…by Jonas E. Alexis, Arimasa Kubo, and Moteki Hiromichi
Born in Japan in 1955 in Hyogo, Arisama Kubo is a writer. He has written numerous works on science, culture and history over the years, and he is the president of Remnant Publishing. Many of his works have been translated to Korean and Chinese.
Moteki Hiromichi was born in Tokyo in 1941 and is a graduate of Tokyo University’s School of Economics. After working for Fuji Electric Company and the International Wool Secretariat, he founded the publishing company Sekai Shuppan in 1990.
In cooperation with the American company Mangajin, Inc., Moteki published Mangajin, an educational magazine on Japan containing bilingual comic books for Japanese language learners. He is also the secretary of the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact.
JEA: For readers who have never heard of the so-called Nanking or Nanjing Massacre, describe for us the issue here.
AK: During the Shanghai Incident in 1937, when the Chinese military of more than 30,000 soldiers attacked Shanghai, many people were killed: Japanese, Chinese and Western civilians.
That was the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war. To stop the Chinese attack, Japan decided to occupy Nanking, the then capital of the Republic of China. So the Nanking Massacre thesis states that the Japanese military liquidated, tortured, and slaughtered Chinese civilians in Nanking on a massive scale in December 1937.
This issue is quite divisive. 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 argue that the Japanese massacred about 300,000 Chinese people in Nanking over a period of six weeks.
On the other hand, massacre skeptics claim that newspapers, photos, documentary films, records and testimonies in those days overwhelmingly suggest that the Nanking Massacre is pure fiction. According to skeptics, the so-called Nanking Massacre was spearheaded by Chinese Nationalists and Communists for purely political purposes.
I was born in 1955, ten years after the end of World War II. After Japan was defeated in 1945, Japan was being deprived of independence for seven years. Military leaders who knew the events and complex issues leading up to the war itself were executed, and all the important documents and information which would have situated the conflict in a historical and rational context were controlled by US officials.
During those seven years Japan lost many good testimonies, records and memories of the war. There is no question that the United States, as professor and prolific scholar Nishio Kanji puts it in his meticulous article “Breaking the Seal on the GHQ Burned Books,” was involved in what ought to be called “book burning.” They would confiscate documents, newspaper articles, magazines and TV shows which attempted to present a fair balance of the causes of the war.
During the Tokyo Trial (1946-1948), Japanese NHK radio under the American occupation army repeatedly broadcasted the American version of the war that the bad guys were not Japanese civilians, but the Japanese military. Many Japanese people were thus led to believe that the Japanese military was very bad indeed.
That was why many Japanese who had been born after the war ended up believing the lie that the Nanking Massacre was a fact which ought to be placed in the canons of historical research. I myself used to believe that the Nanking Massacre was incontrovertibly true. I thought, “Many people say so. It was a war, and such a thing could have happened.”
But many scholarly studies which thoroughly explain the issues surrounding Nanking have already been published in Japan. Those studies are a breath of fresh air. We now have enough evidence which puts to rest that the Nanking Massacre is an invention.
Atrocities and massacres were rather committed by the Chinese military in Nanking and its suburbs. The Chinese military in those days was like gangs and burglars, so to speak.
As I will demonstrate, they even massacred many Chinese civilians. American eyewitnesses were also there. Japanese soldiers committed a small number of crimes like robbery or rapes, but they were strictly punished. I think we should know these historical facts.
Historical Facts & Stubborn Things
JEA: You argue that the massacre has been fabricated. You said: “Today, we have numerous reliable pieces of evidence showing that the massacre did not actually occur.” Flesh out the arguments for us here.
AK: When Hu Jintao, former president of China (who by the way was a proponent of the Nanking Massacre narrative), visited Japan in 2008, the Committee for the Examination of the Facts about Nanking (Japanese committee) handed him an open letter, and requested his answer. The main points of the letter were the following.
(1) The president late Mao Tsetung had never referred to the “Nanking Massacre” even once in his life.
