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POWs Not Executed
Massacre affirmationists often refer to the division commander Kesago Nakajima's diary, in which is written that Nakajima "…thought about disposing 7,000-8,000 prisoners of war at Xianho Gate" according to the military policy, "Accept no prisoners." However, it was only a plan. There are in fact records showing that the 7,000-8,000 POWs about whom Nakajima wrote were not killed but sent to the concentration camp in Nanking. It is also known that Kesago Nakajima was later removed from his post because he had been found appropriating the equipment of the residence of Chiang Kai-shek in Nanking for his own use.
The records also show that the concentration camp received about 10,000 POWs in total, including the prisoners sent by Nakajima. Many of the 10,000 POWs were later released, hired as coolies or sent to the concentration camp in Shanghai. Nearly 2000 of them became soldiers for Jingwei Wang’s pro-Japanese government. One of these was Qixiong Liu, who had been hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone, was caught as a POW and used as a coolie for a while. Later he became the commander of a brigade for Wang’s pro-Japanese government.
Many Japanese soldiers testify that "Accept no prisoners" always meant "Unarm them and let them go home." They actually did so when there was no need to send them to a concentration camp. Staff officer Onishi said, "They could go home walking. There never was any military order or divisional order to kill POWs."
Japanese Lieutenant General Yasuji Okamura once wrote his surmise based on what he had heard from his staff officers in Shanghai. "It is true that tens of thousands of acts of violence, such as looting and rape, took place against civilians during the assault on Nanking.... (and) front-line troops indulged in the evil practice of executing POWs on the pretext of (lacking) rations."
This description is also often referred to by massacre affirmationists; however, Okamura was not in Nanking and his surmise was based on a report he heard in Shanghai. Since the Westerners of the International Committee, who were in Nanking, reported only 450 cases of atrocities such as looting, rape and murder committed by the Japanese military, Okamura's surmise of "…tens of thousands of acts of violence" was clearly based on an incorrect rumor.
It is a fact, as Okamura wrote, that some officers thought to execute POWs on the pretext of lacking rations; however, the POWs were not executed after all.
Nobody in Nanking Witnessed 300,000 Victims
Reverend John Magee, who was in Nanking before and during its Japanese occupation for years, filmed scenes of Nanking, and the film is often referred to in relation to the alleged Japanese atrocities. However, Magee's film shows no scenes of clearly massacred victims. The captions are alleged atrocities of the Japanese, but the movie has no scenes of Japanese soldiers executing POWs, no scenes of thousands of dead bodies—in fact, the movie shows mostly scenes of living people.
John Magee also wrote about some alleged Japanese atrocities; however, most of those were hearsay. So was the famous horrible incident in the following.
"On December 13, about 30 soldiers came to a Chinese house at #5 Hsing Lu Koo in the southeastern part of Nanking, and demanded entrance. The door was opened by the landlord, a Mohammedan named Ha. They killed him immediately with a revolver and also Mrs. Ha, who knelt before them after Ha's death, begging them not to kill anyone else. Mrs. Ha asked them why they killed her husband and they shot her dead. Mrs. Hsia was dragged out from under a table in the guest hall where she had tried to hide with her 1-year-old baby. After being stripped and raped by one or more men, she was bayoneted in the chest, and then had a bottle thrust into her vagina. The baby was killed with a bayonet. Some soldiers then went to the next room, where Mrs. Hsia's parents, aged 76 and 74, and her two daughters aged 16 and 14 were. They were about to rape the girls when the grandmother tried to protect them. The soldiers killed her with a revolver. The grandfather grasped the body of his wife and was killed. The two girls were then stripped, the elder being raped by 2-3 men, and the younger by 3. The older girl was stabbed afterwards and a cane was rammed in her vagina. The younger girl was bayoneted also but was spared the horrible treatment that had been meted out to her sister and mother. The soldiers then bayoneted another sister of between 7-8, who was also in the room. The last murders in the house were of Ha's two children, aged 4 and 2 respectively. The older was bayoneted and the younger split down through the head with a sword. "
Magee heard about this crime from the 7-8 year old girl who had been bayoneted but survived and told this whole story two weeks after the crime. Magee wrote that he had recorded this story, adding some “corrections” to what the girl told him with the help of her relatives and neighbors. Magee thought that these “30 soldiers” had been Japanese; however, they could not be Japanese, but Chinese.
Magee wrote that this had happened on December 13, but on December 8 every citizen had been already forced to move to the Safety Zone by the Chinese army, and was inside the Zone. The family in the story was outside the Zone, and it was most dangerous and highly unlikely that they were outside it on December 13 when the Japanese military entered the city. It is thus very likely that the crime was actually committed before December 8 or 13 by Chinese soldiers. In addition, the practice of thrusting items into females’ vaginas was typically Chinese. Such a practice often appears in Chinese chronicles. The Japanese never had such a custom.
The murder case witnessed by Magee himself was, as he testified in the Tokyo Trial, only one: a Japanese soldier shooting a Chinese who had begun to run away when questioned about his name and identity by the Japanese soldier. The Japanese soldier was searching Chinese soldiers in mufti (ordinary clothes), and such a killing is recognized as legitimate under international law. In other words, Magee did not see 300,000 or even 40,000-60,000 massacred victims in his all days in Nanking.
According to Magee, the cases which he himself witnessed other than the above-mentioned killing were only one rape and one rubbery. The rest were all hearsay. The alleged rape he witnessed was that he had seen a Japanese soldier coming toward a man’s wife; however, Magee did not actually see a rape. The Japanese soldier might have come to question the woman or her husband. The alleged robbery was that Magee had seen a Japanese soldier coming out of a house with an icebox in his hands. In other words, Magee did not personally see any horrible crimes committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking.
Nanking was not filled with Japanese atrocities.
Low Crime Rate of Japanese Soldiers
It is a fact that Japanese soldiers committed a relatively small number of crimes in the city. On Dec. 18, 1937, five days after the fall of Nanking, the commander of the Japanese army, General Iwane Matsui, held with his whole army a memorial service to express condolences to both the Chinese and the Japanese war dead. In his speech he scolded his men for what he had heard about crimes of rape and looting committed by Japanese soldiers in the city. Matsui said:
"A group of soldiers dishonored our Imperial Army by performing outrageous conduct. What the hell have you done? What you did was unworthy of the Imperial Army. From now on, keep military discipline strictly and never treat innocent people cruelly. Remember it is the only way to console the war dead."
It is noteworthy that General Matsui never mentioned the occurrence of a massacre. Later, he testified in the Tokyo Trial on Nov. 24, 1947:
“After the fall of Nanking, some young officers and men committed atrocities, for which I deeply feel sorry.… However, I never heard or saw in Nanking a large scale massacre or atrocities such as the ones the prosecution insists upon, and it was never reported when I was in Shanghai, either.”
