.
Kannosuke Mitoma, a press
reporter, testified, "After entering Nanking, I interviewed a Chinese
husband and his wife who had been in the Nanking Safety Zone since before the
Japanese occupation. They said, ''When
Chinese soldiers were in the city, they came to refugees
everyday to plunder food, commodities and every cent of money. They took
away young men for labor and young women to rape. They were the same as
bandits. And in this Safety Zone there still are bad Chinese men.'"
General Matsui also testified, "There were quite a few atrocities
committed by the Chinese in Nanking. If these were all attributed to the
Japanese military, it would distort facts."
Anti-Japanese Maneuvers by Hiding Chinese Soldiers
There were also crimes as anti-Japanese maneuvers committed by Chinese
soldiers hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone. The January 4, 1938 issue of the New York Times reported about the rape
and looting committed by Chinese soldiers hiding in Nanking:
"American professors remaining at Ginling College in Nanking...were
seriously embarrassed to discover that they had been harboring a deserted
Chinese Army colonel and six of his subordinate officers. The professors had,
in fact, made the colonel second in authority at the refugee camp....The ex-Chinese officers in the presence
of Americans and other foreigners confessed looting in Nanking and also that
one night they dragged girls from the refugee camp into the darkness and the
next day blamed Japanese soldiers for the attacks."
"American professors remaining at Ginling
College" were Miner Searle Bates, Lewis S. C. Smythe,
Minnie Vautrin and Robert O. Wilson, who were
members of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone. They were
harboring the Chinese soldiers. The soldiers were conducting anti-Japanese
maneuvers in the Zone. This was of course a violation of the agreement with
the Japanese military, which ruled the neutrality of the Zone. The professors
had been blaming the Japanese military for all the atrocities in Nanking
until then; however, many of those atrocities had actually been committed by
the Chinese soldiers they harbored.
The China Press also reported on
January 25, 1938:
"Lieutenant General Ma, it is
claimed, was active in instigating anti-Japanese disorders within the zone,
which also sheltered Captain Huan An and 17 rifles,
while the report states that Wang Hsianglao and three former subordinates were engaged in
looting, intimidating and raping."
These Chinese soldiers hiding in
Nanking were many in number, as the Tokyo
Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on December 16, 1937, "The Imperial
Army estimates that about 25,000 Chinese soldiers in mufti, wearing civilian
clothes, are still hiding in the city of Nanking. The Army is making an
effort to mop up the enemy remnants and to protect the aged and women."
The New York Times reported the
same thing on December 17th. Yoshinori Kobayashi wrote in his book that many
of the hiding Chinese soldiers had
repeatedly committed rape, looting and other atrocities and made it look as
if they had been committed by Japanese soldiers or intimidated the victims
into lying that the assailants were Japanese.
The Osaka Asahi Shimbun newspaper on February
17, 1938, reported a group of hiding Chinese soldiers who had committed
atrocities while speaking Japanese:
A Chinese group, who had posed as Japanese and committed atrocities in
Nanking, was arrested. (Domei Press, February 16)
-- Since false reports that Japanese military officers and men committed
atrocities in Nanking are getting about in foreign countries, military
policemen in Nanking were trying to discover the source, and they have
finally found it. The policemen arrested
a group of Chinese soldiers who had committed numerous atrocities such as
looting and violence in refugee camps, posing as Japanese soldiers...
These are eleven Chinese soldiers who had once worked at a tailor shop in
Seoul, Korea (in those days Korea was a part of Japan), speaking fluent Japanese. They made counterfeit
of Japanese translator's armband and posed as Japanese. Having three
strongholds for activities, they ran wild in refugee camps, evading pursuit
of the Imperial Army. The damage due to their robberies was about 50,000 Yuan
in total, and cases of violence were countless. Innocent Chinese citizens believed and did not doubt that they were
Japanese. That was why the detection became late."
Atrocities Committed by Chinese
There were also many
atrocities committed by Chinese refugees in the Nanking Safety Zone. Guo Qi, who was the commander of a Chinese battalion and
who had stayed hidden in the Italian Embassy, wrote about the reality of
looting by Chinese refugees:
"Refugees, who were generally
badly-off but courageous, hid themselves during the day and moved around
during the night like so many rats. The night gave good opportunities for
refugees to take action, since wild soldiers [Japanese soldiers] became
inactive and only Japanese guards were posted to watch over the area where
soldiers slept. The refugees went outside their area and ransacked large
firms, shops, and houses of whatever they wanted. In those days, food was in
store in food companies, daily provisions in consumer goods companies, and
silk products at silk textile wholesalers. One day's work, therefore, enabled
them to get everything, and anything they wanted became available and at
Confessions of Japanese Soldiers
about their Atrocities?