(2) From Dec. 1, 1937, till Nov. 24, 1938, the spokesman of the Chinese nationalist party gave about 300 press interviews at Hankou, but never mentioned that “Civilians were massacred in Nanking” nor “prisoners of war were illegally executed.”
(3) According to the “International Committee” which took care of the “Nanking Safety Zone” (the Japanese military installed a safety zone in Nanking to protect civilians, and had Westerners take care of the civilians), the population of Nanking just before the fall of Nanking was about 200,000. How could the Japanese military massacre 300,000 people in a city that has only 200,000?
Later, the Committee also announced that the Nanking population had increased to about 250,000 a month after the occupation. If Nanking were a completely devastating city, why did Chinese citizens come back to Nanking, which increased the population?
(4) The same record also listed crimes of Japanese soldiers. In the list, murders were 26 cases in total, one of which was actually witnessed, and the rest were all hearsay. It was evidently declared that the witnessed murder was a legitimate killing, and the Japanese are not responsible for it. This record indicates that your country’s claim of the Nanking Massacre is false.
(5) The Nanking Massacre Memorial Museum displays many pictures of the alleged massacre by the Japanese military, and other museums in China and books also do the same; however, we now know from many pieces of evidence and scientific research that not even one of the pictures is genuine. Every one of them is either unrelated to Nanking, fabricated or elaborated.
This open letter ends with the words, “Wishing the true friendly relationship between China and Japan, we handed this to you. We look forward to hearing your response.”
China has yet to formulate a cogent response to the open letter. They can’t answer, because the Chinese Communist Party knows that the Nanking Massacre was an elaborate hoax.
As I have already mentioned, if we open the newspapers of those days—not only Japanese newspapers, but also newspapers from the United States and the UK—we would come with the inexorable fact that the pictures taken at the real scenes of Nanking under the Japanese occupation are different from the pictures that are being perpetuated by the Chinese government and American writers like the late Iris Chang.
The earlier newspapers portrayed a city where peace and order were being restored; Chinese were coming back to the city; Chinese were buying and selling and smiling. Those papers also reported that the Chinese were also in the process of buying and selling from Chinese merchants.
If you think I am lying, please check your country’s newspaper during several weeks after Dec. 13, 1937. I think you can check it at the National Library online. When the Japanese troops entered Nanking, more than 100 press reporters and photographers were with them. The press corps were not only from Japan, but also from European and American press organizations, including Reuters and AP.
You will notice that none of them reported the occurrence of a massacre of 300,000 people. Paramount News produced films on the Japanese occupation in Nanking, but again none of those films ever suggested that there was a massacre.
Just eleven days after the Japanese occupation in Nanking (December 24, 1937), the British newspaper in China—the North China Daily News—published photos portraying Japanese soldiers distributing foods to Nanking citizens, and the citizens were more than happy to receive them. A Japanese pictorial book (published in 1938) has photos taken on Dec. 20 of Japanese soldiers playing with Chinese children in Nanking using toys. Chinese parents welcome those Japanese soldiers.
The newspapers and media of all over the world were replete with such scenes. How can we say that it was a massacred city? All the cruel pictures like the ones that are shown in Iris Chang’s book and in other places are either fabrication or unrelated to Nanking. Some pictures are of Chinese victims killed by Chinese soldiers. The Chinese propaganda bureau used such pictures to blame the Japanese military.
We also have testimonies of those who actually were in Nanking under the Japanese occupation. Kenichi Ara, a researcher of modern history, published a compilation of the testimonies of Japanese press reporters, soldiers and diplomats who had documented accounts during the Japanese campaign. In these testimonies, no one testified that there had been a civilian massacre.
For instance, Kannosuke Mitoma, a press reporter of the Fukuoka Nichinichi Shimbun newspaper, worked as the head of the Nanking branch office for some years. In those days his daughter attended the Japanese elementary school in Nanking (from the first grade to the fifth). The daughter testified, “I used to play with neighboring Chinese children in Nanking, but I have never heard even a rumor of the massacre.”