Thus, it is a fact that some crimes were committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking. However, the crime rate was much lower than that of cities occupied by the Chinese or the Russians. One may say that the Japanese crimes in Nanking were in fact similar to the ones committed by soldiers of the American occupation forces in Japan after the US-Japan war. Japanese press reporters who were in Nanking testify, "Nanking citizens were cheerful." If the crime rate was very high, that could not have been possible.
Yasuto Nakayama, a staff officer of the Japanese army in Nanking, testified in the Tokyo Trial:
"I heard the alleged Nanking Massacre story for the first time after the war ended. I think we need to consider this in four parts. The first one is massacre of civilians, which I believe never occurred. The second one is massacre of POWs, which I believe never occurred, except the ones mistakenly told. The third one is infringement on foreign rights and interests as well as their property, which I think occurred in part, but it is not clear still today which committed it, the Japanese or the Chinese. And the fourth ones are rape to women and looting to citizens, which I think occurred on a small scale and I deeply feel sorry for them."
Hirotsugu Tsukamoto, a Japanese judicial officer who was in charge of punishment of the military criminals in Nanking, testified:
“After the entry into Nanking, unlawful acts were committed by Japanese soldiers and I remember having examined these cases. I think that there were four or five officers involving in the above cases I disposed, but the rest were cases mostly sporadically committed by the rank-and-file. The kinds of crimes were chiefly plunder and rape, while the cases of theft and injury were few. And to the best of my knowledge I remember that there happened few cases that resulted in death. I remember that there were a few murder cases, but have no memory of having punished incendiaries or dealt with mass slaughter criminals.”
According to the testimony of this judicial officer, it seems that the crimes of Japanese soldiers in Nanking numbered around ten, several tens or so at the most. Of course, these Japanese criminals were strictly punished. This crime rate was relatively low, compared with the one of other countries’ soldiers in occupied territories of World War II.
Truth About the Alleged Atrocities of the Japanese
In February, 1938, the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, which consisted of Westerners living in Nanking, forwarded to the Japanese Embassy a report of about 450 cases of crimes allegedly committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking, such as murder, rape, and looting. This report is often referred to as showing Japanese atrocities. How can we think of this?
Most of these 450 cases were based on hearsay, with the exception of only a few cases that the Committee members themselves witnessed or directly confirmed. And even if these 450 cases were all true, murder cases numbered only 49, which are far different from 300,000, the alleged number of massacre victims. In other words, first of all we can say that this report proves a large-scale massacre did not take place in Nanking.
As for the 49 murder cases of the report, the ones which were witnessed by the Committee members themselves number only 2, which were both legitimate, such as killing when a Japanese military policeman found and shot a suspicious man who did not answer to his question and suddenly ran away. None of the Committee members in Nanking witnessed illegitimate murders.
As for rape cases, Professor Tadao Takemoto and Professor Yasuo Ohara point out:
"How many cases of rape (including attempted) were reported in the documents by the Safety Zone Committee? The total number was 361. Among them, there were only 61 cases which definitely clarified who witnessed the cases, or who heard and reported them. Among these cases, only seven cases were clarified to be crimes committed by Japanese soldiers, and were notified to the Japanese Army in order to disclose the fact and to capture the suspects.... Furthermore, as reported in the article in the Chicago Daily News dated February 9, 1938, the Japanese Army investigated about the seven cases and severely punished the criminals. The punishment was so severe that some complaints were expressed among the soldiers."
Tokuyasu Fukuda, who had been in Nanking as a probationary diplomat of the Japanese embassy, testified about the actual situation of this International Committee and their report of 450 cases, as follows:
"The nature of my duties required me to visit the office of the International Committee almost everyday. At the office, I saw Chinese men come in one after another, saying, 'Japanese soldiers are now raping 15-16 year old girls in such and such a place,' or 'Japanese soldiers are committing looting at a house of such and such a street,' etc.. Rev. Magee, Rev. Fitch and several others were typing these charges immediately to report to their countries. I warned them again and again, 'Wait, please. Do not report them without confirming.' Occasionally, I hurried with them to the scene of the rape, looting, etc., but found nothing, nobody living there, and no trace of it; I experienced such cases often. I believe that Timperley’s book What War Means (1938) was written based on such unconfirmed reports."
In those days, Japan was not at war against Western countries yet; however, many Westerners including those living in Nanking were basically hostile to Japan. The Westerners in Nanking were even sheltering Chinese military officers secretly, breaking their promise with the Japanese military, without knowing that the Chinese men whom they were sheltering committed numerous crimes such as rape, looting and murder among Chinese civilians and then blamed the Japanese for their attacks. I will mention the details later. The Westerners thus sent any information of alleged Japanese atrocities without confirming or any proof to stir up anti-Japanese feeling in Western countries.
Atrocities Committed by Chinese Soldiers
Many Japanese veterans testify that those who committed "rape, looting, arson and murder" were not the Japanese military, but rather the Chinese military. A sergeant major testified, "We reached a Nanking suburb, where the troops of Chiang Kai-shek once had been. Hearing from the inhabitants, we got to know the inhabitants had been plundered of all their food and household goods by the Chinese army, who also had forced the village men work very hard. How poor the people of such a country are!"
Itaru Kajimura, a Japanese second lieutenant, wrote in his diary on January 15, 1938—when the battle of Nanking had already ended and his unit was stationed near Shanghai—that a nearby Chinese village had been attacked by 40-50 remnants of a Chinese defeated army. The village people had come and asked his unit for help. Kajimura and about 30 men hurried there with the village people, but it was after the enemy had already committed looting, rape, and murder in the village and gone. Kajimura wrote, "Chinese civilians, who were attacked by Chinese soldiers, asking Japanese soldiers for help. What a contradiction! This one thing shows what Chinese soldiers are." He also wrote that the village people had been "very reluctant" to part from the Japanese unit.
F. Tillman Durdin, an American news reporter who covered Nanking, wrote, "(From December 7 the Chinese army) set fire to nearly every city, town, and village on the outskirts of the city (Nanking). They burned down...entire villages...to cinders, at an estimated value of 20 to 30 million (1937) US dollars." Durdin also wrote that the damage from the fire was more than that from the Japanese air raid.
James Espy, the American vice-consul at Nanking, reported to the American Embassy at Hankow concerning conditions before the fall of Nanking, writing, "During the last few days some violations of people and property were undoubtedly committed by them [Chinese soldiers]. Chinese soldiers in their mad rush to discard their military uniforms and put on civilian clothes, in a number of incidents, killed civilians to obtain their clothing."
Those civilians who were killed by such Chinese soldiers were many, and that the "civilian victims," whom Westerners in Nanking alleged the Japanese military had killed, in fact included such civilians.
Kannosuke Mitoma, a press reporter, testified, "After entering Nanking, I interviewed a Chinese husband and his wife who had been in the Nanking Safety Zone since before the Japanese occupation. They said, ''When Chinese soldiers were in the city, they came to refugees everyday to plunder food, commodities and every cent of money. They took away young men for labor and young women to rape. They were the same as bandits. And in this Safety Zone there still are bad Chinese men.'"
