Talk:Nanjing Massacre denial/Disputed material
- 1 Central issues of the debate
- 2 Soldiers killed in action
- 3 Killing of captured soldiers
- 4 Killing of non-uniformed soldiers
- 5 Total number of military and civilian victims
- 6 Killing of civilians
- 7 Public statements by Chinese government and leaders during the war
- 8 Japanese atrocities and Chinese atrocities
- 9 Testimony of Westerners
- 10 Contemporary accounts in the press
- 11 Analysis of photographic evidence
- 12 Iris Chang's book
- 13 Notes and references
- 14 Bibliography
- 15 External links
Central issues of the debate
Massacre denialists argue that the "Nanking Massacre" was a fabrication and false propaganda spread by the Chinese Nationalists and Communists. They argue that the activities of the Japanese military in Nanking were in accordance with international law and were humane.
In his book "The Fabrication of the 'Nanjing Massacre', Masaaki Tanaka argues that there was no indiscriminate killing at all in Nanjing and that the so-called Nanjing Massacre was a fabrication manufactured by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) and the Chinese government for the purpose of furthering anti-Japanese propaganda.
According to Takashi Yoshida, Tanaka argues that the "great massacre faction" errs because they accept the documents and claims submitted as evidence at the Tokyo Trials as reliable, fail to distinguish between killing of combatants and noncombatants, ignore the situation on the battlefield, ignore the high casualty count of the Japanese army during the Second Sino-Japanese War, disregard the illegality of Chinese guerrilla tactics, overlook the atrocities committed by Chinese soldiers, ignore the fact that the IMTFE was more focused on meting out victors' justice than on providing a fair trial, and overlook the exaggerated emphasis placed on the Nanjing incident by the IMTFE.
Massacre denialists also make the following arguments: that there is no direct testimony of the supposed massacres, particularly in the contemporary press, that various frequently displayed photographs have been doctored, that the Communist authorities in China did not denounce the supposed massacres until the 1980s, and that when they finally did so, their motive was to counteract the political consequences of opening the country to foreign influence, particularly from Japan.
Categorization of casualties
Takashi Hoshiyama presents an analysis of the arguments put forth by what he characterizes as the "massacre affirmation school" and the "massacre denial school". Hoshiyama identifies five central points at issue:
- The killing of captured soldiers,
- The killing of non-uniformed soldiers mingled in with civilians,
- Whether the killing of civilians was perpetrated under a systematic policy,
- The killing of civilians, and
- The total number of military and civilian victims.
Historian Masami Unemoto composed a categorization of casualties in Nanking:
|I. Killed in action||1. Soldiers who died while defending Nanking|
2. Soldiers shot while retreating or trying to escape from the city
3. Stragglers* who were shot
4. Guerillas in civilian clothing, who were discovered and executed
|II. Killed in combat-related incidents||1.Individual soldiers who surrendered, but were killed |
2. Citizens who were in the combat zone and either cooperated with the Chinese army, or were accidentally killed
3. Citizens mistakenly identified as guerillas and executed
|III. Killed in illegal action||1. Soldiers taken in as prisoners, who were killed |
2. Non-resisting "good" citizens (including women and children) who were killed*
Denialists admit that Japanese soldiers committed crimes in the city, but Professor Bunyu Ko, a controversial Taiwanese-born historian at Takushoku University in Tokyo, argues that the crime rate was much lower than the ones in cities occupied by the Chinese or Russians. Other denialists argue that the Japanese crimes in Nanking were similar to the ones committed by soldiers of the American occupation forces in Japan after the US-Japan war. Ko also argues that the "Nanking Massacre" was a fiction fabricated by the Chinese and no such thing occurred in Nanking.
Soldiers killed in action
Corpses of Yangtze River
The battle near the Yangtze River was a very fierce one in the Nanking campaign. Japanese veterans who fought the battle testify, "The Chinese soldiers did not reply to our surrender recommendation, and showed no signs of surrender." One of the Japanese veterans Mochitsura Hashimoto testified, "Though the Chinese soldiers carried their rifles or machine-guns, none of them were in regular military uniform." The Japanese army had to continue to attack them, and many of the Chinese soldiers were shot or drowned in the river. According to the article of F. Tillman Durdin in the New York Times on December 22, 1937, the Chinese soldiers who reached the Yangtze River tried to escape using junks, but "many were drowned in periods of panic at the riverbank."
There are some pictures of the dead bodies at the riverbank. Massacre denialists such as Professor Shudo Higashinakano at Asia University in Tokyo claim that these are the bodies killed in the battle, and they criticize that massacre affirmationists including Iris Chang used these pictures as evidence of a massacre.
Chinese soldiers killed by Chinese Supervisory Unit
Massacre denialists point out that in the battle of Nanking, Chinese soldiers were not only killed by the Japanese military, but also killed by a Chinese supervisory unit, who were Chinese soldiers waiting behind to kill their fellow soldiers trying to flee from the battlefield. The American or Japanese military never had such units; however, the Chinese military had such a unit in every battle to kill their fleeing soldiers.
Ko estimates that throughout the Sino-Japanese war the victims killed by such Chinese supervisory units were more than those killed by the Japanese military. He states that in Nanking also, the Chinese supervisory unit killed many Chinese soldiers who tried to flee from the battle.
Denialists assert that the war casualties in Westerners reports included such Chinese soldiers who had been killed by the Chinese.
Killing of captured soldiers
Kesago Nakajima's diary
Massacre affirmationists claim that, during the battle for Nanking, there are instances where the Japanese army killed Chinese soldiers whom they had captured. In some cases, these executions took place some time after the soldiers had been captured, sometimes as much as several days afterward, as expressed in the diary of lieutenant-general Kesago Nakajima. The following is an excerpt of his diary.
"The general policy is "Accept no prisoners!" So we ended up having to take care of them lot, stock and barrel (....) Later, I heard that the Sasaki unit alone disposed of about 1,500. A company commander guarding Taiping Gate took care of another 1,300. Another 7,000 to 8,000 clustered at Xianho Gate are still surrendering. We need a really huge ditch to handle those 7,000 to 8,000 but we can't find one, so someone suggested this plan : Divide them up into groups of 100 to 200, and then lure them to some suitable spot for finishing off."
Professor Masaki Unemoto at Boei University in Japan and other massacre denialists however claim that this was only a plan; Nakajima did not write that the POWs had actually been executed. According to denialists, there are records showing that the 7,000–8,000 POWs, about whom Nakajima wrote, were not killed, but sent to the concentration camp in Nanking. The History of the Battle of Nanking, published in Japan as a compilation of historical documents, referred to various records of those days and then concluded, “After taking all of these into consideration, it is clear that these 7,200 POWs were sent to the Central Concentration Camp in Nanking and locked up in it.” 
Concentration camp in Nanking
According to Masaki Unemoto, 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 Wang’s pro-Japanese government. Higashinakano points out that one of these captured POWs was Qixiong Liu, a Chinese soldier who was found hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone, who was employed as a coolie for a time, and later became the commander of a brigade for Jingwei Wang's pro-Japanese government.
According to massacre denialists, many Japanese veterans testified that "Accept no prisoners" had always meant "Disarm them and let them go home" and they actually had done so, if there was no compelling reason to send them to the concentration camp. A staff officer Onishi told, "They could go home walking. There never was any military order or divisional order to kill POWs." And according to the veterans, Kesago Nakajima was 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.
Higashinakano writes that in Nanking there was no execution of POWs who had surrendered and been captured in military uniform.
Alleged humane treatment of Chinese POWs
Massacre denialists point to a number of anecdotes which they assert demonstrate Japanese kindness and generosity toward Chinese POWs in Nanking after the fall of the city.
A chief of infantrymen who fought the battle of Nanking testified, "We defeated the enemies and saw thousands of them dead on the ground outside the walls of Nanking and near the gates. 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 there 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."
Killing of non-uniformed soldiers
Execution of Chinese soldiers
Japanese soldiers have testified that when they got near the Safety Zone, they saw piles of Chinese military uniforms heaped onto the streets that separated the Zone and the rest of the city. From this evidence, the Japanese command inferred that retreating Chinese soldiers had escaped into the Safety Zone, discarding their uniforms and camouflaging themselves as ordinary citizens.
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."
To find out these Chinese soldiers who hid themselves in the Safety Zone, the Japanese military did a mop-up operation. Those who were caught and found hiding weapons were executed. They were considered to have been preparing street fighting or guerrilla activities. According to 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.
Legality of the execution
Higashinakano and other massacre denialists argue that these Chinese soldiers who were arrested in the safety zone were not entitled to the privileges as POWs because they did not meet any of the four qualifications of belligerents as stipulated in the Hague convention of 1907:
- To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
- To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
- To carry arms openly; and
- To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
Denialists argue that those soldiers who did not satisfy these qualifications were deemed to be illegitimate combatants and, as such, were not eligible for the protection under the international law. The denialists argue that execution of unlawful combatants on sight was not a violation of international law, and was customarily practiced in each country without tribunal. Denialists further argue that not all unlawful combatants were executed, only those who offered continued resistance. Denialists argue that, since these executions took place as part of a "mopping-up" operation, they came under the "rubric of combat action".
Higashinakano cites Lewis Smythe, who investigated the Japanese occupation of Nanking, wrote in his report about the Nanking Safety Zone: "We have no right to protest about legitimate executions by the Japanese army." Denialists argue that no Europeans and Americans who were living in Nanking in those days reported any cases in which the Japanese army had executed prisoners of war.
In response, the massacre affirmation school asserts that, after the fall of Nanking, non-uniformed Chinese soldiers were not unlawful combatants engaged in guerrilla activities in the accepted sense of the term. The affirmation school asserts that the resistance of Chinese soldiers was weak and "virtually negligible". Moreover, they assert that trials before a military tribunal would have been required before such prisoners could be executed.
Total number of military and civilian victims
Estimates of the total number of Chinese civilians who died during the Nanjing Incident vary.
The issues involved in calculating the number of victims are largely based on the various definitions of the geographical range and the duration of the event, as well as the definition of who was a victim. The extent of the atrocities is debated between China and Japan, with numbers ranging from some Japanese claims of several hundred, to the Chinese claim of a non-combatant death toll of 300,000
One methodology for estimating the number of civilians who died during the Nanjing incident is to compute employ a "population balance" computation which estimates the population of Nanking before its fall to the Japanese and compares that number to the estimated population at some time after the fall. Estimates of the population of Nanjing after the fall of the city to the Japanese range from 200,000 to 250,000. There is a much greater variance in the estimates of the population of the city prior to the Battle of Nanjing. These estimates range from 150,000 to 700,000. Using the low end of this range, massacre denialists have argued that the population of Nanjing did not change appreciably between the start of the Battle of Nanjing and afterwards. On the other hand, massacre affirmationists use the high end of the range to justify claims of as many as 300,000 civilians massacred.
David Askew analyzes a number of primary sources to conclude that "the civilian population of Nanjing was 200,000 in the weeks leading up to the fall of the city; that it remained 200,000 for the first 4 weeks of the occupation; and that it increased to 250,000 by January 10, 1938."
At the time of the Nanjing Incident, the Nanjing Special Municipality consisted of the walled city and the surrounding six counties. According to Tokushi Kasahara, the civilian population of the walled city was between 400,000 and 500,000, and that of the six surrounding counties was more than 1 million. Kasahara argues that those killed in the six surrounding counties should be included in the count of victims. His estimate of the death toll in the whole of the Nanjing Special Municipality is in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 people.
An important point of contention revolves around the question of whether various population estimates refer only to the number of civilians in the Safety Zone or whether they also include civilians present in Nanking but outside the Safety Zone. David Askew acknowledges that "it might be argued that the 200,000 or 250,000 civilians the documents refer to were limited to the population in the Safety Zone under the care of the International Committee, and that '<the city" which is frequently mentioned is not Nanjing, but rather the Safety Zone itself." In refutation of this interpretation, Askew argues that "a close reading of the documents demonstrates that the area outside the Safety Zone was deserted during the early weeks of the occupation."