A Japanese ex-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 has come. So, you are now all safe.’” He cooperated faithfully with the Japanese army for 15 months until we reached Hankou.”
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.”
One can say that this is all propaganda. But James McCallum, who was an American medical doctor in Nanking, 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 continued to say:
“I must report a good deed done by some Japanese. Recently 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?
Who Were the Real Perpetrators?
JEA: You wrote that those who committed atrocities were largely Chinese soldiers. So, did they commit the atrocities and blamed them on Japanese soldiers? If so, why would they do that?
AK: Good question. An American adviser to the Chinese Nationalist propaganda bureau, Theodore H. White, confessed, “It was considered necessary to lie to [the United States], to deceive it, to do anything to persuade America… That was the only strategy of the Chinese government…”
The top of the Chinese Nationalist Party, Chiang Kai-shek, knew he could not beat the Japanese with his own military force. Chiang wished to pull the USA into his war against Japan. He used every means to deceive America.
In China, long before the Japanese military entered Nanking, there had been many cruel pictures such as beheading Chinese men, skewering Chinese women, massacring people, etc. Because there was a civil war throughout China during that time, the Chinese government collected many of those pictures. The cruel pictures were even being sold to travelers at city stores!
Keep also in mind that this is not completely foreign to China at all. Mao, as we now know, liquidated at least 45 million people in cold blood. Noted historian of modern China Frank Dikötter of the University of Hong Kong has meticulously produced evidence for these issues from archival documents in his study Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe.
Moreover, Chiang used pictures that were taken from China’s own internal war and put the blame on the Japanese military in order to persuade America about how evil Japan was. He even let his men take pictures of Japanese atrocities by Chinese men taking the form of Japanese soldiers. Chiang distributed them to the American congress and mass media. It was like “Japan is really bad. They are evils. Please support us.” American politicians and people were thus deceived.
For instance, Ralph Townsend (1900-1975), American vice-consul in Shanghai, whom I respect, knew the real state of affairs in China, saw many Chinese atrocities and lies, and alarmed the diabolical plot of the Chinese propaganda loudly, saying “The US should trust Japan, not China.”
But American politicians did not have ears to hear him. Instead of paying attention to what he had to say, they imprisoned him. Townsend was the author of the much controversial and bestselling book Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China, a devastating critique of China’s political and cultural movements. The Chinese government banned the book!
Historians say that the Chinese chronicles were the “history of those who deceived and of those who were deceived.” Contrary to the Japanese and even American cultures which value honesty, Chinese officials during that era were very skilled in lying and deceiving. I’ll give you one example which actually occurred in Nanking.
As mentioned earlier, the Japanese military installed the Safety Zone inside Nanking city to protect civilians. American professors at a college in Nanking and some other Westerners took care of the civilians of the zone by the request of the Japanese military. However, the Westerners broke the agreement with the Japanese military and hid many Chinese soldiers in their camp.
In those days, the Japanese military were trying to crack down all crimes in the city, but the crimes did not stop, although the Japanese soldiers were well disciplined. They finally arrested the criminals. The criminals were Chinese soldiers who had been nurtured by the Westerners who allowed them to stay in the camp. Please read the January 4, 1938 issue of the New York Times about them:
“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.”
The Chinese soldiers were conducting anti-Japanese maneuvers in the Zone. The American 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 whom they harbored.
Those 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, also reported a group of secret Chinese soldiers who had committed atrocities while speaking Japanese:
“A Chinese group, who had posed as Japanese and committed atrocities in Nanking, was arrested… Since false reports about Japanese military officers in Nanking are beginning to circulate 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.”
Thus, the so-called atrocities in Nanking were committed by the Chinese soldiers hiding in the Safety zone. They even killed Chinese civilians. One of the witnesses was James Espy, the American vice-consul in Nanking. He reported to the American Embassy at Hankou,
“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.”
The Chinese soldiers thus killed Chinese civilians. Japanese soldiers also witnessed their dead bodies in the streets. They were many. The Chinese soldiers did this to obtain civilian clothing and to hide in the refugee camp.