General Matsui also testified, "There were quite a few atrocities committed by the Chinese in Nanking. If these were all attributed to the Japanese military, it would distort facts."
Anti-Japanese Maneuvers by Hiding Chinese Soldiers
There were also crimes as anti-Japanese maneuvers committed by Chinese soldiers hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone. The January 4, 1938 issue of the New York Times reported about the rape and looting committed by Chinese soldiers hiding in Nanking:
"American professors remaining at Ginling College in Nanking...were seriously embarrassed to discover that they had been harboring a deserted Chinese Army colonel and six of his subordinate officers. The professors had, in fact, made the colonel second in authority at the refugee camp....The ex-Chinese officers in the presence of Americans and other foreigners confessed looting in Nanking and also that one night they dragged girls from the refugee camp into the darkness and the next day blamed Japanese soldiers for the attacks."
The "American professors remaining at Ginling College" were Miner Searle Bates, Lewis S. C. Smythe, Minnie Vautrin and Robert O. Wilson, who were members of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone. They were harboring the Chinese soldiers. The soldiers were conducting anti-Japanese maneuvers in the Zone. This was of course a violation of the agreement with the Japanese military, which ruled the neutrality of the Zone. The professors had been blaming the Japanese military for all the atrocities in Nanking until then; however, many of those atrocities had actually been committed by the Chinese soldiers they harbored.
The China Press also reported on January 25, 1938:
"Lieutenant General Ma, it is claimed, was active in instigating anti-Japanese disorders within the zone, which also sheltered Captain Huan An and 17 rifles, while the report states that Wang Hsianglao and three former subordinates were engaged in looting, intimidating and raping."
These Chinese soldiers hiding in Nanking were many in number, as the Tokyo Asahi Shinbun newspaper reported on December 16, 1937, "The Imperial Army estimates that about 25,000 Chinese soldiers in mufti, wearing civilian clothes, are still hiding in the city of Nanking. The Army is making an effort to mop up the enemy remnants and to protect the aged and women." The New York Times reported the same thing on December 17th. Yoshinori Kobayashi wrote in his book that many of the hiding Chinese soldiers had repeatedly committed rape, looting and other atrocities and made it look as if they had been committed by Japanese soldiers or intimidated the victims into lying that the assailants were Japanese.
The Osaka Asahi Shinbun newspaper on February 17, 1938, reported a group of hiding Chinese soldiers who had committed atrocities while speaking Japanese:
“A Chinese group, who had posed as Japanese and committed atrocities in Nanking, was arrested. (Domei Press, February 16) -- Since false reports that Japanese military officers and men committed atrocities in Nanking are getting about in foreign countries, military policemen in Nanking were trying to discover the source, and they have finally found it. The policemen arrested a group of Chinese soldiers who had committed numerous atrocities such as looting and violence in refugee camps, posing as Japanese soldiers... These are eleven Chinese soldiers who had once worked at a tailor shop in Seoul, Korea (in those days Korea was a part of Japan), speaking fluent Japanese. They made counterfeit of Japanese translator's armband and posed as Japanese. Having three strongholds for activities, they ran wild in refugee camps, evading pursuit of the Imperial Army. The damage due to their robberies was about 50,000 Yuan in total, and cases of violence were countless. Innocent Chinese citizens believed and did not doubt that they were Japanese. That was why the detection became late.”
Atrocities Committed by Chinese Refugees
There were also many atrocities committed by Chinese refugees in the Nanking Safety Zone. Guo Qi, who was the commander of a Chinese battalion and who had stayed hidden in the Italian Embassy, wrote about the reality of looting by Chinese refugees:
"Refugees, who were generally badly-off but courageous, hid themselves during the day and moved around during the night like so many rats. The night gave good opportunities for refugees to take action, since wild soldiers [Japanese soldiers] became inactive and only Japanese guards were posted to watch over the area where soldiers slept. The refugees went outside their area and ransacked large firms, shops, and houses of whatever they wanted. In those days, food was in store in food companies, daily provisions in consumer goods companies, and silk products at silk textile wholesalers. One day's work, therefore, enabled them to get everything, and anything they wanted became available and at their disposal."
Confessions of Japanese Soldiers about their Atrocities?
In 2002, The Battle of Nanjing—a Search of Sealed Memories was published in Nanking. It consists of testimonies from 102 Japanese veterans who participated in the Sino-Japanese War, especially the battle of Nanking. The book was compiled by Tamaki Matsuoka, and the confessions include committing atrocities in Nanking, such as rape, robbery and murder. However, all the veterans' names are either anonymous or false. As a result, none of the veterans can be held accountable for the truth and accuracy of their testimonies. If the testimonies of these veterans are true, it only means that they were war criminals who violated military discipline and evaded the scrutiny of the Japanese military police, thereby managing to evade punishment. Moreover, none of these testimonies mention a massacre in the hundreds of thousands.
Kozo Tadokoro, whose testimony is quoted in Iris Chang's book, The Rape of Nanking, says that he committed crimes of murder and rape in Nanking during the “ten days” after its fall. However, Professors Takemoto and Ohara point out that the unit to which Tadokoro belonged had left Nanking on December 15, two days after the fall of Nanking. Tadokoro therefore should not have been able to stay in Nanking for ten days. He confessed later, "I told a lie because the interviewer asked me to tell something exciting." Thus, he himself has denied the credibility of his own speech.
Kazuo Sone has published his memoirs, and related his criminal acts of murder and his eye-witnessed stories. He describes himself as an infantry squad leader; but he had been a private in an Artillery Regiment. Professors Takemoto and Ohara point out that, contrary to the Infantry, the Artillery generally has never been sent to the front line of battle. The 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Division, to which this man was assigned, has been located in the rear area, and was never engaged in battle directly against the Chinese Army. Only a part of his regiment participated in the entry ceremony into Nanking. Therefore, it was impossible for him to have executed or eye-witnessed brutal criminal acts inside or in the vicinity of Nanking, as he described in his book. Also, his colleagues who did engage in the operation in Nanking say that they did not witness nor perform any such criminal acts. In other words, Sone's memoirs are entirely his own creation.
The International Committee was not Neutral
The leader of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone was John Rabe. As mentioned already, after the fall of Nanking, he gave the Japanese commander the letter of thanks as to the Japanese military had not attacked the Safety Zone and not killed refugees there. Yet in his diary, Rabe described many Japanese atrocities allegedly committed in the city of Nanking. Massacre affirmationists often refer to his descriptions as evidence of the Japanese atrocities and massacre.
Can we trust Rabe’s descriptions about the atrocities literally? In fact, John Rabe was a German, and Germany in those days was a supporter for the Chinese Nationalist Party. Chiang Kai-shek’s military was being trained by German advisers, and Rabe himself was an adviser for the Nationalist Party (The year 1937 was before the conclusion of the alliance of Germany, Italy and Japan). In addition, Rabe was the head of the Nanking branch office of Siemens AG, which had sold antiaircraft guns to the Chinese Nationalist Party. As an arms merchant, Rabe had gained great profit from it.