In 2002, The Battle of Nanjing -- A Search of Sealed Memories was
published in Nanking. It consists of testimonies from 102 Japanese veterans who
participated in the Sino-Japanese War, especially the battle of Nanking. The
book was compiled by Tamaki Matsuoka, and the confessions include committing
atrocities in Nanking, such as rape, robbery and murder. However, all the
veterans' names are either anonymous or false. As a result, none of the
veterans can be held accountable for the truth and accuracy of their
testimonies. If the testimonies of these veterans are true, it only means that they were war
criminals who violated military discipline and evaded the scrutiny of the
Japanese military police, thereby managing to evade punishment. Moreover,
none of these testimonies mention a massacre in the hundreds of thousands.
Kozo Tadokoro, whose testimony is quoted in Iris Chang's book, The Rape of Nanking, says that he
committed crimes of murder and rape in Nanking during the ten days"
after its fall. However, Professors Takemoto and Ohara
point out that the unit to which Tadokoro belonged had left Nanking on
December 15, two days after the fall of Nanking. Tadokoro therefore should
not have been able to stay in Nanking for ten days. He confessed later,
"I told a lie because the
interviewer asked me to tell something exciting." Thus, he himself has
denied the credibility of his own speech.
Kazuo Sone has published his memoirs, and related his criminal acts of murder
and his eye-witnessed stories. He describes himself as an infantry squad
leader; but he had been a private in an Artillery Regiment. Professors
Takemoto and Ohara point out that, contrary to the
Infantry, the Artillery generally has never been sent to the front line of
battle. The 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Division, to which this man was
assigned, has been located in the rear area, and was never engaged in battle
directly against the Chinese Army. Only a part of his regiment participated
in the entry ceremony into Nanking. Therefore, it was impossible for him to have executed or eye-witnessed
brutal criminal acts inside or in the vicinity of Nanking, as he described in
his book. Also, his colleagues who did engage in the operation in Nanking say
that they did not witness nor perform any such criminal acts. In other words,
Sone's memoirs are entirely his own creation.
The International Committee was not Neutral
The leader of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone was
John Rabe. As mentioned already, after the fall of
Nanking, he gave the Japanese commander the letter of thanks as to the
Japanese military had not attacked the Safety Zone and not killed refugees
there. Yet in his diary, Rabe described many
Japanese atrocities allegedly committed in the city of Nanking. Massacre affirmationists often refer to his descriptions as
evidence of the Japanese atrocities and massacre.
Can we trust Rabes descriptions about the atrocities
literally? In fact, John Rabe was a German, and
Germany in those days was a supporter for the Chinese Nationalist Party.
Chiang Kai-sheks military was being trained by German advisers, and Rabe himself was an adviser for the Nationalist Party (The year 1937 was
before the conclusion of the alliance of Germany, Italy and Japan). In addition, Rabe
was the head of the Nanking branch office of Siemens AG, which had sold
antiaircraft guns to the Chinese Nationalist Party. As an arms merchant, Rabe had gained great profit from it.
Since this Germany's connection with the Chinese Nationalist Party was the
source of his income, he did not want Germany to part from the Party and
shake hands with Japan. Rabe was thus not a
neutral man, and it was very natural for him to speak ill of the
As Professor Shudo Higashinakano
points out, from December 12, Rabe had secretly
sheltered two Chinese colonels, Long and Zhou, who performed anti-Japanese
maneuvers in the Safety Zone. Rabes conduct was of
course a violation of the agreement with the Japanese army. Rabe wrote in his diary on February 22, 1938, that he had
been sheltering another Chinese officer, Officer Wang, also. Rabe was thus a man on the side of the
Chinese military, not the Japanese. Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking, glorified him as
Schindler of Nanking, yet he was in fact not such a person.
In his report, Rabe did not distinguish true
civilians from Chinese soldiers in mufti (ordinary clothes), intentionally or
unknowingly. On 13 December 1937, Rabe wrote in his diary:
It is not until we
tour the city that we learn the extent of destruction. We come across corpses
every 100 to 200 yards. The bodies of civilians that I examined had bullet
holes in their backs. These people had presumably fleeing and were shot from
The fact is that Japanese soldiers were sweeping the
Chinese soldiers in mufti. The bodies
were not of civilians, but of the Chinese soldiers. They were killed by
the Japanese military or by the Chinese supervisory unit.