Population prior to the Battle of Nanking
At the post-war Tokyo war crimes tribunal, the Chinese reported that the pre-massacre population of Nanking was about 600,000 to 700,000. Massacre denialists challenge this figure as having been grossly inflated to support the allegations of a massacre.
Prior to the approach of the Japanese Army, Nanking's population was approximately one million. However, as the Japanese Army drew nearer, those who were able fled the city in anticipation of a fierce battle. John Rabe estimated that some 800,000 had fled Nanking, leaving 200,000 who he characterized as "the poorest of the poor".
- Four Documents of the Nanjing Safety Zone agree that the total number of refugees in the Safety Zone were 200,000.
- On January 13, 1938, Robert Espy, vice-consul of the American Embassy, reported to Washington that the population of Nanking was between 200,000 – 250,000.
- On the same date, John Rabe made a similar report to the German Embassy estimating the population at 200,000.
According to David Askew, "most Western journalists believed that the civilian population of Nanjing was considerably smaller than 200,000, setting it at 150,000."
- In a dispatch from Hankou, Lily Abegg, correspondent for the German newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung, who escaped from Nanking just before its fall, wrote, “Last week about 200,000 people left Nanking. One million souls once inhabited the city, but their numbers had dwindled to 350,000. Now there are at most 150,000 people remaining, but waves of evacuees seem interminable."
- "Life" magazine also reported that about “150,000 Nanking civilians...cowered throughout the siege in a ‘safety zone’.(10 January 1938)
- Kuomingtang Major Zhang Qunsi, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese army, stated that the Chinese defense force of the city numbered 50,000, while noncombatants were 15,000.
- Brigadier Major General Lew who was in charge of defending Yuhuatai, and also taken prisoner by the Japanese army, and later promoted to Major General and the headmaster of Nanking Military Academy during Wang Jingwei’s administration, claimed that the population of citizens was “approximately 200,000”.
- In an entry in his war journal dated December 20, Gen. Matsui Iwane, commander-in-chief of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force wrote, "There are 120,000 Chinese in the Refugee Zone, most of them poor people".
Population of Nanking after its fall
Several members of the International Committee stated in their official documents, diaries and letters on multiple occasions that around 250,000 refugees were living in the camps within the Safety Zone and many fewer people, "probably not more than ten thousands," as reported by one of the members, Miner Searle Bates, were living outside the refugee camps.
Massacre denialists use this evidence along with evidence from Japanese sources to conclude that the population of Nanking could not have been more than 300,000 and was more probably closer to 200,000. They argue that it would have been impossible for the Japanese Army to massacre 300,000 Chinese without slaughtering the entire population of Nanking at least once, if not multiple times. Similar arguments are made by the "Middle of the Road" school.
The Japanese military occupied Nanking on December 13, and five days after it, on December 18, the International Committee for Nanking Safety Zone announced that the population of Nanking was still about 200,000, and later, on December 21, the Foreigners Association in Nanking referred to 200,000 as the population of Nanking.
On December 24, 1937, the Japanese Army announced that civilians would be required to register and henceforth carry identification papers which are described in Western sources as "passports", "registration cards", "good subject certificates" or "good citizen certificates". According to Bob Wakabayashi, the Japanese Army registered 160,000 civilians although this number does not include children under the age of ten or "older women" because they were not required to register.
About one month after the Japanese occupation, on January 14, 1938, the International Committee announced that the population of Nanking increased to about 250,000, for many Nanking citizens who had escaped the city came back to Nanking, learning that peace had been restored.
In a letter to Tokuyasu Fukuda, a staff member of the Japanese Embassy in Nanking, Lewis Smythe, a member of the International Committee for Nanking Safety Zone, wrote that according to his calculations, the population of Nanking was about 250,000–270,000.
Under the auspices of the International Committee, Lewis S.C. Smythe conducted a statistical sampling of the population of Nanjing survey between March 9 and April 2, 1938. With the proviso that his estimate represented "80 to 90 percent of the total residents", Lewis S.C. Smythe arrived at a figure of 212,600. Bob Wakabayashi concludes that Smythe was extrapolating the total population of the city to have been between 236,000 to 266,000.
Promulgation of 300,000 victims
The casualty count of 300,000 was first promulgated by the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal, based on reports from contemporary eyewitnesses and media reports such as the telegram of January 1938 by Harold Timperley, a journalist in China during the Japanese aggression. Higashinakano, however, points out that Timperley was not in Nanking; and that his report was not only hearsay, but also baseless. Higashinakano further writes that Timperley was an advisor to the Chinese Nationalist Party and his book about the Japanese military was written as propaganda.
Other sources, including Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking, also conclude that the death toll reached 300,000. In December 2007, newly declassified US government documents revealed an additional toll of around 500,000 in the area surrounding Nanking before it was occupied.
Higashinakano, however, claims that before the Japanese military reached Nanking, the Chinese military had set fire to nearly all the houses in the area surrounding Nanking and that there were almost no inhabitants left in the surrounding area. Japanese veterans testify that they seldom saw inhabitants on the way to Nanking because the inhabitants had either been killed by the fire or already escaped.
Tomizo Hamazaki, a Japanese soldier who participated in the Nanking operation, wrote, “November 24, I saw burned ruins of towns and rural areas stretched as far as my eyes could see. I saw no inhabitants. I hear that this was due to the enemy’s strategy not to give food and quartering to the Japanese military and to cause us pain.” 
International Military Tribunal for the Far East
According to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, estimates made at a later date indicate that the total number of civilians and prisoners of war murdered in Nanking and its vicinity during the first six weeks of the Japanese occupation was over 200,000. These estimates are borne out by the figures of burial societies and other organizations, which testify to over 155,000 buried bodies. These figures do not take into account those persons whose bodies were destroyed by burning, drowning, or other means.
At the Tokyo Tribunal, the Chinese Nationalist government claimed that 300,000 people had been killed at Nanjing. The tribunal's verdict stated that more than 200,000 civilians and prisoners of war had been killed in and around Nanking.
Massacre denialists of Tsukurukai claim that the Nanking Massacre accusation at the tribunal was only the desire of the United States and the Chinese Nationalist Party to justify their war against Japan, and justify the use of the atomic bombs which had massacred about 300,000 civilians in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Great Massacre school
The Great Massacre school points to the verdict of the Tokyo Tribunal, which acknowledges that the number of corpses buried totaled 155,000. In his book, Nankin Jiken, Hora reasoned, “when the Japanese army started its attack on Nanking, there were said to be 250,000 to 300,000 citizens in the city… it is said that nearly 200,000 citizens lived in Nanking after the Japanese army’s mopping up operation… which means that 50,000 to 100,000 people were massacred.”
Professor Tokushi Kasahara, a Marxist historian at Tsuru University, estimates roughly 100,000 casualties for the immediate Nanjing area and rising to as high as twice that figure for the much wider region.
Additionally, professors Akira Fujiwara (Hitotsubashi University), Yutaka Yoshida (Hitotsubashi University), Hisashi Inoue (Suruga University), and others belonging to this Great Massacre school, estimate that the massacre victims numbered around 100,000 or, at most, 200,000. However, none of them insists that there were 300,000 victims. They claim that the figure 300,000 is exaggerated and political propaganda of the Chinese.
Middle of the Road school
Researchers of the Middle-of-the-Road school estimate that the massacred victims were between several thousand and several tens of thousand. Japanese professors Ikuhiko Hata (Nihon University), Masaki Unemoto (Boei University), Akira Nakamura (Dokkyo University), Yoshiaki Itakura (editor of the History of the Battle of Nanking), and Tsuyoshi Hara (investigator of the Defense Institute) belong to this school.
Miner Bates, who was in Nanking and served as a member of the International Committee for Nanking Safety Zone, estimated 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." Other members of the Committee wrote similar estimations. The Middle-of-the-Roaders’ view is similar to this report.
David Askew's review of primary documents suggests that the most accurate estimates of the total population of Nanjing in late 1937 are those that are in the range of 200,000 to 250,000. Askew argues that it would therefore be impossible for the number of victims to be in that range as it would imply a total annihilation of the population of Nanking. Askew concludes that estimates of around 40,000 victims, including 12,000 POWs, are far more likely to be correct.
Researchers of the Illusion school are massacre denialists, and they estimate that the POWs and civilians killed by the Japanese military in Nanking were a negligible quantity. To this school belong Japanese professors Shoichi Watanabe (Sophia University), Yatsuhiro Nakagawa (Tsukuba University), Nobukatsu Fujioka (Tokyo University), Shudo Higashinakano (Asia University), Tadao Takemoto (Tsukuba University), Yasuo Ohara (Kokugakuin University), Kazuo Sato (Aoyama-gakuin University), Masaaki Tanaka (lecturer at Takushoku University), Shigenobu Tomizawa (director of the Japan Nanking Academy) and others.
They argue that, if the population of Nanking prior to the Japanese attack was about 200,000, then it could not have been possible for 300,000 people to have been killed. Their arguments for a pre-battle estimate of 200,000 is based on documents submitted as evidence in the Tokyo Trial, reports made by diplomatic personnel of that era, contemporary reports in newspapers and magazines and statements made by Chinese and Japanese military officers at the time.
Watanabe points out that various records show the population of Nanking, which had been about 200,000 just before the Japanese attack, increased to about 250,000 one month after the fall of the city. He argues that it would have been impossible for the citizens to have come back to Nanking if there had been a massacre.
Massacre denialists argue that since the missionaries who incessantly protested against the orgy of murders, looting, rapes, and arson by the Japanese troops did not record any drastic population drops as a result of the atrocities, the massacre of 300,000 or even 200,000 people simply looks implausible.
Fujioka argues that atrocities against civilians numbered forty-seven, and that "200,000 civilians could not have possibly have been massacred unless ghosts were killed."
Higashinakano points out that the initial reports of casualties at Nanking run in the thousands inside the walls of Nanking and to a few tens of thousands outside the walls. According to him, these numbers seem to be at odds with the allegations of hundreds of thousands of casualties.
Takemoto and Ohara claim that there were many civilians killed by the Chinese military. When Chinese soldiers fled, they discarded military uniforms and killed Nanking citizens to take their clothes to pose as civilians (Espy’s report). The Chinese military set fire to nearly all the houses in the area surrounding Nanking (New York Times), killing many Chinese people. Chinese soldiers discarded military uniforms to escape and, when they were killed, they looked like civilian victims. Denialists assert that these were mistakenly counted as the victims killed by the Japanese military.
After the battle of Nanking, the Japanese military entrusted the burial of the dead to the Chinese. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East used the burial records of about 40,000 bodies by the Red Swastika Society, a voluntary association in Nanking, and the burial records of 112,267 bodies by the Chung Shan Tang (Tsung Shan Tong), a 140-year-old charitable organization, as evidence of killings of the Japanese military. The combined total was about 155,000.
A question often raised by many massacre denialists is the credibility of burial records of the Chung Shan Tang. Although their reports that recorded the burial of 112,267 bodies was adduced to the tribunal, they were actually prepared for the tribunal after the war ended because the original manuscripts were allegedly all lost during the eight years of Japanese occupation.
Of course that does not mean that the Chung Shan Tang doctored their reports. The available Chinese documents of that time showed that the organization started burying the dead bodies scattered over certain parts of the city at the beginning of 1938 at the latest. Forty full-time staff and numerous part-timers buried their countrymen and women inside the city walls until March and worked outside of the walls in April.
It should be noted, however, that none of the other documents written by members of the International Committee or the Japanese authorities in Nanjing mentioned that the Tsun Shan Tang was engaged in burial work, while they recorded that another charitable organization, the Red Swastika Society, buried about 40,000 bodies.
Their burial reports also showed a rather disproportionate number of the bodies buried each month. In the first one hundred days from December to March they recorded 7,549 bodies, about 75 per day. In the last three weeks in April when they went outside the city walls, however, they claimed to have buried an additional 104,718, about 5,000 bodies per day.
Kenichi Ara, a researcher of modern history who graduated from the Faculty of Literature of Tohoku University, showed evidence in an article of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper that Chung Shan Tang's burial report of 112,267 bodies had been entirely forged and that they had actually buried no bodies. The record of the Red Swastika Society's burial of about 40,000 bodies also has several contradictions and Itakura thinks that their figure was padded.
