Sunday, December 14, 2008


Nanking (aka Nanjing) literally means south capital. It has been used as the Capital of China during several Dynasties including the capital of the Republic of China. It's also the city my mother was born in.

No history write up from me this time, you can get it at wikipedia:

As a city with so much rich history in China you would think that's what I came for. Nope, I came to Nanjing because I wanted to see the city that the Japanese Raped in World War 2 for myself. Today you will not find those relics of the past. Nanjing is a regular Chinese city again. However if you head to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial (free) you can find information of the attack and the actual skeletal remains of some of the many victims.

The Chinese (mainly youth, old people just want to forget and move on) still feel victimized from World War 2, mostly because Japan refuses to apologize and refuses to acknowledge their horrible actions from World War 2. To make matters worse they are trying to erase this embarrassing part of their history from their history text books (example: japanese general rewrites history). I met some Japanese people while traveling. I was told many Japanese youth do not know that Japan tried to colonize most of Asia during World War 2. However even more do not know about the brutal acts the Japanese carried out during World War 2, peaking with their actions at Nanjing. It is no wonder Japanese youth have no idea why Japan is so hated in Asia and why Chinese youth has so much resentment. Reconciliation will be difficult as the older generation die and the youth only know what they've been taught.

(kind of a tangent with Japan rewriting history... interesting history about japan entering in world war 2 by MIT professor Norm Chomsky:
So while Japan may have entered ww2 for very complicated issues, saying Japan never waged a war of aggression is like saying George W. Bush didn't mislead Americans into Iraq. It's Bogus.)

So what exactly happened in Nanjing that has fostered so much anger? Japan had a chance to be a hero in much of Asia by driving out the white man, but instead leadership allowed and even encouraged some of the most brutal acts in history. It is how Japan acted during World War 2, calling Chinese less than human and wanting to teach them a lesson (this seems so stupid to me considering how much of Japan's culture comes from China. For example Kanji is just Chinese, Karate is from China, and Chinese influence on city architecture and layout is obvious) that created these bitter feelings.

In Nanjing Japanese soldiers raped so many women, including young prepubescent girls and even the elderly. Pregnant women were raped, had their belly cut open as soldiers ripped out the unborn fetus. Boys and men were used as target and bayonet practice. So many dead bodies were dumped in the river that it became red. Mass graves are still being uncovered today showing the brutal treatment of these civilians by Japanese soldiers.

The Chinese believe the actions at Nanjing were the Holocaust of the east. Worse, the Chinese believe the rest of the world, particularly the west has forgotten what happened in Nanjing. They see that Japan has recovered from their WW2 perception and is respected by other nations. Then they think, hey you forgot about us! As China grows in power and influence this issue between the nations has come to surface again. Japan has reacted with more delicate honoring of their WW2 dead (war criminals to the rest of the world). My personal belief is that while you will never find a perfectly good government, one innocent of any wrong doing (I mean come on China, Tiananmen Square, allowing HIV to spread amongst poor villagers that were donating blood by sharing needles, and poisoning toys and milk), without truly confronting the past in an honest fashion these countries, especially China and Korea, will continue old pointless feelings of hostility. No good will come of this.

Outside the Memorial
I've tried to put the English text on the statues below their respective pictures.

Family Ruined
Never returns the son killed
Never returns the husband buried alive
Sorrow drowns the wife raped

December 13th, 1937
Began the inhuman massacre!
Bare-handed civilians,
The only hope to survive

The Helpless Struggle of a Dying Intellectual
My dear poor wife!
They devil raped you, killed you...
I'm right after you!

The devils have sent the bombers again...
The poor orphans,
Frightened by the vicious laugh of brutal devils,
Terrified by the corpses piling up in the alley,
Have lapsed into numbness...

The devils are coming...

A thirteen-year-old-carrying his
grandmother who has died in a bomb,

My dear mother in the eighties,
Hurry up! Run away from the bloody hands!

Never will a holy soul bear the
humiliation of the devils!
Only to die!
Only to die!
Only death can wash the filth away!

Frigidity and horror have frozen this crying baby!
Poor thing
Not knowing mum has been killed
Blood, milk and tears
Have frozen, never melting

They rob and rape,
They set fire and bury people alive...
They even kill my three month old little grandson.

Inside the Memorial:
There is a museum there as well, however pictures are not allowed to be taken. I'm not sure why considering you can find most of the pictures in Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking.

300,000 civilians killed in Nanjing

Bronze statue of Chinese American Iris Chang. She wrote the book The Rape of Nanking (same as Nanjing). Her research and book is the main reason the brutal acts at Nanjing have received attention again. I believe much of the Memorial's information and material came from her book research. Everything there can be found in her book. Sadly Iris Chang committed suicide in 2004.

One of the discovered mass graves.

Mass grave

Mass Grave

Mass Grave

Mass Grave

6 year old who was beheaded

This woman was choked to death
60 year old woman with a bullet in her skull

19 year old woman that had nails put in her head and a bayonet to the hip

Info on the iron nails below.

Iron nails used to cruelly kill Chinese civilians. They were put into the victims heads.

Paper cranes

Video of some Chinese youth honoring the victims of the Nanjing Massacre.

If you want to learn more about the Rape of Nanking read this book by the late Iris Chang. Everything in the museum is in this book, everything. I have read this book years ago, it was an informative read, it's very graphic. I recommend it, but know that the subject is cruel so it's not one of those books you curl up with for a fun read.

Interestingly I mentioned previously that many Chinese feel the Massacre and Rape of Nanjing was the Holocaust of the east, but there's more to it than the assault on the city. Every heard of Unit 731? I never heard of it until it was mentioned to me by a friend. Unit 731 was Japan's equivalent of the horrible human experiments the Nazis did to the Jews in WW2. Civilian and captured Chinese, Russians, and Americans were subjected to horrible experiments such as: being human targets for grenade testing, flame thrower tests, germ warfare experiments, injections of syphilis, gonorrhea, horse urine, being put in pressure chambers until their intestines shot out of their rear resulting in death, and so much more. These are revolting, but I think what disappoints me the most is that several of the scientists that conducted these experiments were given amnesty by my own country, the USA, in exchange for the data. That being said, I'm not exactly shocked (um, Iraq, Bay of Pigs, etc) as my own own country is no saint, but then again neither is any.

More info on Unit 731
Film on Unit 731: Hei Tai Yang 731
Update 3/2/2008 - Good Nazi of Nanjing

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