Since this Germany's connection with the Chinese Nationalist Party was the source of his income, he did not want Germany to part from the Party and shake hands with Japan. Rabe was thus not a neutral man, and it was very natural for him to speak ill of the Japanese.
As Professor Shudo Higashinakano points out, from December 12, Rabe had secretly sheltered two Chinese colonels, Long and Zhou, who performed anti-Japanese maneuvers in the Safety Zone. Rabe’s conduct was of course a violation of the agreement with the Japanese army. Rabe wrote in his diary on February 22, 1938, that he had been sheltering another Chinese officer, Officer Wang, also. Rabe was thus a man on the side of the Chinese military, not the Japanese. Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking, glorified him as Schindler of Nanking, yet he was in fact not such a person.
In his report, Rabe did not distinguish true civilians from Chinese soldiers in mufti (ordinary clothes), intentionally or unknowingly. On 13 December 1937, Rabe wrote in his diary:
“It is not until we tour the city that we learn the extent of destruction. We come across corpses every 100 to 200 yards. The bodies of civilians that I examined had bullet holes in their backs. These people had presumably fleeing and were shot from behind.”
The fact is that Japanese soldiers were sweeping the Chinese soldiers in mufti. The bodies were not of civilians, but of the Chinese soldiers. They were killed by the Japanese military or by the Chinese supervisory unit.
Biased Reports of John Rabe
Masaaki Tanaka, the ex-secretary of General Iwane Matsui, claims that there are many contradictions in John Rabe’s descriptions. For instance, according to him, General Matsui ordered a cease-fire on December 9, distributed to the city surrender recommendation handbills, and waited until noon of December 10 for the answer. Tanaka then points out, "Rabe wrote in his diary that the combat was continuing and Rabe did not mention anything about the cease-fire or the handbills."
Rabe wrote that he saw here and there "dead women who had canes rammed in their vaginas"; however, such a practice was Chinese, not Japanese.
James McCallum, a medical doctor in Nanking, wrote in his diary on December 29, 1937, "We have had some very pleasant Japanese who have treated us with courtesy and respect. Occasionally I have seen a Japanese helping some Chinese, or picking up a Chinese baby to play with it." However, Rabe did not write any such things, and only wrote that the Safety Zone had been like a hell full of fire and rape every day. Tanaka thus argues that Rabe’s descriptions are not reliable. Tanaka writes, "Rabe's descriptions were very biased fishy stories. I think I can understand the reason why Adolf Hitler did not trust his report, but rather imprisoned him.”
Professor Higashinakano also points out that James McCallum wrote in his diary on January 8, 1938 that he had heard a Chinese refugee testify, “I can prove that the rape, looting and arson were committed by Chinese soldiers, not Japanese soldiers”; however, Rabe reported as if all of the rape, looting and arson had been committed by only Japanese soldiers. Higashinakano claims that Rabe’s report was a similar-natured one to the anti-Japanese maneuvering of the Chinese officers he had sheltered.
P. Scharfienberg, the secretary general of the German Embassy to China, who returned to Nanking on January 9, 1938, tried to investigate himself the facts about the alleged Japanese atrocities mentioned in Rabe’s report. Scharfienberg wrote to the German Embassy at Hankow on February 10:
"Rabe is still actively trying to counter the bloody excesses of Japanese looters, which have unfortunately increased of late. To my mind, this should not concern us Germans, particularly since one can clearly see that the Chinese, once left to depend solely on the Japanese, immediately fraternize. And as for all these excesses, one hears only one side of it, after all."Truth About the Alleged Looting by Japanese Soldiers
Takemoto and Ohara also claim:
"The Safety Zone was the only place where women stayed in the city of Nanking. And in order to protect foreign rights and interests...the Japanese Army prohibited their soldiers' entry to the Safety Zone and posted guards at every important point....Japanese soldiers were unable to enter the Safety Zone at will, or no one dared to enter there at the risk of being attacked....Those who only got admittance to the Safety Zone were all in all about 1,600 soldiers of the 7th Regiment, the 9th Division, that were in charge of the garrison for the Safety Zone.…It must be further pointed out that there existed a significant reason why soldiers were restrained from committing rapes, because if crimes had been disclosed, more than seven years' penal servitude would have been inevitable by the army penal code. They were fully aware of the severe penalties."
Smythe's Investigation Proves Civilians Killed by the Japanese to Have Been Only a Few
Let us look at the war damage investigation made by Professor Lewis S. C. Smythe from December 1937 to March 1938 regarding the damage to people and land inside the walls of Nanking and its rural area. The report does not specify whether the assailants were Japanese or Chinese; however, it is an important investigation on the war damage by the Nanking campaign.
The method was to choose arbitrarily one from every 50 homes in the urban area, and one from every 250 homes in the rural area; then Smythe and his assistants interviewed the residents about the damage. This use of rough estimates was the only scholarly investigation in those days. Was this to affirm the Nanking Massacre or deny it?
According to Smythe's investigation, 2,400 civilians were killed in the urban area due to brutal treatment, and 4,200 were taken away (and considered dead). In the rural area of Nanking (Jiangning), 9,160 civilians were killed due to brutal treatment. Thus, the total number of dead and missing was l5,760. This is far different from the 300,000 massacre victims theory.
In addition, these figures do not specify who the assailants were. These figures in fact include many victims killed by the Chinese military. As mentioned in Durdin’s article, the Chinese military set fire to all the houses in the rural area of Nanking and burned them down, killing many Chinese people. As the Chinese husband and wife in the Safety Zone testified, the Chinese military took away men and made them soldiers or forced them to do hard work. Moreover, as mentioned in Espy's report, many Chinese soldiers killed civilians for their clothes when they discarded military uniforms. Smythe's investigation thus included many civilians who had been killed by the Chinese military.
It can be said that his investigation proves the number of civilians killed by the Japanese military to have been only a few.
Forged Photos Made by the Chinese
Throughout the Sino-Japanese war, many photos had been scattered in the Western world and used as evidence of the Nanking Massacre or of Japanese atrocities; however, the sources of these photos are all doubtful. For instance, one of the photos shows many dead bodies, but it only shows soldiers killed in battle. In another photo, a man in Japanese military uniform is swinging a sword down on the neck of a Chinese to execute him, but the way of the swinging is Chinese, not Japanese. This shows that the photo was a Chinese prearranged performance. In other photos, the direction of one man's shadow is different from the others, which shows that the photo is a composite of multiple photos. There are many other contradictions in the photos.
The book, Analyzing the “Photographic Evidence” of the Nanking Massacre—written by Professor Shudo Higashinakano, Susumu Kobayasi and Shinjiro Fukunaga (published by Soshisya in Tokyo in 2005) —analyzes all the alleged photos of the Nanking Massacre. It proves that there was no genuine photo that can be said to be evidence of the Nanking Massacre.