According to Susumu Maruyama, a Japanese soldier who worked as the supervisor of the burial teams of the war dead in Nanking, burial was completed around March 15, 1938, three months after the Japanese occupation, and the total number of the buried was around 14,000–15,000――far different from the 300,000 that people had claimed. Massacre denialists claim that these were bodies from soldiers killed in battle, not in a civilian massacre.
Killing of civilians
Whether it was part of a systematic policy
It is claimed by the massacre affirmation school that there was a systematic policy to kill civilians. They cite the description of a "take no prisoners policy" in an Army's directive of August 6, 1937, personally ratified by Emperor Shōwa. This directive removed the constraints of international law on the treatment of Chinese prisoners and also advised staff officers to stop using the term "prisoner of war". They also refer to the campaign diary of Lieutenant General Kesago Nakajima
Professor Joshua Fogel, however, asserts that within the Japanese military, there was "nothing comparable to an ideology for sustaining mass murder, and there was most assuredly nothing comparable to the Nazi slogan that the Jews and Gypsies were 'lives not worth living.' In the Japanese treatment of China under occupation, there was not even anything comparable to the discriminatory Nuremberg Laws or the social isolation in ghettos that subsequently necessitated, in the diseased minds of Nazis, physical segregation of Jews and Gypsies into concentration- and death camps. The Chinese were pitied or patronizingly looked down on, but they were never demeaned to a point justifying wholesale murder." Rather than a systematic policy, Western historians have generally viewed the atrocities in Nanking as the result of combat fatigue and frustration from the Battle of Shanghai.
Allegations that only a few civilians were killed by Japanese troops
During the battle, every civilian had taken refuge in the Nanking Safety Zone,which was specially set up for 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. The leader of the Safety Zone, John Rabe, later handed a letter of thanks for this 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 didn't attack the Safety Zone. We hope to contact you to make a plan to protect general Chinese citizens who are staying in the Safety Zone... We will be pleased to cooperate with you in anyway to protect general citizens in this city. --Chairman of the Nanking International Committee, John H. D. Rabe--"
The Chinese people of the Red Swastika Society, who buried almost all of the dead in and around Nanking under the supervision of the Japanese army's special service, left a list of their burials. According to Takemoto and Ohara, in the list are almost no corpses of women or children. This means, they assert, that civilian victims who were killed by Japanese troops were only a few.
The Westerners of the International Committee for Nanking Safety Zone forwarded to the Japanese embassy a total of 450 cases of disorder, such as rape, looting, arson and murder, allegedly committed by some indiscreet Japanese soldiers in Nanking; however, according to Tsukurukai, murder cases numbered only 49, among which were only a few murder cases of women and children. Tsukurukai also point out that most of these cases were what the Committee members heard about, not what they witnessed or confirmed; among them were possibly many false rumors or exaggeration. Even if they were all true, there were only a few murder cases.
Massacre denialists thus claim that there were only a small number of civilian victims killed by the Japanese military during and after the battle of Nanking.
The Japanese army after the fall of Nanking did a mop-up operation to find out any Chinese soldiers in civilian clothing hiding in the Safety Zone. A Chinese soldier would not have a sun tan line on his forehead because of his cap, and would have calluses on his hands from shooting his gun. In addition, he would not have any family in the city. There might have been some misidentifications of civilians for the enemy; however, massacre denialists claim that they were not many.
Denial of massacre by Japanese veterans
Higashinakano has published a compilation of testimonies of Japanese soldiers who 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."
Veterans of the 7th Regiment, which was assigned to sweep the Safety Zone, testified that the regimental command had been, "Don't kill civilians. Don't dishonor the army," and they had been very careful not to kill civilians. They testify that there was absolutely no massacre.
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 went back to Nanking.” He points out that if the Japanese crime rate was very high, such cheerfulness would have never been seen in the city.
Yasuto Nakayama, a staff officer, testifies, "I have neither heard nor witnessed any massacre in Nanking. After the fall of the city, I have never seen corpses of civilians within or around Nanking, except for dead bodies of Chinese soldiers in two places when I inspected the city."
Colonel Isamu Tanida testified, “After the Japanese occupation of Nanking, from November 1938, I had been very busy working for the restoration of China and its economic development. My staff officers and I used to meet with Chinese officials and the people to cooperate together. I deepened a friendship with them but I never heard about a massacre even when I wined and dined with them.”
Conduct of the Japanese Army vis-a-vis the civilian population
The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported on January 3, 1938, that Nanking’s water and electricity services, which had been stopped since December 10, had been restored from the New Year’s Day, 1938, as a result of the hard work of about 80 Japanese engineers and about 70 Chinese workers in cooperation for electricity, and a similar number of workers for water supply also. And on January 3, citizens celebrated the start of the Nanking self-government, waving both the Japanese flag and the Chinese five-color flag.
Correspondent Koike of the Miyako Shinbun newspaper testified, “There were some Chinese people who did not have food and were starving, and they said, “Please give us food.” Since our lodgings had bags of rice, we called the leader of the refugee camp, and shared to them two large carts of rice and side dishes.”
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 have I seen a Japanese helping some Chinese, or picking up a Chinese baby to play with it."
McCallum also wrote, "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." (December 31, 1937)."
Masayoshi Arai, a correspondent of Domei News Agency, testified, “In Nanking, I saw a Japanese soldier sharing rice with a POW. And just after the Japanese military entered the city, Chinese citizens were selling goods and sweets. Since Japanese soldiers were hungry for sweets, they often bought from them."
A Japanese sergeant major of infantrymen testified, "On the way to Nanking, I was ordered to stand as a guard having a rifle at night, when I noticed a young Chinese lady in Chinese dress walking to 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." Higashinakano argues that if there was a massacre of civilians in Nanking, it would have been impossible for the Chinese man to work for the Japanese.
There are many other similar testimonies. Denialists point out that these testimonies tell a story that is radically different from the orthodox narrative of a "massacre" at Nanking.
Tatsuzo Asai, a photographer of Domei News Agency, testified, “I used to be with Arthur Menken of Paramount News in Shanghai. He was in Nanking but I did not meet him there. When I went back to Shanghai in January, I used to have lunch with him. I have not heard from him about a massacre.”
Public statements by Chinese government and leaders during the war
Massacre affirmationists point to reports from the United Press and Reuters that indicate that, as early as December 16, 1937, three days after Nanking fell, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek announced , in Hankow, "Chinese army casualties on all fronts exceed 300,000. The loss of civilian life and property is beyond computation."
Massacre denialists argue however that the Kuomintang Ministry of Information, Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong never once mentioned the Nanking massacre in the years between the fall of Nanking and the Japanese surrender.
For example, Kazuo Sato asserts that Chiang Kai-shek broadcast his radio addresses hundreds of times to the Chinese people between the fall of Nanking and the end of World War II, but he had never mentioned about the “Nanking Massacre” even once. Satoru Mizushima asserted that "Chiang Kai-shek held 300 press conferences in the 11 months following the fall of Nanjing. He told the international media, 'Japan did this, and Japan did that.' But there was absolutely no mention of Nanjing. Not a single word."
In 1938, several months after the "massacre," nationalist Chiang Kai-Shek appealed to the West for support in his struggle against the Japanese occupation. In his appeals, he mentioned the "cold blooded" Japanese aerial bombardment of Canton, but did not mention a "Nanking massacre." Neither a publication by General He Yingquin, one of the top-ranking Nationalist officers and former minister of defense, Modern Chinese History: The Conflict with Japan, which contains military reports covering the period between 1937 and 1945 nor China Year Book 1938, published by the "North China Daily News & Herald (Shanghai)," which chronicles official Chinese speeches and events, mention the occurrence of a massacre in Nanking.
Higashinakano points out that the July 9, 1938 issue of China Forum, which was published by the Ministry of Information seven months after the fall of Nanking, carried a feature entitled "One Year of Sino-Japanese War: Review Questions for Study Groups." One of the questions was "What was the attitude of China after the fall of Nanking? The answer (intended to serve as a model) was "General Chiang Kai-shek said on December 16, 1937: 'No matter how the present situation may change, we must not surrender but march onward.'" No mention was made of a massacre.
Higashinakano further argues that Mao Zedong, who criticized Japanese military strategy in one of his famous lectures, stated that Japanese troops committed a strategical error by not annihilating enemy soldiers in Nanking but did not mention a massacre.
Japanese atrocities and Chinese atrocities
Atrocities of Japanese soldiers
Japanese veterans do not deny that there were relatively a small number of crimes of rape, looting, etc., committed by the Japanese in the city; however, according to them, these criminals were arrested when found, and were punished and Japanese military policemen were patrolling the city to keep such outrageous fellows under strict control.
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."
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.”
Massacre denialists deny the occurrence of the Nanking Massacre. However, they admit that there were atrocities committed in Nanking. They claim that one should distinguish between the "Nanking Atrocities" and the "Nanking Massacre." According to them, some atrocities in Nanking were committed by Japanese soldiers; however, many others were committed by Chinese soldiers who had been hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone.
Reaction of General Matsui
As Matsui began to comprehend the full extent of the rape, murder, and looting in the city, he grew increasingly dismayed.
On December 18, Matsui held a memorial service with his whole army to express condolences to both the Chinese and the Japanese war dead. In his speech he scold his men for what he had heard about crimes of rape and looting committed by Japanese soldiers in the city. Matsui said, “Some 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.”
Matsui held this memorial service for the dead in Nanking because it had been a Japanese custom to express condolences for friend and foe alike. The Japanese had such a service after every battle. The Chinese do not have the custom, but according to Ko, dead enemies are no longer enemies in Japanese thinking.
That same day, Matsui reportedly told one of his civilian aides: "I now realize that we have unknowingly wrought a most grievous effect on this city. When I think of the feelings and sentiments of many of my Chinese friends who have fled from Nanking and of the future of the two countries, I cannot but feel depressed. I am very lonely and can never get in a mood to rejoice about this victory." He even let a tinge of regret flavor the statement he released to the press that morning: "I personally feel sorry for the tragedies to the people, but the Army must continue unless China repents. Now, in the winter, the season gives time to reflect. I offer my sympathy, with deep emotion, to a million innocent people."
On New Year's Day, Matsui was still upset about the behavior of the Japanese soldiers at Nanking. Over a toast he confided to a Japanese diplomat: "My men have done something very wrong and extremely regrettable."
According to the judicial officer Hirotsugu Tsukamoto, the crimes Matsui was dismayed at were “chiefly plunder and rape” in which “four or five officers” and some of “the rank-and-file” were involved. Tsukamoto testified that there had been “no mass slaughter criminals.” However, these crimes were enough to disappoint Matsui who had wanted his men in perfect order.
Later, Matsui testified in the Tokyo Trial on November 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 either.”
Confessions of atrocities by Japanese veterans
In 2002, The Battle of Nanjing—a Search of Sealed Memories was published in Nanjing; it consists of testimonies from 102 Japanese veterans who participated in Japan's aggression of China from 1937 to 1945, especially the battle of Nanjing. The book was compiled by Japanese peace advocates headed by Tamaki Matsuoka who interviewed some 250 veterans across Japan, the former soldiers, in their 80s and 90s, confessed to committing atrocities in Nanjing, including murder, rape and robbery.
Higashinakano criticizes this book, "It is a fact that there were relatively a small number of crimes committed by Japanese soldiers; however, all testimonies are either anonymous or attributed to individuals whose names are unverifiable as having actually been in Nanking at the time of the alleged massacre. As a result, none of the veterans can be held accountable for the truth and accuracy of his testimony."
Higashinakano further argues that, even if the testimonies of these veterans were true, it only meant that they were war criminals who had violated military discipline evading the scrutiny of the Japanese military police thereby managing to evade punishment. Moreover, denialists point out that even the testimonies of these veterans did not assert that a massacre of civilians 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, 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 of an Artillery Regiment. 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, the 3rd Division, to which this man was assigned, has been located in the rear area, and was never engaged in the battle directly against the Chinese Army. To the entry ceremony into Nanking. Only a part of his regiment participated in the entry ceremony into Nanking. Therefore, it is 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, denialists claim, Sone's memoirs are entirely his own creation.