Why did the Chinese soldiers choose to hide and not run away from Nanking? Because if the Chinese soldiers tried to escape from Nanking, they would have been killed by Chinese soldiers. Those soldiers were called the “supervisory unit.” They used to wait at the back gate of Nanking. They were also ordered to kill any of their fellow soldiers trying to flee from the battlefield.
Many Chinese soldiers were killed that way. There was a mountain of dead bodies at the back gate. A Japanese soldier saw the scene, weeping and said, “What a country! Compatriots kill compatriots.” Keep also in mind that the US supported Chiang Kai-shek and his Chinese military.
The amazing thing is that injured Chinese soldiers who surrendered could get treatments from the Japanese army medics. In the POW camp, they could even enjoy playing the Chinese music instruments. How different was that, compared with the Chinese military?
A Chinese soldier Liu Qixiong was once hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone and was caught as a POW. He was used as a coolie with salary for a while in the Japanese military. Seeing the lives of the Japanese, he himself became pro-Japanese, and later became the commander of a brigade for Wang Jingwei’s pro-Japanese government.
The Source of the Nanking Deception
JEA: Who propagated the idea that the Nanking Massacre was a fact of history? Iris Chang’s book, The Rape Of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II, is still quite popular in my country, the United States. But was she the first one to perpetuate the fabrication?
AK: The first source of the so-called “Nanking Massacre” was not a Chinese but an American who was a supporter of the Chinese Nationalists. Miner S. Bates (1897-1978), who was in Nanking as a leading member of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, wrote in January 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.”
The number of the victims was thus first claimed to be about 40,000, not 300,000. The number 300,000 is a so-called “Chinese figure.” Bates got his Ph.D. at Yale University in Chinese history and became a professor at Nanking University. Interestingly enough, if you go to the Yale University archive, you will see the work of Bates on the Nanking incident there. Bates also testified at the Tokyo Trial after the war that he had seen many civilian dead bodies lying about everywhere in his neighborhood for many days in Nanking after its fall.
Bates is still revered in the US as a hero who protected Nanking civilians from the Japanese massacre; however, this is incorrect. Bates was publicly a Christian missionary and a university professor in Nanking. But it is also a fact that he was an adviser to the Chinese Nationalist Party.
In other words, Bates was part of the Chinese propaganda machine. Bates was later decorated by Chiang Kai-shek for his “contribution,” for he himself wrote so in his personal history.
As I mentioned earlier, the International Committee members living in Nanking repeatedly blamed the Japanese military for many atrocities, such as rape and looting, but those were largely committed by Chinese soldiers who were hiding in secret locations. It must be emphasized that it was only Bates who reported the alleged Japanese mass-killings of civilians in Nanking.
Even the spokesman of the Chinese nationalist party never mentioned the Japanese massacre at their 300-plus press interviews at Hankou after the Japanese occupation of Nanking. Bates was thus the only man who was eager to try to insist that the Nanking Massacre was real. The people who were or once were in Nanking did not see any Japanese mass-killings of civilians, but it was possible for Bates to let the people outside Nanking believe there had been such a massacre.
Unlike James Espy, who reported that the Chinese themselves were in the business of killing civilians and taking their clothes for covert activities, Bates never reported such devastating news largely because that would have ruined his prevailing assumptions, which he knew were based on false premises. Hence, Bates’ report was very biased, for he was secretly acting as an agent of the Chinese propaganda machine.
Was the Nanking Massacre that Bates insisted true? No. The number “unarmed 40,000 victims” that Bates insisted was tricky. It was the number from the burial list of the Red Swastika Society, a Chinese group which buried almost all the dead bodies under the request of the Japanese military. The society buried nearly 40,000 bodies. This was the total number of those who were killed in Nanking.