Biased Reports of John Rabe
Masaaki Tanaka, the ex-secretary of General Iwane
Matsui, claims that there are many contradictions in John Rabes
descriptions. For instance, according to him, General Matsui ordered a
cease-fire on December 9, distributed to the city surrender recommendation handbills, and waited until noon of
December 10 for the answer. Tanaka then points out, "Rabe
wrote in his diary that the combat was continuing and Rabe
did not mention anything about the cease-fire or the handbills."
Rabe wrote that he saw here and there "dead
women who had canes rammed in their vaginas"; however, such a practice
was Chinese, not Japanese.
James McCallum, a medical doctor in Nanking, wrote in his diary on December
29, 1937, "We have had some very
pleasant Japanese who have treated us with courtesy and respect. Occasionally
I have seen a Japanese helping some Chinese, or picking up a Chinese baby to
play with it." However, Rabe did not write
any such things, and only wrote that the Safety Zone had been like a hell
full of fire and rape every day. Tanaka thus argues that Rabes
descriptions are not reliable. Tanaka writes, "Rabe's descriptions were very biased fishy stories. I think I can
understand the reason why Adolf Hitler
did not trust his report, but rather imprisoned him."
Professor Higashinakano also points out that James
McCallum wrote in his diary on January 8, 1938 that he had heard a Chinese
refugee testify, I can prove that the rape, looting and arson were committed
by Chinese soldiers, not Japanese soldiers"; however, Rabe reported as if all of the rape, looting and arson
had been committed by only Japanese soldiers. Higashinakano
claims that Rabes report was a similar-natured one to the anti-Japanese
maneuvering of the Chinese officers he had sheltered.
P. Scharfienberg, the secretary general of the
German Embassy to China, who returned to Nanking on January 9, 1938, tried to
investigate himself the facts about the alleged Japanese atrocities mentioned
in Rabes report. Scharfienberg
wrote to the German Embassy at Hankow on February
still actively trying to counter the bloody excesses of Japanese looters,
which have unfortunately increased of late. To my mind, this should not
concern us Germans, particularly since one can clearly see that the Chinese, once left to depend solely
on the Japanese, immediately
fraternize. And as for all these excesses, one hears only one side of it, after all."
Truth About the
Alleged Looting by Japanese Soldiers
wrote on December 13, 1937, "The Japanese march through the city in
groups of ten to twenty soldiers and loot the shops.... I watched with my own
eyes as they looted the cafe of our German baker Herr Kiessling.
Hempel's hotel was broken into as well, as was almost every shop on Chung
Shang and Taiping Road."
About this looting by the Japanese soldiers, Professors Takemoto and Ohara point out, "On entering Nanking, what Japanese
troops had to do was to get buildings for quartering. In order to furnish and
equip them with daily necessities, officers
instructed soldiers to take furniture and bedding out of the empty houses.
When they were put under requisition, certificates for compensation to be made later on were attached. However, the
Westerners and Chinese, watching what happened in the distance, possibly
misunderstood, interpreting the activities as planned looting by Japanese
Many Women Raped?
often refer to rapes as the atrocities in Nanking, using the following
testimonies. Minnie Vautrin, a professor at Ginling College in Nanking, hearing that about 100 girls
were raped at the college," wrote in her diary on December 16th, 1937,
Oh God, control the cruel beastliness of the Japanese soldiers in Nanking
tonight..," and on the 19th, In my wrath, I wished I had the power to
smite them for their dastardly work. How ashamed women of Japan would be if
they knew these tales of horror."
John Rabe, the leader of the Nanking Safety Zone,
wrote on December 17, "Last night up to 1,000 women and girls are said
to have been raped."
James McCallum, a medical doctor in Nanking, wrote in his diary On December
19, "Never have I heard or read such brutality. Rape! Rape! Rape! We
estimate at least 1,000 cases a night, and many by day.... People are
hysterical.... Women are being carried off every morning, afternoon and
evening. The whole Japanese army seems to be free to go and come as it
pleases, and to do whatever it pleases."
However, these cases of rape were what these Westerners
heard about from Chinese people.