In 2010, Tamaki Matsuoka's documentary "Torn Memories of Nanjing" was shown at the Hong Kong International Film Festival. It includes interviews with Japanese veterans who admit to raping and killing Chinese civilians.
Yasuji Okamura's surmise
Lieutenant General Yasuji Okamura once wrote his surmise based on what he heard from his staff officers :
"I surmised the following based on what I heard from Staff Officer Miyazaki, CCAA Special Service Department Chief Harada and Hangzhou Special Service Department Chief Hagiwara a day or two after I arrived in Shanghai. First, 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. Second, front-line troops indulged in the evil practice of executing POWs on the pretext of (lacking) rations."
This is sometimes referred to by massacre affirmationists. However, massacre denialists point out that Okamura was not in Nanking, and his surmise was based on a report he heard in Shanghai. Since the Westerners of the International Committee for Nanking Safety Zone, who were in Nanking, reported only 450 cases of violence such as looting, rape and murder (see "Testimony of Westerners" section), denialists assert that Okamura’s surmise of “tens of thousands of acts of violence” was clearly based on an incorrect rumor.
Atrocities of Chinese troops
According to some testimonies, those who committed "rape, looting, arson and murder" were not the Japanese military, but rather the Chinese military. A Japanese 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 their food and household goods by the Chinese army, who also had forced the village men to work very hard. How poor the people of such a country are!"
Itaru Kajimura, a Japanese second lieutenant, wrote in his diary on January 15, 1938――when the battle of Nanking had already ended and his unit was stationed near Shanghai――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 and about 30 men hurried there with the village people, but it was after the enemy had already committed looting, rape, 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 like.” He also wrote that the village people had been “very reluctant” to part from the Japanese unit.
Tillman Durdin, an American news reporter, 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...even 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 condition 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."
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, and made it an article for newspaper. They said, 'When Chinese soldiers were in the city, they came to refugees everyday to plunder food, commodities and every cent of money. Horrible was that they took away young men for labor and young women to rape. They were the same as bandits. Besides, in this Safety Zone, there are bad Chinese men.'"
Atrocities of hiding Chinese soldiers
Higashinakano points out that 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.»
The "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 Nanking Safety Zone. They were harboring the Chinese soldiers. The soldiers were conducting anti-Japanese maneuvers in the Zone. Higashinakano claims that 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. Higashinakano also cites the China Press which 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.»
Massacre denialists claim that these Chinese soldiers 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 also reported the same thing on December 17. Denialists allege that these Chinese soldiers in the Zone were "instigating anti-Japanese disorders," and engaged in "looting," "raping," and "intimidating" the victims into lying that the assailants were Japanese. Denialists argue that those who endeavoured to protect citizens were the Japanese military, not the Chinese military.
The Osaka Asahi Shimbun newspaper on February 17, 1938, reported on a group of hiding Chinese soldiers who had committed atrocities while speaking Japanese:
«A Chinese group, who had posed as Japanese to commit atrocities in Nanking, was arrested. (Domei News, 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 while 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). They speak fluent Japanese. They made counterfeit of Japanese translator's armband to pose 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 without doubt that they were Japanese. That was why the detection became late. »
Kasahara asserts that the Chinese resistance in Nanking against the Japanese aggression "was not enough to threaten the Imperial Army. There was rather sporadic resistance. At any rate, it does not give any excuse for illegal executions, let alone rape, looting and other atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese troops..."
General Iwane Matsui of the Japanese army testified in the Tokyo Trial about the atrocities in Nanking, "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."
Denialists argue that massacre affirmationists overlook the atrocities committed by Chinese soldiers.
Atrocities of Chinese refugees
Takemoto and Ohara claim that there were many atrocities committed not only by hiding Chinese soldiers, but also by Chinese refugees in the Nanking Safety Zone. Guo Qi, who was the commander of a Chinese battalions 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 their disposal.»
Testimony of Westerners
Complaints of killings and rapes reported by the International Committee
By February 5, 1938, the International Committee had forwarded to the Japanese embassy a total of 450 cases of disorder by Japanese soldiers that had been reported directly or indirectly after the American, British and German diplomats had return to their embassies. Amongst these, were reports of civilians killed or injured with bayonet by Japanese soldiers and rape by Japanese soldiers.
«Case 5- On the night of December 14th, there were many cases of Japanese soldiers entering houses and raping women or taking them away. This created panic in the area and hundreds of women moved into the Gingling College campus yesterday.»
«Case 10- On the night of December 15th, a number of Japanese soldiers entered the University of Nanking buildings at Tao Yuen and raped 30 women on the spot, some by six men.»
«Case 13 – December 18, 4 p.m., at No. 18 I Ho Lu, Japanese soldiers wanted a man's cigarette case and when he hesitated, one of the soldier crashed in the side of his head with a bayonet. The man is now at the University Hospital and is not expected to live.»
«Case 14 – On December 16th, seven girls (ages ranged from 16 to 21) were taken away from the Military College. Five returned. Each girl was raped six or seven times daily- reported December 18th.»
«Case 15 – There are about 540 refugees crowded in #83 and 85 on Canton Road. (...) More than 30 women and girls have been raped. The women and children are crying all nights. Conditions inside the compound are worse than we can describe. Please give us help.»
«Case 16- A Chinese girl named Loh, who, with her mother and brother, was living in one of the Refugee Centers in the Refugee Zone, was shot through the head and killed by a Japanese soldier. The girl was 14 years old. The incident occurred near the Kuling Ssu, a noted temple on the border of the Refugee zone (...)»
«Case 19 – January 30, about 5 p.m. Mr. Sone (of the Nanking Theological Seminary) was greeted by several hundred women pleading with him that they would not have to go home on February 4. They said it was no use going home they might just as well be killed for staying at the camp as to be raped, robbed or killed at home. (...) One old woman 62 years old went home near Hansimen and Japanese soldiers came at night and wanted to rape her. She said she was too old. So the soldiers rammed a stick up her. But she survived to come back.»
Shigeo Tanihara, a member of Tsukurukai, points out that even if supposing these 450 cases were all true, murder cases numbered only 49, which were far different from the tens of thousands of massacre victims claimed in the most conservative estimates.
Higashinakano also points out that 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. As for the 49 murder cases, the ones which were witnessed by the Committee members themselves numbered only 2, which were both legitimate; in other words, nobody of the Committee members witnessed illegitimate murders.
As for rape cases, Takemoto and Ohara point out:
«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, who heard and reported. 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 seven cases and severely punished the criminals. The punishment was so severe that some complaints were expressed among the soldiers.»
Tokuyasu Fukuda, a probationary diplomat of the Japanese embassy in Nanking, testified about the International Committee:
«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 years 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 Timperley’s book What War Means(1938) was written based on such unconfirmed reports.»
Denialists also claim that this report of the International Committee included many cases which had been committed by Chinese soldiers hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone, wearing civilian clothes, for anti-Japanese maneuvering purpose.
Documentary film by John Magee
On 10 February 1938, Legation Secretary of the German Embassy, Rosen, wrote to his Foreign Ministry about a film made in December by Reverend John Magee to recommend its purchase. Here is an excerpt from his letter and a description of some of its shots, kept in the Political Archives of the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.
«During the Japanese reign of terror in Nanking – which, by the way, continues to this day to a considerable degree – the Reverend John Magee, a member of the American Episcopal Church Mission who has been here for almost a quarter of a century, took motion pictures that eloquently bear witness to the atrocities committed by the Japanese. (....) One will have to wait and see whether the highest officers in the Japanese army succeed, as they have indicated, in stopping the activities of their troops, which continue even today(...)»
«5. 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 open 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. 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. (...)»
Magee heard about this horrible crime from the 7–8 year old girl who had been bayoneted but survived and told the 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 30 soldiers had been Japanese; however, Higashinakano claims that these ”30 soldiers” were Chinese, not Japanese.
On December 8 every citizen was forced to move to the Safety Zone by the Chinese army. The family in the story were outside the Zone. It was most dangerous and highly unlikely that they were outside it on December 13 when the Japanese military were entering the city. It is thus very likely that the crime was actually committed before December 8 or 13 by Chinese soldiers. In addition, the killing practice of thrusting items into females' vagina was, according to Higashinakano, typically Chinese, not Japanese.
This “7–8 year old girl” appears in Magee’s film. Higashinakano wrote in his book in 1998 that the girl and Mrs. Shuqin Xia, the old woman testifying that she had been the girl filmed by Magee, were different persons. She sued him for having been defamed by the book, and on 5 February 2009, the Japanese Supreme Court ordered Higashinakano and the publisher Tendensha to pay 4 million yen in damages to Mrs. Xia. Higashinakano was unable to prove that she and the girl were different persons, and that she was not a witness of the Nanking massacre, contrary to what he had claimed in his book.
Shigeo Tanihara, one of the authors of a history textbook of Tsukurukai, claims that Magee's film shows no scenes of clearly massacred victims. The captions describe atrocities of the Japanese, but the movie has no scenes of Japanese soldiers executing POWs, no scenes of thousands of dead bodies—in fact, the movie shows mostly scenes of living people.
Masaaki Tanaka points out that the murder case eyewitnessed 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, denialists assert, Magee did not see 300,000 or even 40,000–60,000 massacre victims in his all days in Nanking.
According to Magee, the cases he himself witnessed other than the above-mentioned killing were only one rape and one robbery. The rest were all hearsay. The rape he supposedly witnessed was that he had seen a Japanese soldier coming toward a man's wife; however, Magee did not actually see a rape. According to Tanaka, 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 hand. In other words, denialists claim, Magee did not personally see any horrible crimes committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking.
Miner Searle Bates was a key witness during the International Military Tribunal of the Far East. As a leader of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, and a professor of history at the University of Nanking, Bates was present in Nanjing before, during, and after the battle for the city. Bates asserted he witnessed a number of atrocities firsthand and that a number of civilians were massacred by the Japanese. When asked about the death toll at the trial, he answered, "The question is so big, I don't know where to begin...The total spread of this killing was so extensive that no one can give a complete picture of it." (Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking)
Bates also testified in the Tokyo Trial that he had seen many civilian dead bodies lying about everywhere in his neighborhood for many days after the fall of Nanking.
Denialists however point out that, according to the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun on December 26, 1937, which reports when correspondents Wakaume and Murakami visited 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 “...many civilian dead bodies lying about everywhere” which Bates testified to have seen.
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) 
Bates wrote, "Evidence from burials indicate 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."
Takemoto and Ohara however point out that the “evidence of burials” of the Red Swastika Society, which Bates referred to, contains only 0.3% of women and children. The burial records include burials that were carried out not only in the period of the Japanese campaign in Nanking, but also in the period between July to October 1938. If the "evidence" is limited to only burial records during the Japanese campaign in Nanking, the number of women and children among the burials would become less than 0.3%. This shows a clear contradiction of the "massacre of civilians" and the estimation of Bates.
According to the records of the Red Swastika Society, who buried almost all of the war dead within and near the walls of Nanking, they buried about 40,000 bodies in total. Bates’ description “evidence from burials indicate that close to forty thousand unarmed persons were killed” referred to this. Massacre denialists however claim that these bodies were mostly of armed soldiers killed in battle, not unarmed persons killed in massacre. They criticize Bates for replacing the victims. Denialists such as Itakura and Higashinakano also think that the figure 40,000 in the burial records is padded, and they point out that, according to Susumu Maruyama, the Japanese supervisor of the burials of the war dead in Nanking, the total number of the buried was actually around 14,000–15,000.
Ko claims that not all of the bodies were killed by the Japanese military, but also there were those killed by Chinese supervisory unit, who were soldiers waiting behind to kill their fellow Chinese soldiers who tried to run away from the battlefield.
Higashinakano points out that Japanese soldiers saw, when entered Nanking, a lot of Chinese military uniforms taken off and abandoned on the ground of all over the city and that those were the uniforms which Chinese soldiers had taken off to appear as civilians to make their way to the Safety Zone where many citizens took refuge. Bates mentions in his letters that these Chinese soldiers were fleeing Japanese brutality and killing of POWs. Kenichi Ara argues that most of those whom Bates counted as "civilian casualties" were in fact unlawful soldiers in civilian clothing.