It is well-known that the Chinese military used to forge many photos using Chinese soldiers in Japanese military uniforms to stir up an anti-Japanese atmosphere among the Americans. The Chinese used this kind of forgery and unrelated photos posed as the evidence of cruelty of the Japanese many times before and during the Pacific War.
Fiction of Iris Chang
Recently, a Chinese American named Iris Chang wrote a book entitled, The Rape of Nanking. It tells about the brutal massacre by the Japanese in Nanking. It became a bestseller in the USA and other countries, and spread the lie of the Nanking Massacre. Later, Chang’s book was much criticized by many other authors. It has been pointed out that what she wrote and the photos in her book were not related to the so-called Nanking Massacre. She shot herself by pistol and died in 2004. The London Economist magazine commented that she had committed suicide perhaps because her book was much criticized and she was deeply depressed about it.
Nobukatsu Fujioka, a professor at Takushoku University in Tokyo, once mentioned,
"Many translated books are published in Japan, but Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking is not published because it has so many mistakes that no publisher could handle it. The photos are all false, and not a single picture was evidence of the Nanking Massacre. Not only that, her description about Japanese history is filled with absurd mistakes. For instance, she wrote that the Japanese military strength before the end of the Edo era (1603-1867) had not exceeded the level of sword, bow and arrow (Japan was in fact the biggest producer of guns in the world already in the 16th century). More than 100 such rudimentary mistakes were found in the book, and even if the book were to be published in Japan, no Japanese person could bear reading it. A left-wing publishing company tried to publish it annotating notes of the translator, but she refused it, saying, ‘How impertinent.’ Sad to say, the Americans trust such a book and are making a movie based on it."
(Later, another publisher published the book as translated by a Chinese in 2007 in Japan.)
Shoichi Watanabe, a professor emeritus at Sophia University in Tokyo, mentioned,
"Before the US-Japan war, a false document called “Tanaka Memorial” was made in China. This was a purported Japanese strategic planning document, in which Prime Minister Giichi Tanaka laid out for Emperor Hirohito a strategy to take over the world. The American President Roosevelt, senators and congressmen read this forgery, and believed the lie that Japan had a malicious intention to take over Asia and the world. That became a cause for the US-Japan war. It is said that after reading it, Roosevelt decided to defeat Japan entirely. Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking, a best seller in the USA, is the same. If we leave this fiction as it is, it will certainly give a bad influence to US-Japan relations."
The Nanking Massacre was a fabrication and false propaganda. The above-mentioned theory is not a discourse of Japanese ultra-nationalists. If we are loyal to historical facts, we should abandon the Nanking Massacre story. The activities of the Japanese military in Nanking were in accordance with international law and were humane. The Nanking Massacre was a false accusation, and the Japanese have the right to prove their innocence.
The So-Called Nanking Massacre
was a Fabrication
The Japanese Military in Nanking was Humane
The alleged massacre, which was said to have been committed
by the Japanese Military in Nanking, China, did not take place.
Those who committed atrocities were Chinese soldiers.
Reverend Arimasa Kubo
(Japanese Christian pastor and non-fiction writer)
What is the Alleged Nanking Massacre?
The alleged Nanking Massacre, commonly known as the Rape of Nanking, is the name of a genocidal war crime said to have been committed by the Japanese military in the city of Nanking (Nanjing), the then capital of the Republic of China, after it fell to the Imperial Japanese Army on December 13, 1937. There is a dispute about whether it really occurred or not.
Massacre affirmationists claim that during the occupation of Nanking, the Japanese army committed numerous atrocities such as rape, looting, arson and the execution of prisoners of war and civilians. They say that the Japanese massacred about 300,000 Chinese people in Nanking during the six weeks after the Japanese occupation of the city. On the outer wall of the Nanking Massacre Memorial Museum in China is written "300,000" as the number of the massacre victims. Many Chinese children visit there every year to be planted anti-Japanese feeling in their hearts.
Massacre denialists claim that newspapers, photos, documentary films, records and testimonies in those days all tell the Nanking Massacre of 300,000 people, a large-scale massacre or even a small-scale massacre, did not take place. According to denialists, the so-called Nanking Massacre was a fabrication and false propaganda spread by Chinese Nationalists and Communists for their political purpose.
Today, we have numerous reliable pieces of evidence showing that the massacre did not actually occur. Firstly, I will give a brief explanation of what actually occurred in Nanking, and then, show the details.
What Actually Occurred in Nanking
In 1937, to end the China Incident, the Japanese military advanced on China and fought against Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese military in Nanking. During the battle, every civilian who remained in the city took refuge in the Safety Zone, which was specially set up within the walls of Nanking. The Japanese military did not attack it, and no civilian was killed.
Until the time of the Japanese occupation of Nanking, the Chinese military had committed numerous bad deeds such as plunder and rape among citizens. The citizens who had abhorred them welcomed the entry of the Japanese military into Nanking, giving cheers and rejoicing (see the picture at the top of this page).
Just before the Japanese occupation, the population of the city was about 200,000. One month after the occupation, many Chinese citizens came back to Nanking learning that peace had returned, and the population increased to about 250,000. Newspapers in those days had numerous photos of Chinese citizens who had come back to Nanking and lived peacefully, buying, selling and smiling with Japanese soldiers.
In the battle of Nanking, many Chinese soldiers discarded their military uniforms to run away, killed Chinese civilians to take off civilian clothes, and hid themselves among Nanking citizens. Some Westerners remaining in Nanking sheltered Chinese military officers secretly, breaking the agreement with the Japanese military to be neutral. Many of the Chinese soldiers not only hid weapons to prepare urban warfare, but also raped Chinese women and put it on an act of Japanese soldiers for anti-Japanese maneuvering purpose. The Japanese military found out these illegitimate soldiers, and there were those who were executed by the Japanese military; however, these executions were recognized as legitimate under international law.
It is also a fact that there were around ten or several tens cases of small crimes such as plunder and rape committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking. However, these were similar to the crimes which soldiers of other countries also committed in occupied territories, and the Japanese criminals were strictly punished.
There were such things, but no massacre in Nanking. The Japanese military rather did many humane aid activities to Nanking citizens and POWs. There was no single Chinese citizen who starved to death under the Japanese occupation. Seeing these Japanese activities and being moved by them, there were even Chinese POWs who later joined Wang Jingwei’s pro-Japanese government.
The following are the details.
Evidence that the Massacre Did Not Take Place
Return of the Populace
The population of Nanking just before the Japanese occupation was about 200,000. About a week before the Japanese attack on Nanking, on November 28, 1937, the head of the Police Department of Nanking, Mr. Wan, announced at a press conference for foreigners, "About 200,000 people still live here in Nanking." Five days after the Japanese occupation, on December 18, 1937, the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, which was a group of Westerners remaining in Nanking, announced that the population of the city was about 200,000. Later, on December 21, the Foreigners Association in Nanking referred to 200,000 as the population of Nanking.