The Bates testimony at the Tokyo Trial contained mistakes or willful lies. According to the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun on December 26, 1937—which reported that correspondents Wakaume and Murakami visited Professor Bates at his university on December 15, two days after the fall of Nanking—Bates welcomed Wakaume and Murakami in 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 “…many civilian dead bodies lying about everywhere” which Bates alluded to. Bates also testified numerous things that are simply not factual. Prof. Shudo Higashinakano of Asia University, who inquired the details, wrote, “I can’t help being surprised of his double-tongues.”
Bates claimed 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 percent of women and children.
I don’t know about you, but 30 percent is very different from 0.3 percent. If the Japanese military killed many civilians, the percentage of women and children must have been very high, yet it was actually almost none.
That means that the “40,000 casualties” were Chinese armed soldiers. Some were Chinese soldiers killed by the Japanese military, some were Chinese soldiers killed by the Chinese supervisory unit, and the rest were Chinese civilian men killed by Chinese soldiers to obtain their civilian clothing. As for the Chinese soldiers, many of them discarded military uniforms when they were running away. So, the dead bodies looked like civilians.
H. J. Timperley and What War Means
So the Nanking issue is quite complex. Let me explain even more. In 1938 a book entitled What War Means was published. The name of the author was H.J. Timperley, but a sizable part of the book was written by Miner S. Bates anonymously. Even the library at Yale University itself admitted: “Bates was a major moving spirit behind H. J. Timperley’s book, Japanese Terror in China (New York, June 1938).” Timperley was not in Nanking but in Shanghai, and what Timperley wrote was all hearsay.
The book sensationally claimed the massacre of Nanking civilians was committed by the Japanese military. But as we all know, it is very easy to axiomatically claim that a horrible event happened in history, but it is a completely different story to objectively and truthfully present documents for the claim. Timperley’s book had a tremendously powerful influence on the American psyche.
Bates, as an adviser to the Chinese Nationalist Party, was thus acting as an agent of the Chinese propaganda machine which ontologically spearheaded the deception that the Japanese military was so bad. It was to deceive the USA and drag it into the war against Japan.
I have already argued that many atrocities and massacres were actually committed by the Chinese military. Itaru Kajimura, a Japanese second lieutenant, wrote in his diary on January 15, 1938 that 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’s unit was stationed near Shanghai when the battle of Nanking ended.)
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 just shows what Chinese soldiers are.”
Such Chinese soldiers did also many wicked things in Nanking. 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.”
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 fall of Nanking. They said: ‘When Chinese soldiers were in the city, they came to the 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 basically bandits. And in this Safety Zone there still are bad Chinese men.”
These Chinese soldiers plundered, killed and destroyed many Chinese lives. And here we are going to examine the work of Professor Lewis S. C. Smythe, who conducted an investigation on this issue during December 1937 and March 1938, particularly inside the walls of Nanking and its rural area.
Smythe’s report does not specify whether the assailants were Japanese or Chinese; however, those who have subscribed to the Nanking Massacre have seized Smythe’s investigation without qualification and without laying out the parameters. Smythe’s investigation is pretty straightforward: the method was to choose arbitrarily one victim 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.
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 the civilians dead and missing was l5,760. Were they killed by the Japanese or the Chinese?
Most of the assailants were in fact Chinese. As mentioned in Durdin’s 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 one Chinese husband and wife in the Safety Zone testified, the Chinese military took away men and forced them to become soldiers or to do hard work. Moreover, as mentioned in the Espy’s report, many Chinese soldiers killed civilians and took their clothes in order to discard military uniforms.
Smythe’s investigation thus included many civilians who had been killed by the Chinese military. We can say that the number of civilians killed by the Japanese military were only a few. However, these investigations and many other right testimonies were later forgotten.
After that, the Chinese Communist Party took over and began to perpetuate the Nanking Massacre. They knew this was a covert operation and manipulation. They built the Nanking Massacre Memorial Museum in China with many fake evidences, and their education system was built on this massive, anti-Japanese deception. Every dictatorship always makes enemies outside to rule its people inside.