Higashinakano asserts that this was why the Chinese Year Book 1938–1939, published in Shanghai in English, removed the reference to "close to forty thousand unarmed persons were killed... some 30 percent had never been soldiers" and only recorded other accusation of Bates.
Yoshiki Okawa further claims that Bates' report on the massacre of civilians was actually not what he witnessed, but was only hearsay, perhaps from the Chinese officers whom the members of the International Committee had sheltered, because 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.
Bates was an adviser to the Chinese Nationalist Party, and after the war he was decorated by Chiang Kai-shek, the head of the Party, for his contribution. The strategy of the Chinese Nationalist Party 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. Higashinakano claims that Bates' report was made in accordance with this strategy.
James M. McCallum
On 19 December 1937, Reverend James M. McCallum wrote in his diary :
«I know not where to end. Never have I heard or read such brutality. Rape! Rape! Rape! We estimate at least 1,000 cases a night, and many by day. In case of resistance or anything that seems like disapproval, there is a bayonet stab or a bullet... 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.»
Denialists claim that even if this experience of McCallum was truly a rape case, the other rape cases were mostly what the members of the International Committee heard from Chinese people, and their estimation “at least 1,000 cases a night, and many by day” was a baseless rumor. Takemoto and Ohara point out:
«The representatives of the refugee camps of nineteen places established in the Safety Zone were all 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 into confusion.»
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 severe penalties.»
Higashinakano pays attention to McCallum's description on 8 January 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.”
McCallum wrote in his diary on 31 December 1937:
«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.»
Lewis Smythe, a sociology professor at the University of Nanking, initially reported on March 21, "... it is estimated that 10,000 persons were killed inside the walls of Nanking and about 30,000 outside the walls.... These people estimated that of this total about 30 percent were civilians."
Then in the spring of 1938, Smythe conducted a field survey to assess the damages and losses at Nanking and its vicinity under the auspices of the International Relief Committee. 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 damages. This use of rough estimates was the only scholarly survey in those days, and massacre denialists such as Takemoto and Ohara value this survey.
Smythe's research resulted in civilian victims of 6,600 (2,400 killed and 4,200 abducted (and mostly missing)) within the city and 26,870 in the vicinity. This is far different from the 300,000 massacre victims theory.
Takemoto and Ohara point out that these figures do not specify who the assailants were, and that these figures in fact include many victims killed by the Chinese military. 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 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. Takemoto and Ohara thus claim that Smythe's survey included many civilians who had been killed by the Chinese military, and his investigation proves the number of civilians killed by the Japanese military to have been only a few.
Even when the claim of the massacre of 300,000 Nanking inhabitants was presented to the Tokyo Trial after the war, Smythe did not intend to change the result of his survey in his affidavit to the Trial in June 1946. Takemoto and Ohara claim that this was because Smythe believed the accuracy of his survey.
|Date (1937–1938)||Deaths by||Injuries by||Taken away ††||Total killed and injured||Percent killed and injured by soldiers' violence|
|Military Operations †||Soldiers' violence||Unknown||Military Operations †||Soldiers' violence||Unknown|
|Before Dec. 12||600||50||650|
|Dec.14 – Jan.13||2,000||150||2,200||200||3,700||4,550||92|
|Jan.14 – Mar.15||250|
|Per cent of cases of violence occurring after Dec.'13th.||89||90|
|Hsien||Total retident population Repretented||Total deaths||Deaths per 1,000 residents||Causes of Death||Total killed||Number killed per 1,000 residents||Deaths from sickness per 1,000 residents"|
On March 7, 1938, Robert O. Wilson, a surgeon at the American-administered University Hospital in the Safety Zone, wrote in a letter to his family, "a conservative estimate of people slaughtered in cold blood is somewhere about 100,000, including of course thousands of soldiers that had thrown down their arms".
Here are two excepts from his letters of 15 and 18 December 1937 to his family :
The slaughter of civilians is appalling. I could go on for pages telling of cases of rape and brutality almost beyond belief. Two bayoneted corpses are the only survivors of seven street cleaners who were sitting in their headquarters when Japanese soldiers came in without warning or reason and killed five of their number and wounded the two that found their way to the hospital.
Let me recount some instances occurring in the last two days. Last night the house of one of the Chinese staff members of the university was broken into and two of the women, his relatives, were raped. Two girls, about 16, were raped to death in one of the refugee camps. In the University Middle School where there are 8,000 people the Japs came in ten times last night, over the wall, stole food, clothing, and raped until they were satisfied. They bayoneted one little boy of eight who have [sic] five bayonet wounds including one that penetrated his stomach, a portion of omentum was outside the abdomen. I think he will live.
Hideaki Kase, a Japanese critic on international politics, and his colleagues point out that Wilson spent most of his days in his hospital, and the atrocities as well as the estimation of victims mentioned in his letters were all hearsay. Takemoto and Ohara point out that Wilson admitted in the Tokyo Trial that all of his testimonies as to the Japanese atrocities had been hearsay. They claim that Wilson believed the statements that the assailants had been all Japanese; however, these in fact included many cases committed by Chinese soldiers hiding in Nanking for anti-Japanese maneuvering purposes, intimidating the victims into claiming that the assailants had been Japanese, or cases committed by Chinese posing as Japanese soldiers. Kase and his colleagues also claim that the estimation of "100,000" victims in Wilson's letter is exaggerated and includes the Chinese soldiers killed in mufti as well as the Chinese soldiers killed by the Chinese supervisory unit.
Denialists claim that the result of Lewis Smythe's survey, not the estimation in Wilson's letter, was closer to what really happened in Nanking.
In his diary kept during the aggression to the city and its occupation by the Imperial Japanese Army, the leader of the Safety Zone, John Rabe, wrote many comments about Japanese atrocities. For example, on 13 December 1937, he wrote:
"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 behind. 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 café of our German baker Herr Kiessling. Hempel's hotel was broken into as well, as almost every shop on Chung Shang and Taiping Road."
For 17 December:
" Two Japanese soldiers have climbed over the garden wall and are about to break into our house. When I appear they give the excuse that they saw two Chinese soldiers climb over the wall. When I show them my party badge, they return the same way. In one of the houses in the narrow street behind my garden wall, a woman was raped, and then wounded in the neck with a bayonet. I managed to get an ambulance so we can take her to Kulou Hospital. (...) Last night up to 1,000 women and girls are said to have been raped, about 100 girls at Ginling College Girls alone. You hear nothing but rape. If husbands or brothers intervene, they're shot. What you hear and see on all sides is the brutality and bestiality of the Japanese soldiers."
On the same day, Rabe wrote a letter as chairman to Kiyoshi Fukui, second secretary of the Japanese Embassy:
"In other words, on the 13th when your troops entered the city, we had nearly all the civilian population gathered in a Zone in which there had been very little destruction by stray shells and no looting by Chinese soldiers even in full retreat. (...) All 27 Occidentals in the city at that time and our Chinese population were totally surprised by the reign of robbery, rapine and killing initiated by your soldiers on the 14th. All we are asking in our protest is that you restore order among your troops and get the normal life city going as soon as possible. In tha latter process we are glad to cooperate in any way we can. But even last night between 8 and 9 p.m. when five Occidentals members of our staff and Committee toured the Zone to observe conditions, we did not find any single Japanese patrol either in the Zone or at the entrances!"
Having received no answer to his request, Rabe wrote again to Fukui the following day, this time in an even more desperate tone:
«We are sorry to trouble you again but the sufferings and needs of the 200 000 civilians for whom we are trying to care make it urgent that we try to secure action from your military authorities to stop the present disorder among Japanese soldiers wandering through the Safety Zone. (...) The second man in our Housing Commission had to see two women in his family at 23 Hankow Road raped last night at supper time by Japanese soldiers. Our associate food commissioner, Mr. Sone, has to convey trucks with rice and leave 2,500 people in families at his Nanking Theological Seminary to look for themselves. Yesterday, in broad daylight, several women at the Seminary were raped right in the middle of a large room filled with men, women, and children! We 22 Occidentals cannot feed 200,000 Chinese civilians and protect them night and day. That is the duty of the Japanese authorities (...)
For 22 December, Rabe wrote in his diary:
"They came to see it just because the Japanese military police headquarters. The Japanese side had to make a refugee committee. Therefore all refugees must be registered. "Wicked ones" (i.e. the Chinese ex-soldiers) and now are going to put in special camps. The Japanese side, saying I'd like to help with registration, I assumed."
For 10 February, Rabe wrote in his diary:
"Fukui, whom I tried to find at the Japanese embassy to no avail all day yesterday, paid a call on me last night. He actually managed to threaten me :"If the newspapers in Shanghai report bad things, you will have the Japanese army against you", he said. (...) In reply to my question as to what I then could say in Shanghai, Fukui said "We leave that to your discretion." My response :"It looks as if you expect me to say something like this to the reporters: The situation in Nanking is improving everyday. Please don't print any more atrocities stories about the vile behavior of Japanese soldiers, because then you'll only be pouring oil on fire of disagreement that already exists between the Japanese and Europeans." "Yes", he said simply beaming, that would be splendid!"
As for Rabe's description about the “looting” by the Japanese soldiers, Takemoto and Ohara point out that it was a misunderstanding of Rabe, stating:
"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 soldiers."
Takemoto and Ohara also point out that John Rabe was a German, and Germany in those days was a supporter of the Chinese Nationalist Party. Chiang Kai-shek’s 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). Rabe was the head of the Nanking branch office of Siemens AG which had sold antiaircraft guns to the Chinese Nationalist Party. Rabe, an arms merchant, had gained great profit from it. Since 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. Denialists claim that it was very natural for Rabe to report only atrocities of the Japanese.
According to Higashinakano, from December 12 Rabe had secretly sheltered two Chinese colonels, Long and Zhou, who performed anti-Japanese maneuvers in the Safety Zone. Rabe's conduct was a violation of the agreement with the Japanese army. He was not a neutral man. And Rabe wrote in his diary on February 22, 1938, that he had been sheltering another Chinese officer, Wang, also. Denialists claim that those who should have taken responsibility of the confusion in Nanking were Rabe and other Committee members, for they violated the neutrality of the Safety Zone and sheltered Chinese soldiers.
Tanihara claims that Rabe did not distinguish true "civilians" from Chinese soldiers in mufti. Rabe reported Chinese “civilians” who had been "shot from behind" by the Japanese; however, according to Tanihara, the Japanese soldiers were sweeping the Chinese soldiers in mufti, and the civilian casualties in Rabe’s reports included such Chinese soldiers, as well as the Chinese soldiers in mufti killed by the Chinese supervisory unit.
Masaaki Tanaka, ex-secretary of General Iwane Matsui, claims that there are many contradictions in Rabe's 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 nor the handbills." Rabe wrote that he had seen here and there "dead women who had canes rammed in their vaginas"; however, according to Tanaka, such a practice was Chinese, not Japanese.
Tanaka refers to James McCallum's diary on December 29, 1937, which states, "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, according to Tanaka, Rabe did not write any such things, and he only wrote that the Safety Zone had been like a hell full of fire and rape everyday. Tanaka thus argues that Rabe’s 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.”
Higashinakano argues 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 Rabe’s report was a similar-natured one to the anti-Japanese maneuvering of the Chinese officers he had sheltered.
Rabe wrote in his diary on December 17, “Last night up to 1,000 women and girls are said to have been raped, about 100 girls at Ginling College Girls alone”; however, Higashinakano points out that both were what he heard, perhaps from the Chinese soldiers he had sheltered. And P. Scharfienberg, the secretary general of the German Embassy to China, who returned to Nanking on January 9, 1937, tried to investigate himself the facts mentioned in Rabe's report. Scharfienberg wrote to the German Embassy at Hankow 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."
Minnie Vautrin was a professor at Ginling College, where Rabe wrote “about 100 girls” had been raped on December 16. She wrote in her diary on that day, “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.”
