Population Before And After

This is a summary of the change in population before and after the “Nanjing Incident”. Please refer to this as additional reference to the “Brief Outline of the Nanjing Incident”.

Member of Parliament, Jenny Kwan stated that during the “Nanjing Incident” the Japanese Imperial Army massacred 300,000 civilians and raped and sexually enslaved 200,000 women. If such a number of people were massacred and raped, it is hard to believe that the city of Nanjing could be reconstructed so easily.

However, shortly after the “incident”, the city of Nanjing reconstructs rapidly and the daily lives of the people were quickly recovered (there is photographic evidence of Nanjing during this time period to prove this). The more the tragedy is emphasized, the more this contradiction arises.

The change in population of Nanjing between 1937 and 1938

1. July 1937 : 1,000,000

2. November 1937 : 500,000

In September, rumors that the Japanese Army will invade Nanjing spreads and civilians start to flee from the city.


– Nanjing Municipal Government letters (Tokushi Kasahara, “Nankin Jiken” p.220)

“According to the investigation as of November 23rd, the population of our city (Nanjing) is approximately 500,000), In the near future, approximately 200,000 will become refugees and will require a supply of food)

– The American Embassy Reports (American Appendices)

November 27, an evacuation advisory was given out to all foreign people in the area. “People are evacuating the city but according to the mayor, about 300 to 400 thousand civilians still remain in Nanjing”

– The Truth of Nanjing (John Rabe)

Police Commissioner Wan Gu Pan repeatedly stated that there were still 200,000 Chinese living in Nanjing (John Rabe’s diary dated November 28th)

3. December 1937 (before the fall): 200,000


– The Safety District Committee of Nanjing Reports

This number was used to calculate the distribution of food supplies and requires to be precise, therefore it can be considered a trustworthy number. This number not only includes the people living safety district but also considers people outside who come in seeking refuge. Therefore, this calculated is at the most, the population of Nanjing at the time
There are historians that say there were hardly any people in the safety district. Even if there were, it would have been a very small number. The Chinese army who were there to protect the city sent out a message that any civilian who seeks refuge in the safety district will be considered a Japanese spy, so it is difficult to believe that there were a large number of people in the safety district.
The safety district committee states in their papers dated December 17th, that “when the Japanese army has invaded Nanjing on the 13th, we have gathered most of the civilians in the safety district”

– The Truth of Nanjing (John Rabe)

“Why did you let approximately 800,000 of the rich and wealthy flee from the city? Shouldn’t you have made them stay even if you had to put a rope around their neck? Why is it that always, the poorest have to give up their lives?” (John’s Rabe’s diary dated December 6th, a dialogue with general Huang of the Chinese Army)
-“What will the Japanese Government and Chiang Kai-shek say? We are all waiting breathlessly for their decision. Because the lives of 200,000 people depend on it (John Rabe’s diary dated December 10th)

– Data transmission of the American Embassy of Nanjing

“after the fall of Nanjing, both the Chinese Army and civilians fled the city Incessantly. 80% of the population had fled the city taking most of their weapons and equipment with them” (report dated after December 10th)

– The Stenographic Records of the Tokyo Trial

During the trial, Defense Lawyer Rovins asked “The number of victims killed in Nanjing is stated to be 300,000; However, in my understanding, the whole population of Nanjing was only 200,000”

– International East Asia Trial Stenographic Records volume 58 Section 21.8.29

When this question was asked, Judge Wepps answered “Now is not the time to debate about that” and silenced him.

4. January 1938 (note: this is after the “massacre”) : 250,000


– The Safety District Committee of Nanjing Reports

population investigation results: 250,000. This number was calculated by the Japanese Army through the Safety District Committee for calculations for food supplies. If the supplies were sufficient, there would have been deaths due to starvation and may have lead to riots, therefore this number should be accurate.

Also, the Japanese Army inspected each person to determine if they were a solider or not and gave them a piece of identity that proves they are a civilian. According to the records of the army 160,000 of these identifications were given out.

This is due to the fact that older women and children under the age of 12 were not counted for. With this in mind, the population of Nanjing at this time would be estimated to be around 300,000.

– The 15 year war top secret documents volume 13 Kachu Senbukousaku shiryou pg 153(Hisashi Inoue, “juu-gonen sensou gokuhi shiryoushuu dai juusan shuu kachu senbukousaku shiryou” Fuji publishing 1989) Nanking Secret Military Institute, Nanking Group Two Reports.

– The Records on the Safety District of Nanjing(Shigenobu Fujisawa, “Nankin Anzen chitai no kiroku” Ten-den sha publishing)

– Volume 41 Letter to Fukuda from John H. D. Rabe (Head of Committee) dated January 14th, 1938

“I understand that you have recorded 160,000 as the population of Nanjing excluding older women and children under the age of 10. That means the whole population of Nanjing would be between 250,000 and 300,00. If we were to feed them with regular rice…”

– Volume 54 Letter to Prix du Blune from John H.D. Rabe January 28th, 1938

“Out of the 250,000 in Nanjing, the majority have lost their homes due to the large scale fires…”

5. Second half of March 1938 : 250,000 to 280,000


– The Smithe Investigation (estimates to be between 250,000 and 270,000)]

– The Sino-Japanese War History Appendices the Nanjing Incident II English-related Appendices

the population count by the Nanking Restoration Government Nanking City Municipal Office’s is 277,000.

6. September 1938 : 400,000 to 500,000


– Bungei Shun-juu volume 16 issue 19 1938 November Special Issue Military Transmissions / Shanghai to Lu Province/ Kousaku Taki-i

“September 23rd. Sunny. In Nanjing. 9am heading towareds the Nanking Secret Military Institute. An explanation by Colonel Oonishi was made about the political situation in Nanjing. Before the war, the population was 100,000. And of those 250,000 fled to Hankou and 250,000 fled to Shanghai. 50,000 fled to Hong Kong. Currently there are 450,000.”
(According to some historical records, Government officials fled to Hankou and civilians fled to Shanghai)

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