As mentioned in the New York Times on January 4, 1938, and as I
already referred to, about two weeks later, Vautrin
and other Ginling College professors got to know
that the Chinese military officers harbored
by them had repeatedly raped in the Nanking Safety Zone and then blamed
Japanese soldiers for their attacks. The New York Times reported,
"the American professors were seriously embarrassed to discover
(it)." So would Rabe and McCallum have been.
The professors not only had harbored these Chinese officers secretly, but
also appointed them leaders of the Nanking refugee camps. These Chinese
officers, using their men, repeatedly raped women and did other horrible
crimes at the camps, threatening the victims to tell the same story that the
assailants were Japanese. Then, the officers came to the professors, telling,
Japanese soldiers came and raped! At least 1,000 women!" The professors
had believed this Chinese lie.
The Japanese military found out the Chinese soldiers and arrested them.
Besides, in February, as the report of the Osaka Asahi Shimbun
newspaper which I already referred to, the military also arrested eleven
other hiding Chinese soldiers who had committed numerous atrocities in
Nanking, speaking Japanese and wearing counterfeit of Japanese translator's
armband to pose as Japanese. After
that, conspicuous cases of rape,
looting and other atrocities ceased and did not take place.
Vautrin later wrote an article entitled "Abundant Life Together at the Refugee Camp"
for the July-August 1938 issue of the Chinese Recorder magazine;
however, no description of the 1,000 girls raped or 1,000 rape
cases a night was in the article. Professor Higashinakano alleges that this is because it had already
been discovered that the rape cases had not been committed by Japanese
soldiers or had been a false rumor. Professors Tadao
Takemoto and Yasuo Ohara
also point out about the alleged atrocities in Nanking:
"The representatives of the refugee
camps of nineteen places established in the Safety Zone were all the Chinese,
except Miss Minnie Vautrin. Though those Chinese
took charge of the maintenance of public order in these camps, there were
some Chinese officers who camouflaged
themselves as if they were citizens. And many cases of rape occurred in
the 'refugee camps'.... After February
1938 when the 'camps' were dissolved, rape was rare. Therefore, we are
not able to trust the 'crimes of Japanese soldiers' just as the Chinese
representatives of the refugee camps claimed. (The Chinese soldiers hiding in
the Safety Zone) camouflaged themselves to create the impression that looting
and rapes had been committed by Japanese soldiers, to practice one of a
series of Chinese strategies for the purpose of throwing Japanese soldiers
Takemoto and Ohara also claim:
"The Safety Zone was the only place
where women stayed in the city of Nanking. And in order to protect foreign
rights and interests...the Japanese Army prohibited their soldiers' entry to
the Safety Zone and posted guards at every important point....Japanese soldiers were unable to enter
the Safety Zone at will, or no one dared to enter there at the risk of
being attacked....Those who only got admittance to the Safety Zone were all
in all about 1,600 soldiers of the 7th Regiment, the 9th Division, that were
in charge of the garrison for the Safety Zone. It must be further pointed out
that there existed a significant reason why soldiers were restrained from
committing rapes, because if crimes had been disclosed, more than seven years' penal servitude would
have been inevitable by the army penal code. They were fully aware of the
Investigation Proves Civilians Killed by the Japanese to Have Been Only a Few
Let us look at the war damage investigation made by Professor Lewis S. C. Smythe from December 1937 to March 1938 regarding the
damage to people and land inside the walls of Nanking and its rural area. The
report does not specify whether the assailants were Japanese or Chinese;
however, it is an important
investigation on the war damage by the Nanking campaign.
The method was to choose arbitrarily one from every 50 homes in the urban
area, and one from every 250 homes in the rural area; then Smythe and his assistants interviewed the residents about
the damage. This use of rough estimates was the only scholarly investigation in those days. Was this to
affirm the Nanking Massacre or deny it?
According to Smythe's investigation, 2,400 civilians were killed in the
urban area due to brutal treatment, and 4,200
were taken away (and considered dead). In the rural area of Nanking (Jiangning), 9,160
civilians were killed due to brutal treatment. Thus, the total number of dead and missing was l5,760. This is far different from the 300,000 massacre victims theory.