How could the Japanese kill 300,000 citizens in a city that held only 200,000 people?
One month after the Japanese occupation, many Nanking citizens who had escaped the city came back to Nanking, learning that peace had returned, and the population increased to about 250,000. There is a record that the Japanese troops distributed food to that number of citizens. On January 14, 1938, about one month after the Japanese occupation, the International Committee announced that the population of Nanking had increased to about 250,000.
The Japanese military had published Good Citizen Certificate to Nanking citizens from the end of December 1937 to January 1938 to distinguish them from Chinese soldiers hiding in Nanking in civilian clothing. The total number of the certificates reached about 160,000, although this figure does not include children under the age of ten and old people above the age of sixty. Professor Lewis Smythe, who was in Nanking as a member of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, wrote in his letter to Tokuyasu Fukuda, a probationary diplomat of the Japanese Embassy in Nanking, that according to this figure, the population of Nanking was about 250,000-270,000.
Many Nanking citizens thus came back to the city, and the population increased. Would the citizens have come back to a city in which there had been a massacre?
On the day when the Japanese troops entered Nanking, more than 100 press reporters and photographers entered together with them. The press corps were not only from Japan, but also from European and American press organizations, including Reuters and AP. However, none of the press corps reported the occurrence of a massacre of 300,000 people. Paramount News (American newsreels) made films reporting the Japanese occupation in Nanking, but did not report the occurrence of a massacre.
The British newspaper North China Daily News, which was published in China in English on December 24, 1937, eleven days after the Japanese occupation of Nanking, carried a photo taken in Nanking by their photographer. The photo was entitled "Japanese distribute gifts in Nanking." In the photo are Japanese soldiers distributing gifts, and Chinese adults and children receiving the gifts and rejoicing. Is this the scene of a massacre?
The Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek, who had escaped from Nanking just before the attack by the Japanese military, broadcasted radio addresses hundreds of times to the Chinese people until the end of the Pacific War. He never mentioned the Nanking Massacre even once. This is very unnatural—if the mass slaughter really occurred.
At the time of the Japanese occupation of Nanking, a major Japanese newspaper, Asahi Shinbun, published many photos of Nanking. Five days after the occupation the newspaper reported on the peaceful scenes of Nanking. In one of the photos, Japanese soldiers are buying something from a Chinese without carrying their guns. In another photo, Chinese farmers who returned to Nanking are cultivating their fields. In others, a crowd of Chinese citizens are returning to Nanking carrying bags, and Chinese adults and children wearing armbands of the flag of Japan are standing around a street barbershop and smiling.
The Asahi Shinbun also reported scenes of Nanking eight days after the occupation in an article entitled, "Kindnesses to Yesterday's Enemy." In one of the photos, Chinese soldiers are receiving medical treatment from Japanese army surgeons. In another, Chinese soldiers are receiving food from a Japanese soldier. In other photos, Japanese soldiers are buying goods at a Chinese shop, a Japanese officer is talking with a Chinese leader across a table, and Chinese citizens are shown relaxing. Are these the scenes of a massacre? Articles from other dates are similar, reporting that peaceful Chinese living returned to Nanking. Many Chinese civilians came back to the city; farmers began to cultivate their fields and merchants began to do business again. How can we say there was a massacre in the city?
The sources of these photos are very clear. They can be seen at the National Diet Library of Japan. We cannot deny that they were taken in Nanking just after the Japanese occupation.
The Japanese Military Did Not Attack Civilians
Before the battle of Nanking, the commander General Iwane Matsui ordered the Japanese army to be very careful not to kill any civilians.
During the battle, every civilian took refuge in the Nanking Safety Zone, which was specially set up to protect all the civilians of Nanking. The Japanese army knew that many Chinese soldiers were also in the Zone; nevertheless, the army did not attack it, and there were no civilian victims, except for several who were accidentally killed or injured by stray shells.
This Nanking Safety Zone was managed by the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, which was a group of professors, doctors, missionaries and businessmen from Europe and the USA. They did not leave Nanking before the beginning of the battle, but chose to remain in the city. The leader of the Committee was John Rabe, and after the Japanese occupation, he handed a letter of thanks to the commander of the Japanese army. The following is an excerpt from his letter of thanks:
December 14, 1937
Dear commander of the Japanese army in Nanking,
We appreciate that the artillerymen of your army did not attack the Safety Zone. We hope to contact you to make a plan to protect the general Chinese citizens who are staying in the Safety Zone….We will be pleased to cooperate with you in any way to protect the general citizens in this city.
--Chairman of the Nanking International Committee, John H. D. Rabe--"
If the Japanese military wanted to massacre every Nanking citizen, it would have been very easily done if they only bombarded the Nanking Safety Zone, because it was a narrow area and all civilians gathered there. The Japanese military did not attack it, but rather protected all the people of the Zone.
The reason why the Japanese military attacked Nanking was similar to the reason why the American and the allied militaries once attacked Baghdad of Iraq at the Gulf War in 1991. The alliance wanted to get rid of the Iraqi dictator who was doing bad things to neighboring countries. Similarly, Japan wanted to get rid of Chiang Kai-shek’s dictatorship which was giving torments to many Chinese people and also to Japan. General Matsui’s purpose of the war was not to take the land, but to save Chinese civilians from his dictatorship and from the Chinese civil war, killing among the Chinese themselves. Japan wanted to establish in China a strong Chinese government not of communists, not of Western powers, but of the Chinese people who were willing to build in cooperation with Japan the great Asia which would not be invaded by communists or exploited by Westerners. It was impossible for such Japanese military to kill Chinese civilians.
Traditionally in Japan, Samurai warriors lived inside walls of castle, and farmers and merchants outside the walls. Civilian cities were not walled. A war was a fight only among warriors, and they never killed civilians. While, in China, farmers and merchants lived inside a walled city, and in wars the inhabitants including the farmers and merchants inside the walls were often all slaughtered with warriors. In Chinese chronicles, we often read such massacres. The Chinese language has the word which writes slaughtering castle and means slaughtering all people within the city. It was a Chinese culture. The Japanese never had such a culture. Nanking was a walled capital city, and the idea of massacring all inhabitants was Chinese, not Japanese.
Total Number of Buried Bodies
After the battle of Nanking, the Japanese military entrusted the burial of the dead to the Chinese.
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo Trial) used the burial records of about 40,000 bodies by the Red Swastika Society, a voluntary association in Nanking, and the burial records of 112,267 bodies by the Chung Shan Tang (Tsung Shan Tong), a 140-year-old charitable organization, as evidence of killings of the Japanese military. The combined total was about 155,000.
However, concerning the Chung Shan Tang, none of the documents which were written by members of the International Committee in Nanking or the Japanese authorities in Nanking mentioned that the Tsun Shan Tang was engaged in the burial work. Kenichi Ara, a researcher of modern history, showed evidence in an article of the Sankei Shinbun newspaper that the Chung Shan Tang's burial report of 112,267 bodies had been entirely forged and that they had actually buried no bodies. The Chung Shan Tang's report was a false one added after the war to amplify the number of burials.