Death by the Numbers
Iris Chang’s book was a recent big hit for the Rape of Nanking narrative. As you mentioned in the first article, Chang committed suicide in 2004. The Economist magazine commented that she had committed the suicide perhaps because her book was much criticized, and she was deeply depressed about it.
But why did much of the media in the United States promote her book? The US once dropped 2 atomic bombs on Japan which killed about 300,000 unarmed civilians; they also dropped many other bombs on Japanese cities and massacred more than 400,000, civilians. About 700,000 in total. It was a war crime.
After the war, the Japanese did not totally put the blame on the US; however, I think many Americans themselves felt and that their conscience was telling them that they did something wrong. So, they buried their guilt by perpetuating that Japan was guilty during the so-called Nanking Massacre as well. That’s how they justified their evil deeds. That was one reason why the mass media in America easily accepted Iris Chang’s book. We all need to know the fact historically, not emotionally. Shoichi Watanabe, a professor emeritus at Sophia University, declared:
“Before the US-Japan war, a false document called ‘Tanaka Memorial’ was written 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.
“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.”
John Rabe and the Disinformation Machine
In her book, Iris Chang often referred to John Rabe, who was the head of the Nanking Safety Zone and a reporter of many Japanese atrocities. John Rabe was a German. Chang praises him as a good man like Oskar Schindler who saved Jews. But what was John Rabe really like?
Germany in those days was a supporter of the Chinese Nationalist Party. Chiang Kai-shek’s military was being trained by German advisers. Rabe himself was an adviser to the Nationalist Party (The year 1937 was before the conclusion of the alliance of Germany, Italy and Japan). Rabe was pro-Chinese.
Rabe was also the head of the Nanking branch office of Siemens AG, which had sold antiaircraft guns to the Chinese Nationalist Party. Rabe had gained great profit from it. Since the connection with the Chinese Nationalist Party was the source of his income, Rabe did not want Germany to part from China and shake hands with Japan. Rabe was anti-Japanese.
In his report, Rabe often refers to numerous atrocities, replacing assailants from Chinese soldiers to Japanese soldiers. That was why, when Rabe sent his report to Germany, Adolf Hitler did not trust him and rather imprisoned him.
In fact, P. Scharfienberg, the secretary general of the German Embassy to China, who returned to Nanking on January 9, 1938, about a month after the fall of Nanking, tried to investigate the facts about the alleged Japanese atrocities mentioned in Rabe’s report. Scharfienberg wrote to the German Embassy at Hankou on February 10:
“Rabe is 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.”
It is historically accurate to say that Chiang Kai-shek of the Chinese Nationalist Party killed millions upon millions of people in his life, and Mao Tsetung of the Communist Party killed about 45 million Chinese people. I would again refer people to historian Frank Dikötter’s Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62. Chiang Kai-check and Mao did not care one bit about their fellow Chinese.
Chiang Kai-shek was previously a Christian, largely because he wanted to get the trust and support of the US. But he was actually a mass-murdering clown. The Japanese military was fighting against such cliques. The Japanese cared for Chinese civilians, because Japan wanted to reconstruct and restore China. Even American historian John Toland, who embraced the Nanking Massacre narrative, admitted in his study The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 that Japan
“poured a billion dollar into the bandit-infested, sparsely populated territory [Manchuria], and maintained such law and order along the railroads that hundreds of thousands of Japanese, Chinese and Korean traders and settlers flooded into the area.
“It was this mass influx that had inspired [Japanese lieutenant colonels Kanji] Ishihara and [Seishiro] Itagaki to envision a Manchuria free of its Chinese warlord ruler. Ishihara dreamed of making it an autonomous state, a haven for all of its ethnic groups—Japanese, Chinese, Manchurians, Koreans, and White Russians. Here genuine democracy and eventual socialism would be practiced and a buffer set up against Soviet Russia.”
That was not written by a Japanese propagandist. The mass media in America could never have reported such a historical fact because it did not fit the anti-Japanese narrative which was quite visceral during the Roosevelt administration.
