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Nanking Massacre in Depth
Summary of Evidence
In the 1930’s, Japanese occupation in China resulted in various war crimes and atrocities, along with clouded politics and denial. This denial and rejection of history led to censorship and the “blackening” of textbooks all throughout Japan, “On December 31, 1945, SCAP prohibited the teaching of ethics, national history, and geography altogether.” This effected Japan politically in a sense by raising international controversy and tension between Japan and its bordering neighbors. "History textbooks are a major source of cultural and social information that shape young people's learning. As Takashi Yoshida states, history textbooks often mirror current social and political contexts, and the presentation of historical events, especially war-related events, greatly influences the interpretation of contemporary thought, opinion, and socialization..” People often believe what they read in textbooks and in Japan are often left with an incomplete view of the past. The censored textbook shows incomplete information on Japan's invasion of Asia in World War 2; reignited the hurt of war victims, and damaged relations with China and Korea, “The Japanese Ministry of Education's approval of the first version of the textbook in 2001 raised tensions with China and Korea." . The Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform had only put a positive view of Japan's past and left out all negative depictions of Japanese aggression. Japanese war atrocities led to distortion to protect the Japanese politically and socially.
During the Rape of Nanking, the Japanese carried out a full on slaughter of tens of thousands of Chinese civilians. Japan was soon politically driven by deceiving military and diplomatic leaders. “Having been denied a public airing of wartime suffering and Japanese atrocities by their own leaders, by the late 1980s the Chinese people were hungry for popular histories of Japan's wartime atrocities. (13) Personal memories exacerbated by decades of negative images of Japanese soldiers also contributed to deeply felt distrust of Japan among the Chinese population, while the deepening "reform and opening up" (gaige kaifang) policies began to provide valuable space and resources for popular activism on history issues.” Rejection of the Japanese atrocities, state propaganda and more assertive diplomacy also led to popular activism. Japanese military officials and commanders also had to counteract these political arguments and distort the truth to renown innocent. "A crowd of fleeing civilians that included women and children was surging along the banks of the Yangtze, and there were a lot of Chinese soldiers mixed in among them. If the Chinese soldiers were allowed to get away, they could later influence the course of the war. Shocked, the other soldiers opened fire, and that's how the slaughter took place.” . The Nanking Massacre and many like it led to the distortion and complete denial about the Japanese role in the incident to protect Japan politically. The Rape of Nanking effected Japan politically by showing the lies and grievances to protect themselves politically.
In 1937 Japanese aggression and expansion was a big problem but very important to the 1930/40’s. The Rape of Nanking and many other atrocities demonstrated denial and how the Japanese government viewed and dealt with these problems. “Accounts of killing contests like the one that Tang Rongfa described in the previous chapter are also found in Japanese sources. One is a series of news reports about two second lieutenants from the Katagiri Unit of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force who embarked upon a "contest to cut down a hundred" with their swords as they left Wuxi to pass through Changzhou, Danyang, Jurong, and Zijin Mountain. The first reports appeared in the November 30, 1937, morning edition of the T?ky? Nichinichi Shimbun.” .
These problems impact the Japanese greatly in a political sense. Modern distortion and rejection of war crimes affects Japanese politics, internationally. Past and current forms of Japanese attitude towards their war atrocities, like The Rape of Nanjing, Unit 173, and Bataan Death March, continue to add tension between the China/Japan relationships. “Serious efforts were made in 1989 when the Japan-South Korea Joint Study Group on History Textbooks was created in response to criticisms of Japanese textbooks. The joint research by Japanese and Korean scholars was able to offer new perspectives on certain historical issues related to Japan and Korea, but had difficulty achieving historical consensus. (23) Since the protests in Asia against the 2005 release of Japan's history textbook, scholars have renewed efforts to create a common textbook.” .
The long term consequences of Japanese war crimes have varied over the years. Today Japan continues to deny and distort history as well as the knowledge on their youth. Through the distorted consciousness and apprehension of these war crimes, long term consequences consist of forever scarred relationships between Japan and other Asian countries. ” History textbooks are young people's principal source of history. These textbooks not only tell about the past, but they present the political views of their government, as well as its relationships and conflicts with other countries.”
The Nanking massacre endorsed many forms of aggression, some that were withheld and showed hostile behavior from previous Sino-Japanese conflicts. Both perspectives, the Japanese and Chinese, can be analyzed, with views both modern and of the period. Although the Chinese way of thinking was drastically changed, from dismastment to pure hatred, the lives of many Japanese were changed as well. Chinese and Japanese relations still remain strained. “Outbursts of popular anger towards Japan in China have been growing since 2001 over issues related to Japan's WWII-era invasion of China”
In 1937, the Japanese invaded China, mass murdering thousands of Chinese civilians and raping many innocent women. It was not mainly the atrocities themselves but the way the Japanese dealt with them that affected them politically. The Nanking Massacre affected the Japanese politically by severely straining and in even some cases crippling foreign reactions with Japan. The Rape of Nanking also affected Japan politically by showing the lies and grievances to protect themselves politically. Relations even still today remain tense due to the distortion and controversies of the modern Japanese textbook.
Further questions raised through research consist of Japanese economics. The Japanese were greatly affected politically by their past atrocities, but one can wonder what embargos or economic problems Japan faces due to their political conflicts. Another question raised through research consists of sociology. One might ask whether other countries even acknowledge Japanese war atrocities from the 1930/40’s.
Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II..
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Honda, Katsuichi, and Frank Gibney. The Nanjing massacre: a Japanese journalist
confronts Japan's national shame. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1999.
Reilly, James. "China: An International Journal." China's History Activism and
Sino-Japanese Relations 4 (2006). http://www.questiaschool.com.
Takashi, Yoshida. The Making of the "Rape of Nanking": History and Memory in
Japan, China, and the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Zhao, Yali, and John D. H D. Hoge. "Countering Textbook Distortion: War
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