However, Higashinakano points out that, about two weeks later, as mentioned in the New York Times on January 4, 1938, Vautrin and other Ginling College professors got to know that the Chinese 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).”
Other denialists point out that, as the Osaka Asahi Shimbun reported, in February the Japanese military arrested eleven 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 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 100 girls raped was in the article. Higashinakano alleges that this is because it had already been discovered that the rape of the 100 girls had not been committed by Japanese soldiers or had been a false rumor.
Vautrin also wrote in her diary that she had to go to the Japanese embassy repeatedly from December 18 to January 13 to get proclamations to prohibit Japanese soldiers from committing crimes at Gingling because the soldiers tore the documents up before taking women away.
Denialists point out that these supposed crimes committed by the Japanese soldiers mentioned by Vautrin were mostly what she heard from the Chinese. According to denialists, there were many Chinese soldiers hiding in the area, and when they committed atrocities in Nanking, they posed as Japanese or intimidated the victims into lying, saying that the assailants were Japanese.
F. Tillman Durdin and Archibald Steele
F. Tillman Durdin and Archibald Steele, American news correspondents, reported that they had seen on 15 December a lot of bodies of dead Chinese soldiers forming a small mound six feet high at the Nanking Yijiang gate in the north.
Durdin, who was working for the New York Times, made a tour of Nanjing before his departure from the city. He heard waves of machine-gun fire and witnessed the Japanese soldiers gun down some two hundred Chinese within ten minutes.
On 18 December 1937, in his report to the New York Times, he stated that the alleys and street were filled with civilian bodies, including women and children.
Kasahara, a massacre affirmationist, interviewed Durdin on August 14, 1987, and published it in Japan. In the interview, Durdin mentioned that “the mound of the bodies” he witnessed had been formed before the Japanese military reached there, and the Chinese soldiers had been killed not by the Japanese military. He said, “The bodies were Chinese soldiers who tried to escape... I think that the mound of the bodies had been formed before the Japanese military occupied there. In that area was no combat of the Japanese military.” However, on 18 May 1992, Durdin held a news conference in New York during which he repudiated the Japanese media's distortion of his report on the Nanking massacre.
According to Higashinakano, the bodies witnessed by Durdin and Steele had been killed by a Chinese supervisory unit who had been waiting behind to kill Chinese soldiers trying to escape from the battlefield.
Hiroshi Motomiya claims that the killings of “some two hundred Chinese” witnessed by Durdin were the execution of Chinese soldiers in mufti, ordinary clothes, who were found hiding weapons or were considered to be rebellious and dangerous. There were some cases that Japanese soldiers were killed by captured Chinese soldiers who made surprise attack. The execution was done because, Motomiya claims, it was legitimate under international law and there was no specific problem even if other people happened to see it.
While, Durdin’s article “the alleys and street were filled with civilian bodies, including women and children” was, Takemoto and Ohara claim, not what he had witnessed, for Durdin wrote, "Foreigners who toured the city and saw that all the alleys and streets were...” Durdin thus wrote this in a hearsay style.
Takemoto and Ohara claim that these “foreigners” were Rabe, Bates, and other International Committee members, especially Bates who drove Durdin to the harbor on December 15 to see him off; 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. Takemoto and Ohara claim that Durdin's article was written according to this memo that Bates handed him. They also claim that the information of Bates was only hearsay or misconception, since Bates could not prove the massacre of civilians when he was required to show proof from Consul John M. Allison.
Contemporary accounts in the press
In a report of the Rekishi Kento Iinkai, a history committee created in 1993 by the Liberal Democratic Party that has concluded in 1995 that the Greater East Asia War was not an invasive but a self-defensive war and that refuted the existence of the Nanking massacre, Professor Kazuo Sato points out that the day when the Japanese troops entered Nanking on December 13, 1937, 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.
Sato claims in this report that none of the press corps reported the occurrence of a massacre of several hundred thousand people. Paramount News, American newsreels, also made films reporting the Japanese occupation in Nanking, but they did not report the occurrence of such a massacre.
On December 28, a Shanghai newspaper carried another Times report on the Nanjing Massacre:"Streets were covered with the innocent citizens remains. At the city gate along the Yangtze River dead bodies were piled up to a meter high. Trucks and other vehicles were running over the bodies."
On 10 January 1938, Life magazine published in the United States a group of pictures titled "The camera overseas : the Japanese conqueror brings a week of hell to China." (The pictures are analyzed in the "Analysis of photographic evidence" section below)
Massacre denialists criticize that the Western press was biased and one-sided to spread a pro-Chinese and anti-Japanese view.
Shōwa regime censorship
Massacre denialists claim that the news published in the Japanese media and newspapers were "true" and "reliable" stories. Massacre affirmationists, however, counter that it is well-known that the Naikaku Johōkyoku (Cabinet Information Bureau), a consortium of military, politicians and professionals created in 1936 as a "committee" and upgraded to a "division" in 1937, applied censorship of all the media of the Shōwa regime and that this office held a policing authoring over the realm of publishing. Therefore, the Naikaku Johōkyoku's activities were proscriptive as well as prescriptive. Besides issuing detailed guidelines to publishers, it made suggestions that were all but commands. From 1938, printed medias «would come to realize that their survival depended upon taking cues from the Cabinet Information Bureau and its flagship publication, Shashin shūhō, designers of the "look" of the soldier, and the "look" of the war.»
Article 12 of the censorship guideline for newspapers issued on September 1937 stated that any news article or photograph "unfavorable" to the Imperial Army was subject to a gag. Article 14 prohibited any "photographs of atrocities" but endorsed reports about the "cruelty of the Chinese" soldiers and civilians.
Historian Tokushi Kasahara asserts, "Some deniers argue that Nanjing was much more peaceful than we generally think. They always show some photographs with Nanjing refugees selling some food in the streets or Chinese people smiling in the camps. They are forgetting about Japanese propaganda. The Imperial Army imposed strict censorship. Any photographs with dead bodies couldn't get through. So photographers had to remove all the bodies before taking pictures of streets and buildings in the city (...) Even if the photos were not staged, the refugees had no choice but to fawn on the Japanese soldiers. Acting otherwise meant their deaths..."
Testimonies of Japanese reporters
Due to censorship, none of the hundred Japanese reporter in Nanking when the city was captured wrote anything unfavorable to their countrymen. In 1956, however, Masatake Imai, correspondent for the Tokyo Asahi who reported only about the "majestic and soul-stirring ceremony" of the triumphal entry of the Imperial Army, revealed he witnessed a mass execution of 400 to 500 Chinese men near Tokyo Asahi's office. "I wish I could write about it", told his colleague Nakamura. "Someday, we will, but not for the time being. But we sure saw it", he answered.
Shigeharu Matsumoto, the Shanghai bureau Chief of Domei News Agency, wrote that the Japanese reporters he interviewed all told him they saw between 2,000 and 3,000 corpses around the Xiaguan area and a reporter, Yuji Maeda, saw recruits executing Chinese POWs with bayonet.
Jiro Suzuki, a correspondent for the Tokyo Nichi Nichi, wrote, "When I went back to the Zhongshan Gate, I saw for the first time an unearthly, brutal massacre. On the top of the wall, about 25 meters high, the prisoners of war were rounded up in a line. They were being stabbed by bayonets and shoved away off the wall. A number of Japanese soldiers polished their bayonets, shouted to themselves once and thrust their bayonets in the chest or back of POWs."
Massacre denialists claim that what these reporters witnessed was the execution not of POWs, but of illegitimate combatants who were arrested in the course of a mop-up operation and found to be hiding weapons and being rebellious. It is established that the Japanese military executed several thousand such illegitimate and dangerous combatants. However, Higashinakano claims that such execution was legitimate under international law, and he states that there were also about 10,000 POWs who were not executed but instead sent to concentration camps. Many of them were later released, hired as coolies or became soldiers for Jingwei Wang's pro-Japanese government.
Kenichi Ara has published a compilation of testimonies by Japanese press reporters, soldiers, and diplomats who experienced Nanking during the Japanese occupation. In these testimonies, nobody testified that there had been a massacre of civilians.
Yoshio Kanazawa, a photographer from the Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun newspaper, testified, "I entered Nanking with the Japanese army and walked around in the city at random everyday, 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.”
During the Japanese occupation of Nanking, Kannosuke Mitoma, a press reporter, worked as the head of the Nanking branch office, and 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."
Treatment in the Japanese press
At the time of the Japanese occupation of Nanking, a major Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun published many photos of Nanking. Five days after the fall of Nanking, the newspaper published an article entitled, "Nanking in Restoring Peace" which provided photographs and journalists' accounts of how peace had been restored to 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 other, 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.
Eight days after the fall of Nanking, the Asahi Shimbun followed up with 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, wearing armbands of the flag of Japan.
Source: Asahi Shimbun December 21, 1937 – (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».
Source: North China Daily News (British newspaper published in China in English) December 18, 1937 – «Chinese people sick or wounded in a hospital in Nanking and Japanese medics nursing them»
Subsequent articles published in the Asahi Shimbun and the other Japanese newspapers contain similar content and uniformly report that peace and order had returned to Nanking. The British newspaper North China Daily News, published in China in English, also carried similar photos and articles about Nanking in those days. Massacre denialists argue that the source of these photos is unimpeachable and that they provide an accurate depiction of the everyday life of the Chinese people in Nanking, only a few days after the Japanese conquest of Nanking, and that notwithstanding the censorship in Japan, these are pictures of a city without massacre.
Documentary film "Nanking"
The Japanese news media also made a documentary movie named Nanking that recorded Nanking just after its fall. The film covers various scenes inside and outside the walls of Nanking during December 14, 1937 – January 4, 1938. It was first released in 1938; however, for many years the film had been thought to be lost. Later, it was found in Beijing in 1995, although it is said that it lacks a part for about 10 minutes.
- The scene of the Chinese refugees and Nanking Safety Zone at Youtube
- The scene that the Japanese soldiers distributing the certificates to the Chinese citizens at Youtube
- The scene that the Japanese soldiers preparing the new year 1938 and the Chinese children celebrating the new year's day at Youtube
Analysis of photographic evidence
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Joshua Fogel credits Ikuhiko Hata with being "largely responsible for discrediting virtually every one of the photographs that adorn the pages of Iris Chang's book", although Hata himself only claimed to have discredited 11 of the 40-odd photographs. Robert Entenmann comments, "Hata claims that eleven photographs in Chang's book are 'fakes, forgeries, and composites,' although he succeeds in demonstrating that with only two." Shudo Higashinakano, Susumu Kobayashi and Shinjiro Fukunaga analyzed the photographic evidence supporting the allegations of the Nanking Massacre. After a detailed analysis of the photographic evidence, they concluded that "all the photographs are montages, staged, or falsely captioned." They asserted that most of the photographic evidence "cannot constitute viable evidence of the alleged atrocities in Nanking".
Higashinakano and his colleagues point out that, for instance, one of the photos shows many lying dead bodies, which they claim are the bodies of 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. They argue that this was staged by the Chinese as there are distinctions in Chinese and Japanese styles of swinging a sword and the style depicted is Chinese. In another photo, the direction of one man's shadow is different from the others, which leads them to conclude that the photo was a composite of multiple photos.
Higashinakano argues that these photos are the result of the effort by the Chinese Nationalist Party propaganda bureau to disseminate its own photographs all over the world under the names of foreign journalists, and to enlist the support of the United States for their war against Japan, as mentioned in the confession of Theodore H. White, an adviser to the propaganda bureau; “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)
This photo was published with three others in the China Weekly Review, on 22 October 1938, with the following caption : "A Japanese officer surveys the results of brutal butchery of Chinese civilians by Nipponese troops at Hsuchow." One of the other photos was "a grotesque exhibition of Chinese skulls, placed by playful Japanese soldiers at Nanking."  Higashinakano points out that the supposed Japanese soldier standing by wears the military uniform with a turned-down collar with class badges on it and that this style was not introduced until after the uniform revision on June 1, 1938. Denialists also assert that the photo does not tell how they were killed, in massacre or in battle, and also point out that there were many Chinese soldiers in mufti.