To reiterate, Japan wanted to save China, not to invade or mercilessly colonize it; she wanted to save the Chinese people and land from the awful Chinese civil war. Japan wanted to make China a modern independent, free of Western colonization and Communist infiltration and subversion.
In fact, in October 1937, Pope Pius XI said that the action of the Japanese troops toward China was understandable, and the Pope appealed to all the Catholic believers to cooperate with the Japanese troops, saying:
“The action of the Japanese troops was not to invade, but to protect China. They are fighting to get rid of communism there. As long as communism is in the world, all Catholic believers should cooperate with Japan without hesitation.”
But his appeal did not reach the people because of the explosion of disinformation at the time. But Japan wanted to make China a good country. Why? Because Japan was interested in uniting all Asia. This was known as Pan-Asianism at the time. Any serious historian of Asia knows of this movement. So it was impossible for Japan to think of massacring Nanking civilians when she wanted to unify Asia altogether.
JEA: Japanese historians have been writing about these issues for years. Yet many of their works have not really been translated to English. Why?
AK: I hope the works of those Japanese historians will be translated into English in the future. Keep also mind that Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Two Hundred Years Together hasn’t reached an English-speaking publisher. I think we know why.
Some of the work of Japanese scholars can be read online in English. The Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact (http://www.sdh-fact.com) publishes many good works on modern history from an objective perspective.
JEA: What are some of the historians that you would recommend to our viewers?
AK: I recommend the works of Prof. Shudo Higashinakano (Asia University), Prof. Tadao Takemoto (Tsukuba University), Prof. Yasuo Ohara (Kokugakuin University), Prof. Nobukatsu Fujioka (Takushoku University), Professor emeritus Shoichi Watanabe (Sophia University), Prof. Bunyu Ko (Takushoku University), etc. The works of the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, which I already mentioned, are also informative.
Masaaki Tanaka’s books are also good. He was ex-secretary of General Iwane Matsui who led the Japanese Nanking campaign. Tanaka saw all scenes at Nanking. In his book, Tanaka writes that during the combat in Nanking, General Matsui heard a cry of a Chinese female infant from a house. He ordered Tanaka to save the child. When the Japanese army marched into Nanking, General Matsui let Tanaka on horse carry the child on his back. General Matsui later named her Matsuko, nurtured and cherished her as his adopted child.
HM: Let me jump into this very important issue and make some contribution. First of all, the Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone (hereafter DNSZ) was published by Kelly & Walsh in Shanghai in 1939, and it was edited by SHUHSI HSÜ, adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nationalist Party. So for people to cite the DNSZ as evidence for the Nanking Massacre is like quoting Ilya Ehrenburg saying that the Nazis were killing six million Jews long before World War II was over!
Secondly, Eyewitnesses to Massacre, which was edited by Zhang Kaiyuan, is mainly a collection of letters written by ten American missionaries. The letters that are addressed to families and close friends are generally neutral and objective. There is no debate on this.
But the letters that are sent to “friends” are an appeal to the public with a specific and covert agenda. This is a very important distinction. Those letters are now part of the Yale University Nanking Documents.
Keep in mind that Miner S. Bates’ papers and letters are also archived in Yale. Bates’ memos with respect to the Nanking Massacre, as scholars now know, are nothing more than pure propaganda.
Historian Matsumura Tosio has examined all the letters from December 13, 1837, to January 15. His conclusion? The people who wrote Eyewitnesses to Massacre never witnessed any massacre. In fact, no American ever witnessed the Nanjing “Massacre.”
With respect to Timperley, it has been revealed that he was not an ordinary journalist but a Chinese Nationalist Party’s propaganda agent. Zeng Xubai, the chief of the China Information Committee, writes in his autobiography, write:
“ …Timperley was an ideal man. Thus, we decide that our first step would be to make payment to Timperley, and also through his coordination, to Smyth, and commission both of them to write and publish two books for us as witnesses to the Nanking Massacre…..We held discussions with Timperley and he became our secret man in charge of propaganda in America for China Information Committee. …”