It was a fact that the Red Swastika Society engaged in the burial work. They buried almost all the war dead in Nanking, and according to the Society, the burials reached about 40,000. This is far from 300,000. In addition, these 40,000 were killed in battle, not in a massacre, because among the bodies were almost no corpses of women and children. This means that the Japanese military did not massacre civilians. I will mention the details later.
Denial of Massacre in Testimonies
Shudo Higashinakano, a professor at Asia University in Tokyo, published a compilation of the testimonies of Japanese soldiers who had participated in the Nanking operation in his book entitled, The Truth of the Nanking Operation in 1937. In these testimonies, no Japanese soldiers testified that there had been a massacre. For instance, Colonel Omigaku Mori stated, "I have never heard or seen any massacre in Nanking."
Kenichi Ara, a researcher of modern history, published a compilation of the testimonies of Japanese press reporters, soldiers and diplomats who had experienced Nanking during the Japanese campaign. In these testimonies, also, no one testified that there had been a massacre of civilians. Yoshio Kanazawa, a photographer from the Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun newspaper, testified, "I entered Nanking with the Japanese army and walked around in the city at random every day, but I have never seen any massacre nor heard it from soldiers or my colleagues. It is impossible for me to say that there was a massacre. Of course, I saw many corpses, but they were those killed in battle.”
Tokuyasu Fukuda, who was in Nanking as a Japanese diplomat, testified, "It is a fact that there were crimes and bad aspects of the Japanese military, but there was absolutely no massacre of 200,000-300,000, or even 1,000 people. Every citizen was watching us. If we had done such a thing (massacre), it would be a terrible problem. Absolutely it is a lie, false propaganda."
Kannosuke Mitoma, a press reporter of the Fukuoka Nichinichi Shinbun newspaper, worked as the head of the Nanking branch office at the time of the Japanese occupation. In those days his daughter attended the Japanese elementary school in Nanking (from the first grade to the fifth). She testified, "I used to play with neighboring Chinese children in Nanking, but I have never heard even a rumor of the massacre."
Humane Activities and Fellowship in Nanking
A chief of infantrymen testified, "We defeated the enemy and saw thousands of them dead on the ground of Nanking. But finding a Chinese soldier still alive, our captain gave him water and medicine. The Chinese soldier folded his hands and said "Xie xie" (Thank you) with tears welled up in his eyes. In this way, our infantry company saved 30-40 Chinese soldiers and let them go home. Among them were many who cooperated with us and worked for us. When they had to part from us, they were reluctant to leave, shed tears and then went home."
A sergeant major of infantrymen testified, "On the way to Nanking, I was ordered to stand as a guard having a rifle one night when I noticed a young Chinese lady in Chinese dress walking toward me. She said in fluent Japanese, ‘You are a Japanese soldier, aren't you." And she continued, ‘I ran away from Shanghai; other people were killed or got separated and I thought it would be dangerous for me to be near the Chinese military, so I've come here." "Where did you learn Japanese?" said I, and she said, "I graduated from a school in Nagasaki, Japan, and later, worked for a Japanese bookstore in Shanghai." We checked but there was nothing suspicious on her. And since we did not have any translator, we decided to hire her as a translator. She was also very good at cooking, knowing Japanese taste, and turned on all her charm for all of us, so we made much of her. She sometimes sang Japanese songs for us, and her jokes made us laugh. She was the only woman in the military unit but made our hard march pleasant. Before the beginning of our attack to the city of Nanking, the commander made her return to Shanghai."
A first lieutenant testified, "When we had just entered the Nanking Safety Zone, every woman was dressed in rags with her face and all her skin dirtied with Chinese ink, oil or mud to appear as ugly as possible. But after they got to know that the Japanese soldiers were strictly maintaining military discipline, their black faces turned to natural skin, and their dirty clothes turned to fine ones. Soon, I became to come across beautiful ladies in the streets.”
Another soldier testified, "When I was washing my face in a hospital in Nanking, a Chinese man came to me and said, "Good morning, soldier," in fluent Japanese. He continued, "I was in Osaka for 18 years." I asked him to become a translator for the Japanese army. He later went to his family, came back and said, "I told my family, 'The Japanese army have come. So, you are now all safe.'" He cooperated faithfully with the Japanese army for 15 months until we reached Hankou." If there had been a massacre of civilians in Nanking, it would have been impossible for the Chinese man to work for the Japanese.
Naofuku Mikuni, a press reporter, testified, “Nanking citizens were generally cheerful and friendly to the Japanese just after the fall of Nanking, and also in August 1938 when I came back to Nanking.” He points out that if the Japanese crime rate was very high, such cheerfulness would not have been seen in the city.
Not only these Japanese persons, but also James McCallum, who was in Nanking as an American medical doctor, wrote in his diary on December 31. 1937, "Today I saw crowds of people flocking across Chung Shan [Zhongshan] Road out of the Zone. They came back later carrying rice which was being distributed by the Japanese from the Executive Yuan Examination Yuan.” McCallum also wrote, “I must report a good deed done by some Japanese. Recently several very nice Japanese have visited the hospital. We told them of our lack of food supplies for the patients. Today they brought in 100 shing [jin (equivalent to six kilograms)] of beans along with some beef. We have had no meat at the hospital for a month and these gifts were mighty welcome. They asked what else we would like to have."
Are these the scenes of a city in brutal massacre?
Chinese Soldiers Discarded Military Uniforms
Mochitsura Hashimoto, a Japanese soldier who fought in the battle of Nanking near the Yangtze River, testified, "Though the Chinese soldiers carried their rifles or machine-guns, none of them were in regular military uniform." Other veterans testified, "None of them showed signs of surrender." Therefore, the Japanese army had to continue to attack them, and many of the Chinese soldiers were shot or drowned in the river. However, pictures of these dead soldiers in civilian clothing—who had been killed in battle—were later used in the Western world as "evidence of the massacre of civilians."
Many of the Chinese soldiers in Nanking discarded their military uniforms, and became “illegitimate” combatants. F. Tillman Durdin, an American News correspondent, wrote in his article in the New York Times on December 22, 1937, "I witnessed wholesale undressing of a [Chinese] army.... Many men shed their uniforms.... Others ran into alleys to transform themselves into civilians. Some soldiers disrobed completely and then robbed civilians of their garments." Durdin also wrote that Chinese soldiers who reached the Yangtze River tried to escape using junks, but "many were drowned in periods of panic at the riverbank."
Japanese veterans testify that, when they entered Nanking, they saw throughout the city piles of Chinese military uniforms that had been taken off and abandoned on the ground.