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, according to Higashinakano, 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 had been in fact a Chinese communist torturing a Chinese prisoner. However, affirmationists points out that similar practices were usual in the Imperial Japanese Army as testified by Prince Mikasa, who denounced this practice while he was a staff officer in Nanjing  and Tominaga Shōzō, a veteran officer.
This photo is supposed to depict a Japanese sailor after beheading. Higashinakano alleges that this was a prearranged pose set up by the Chinese for propaganda purpose.
This photo was published by the American Pictorial Review under the caption: "Jap militarists commit bestial atrocities and terrify Chinese into submission". Higashinakano asserts that these are not Japanese soldiers as the color of the true Japanese military gaiters were similar to their uniform, whereas the gaiters in the photo are rather white, which was the color of the Chinese military gaiters. He concludes that this was a composite of plural photos.
This photo was published in 1938 by Look magazine, the caption describing it as having been taken by a Japanese soldier after the capture of Nanjing and showing "Japanese recruits" "using "Chinese prisoners as their targets." According to the magazine, the picture was sent by W.A. Farmer of Hankow. Higashinakano claims that 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 China in 1930s. Denialists allege that this was a prearranged pose set up by the Chinese for propaganda purposes.
This photo was identified as a Japanese soldier executing a Chinese. This man with the sword appears in other photos which Higashinakano also claims are forged. He claims that this man's one-handed sword swing is Chinese, not Japanese.
This photo is used as purported evidence of Nanking Massacre victims, but Higashinakano points out that there was no such custom of gibbeted heads among the Japanese after the 1870s. Among the Chinese this custom was still observed in the 1930s; for example, there was a case of gibbeted heads in the French Concession in Shanghai on February 12, 1938. Denialists allege that these were the heads of bandits or political criminals killed in the Chinese civil war.
- Nanjing Massacre infants.jpg
Purported evidence of infant victims of the Nanking Massacre. Denialists claim that it was not taken in Nanking. They argue that there was no custom of slaughtering infants even of enemy throughout Japanese history, although this custom frequently appears in Chinese chronicles. Denialists suggests that this photo is in fact a picture of victims of Chinese civil war.
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 placed there on "December 14, just before the fall of Nanking." However, December 14 was not before the fall of Nanking. The caption gives the impression that the Japanese military were responsible for this atrocity, but Higashinakano claims that 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.
- Nanjing1937 self-organized burial team.jpeg
This photo first appeared in Life magazine on February 21, 1938. If looking at it closer, in the white part of the man’s vest is written the word “CHANSHI” (meaning good deeds), which is different from the “卍” mark of the Red Swastika Society, who worked for the burial of the war dead, being requested by the Japanese army. The burial was done in winter. However, Higashinakano claims that the people in the photo do not appear to be wearing winter clothes, and also claims that this photo is not related with Nanking after the Japanese occupation.
The Japanese newspaper article on December 13, 1937, reads "'Incredible Record' (in the Contest to Cut Down 100 People) — Mukai 106–105 Noda: Both 2nd Lieutenants Go Into Extra Innings". This photo was part of a series published by two Japanese newspapers as part of a staged contest, the contest to kill 100 people using a sword, to boost public support for the war.
Photo taken by H.S. Wang, a Chinese American photographer, in the ruins of Shanghai 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 the USA, and is still used to show Japanese atrocities in relation to the Nanking Massacre. Later, a correspondent of the Chicago Tribune 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.
Iris Chang's book
Iris Chang's book, The Rape of Nanking, was instrumental in bringing the Nanking Massacre to wider public attention in the English-speaking world, and garnered Chang much acclaim. It is often seized upon by massacre denialists as representative of works which support the massacre. The many criticisms of the book made by historians who do not deny the massacre are then used by denialists as further evidence of the shoddy scholarship supporting the alleged fabrication. Some of this criticism follows.
Criticism by non-denialists
Joshua A. Fogel, Canada Research Chair at York University, argued that Iris Chang's book is "seriously flawed" and "full of misinformation and harebrained explanations". He suggested that the book "starts to fall apart" when Chang tried to explain why the massacre took place, as she repeatedly commented on "the Japanese psyche" which she sees as "the historical product of centuries of conditioning that all boil down to mass murder" even though in the introduction, she wrote that she will offer no "commentary on the Japanese character or the genetic makeup of a people who could commit such acts". Fogel criticized that part of the problem is Chang's "lack of training as a historian" and another part is "the book's dual aim as passionate polemic and dispassionate history". David M. Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winning professor of history at Stanford University, also pointed out that while Chang noted that "this book is not intended as a commentary on the Japanese character," she then wrote about the "'Japanese identity'—a bloody business, in her estimation, replete with martial competitions, samurai ethics, and the fearsome warriors' code of bushido", making the inference that "'the path to Nanking' runs through the very marrow of Japanese culture." Kennedy also suggested that "accusation and outrage, rather than analysis and understanding, are this book's dominant motifs, and although outrage is a morally necessary response to Nanjing, it is an intellectually insufficient one." Roger B. Jeans, professor of history at Washington and Lee University, refers to Chang's book as "half-baked history", and criticizes her lack of experience with the subject matter:
In writing about this horrific event, Chang strives to portray it as an unexamined Asian holocaust. Unfortunately, she undermines her argument—she is not a trained historian—by neglecting the wealth of sources in English and Japanese on this event. This leads her into errors such as greatly inflating the population of Nanjing (Nanking) at that time and uncritically accepting the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal and contemporary Chinese figures for the numbers of Chinese civilians and soldiers killed. What particularly struck me about her argument was her attempt to charge all Japanese with refusing to accept the fact of the 'Rape of Nanking' and her condemnation of the 'persistent Japanese refusal to come to terms with its past.' 
Jeans continued against what he calls "giving the lie to Iris Chang's generalizations about the 'the Japanese'" by discussing the clashing interest groups within Japanese society over such things as museums, textbooks, and war memory.
Robert Entenmann, professor of history at St. Olaf College, criticized that the "Japanese historical background Chang presents is clichéd, simplistic, stereotyped, and often inaccurate." On Chang's treatment of modern Japanese reaction to the massacre, he writes that Chang seemed "unable to differentiate between some members of the ultranationalist fringe and other Japanese", and that "her own ethnic prejudice implicitly pervades her book." Stating that Chang's description of the massacre is "open to criticism", Entenmann further commented that Chang "does not adequately explain why the massacre occurred".
Journalist Timothy M. Kelly described the book as "simple carelessness, sheer sloppiness, historical inaccuracies, and shameless plagiarism." He pointed out that Chang's "lack of attention to detail", citing her book's incorrect reference to Matthew C. Perry as "Commander" rather than "Commodore", and writing Itô Nobufumi's name as "Ito Nobufumo", without a circumflex on the letter o. As an example of what Kelly argues is "sheer sloppiness", he cited Chang's sentence, "Another rape victim was found with a golf stick rammed into her", and noted that while "golfers do colloquially refer to their clubs as 'sticks'", the terms "golf club" or "the shaft of a golf club" should have been used. According to Kelly, Chang also had plagiarized passages and an illustration from Japan's Imperial Conspiracy by David Bergamini.
Kennedy criticized Chang's accusation of "Western indifference" and "Japanese denial" of the massacre as being "exaggerated", commenting that "the Western world in fact neither then nor later ignored the Rape of Nanking" and that "nor is Chang entirely correct that Japan has obstinately refused to acknowledge its wartime crimes, let alone express regret for them." Chang argues that Japan "remains to this day a renegade nation," having "managed to avoid the moral judgment of the civilized world that the Germans were made to accept for their actions in this nightmare time." However, according to Kennedy, this accusation has already become a cliché of Western criticism of Japan, most notably exemplified by Ian Buruma's The Wages of Guilt (1994), whose general thesis might be summarized as "Germany remembers too much, Japan too little." Kennedy pointed out that a vocal Japanese left has long kept the memory of Nanking alive, noting the 1995 resolution of Japan's House of Councillors that expressed "deep remorse" (fukai hansei) for the suffering that Japan inflicted on other peoples during World War II and clear apologies (owabi) for Imperial Japan's offenses against other nations from two Japanese Prime Ministers.
Sonni Efron of Los Angeles Times warned that the bitter flap over Iris Chang's book may leave Westerners with the "misimpression" that little has been written in Japan about the Nanjing Massacre, when in fact the National Diet Library holds at least 42 books about the Nanjing massacre and Japan's wartime misdeeds, 21 of which were written by liberals investigating Japan's wartime atrocities. In addition, Efron noted that geriatric Japanese soldiers have published their memoirs and have been giving speeches and interviews in increasing numbers, recounting the atrocities they committed or witnessed. After years of government-enforced denial, Japanese middle school textbooks now carry accounts of the Nanjing massacre as accepted truth. Fogel also writes: "Dozens of Japanese scholars are now actively engaged in research on every aspect of the war.... Indeed, we know many details of the Nanjing massacre, Japanese sexual exploitation of 'comfort women,' and biological and chemical warfare used in China because of the trailblazing research" of Japanese scholars.
Criticism by denialists
In Japan, Fujioka 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.” (Another publisher published the book translated by a Chinese in 2007 in Japan.)
Watanabe 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 US-Japan relations.”
Notes and references
- Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho. February 1, 1938. Missing or empty
- Higashinakano (2005) pp. 219–223 Cite error: Invalid
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- Joshua A. Fogel, ed. (2002). The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography. University of California Press. ISBN 0520220072.
- Shina-jihen Shasin Zensyu (Sino-Japanese War Photograph News) #15. Tokyo, Japan: Mainichi Shimbun. January. 11, 1938. Check date values in:
- Cite error: The named reference
Hoshiyamawas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
- Unemoto, Masami. Report (issue no. 11) on the Battle of Nanking published by Kaiko-sha
- Ko, Bunyu, Netsuzo-sareta Nihonshi(The Fabricated History of Japan), Nihon Bungei-sha, Tokyo, 1997, p.140-148
- Ko, Bunyu, Netsuzo-sareta Nihonshi(The Fabricated History of Japan), Nihon Bungei-sha, Tokyo, 1997, p.43
- Nicchu-senso no Shinjitsu.
- Nanking Atrocities.
- Ko, Bunyu (2002). Nittyu Senso – Shirarezaru Shinjitsu (The Sino-Japanese war – The unknown facts). Tokyo: Kobunsha. p. 259.
- Ko, Bunyu (2002). Nittyu Senso – Shirarezaru Shinjitsu. Tokyo: Kobunsha. p. 259.
- Higashinakano (2005) p. 27
- Mainichi Graph -Nihon no Senreki (The history of Japanese war). 1938. Missing or empty
- Akira Fujiwara, The Nanking Atrocity, An Interpretative Overview The Nanking Atrocity 1937–1938 : Complicating the Picture, Berghan Books, 2007
- Nankin Senshi (The History of the Battle of Nanking). Tokyo, Japan: Kaikosha. 1993. p. 324.
- Jijitsu Mukon no Horyo Tairyo Satsugai-setsu.
- Ugaki Naikaku Ryuzan.
- Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho. Asahi-shinbunsha. 1939-08-05.
- Higashinakano (2003)
- Higashinakano (2003) p. 165
- Higashinakano (2005) p. 45
- Lewis Smythe. Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone (side note for case No. 185).
- A more complete account of what numbers are claimed by who, can be found in an article by historian Ikuhiko Hata The Nanking Atrocities: Fact and Fable
- Masaaki Tanaka claims that very few civilians were killed, and that the massacre is in fact a fabrication in his book “Nankin gyakusatsu” no kyokÙ (The "Nanking Massacre" as Fabrication).
- "Why the past still separates China and Japan" Robert Marquand (August 20, 2001) Christian Science Monitor. States an estimate of 300,000 dead.
