by Reverend Arimasa Kubo (Japanese pastor and non-fiction writer)
(Reverend Arimasa Kubo appeared on an interview article of Veterans Today)
the massacre which is said to be committed by the Japanese Military did not take place. The atrocities that are said to have been committed were by Chinese Soldiers.
What is the Alleged Nanjing Massacre?
The Nanjing Massacre, or sometimes known as “the Rape of Nanjing” is the name of a genocidal war crime said to have been committed by the Japanese Military during the occupation of the city of Nanjing on December 13th, 1937. There is still debate about whether it really occurred or not.
Many who claim the Massacre occurred say that during the occupation of the city, the Japanese Military committed numerous atrocities such as rape, looting, arson and the execution of prisoners of war and also civilians. Some claim the number of people massacred rise to about 300,000 during the six weeks the city was captured by the Japanese Military. Today, on the outer wall of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum in China has 300,000 written as the number of the massacre victims. Many Chinese children visit this wall every year to have “anti-Japanese” ideas planted in them.
Those who denial the Massacre claim that newspapers, photos, documentary films, records and testimonies in those days all tell the Nanjing Massacre of 300,000 people did not take place. According to them, the so-called Nanjing Massacre was a fabrication and false propaganda spread by
Chinese Nationalists and Communists for their political purposes. Today, we have countless reliable pieced of evidence that prove the massacre did not actually occur at all.
What Actually Occurred in Nanjing
In 1937, what is later known as the Battle of Shanghai, 300,000 Chinese soldiers attacked Japanese settlements in Shanghai. Many were killed; not only Japanese but also many Chinese and Westerners. This was what led to the start of the Sino-Japanese War. To bring an end to the war, the Japanese Military decided to attack Nanjing, which was the capital of the Republic of China. The civilians of Nanjing either fled the city before the invasion, or stayed in the Safety Zone, which was specially set up within the walls of the city. The Japanese Military did not attack this Safety Zone; therefore, no civilians were killed.
Before the Japanese occupied Nanjing, the Chinese military had committed numerous atrocities such as plunder and raping of the citizens. The citizens who were victims of this welcomed the entry of the Japanese military into Nanjing, giving cheers and rejoice.
Even though, many Chinese civilians fled the city (the population of the city at the time of occupation was 200,000), one month after the Japanese occupied Nanjing, many returned and the population quickly increased to about 250,000. Newspapers from the time show numerous photos of Chinese citizens who returned to the city living peacefully, smiling with the Japanese soldiers.
In the Battle of Nanjing, many Chinese soldiers discarded their military uniforms to run away. They also killed Chinese civilians to take their clothes so they could hide within the Nanjing citizens. Espy, the American vice-consul at Nanjing and many others left records of witnessing these scenes. Those who massacred Chinese civilians were actually Chinese soldiers. The Chinese
Military in those days were not fully disciplined. They plundered villages for food, raped women and then burnt the villages. There are many testimonies that say that most of the civilians killed in and around Nanjing were killed by the Chinese Military.
Many of the Westerners who took care of the Nanjing Safety Zone secretly sheltered Chinese military officers, breaking an agreement with the Japanese military. This was done so that they could stay neutral. The atrocities and rape of women that are said to have happened in the Safety Zone were done by these Chinese soldiers. However, these blames were later put on the Japanese military.
There are reports from that time which say the Japanese Military were the ones committing the atrocities. These reports continued until January 4th 1938 because simply, the Westerners believed that atrocities were done by the Japanese. However, the Chinese soldiers whom the Westerners sheltered secretly in the Safety Zone, were arrested by the Japanese military. The New York Times reported that the these Chinese soldiers confessed to have done the atrocities that the Japanese military was blamed for.
More Chinese soldiers were arrested on Jan. 25th and Feb. 17th 1938 and the atrocities in Nanjing stopped; the people of Nanjing finally got their peace and order. The Westerners also stopped talking about Japanese atrocities as well. To begin with, the atrocities the Japanese military were said to have done were lies the Chinese soldiers told to the Westerners who sheltered them. The Westerners who believed these lies reported back to their homeland (especially the US) and provoked the idea of anti-Japanese there.
These Westerners’ reports are often referred to still today as the evidence of Japanese atrocities. However, they were thus not the evidence of Japanese atrocities, but the evidence of the Chinese atrocities and their anti-Japanese maneuverings. Other than those Chinese soldiers whom the Westerners sheltered, there were also many other Chinese soldiers hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone, wearing civilian clothes and hiding weapons to prepare urban warfare. The Japanese military found out and arrested these illegitimate soldiers. Rebellious ones were executed by the Japanese military; however, these executions were recognized as legitimate under international law.
There are evidence of small cases of plunder and rape of several women by Japanese soldiers in Nanjing. However, these were similar to crimes which soldiers of other countries also committed in territories they occupied. The Japanese soldiers who committed such crimes were strictly punished.
Although there were ten or several tens cases of crimes, the Japanese military did not massacre anyone. Rather that, the Japanese military did many humane aid activities to the citizens of Nanjing and their POWs. There were no Nanjing civilian who died of starvation during the Japanese occupation. There were even Chinese POWs who were moved by the humane acts of the Japanese military who later joined the pro-Japanese government of Wang Jing-Wei.