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The Nankin Massacre In China: Historically Forgotten

1578 words - 7 pages

Absolute historical fact is impossible to obtain. Although history tends to be thought of as based on facts, data and past happenings, history in its very nature subjects itself to human biases, personal interpretations, personal interests, national interests, and cultural values. The occurrence of the Raping of Nanking continues to be subjected to such interpretations. On December 12, 1937, an outbreak of mass murder and rape was committed by the Japanese troops against Nanking China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. This incident, which came to be known as the Nanking Massacre or the Rape of Nanking, lasted for six weeks during which the Imperial Japanese Army murdered tens of thousands ...view middle of the document...

Due to a distorted memory of the Raping of Nanking, controversies about the event continue in Japan, China and America to this day.
In Japan, the ultra-nationalists and passionate history revisionists usually altogether deny the occurrence and if they do acknowledge that something happened, they rationalize the event and blame it on other parties or circumstances, rather than themselves. The Japanese revisionists assume no responsibility or culpability for the murder of civilians at any point during the war. They do this by rationalizing all actions to be necessary in order to ensure Japan’s own survival and to free Asia from the grips of Western imperialism (Stanford). The revisionists retell the “Rape of Nanking” with a definite Japanese twist. They go to extreme lengths to protect their version of the Rape of Nanking, regularly threatening those who oppose their view with lawsuits, death threats, and even assassinations (Stanford). Some Japanese liberals and historians seek after the truth of the Japanese actions and involvement during China’s occupation and do so under heavy scrutiny and threat from the revisionists and nationalists. Even the Minister of Education, a high level authority, is in the majority group and endeavors to downplay Japanese involvement in the ruthless and cruel acts against the Chinese. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Japanese denial is in their education system, which is recognized as one of the most competitive, aggressive, and rigorous systems in the world. Yet, in this system, the Japanese fail to provide their students with an accurate account the most significant occurrences of the twentieth century, World War II. Crucial components such as the forced evacuations of Korean and Chinese prisoners to labor camps in Japan, the exploitation of Korean comfort women, the role the Japanese played in the Rape of Nanking, and an array of other atrocities are all hazed over, rationalized, or omitted from Japanese textbooks and society, and even from memories (Stanford). Iris Chang, the author of The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II states, “Denial is an integral part of atrocity, and it’s a natural part after a society has committed genocide. First you kill them, then the memory of killing is killed”.
This distorted historic memory of the Rape of Nanking has China yearning for an official apology from Japan and desiring the world to know about the largest single city massacre in the history of the world. Unlike the Japanese, the Chinese do not view the rape, death, mutilation and torture of what some suspect to be more than 300,000 civilians and surrendered soliders in a city of less than 650,000 inhabitants to be a hazy, forgettable past (Stanford). In motivation of her own grandparents’ stores about the escape from the massacre, Iris Chang wrote The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. She details atrocities committed against Chinese by forces of the Japanese...

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