- Historian Tokushi Kasahara states "more than 100,000 and close to 200,000, or maybe more", referring to his own book Nankin jiken Iwanami shinsho (FUJIWARA Akira (editor) Nankin jiken o dou miruka 1998 Aoki shoten, ISBN 4-250-98016-2, p. 18). This estimation includes the surrounding area outside of the city of Nanking, which is objected by a Chinese researcher (the same book, p. 146). Hiroshi Yoshida concludes "more than 200,000" in his book (Nankin jiken o dou miruka p. 123, YOSHIDA Hiroshi Tennou no guntai to Nankin jiken 1998 Aoki shoten, ISBN 4-250-98019-7, p. 160). Professor Tomio Hora at Waseda University in Tokyo writes 50,000–100,000 (TANAKA Masaaki What Really Happened in Nanking 2000 Sekai Shuppan, Inc. ISBN 4-916079-07-8, p. 5).
- Based on the Nanking war crimes trial verdict (incl. 190,000 mass slaughter deaths and 150,000 individual killings) March 10, 1947.
- Askew, David. "The Nanjing Incident: An Examination of the Civilian Population" (PDF).
- Tomizawa, Shigenobu (July 25, 1999). "To Justify a Lie, One Must Tell a Second Lie". Getsuyo Hyoron,.
- "Japanese Imperialism and the Massacre in Nanjing". Retrieved 2010-01-15.
- Hsu Shuhsi, ed. Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone (Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh, 1939) p.17 (December 17, 1937); pp.18,20 (December 18, 1937); p.48 (December 21, 1937); p.57 (December 27, 1937).
- Abegg, Lily (December 19, 1937). Frankfurter Zeitung. Missing or empty
- Askew, David. "The International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone: An Introduction" (PDF).
- Tanaka Masaaki What really happened in Nanking, the refutation of a common myth
- Tanaka Masaaki, ed., Matsui Iwane Taisho no jinchu nikki (War Journal of General Matsui Iwane) (Tokyo: Fuyo Shobo, 1985), p.134
- See for instance, “Nanking International Relief Committee Reports of Activities November 22, 1937 – April 15, 1938,” in American Missionary Eyewitnesses to the Nanking Massacre, 1937–1938, 11; Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone, 84.
- Higashinakano (2003) p. 19
- Wakabayashi, Bob (2007). The Nanking atrocity, 1937–38: complicating the picture. p. 93.
- Hora, Tomio. Nicchu Senso-shi Shiryo (Historical materials of the Sino-Japanese war). Tokyo, Japan: Kawade-shobo Shinsha. p. 143.
- Higashinakano (2003) p. 15
- U.S. archives reveal war massacre of 500,000 Chinese by Japanese army.
- Higashinakano (2003) p. 53
- Hamazaki, Tomizo (1983). Zoku-Doronko no Hei (Muddy soldier – Second volume). Japan: private printing. p. 107.
- "HyperWar: International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Chapter 8)] (Paragraph 2, p. 1015, Judgment International Military Tribunal for the Far East)". Retrieved 2007-12-16.
- "Kyokasho ga Oshienai Rekishi (History that textbooks do not teach)".
- Hora, Tomio. Nankin Jiken (Nanking incident). Shin-Jinbutsu Ourai-sha. p. 179.
- Kasahara, Tokushi. unpublished paper distributed at the Nanjing Incident Symposium held at Princeton University on 21 November 1997, cited in Hata Ikuhiko (1998a: 12).
- "Nankin Dai-gyakusatsu wa Uso da (The Nanking Massacre is a lie)".
- H. J. Timperley, Japanese Terror in China (New York: Modern Age Books, 1938), 51.
- Mainichi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, No. 59, May 20, 1939
- Watanabe, Shoichi (2006). Nihon to Shina. Tokyo, Japan: PHP Kenkyujo. p. 234.
- Higashinakano, Shudo (2005). THE NANKING MASSACRE: Fact Versus Fiction.
- The Rape of Nanking was a lie.
- Tanaka, Masaaki. Kodansha-kan “Nankin no Shinjitsu” wa Shinjitsu dehanai ("The Truth of Nanking" is not true).
- Takemoto, Tadao & Ohara, Yasuo. The Alleged 'Nanking Massacre' Japan's rebuttal to China's forged claims. Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "a2" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
- "Shuzendo 11man Maiso no Uso (Chung Shan Tang's burial of the 110 thousand is a lie)".
- "Shuzendo 11man Maiso no Uso".
- Higashinakano (2003) pp. 209–210
- Hisashi Inoue, “Itai Maisou Kiroku ha Gizou Shiryo de ha Nai [The Burial Records are not fabricated evidence],” in Nanking Daigyakusatsu Hiteiron 13 no Uso [Thirteen lies in the Nanjing Massacre Deniers’ Claims], 120–137.
- Kenichi, Ara, Nankin Dai-gyakusatu ni Shin-Shiro (Sankei Shimbun newspaper, August 10, 1985)
- Fujiwara, Akira (1995). "Nitchū Sensō ni Okeru Horyotoshido Gyakusatsu". Kikan Sensō Sekinin Kenkyū. 9: 22.
- Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, The Nanking Atrocity 1937–1938 (Berghahn Books, 2007), pp. 278
- Takemoto, Tadao & Ohara, Yasuo. The Alleged 'Nanking Massacre' – Japan's rebuttal to China's forged claims.
- Nihon Senso-shi Shiryo 9 (Historical materials of the Japanese war No.9), Kawade-shobo Shinsya, Tokyo. 1973, page 120[Nanking Anzen-ku To-U An No. 1 Bunsho (Z1)]
- Takemoto, Tadao & Ohara, Yasuo. The Alleged 'Nanking Massacre' – Japan's rebuttal to China's forged claims.
- Nanking Daigyakusatsu wa Uso da.
- "Nankin no Shinjitsu (Kadai) Seisaku Happyo Kisha Kaiken (Press interview for the Truth of Nanking)".
- Ara, p. 19
- Unemoto, Masami, Shogen ni yoru Nankin Senshi (History of the battle of Nanking by testimonies), p.12
- Ara, p. 240
- Ara, p. 218
- Tanaka, Masaaki. Kodansha-kan “Nanking no Shinjitsu” wa Shinjitsu dehanai.
- Higashinakano (2005) p. 67
- Ara, pp. 146–147
- The Japanese army received a letter of thanks for peace in the refugee district.
- Ara, p. 107
- Higashinakano (2005) p. 72
- Higashinakano (2003) pp. 190–193
- Ara, p. 124
- Ara, pp. 114–115
- "Chiang Urges China to Fight to Bitter End". Chicago Daily News. 16 December 1937.
- "'No Surrender' Chiang Kai-shek's Call to the Nation". The Times. London. 17 December 1937.
- Rekishi Kento Iinkai, Dai-Toa Senso no Sokatsu (Summary of the Great East Asia War), Tentensha, Tokyo, 1995, page 264-265
- "Japanese film-maker denies Nanjing massacre". 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
- Shina-jihen Syasin Zensyu (The complete photograph collection of the Sino-Japanese war). 1938.
- Ara, p. 186
- Tanaka, Masaaki, Nanking Gyakusatsu no Kyoko (The fiction called the Nanking Massacre), Nihon Kyobunsha, Tokyo, 1984, PP.35–37
- Nanking Gyakusatu wa Uso 13.
- Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust. pp. 51–52.
- Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho No. 15 (Pictorial book of the Sino-Japanese war by Asahi Shimbun No. 15). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbun. 1938. p. 29.
- Maeda, Yuji, Senso no Nagare no Nakani (In the stream of war), Zenponsha, Tokyo, 1999, p. 122-124
- Ko, Bunyu (2004). Rekishi kara Kesareta Nihon-jin no Bitoku (Japanese virtues removed from history). Tokyo: Seishun Shuppansha. pp. 156–161.
- Bergamini, David. Japan's Imperial Conspiracy. pp. 241–42.
- Bergamini, David. Japan's Imperial Conspiracy. p. 45.
- Fuji, Nobuo (1995). Nanking Daigyakusatsu wa Koshite Tsukurareta (The Nanking Massacre was thus fabricated). Tokyo: Tendensha. pp. 148–201.
- "Japanese Testimonies on Nanjing Massacre Published". 2002-12-13. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
- Higashinakano, Shudo, Shokun! magazine, Nov. 2002, Bungei Shunju-sha, Tokyo.
- Lee, Min (March 31, 2010). "New film has Japan vets confessing to Nanjing rape". Associated Press.
- Akira Fujiwara, The Nanking Atrocity 1937–1938 : Complicating the Picture edited by Bob Wakabayashi, 2007
- "Okamura Yasuji Taisho Shiryo ni tsuite (About the materials of Yasuji Okamura".
- Higashinakano (2003) p. 200
- Higashinakano (2003) p. 188
- Battle of Nanking
- Ara, pp. 137–141
- Takemoto Tadao & Ohara Yasuo. The Alleged 'Nanking Massacre' Japan's rebuttal to China's forged claims.
- Higashinakano, Shudo (1998). Nanking Gyakusatsu no Tettei Kensho (Thorough inspection of the alleged Nanking Massacre). Tokyo: Tendensha. p. 277.
- Benihei Kankei Shiryo (Materials about soldiers in mufti).
- "Nanking Gyakusatsu wa Uso 13 (The Nanking Massacre is a lie: No.13)".
- "The Nanking Atrocities, Psychological Warfare: I Chinese Propaganda".
- Nanking Gyakusatu wa Uso 13 (The Nanking Massacre is a lie: No. 13).
- "The Alleged 'Nanking Massacre' Japan's rebuttal to China's forged claims".
- Woods, John E. (1998). The Good man of Nanking, the Diaries of John Rabe. pp. 275–278.
- Tanihara, Shigeo. The Rape of Nanking – Dai10sho o Hihan suru (Criticizing the chapter 10 of the Rape of Nanking).
- Kokusai Iinkai no Nihon-gun Hanzai Tokei (Crime reports of the International Committee).
- Woods, John E. (1998). The Good man of Nanking, the Diaries of John Rabe. p. 187.
- Woods, John E. (1998). The Good man of Nanking, the Diaries of John Rabe. p. 281.
- "Nanking Smiles". Asahi Shimbun. December 21, 1937.
- Higashinakano, Shudo (1998). Nanking Gyakusatsu no Tettei Kensho. Tokyo: Tendensha.
- Chinese hail Nanjing massacre witness' libel suite victory, , Author on Nanjing loses libel appeal, 
- Tanihara, Shigeo. The Rape of Nanking – Dai10sho o Hihan suru.
- Tanaka, Masaaki, Nankin-jiken no Sokatsu (Summary of the Nanking incident), Tendensha, Tokyo, 2001, p.32
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<ref>tag; name "a5" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
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|date=(help); Missing or empty
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|last1=in Authors list (help)
- Higashinakano, Syudo (2003). The Truth of the Nanking Operation in 1937 (1937 Nanking Koryakusen no Shinjitsu). Shogakukan.
- Higashinakano, S., Kobayashi,S. and Fukunaga, S. (2005). Analyzing the “Photographic Evidence” of the Nanking Massacre (PDF). Tokyo, Japan: Soshisha.
- Suzuki, Akira (April 1972). "The Phantom of The Nanjing Massacre". Every Gentlemen.
- Tanaka, Massaki (1984). Fabrication of Nanjing Massacre. Nihon Kyobun Sha.
- The Truth about Nanjing (2007) a Japanese-produced documentary denying that any such massacre took place. Directed by Satoru Mizushima
- Wakabayashi, Bob Tadashi (ed.). The Nanking Atrocity 1937–38: Complicating the Picture.
- Yang, DaQing (June, 1999). "Convergence or Divergence? Recent Historical Writings on the Rape of Nanjing". American Historical Review: 842–865. Check date values in:
- Yoshida, Takashi (2006). The Making of the "Rape of Nanking.
- Analyzing the “Photographic Evidence” of the Nanking Massacre
- Online Documentary: The Nanking Atrocities
- THE NANKING MASSACRE: Fact Versus Fiction
- Site denying Nanking Massacre
- Refutation by Tanaka Masaaki
- Research Institute of Propaganda Photos[dead link] (Machine translation of Japanese site)
- (in Japanese) (Author ja:東中野修道/小林進/福永慎次郎) 南京事件「証拠写真」を検証する ~ Nanking Massacre's "Photo": Verification of Credibility~ ja:草思社 [[:ja:特別:Booksources/isbn=4794213816|ISBN 4-7942-1381-6]]