In addition, these figures do not specify who the assailants were. These
figures in fact include many victims
killed by the Chinese military. As mentioned in Durdins
article, the Chinese military set fire to all the houses in the rural area of
Nanking and burned them down, killing many Chinese people. As the Chinese
husband and wife in the Safety Zone testified, the Chinese military took away
men and made them soldiers or forced them to do hard work. Moreover, as
mentioned in Espy's report, many Chinese soldiers killed civilians for their
clothes when they discarded military uniforms. Smythe's
investigation thus included many civilians who had been killed by the Chinese
It can be said that his investigation proves the number of civilians killed
by the Japanese military to have been only a few.
Forged Photos Made by the Chinese
Throughout the Sino-Japanese war, many photos had been scattered in the
Western world and used as evidence of the Nanking Massacre or of Japanese
atrocities; however, the sources of these photos are all doubtful. For
instance, one of the photos shows many dead bodies, but it only shows
soldiers killed in battle. In another photo, a man in Japanese military
uniform is swinging a sword down on the neck of a Chinese to execute him, but
the way of the swinging is Chinese, not Japanese. This shows that the photo
was a Chinese prearranged performance. In other photos, the direction of one
man's shadow is different from the others, which shows that the photo is a
composite of multiple photos. There are many other contradictions in the
The book, Analyzing the Photographic
Evidence of the Nanking Massacrewritten by Professor Shudo Higashinakano, Susumu Kobayasi and Shinjiro Fukunaga (published by Soshisya
in Tokyo in 2005) analyzes all the alleged photos of the Nanking Massacre.
It proves that there was no genuine photo that can be said to be evidence of
the Nanking Massacre.
It is well-known that the Chinese military used to forge many photos using
Chinese soldiers in Japanese military uniforms to stir up an anti-Japanese
atmosphere among the Americans. The Chinese used this kind of forgery and
unrelated photos posed as the evidence of cruelty of the Japanese many times
before and during the Pacific War.
Fiction of Iris Chang
Recently, a Chinese American named Iris Chang wrote a book entitled, The Rape of Nanking. It tells about the
brutal massacre by the Japanese in Nanking. It became a bestseller in the USA
and other countries, and spread the lie of the Nanking Massacre. Later,
Changs book was much criticized by many other authors. It has been pointed
out that what she wrote and the photos in her book were not related to the
so-called Nanking Massacre. She shot herself by pistol and died in 2004. The
London Economist magazine commented that she had committed suicide perhaps
because her book was much criticized and she was deeply depressed about it.
Nobukatsu Fujioka, a professor at Takushoku University in Tokyo, once mentioned,
"Many translated books are published
in Japan, but Iris Chang's The Rape of
Nanking is not published because it has so many mistakes that no publisher could handle it. The photos are all false, and not a
single picture was evidence of the Nanking Massacre. Not only that, her
description about Japanese history is filled with absurd mistakes. For
instance, she wrote that the Japanese military strength before the end of the
Edo era (1603-1867) had not exceeded the level of sword, bow and arrow (Japan
was in fact the biggest producer of guns in the world already in the 16th
century). More than 100 such rudimentary mistakes were found in the book, and
even if the book were to be published in Japan, no Japanese person could bear
reading it. A left-wing publishing company tried to publish it annotating
notes of the translator, but she refused it, saying, How
impertinent!' Sad to say, the Americans trust such a book and are
making a movie based on it."
(Later, another publisher published the book as translated by a Chinese in
2007 in Japan.)
Shoichi Watanabe, a professor emeritus at Sophia
University in Tokyo, mentioned,
"Before the US-Japan war, a false document called "Tanaka Memorial" was made in
China. This was a purported Japanese strategic planning document, in which
Prime Minister Giichi Tanaka laid out for Emperor
Hirohito a strategy to take over the world. The American President Roosevelt,
senators and congressmen read this forgery, and believed the lie that Japan
had a malicious intention to take over Asia and the world. That became a
cause for the US-Japan war. It is said that after reading it, Roosevelt
decided to defeat Japan entirely. Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking, a best seller in the USA, is the same. If we
leave this fiction as it is, it will certainly give a bad influence to
The Nanking Massacre was a fabrication and false propaganda. The above-mentioned
theory is not a discourse of Japanese ultra-nationalists. If we are loyal to
historical facts, we should abandon the Nanking Massacre story. The
activities of the Japanese military in Nanking were in accordance with
international law and were humane. The Nanking Massacre was a false
accusation, and the Japanese have the right to prove their innocence.
more details, see:
The Alleged 'Nanking Massacre': Japan's rebuttal to
China's forged claims
Analyzing the "Photographic Evidence" of the
The Nanking Massacre: Fact