Among the Chinese soldiers who discarded uniforms, those who ran away from the battle fields were killed by the Japanese military, or by a "Chinese supervisory unit"—Chinese soldiers who were ordered to kill any of their fellow soldiers trying to flee from the battlefield. The US military and the Japanese military do not have such a unit, but Chinese soldiers trying to escape from battle field were killed by the supervisory unit who was waiting behind. These killed ones did not wear military uniforms, but they were actually soldiers.
There were also Chinese soldiers who discarded military uniforms and killed Chinese civilians to obtain civilian clothing and to hide themselves among citizens. James Espy, the American vice-consul at Nanking, reported to the American Embassy at Hankow concerning conditions before the fall of Nanking, writing, "During the last few days some violations of people and property were undoubtedly committed by them [Chinese soldiers]. Chinese soldiers in their mad rush to discard their military uniforms and put on civilian clothes, in a number of incidents, killed civilians to obtain their clothing."
The Chinese military was basically a scratched-together army of hooligans, having no military discipline or concept of international law. They were the same as bandits. They did not protect Chinese civilians, but rather plundered of them, set fire to houses, raped women and killed civilians. They did these things also in Nanking, as we will see the details later.
Incorrect Reports of Civilian Casualties
One of the sources of the Nanking Massacre story was the description of Miner S. Bates, who was in Nanking as a member of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone and later was a key witness of the Tokyo Trial. He wrote on January 25, 1938,
"Evidence from burials indicates that close to forty thousand unarmed persons were killed within and near the walls of Nanking, of whom some 30 percent had never been soldiers."
Firstly, it is noteworthy that Bates never mentioned 300,000 or several hundred thousand victims. Not only he, but also any other people in those days did not mention such a large number. 300,000 was the figure amplified after the war as a political propaganda. Bates wrote “40,000.” Secondly, Bates wrote that these 40,000 victims were unarmed persons, and some “30 percent” (12,000 persons) were civilians. These words would give people the impression that they were killed by the Japanese military. Was the description correct?
No, it was incorrect and tricky. "Evidence from burials,” which Bates referred to, was the burial list of the Red Swastika Society who buried almost all of the war dead of the Japanese Nanking campaign. According to the list, they buried close to 40,000 bodies. This was the total number of all who were killed in Nanking, except Japanese soldiers. Most of the bodies were of armed Chinese soldiers, not “unarmed persons.”
Bates estimated that some 30 percent out of the 40,000 had been civilians. However, Professor Tadao Takemoto (Tsukuba University) and Professor Yasuo Ohara (Kokugakuin University) point out that the “evidence from burials” of the Red Swastika Society in fact contains only 0.3% of women and children.
The burial list has the distinction of sex and rough age. If the Japanese military killed many civilians, the percentage of women and children must have been very high, yet it was actually almost none. In addition, these burial records include burials that were carried out not only of the period of the Japanese Nanking campaign, but also of some period after the campaign. If the “evidence” is limited to only burials during the campaign, the number of women and children among the burials would become less than 0.3 %. This shows a clear contradiction to the thought that the Japanese military massacred civilians.
We must also note that many Chinese civilians, who were male and adult, were killed by the Chinese soldiers who discarded military uniforms and tried to obtain civilian clothing, as in above-mentioned report of Espy. Thousands out of the 40,000 bodies must have been such civilian adult men killed by these Chinese soldiers. Even the women and children as 0.3 % out of the 40,000 could have been the victims of these Chinese soldiers.
Chinese Soldiers Killed Civilians
It is a question why Espy testified that there were civilians killed by Chinese soldiers, but Bates did not mention any such things. Bates rather declared that the Japanese military was responsible for all of these, not mentioning or hiding facts about these Chinese assailants. It turned out after the war that Bates had been an adviser to the Chinese Nationalist Party. He was after the war decorated by Chiang Kai-shek, the head of the Party, for his “contribution.”
Bates was a cooperator to the strategy of the Chinese Nationalist Party. The Party’s strategy was to do anything to convey the news of a miserable state of China and atrocities of the Japanese to the world for dragging the United States into the war against Japan. Professor Higashinakano claims that Bates’ report was made in accordance with this strategy to deceive the United States.
As for the civilian victims to have been far from 300,000 or 40,000, we have the war damage investigation made by Professor Lewis S. C. Smythe, who was in Nanking as a sociology professor. It was the only scholarly on-the-spot investigation in those days, which we can considerably trust. According to him, the total number of civilian victims (killed or missing) in the urban area of Nanking was 6,600. I will mention the details later.
Not only this is very far from 300,000 or 40,000, but also this is the figure not specifying who the assailants were. This figure in fact included many civilians killed by the Chinese military. The Chinese military in Nanking took away civilian young men from the Safety Zone and made them soldiers or do hard work. Chinese soldiers also killed many civilian male adults to take civilian clothes and run away from the battlefield. Most of these 6,600 civilian victims were the victims of the Chinese military, not the Japanese.
This is why the China Year Book 1938-1939 removed the reference to "massacre" and only recorded the accusation of Bates. In fact, when an officer from the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo visited Nanking in April 1938, four months after the Japanese occupation, to hear from Bates detailed information about the Japanese occupation, he did not say one word about the massacre. Bates could not tell about the massacre to the man who actually saw the peaceful scenes of Nanking.
Bates’ Testimony: True or False?
Miner Bates testified in the Tokyo Trial after World War II that he had seen many civilian dead bodies lying about everywhere in his neighborhood for many days in Nanking after its fall. It was one of the sources of the Nanking Massacre myth.
Did he tell a fact? According to the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun on December 26, 1937, which reports when correspondents Wakaume and Murakami visited Professor Bates at his official university residence on December 15, two days after the fall of Nanking, Bates welcomed them in a good humor, shook hands with them and said, “I am so happy that the orderly Japanese military entered Nanking and peace has been restored to the city.” The correspondents did not see in his neighborhood the “…many civilian dead bodies lying about everywhere,” which Bates testified to have seen.
Yuji Maeda, a Domei Tsushin correspondent who spent days in the Nanking Safety Zone like Bates did, denies that there were massacred bodies as follows: “Those who claim that a massacre took place in Nanking…assert that most of the victims were women and children. However, these supposed victims were, without exception, in the Safety Zone and protected by the Japanese Security Headquarters. The Nanking Bureau of my former employer, Domei Tsushin, was situated inside the Safety Zone. Four days after the occupation, all of us moved to the Bureau, which served both as our lodgings and workplace. Shops had already reopened, and life had returned to normal. We were privy to anything and everything that happened in the Safety Zone. No massacre claiming tens of thousands, or thousands, or even hundreds of victims could have taken place there without our knowing about it, so I can state with certitude that none occurred. Chinese soldiers were executed, some perhaps cruelly, but those executions were acts of war and must be judged from that perspective. There were no mass murders of non-combatants.” (World and Japan magazine issued by Naigai News Agency, #413, April 5, 1984)
Not only these correspondents, but also Japanese veterans and other press reporters testify that they did not see any massacred civilians in Nanking. Correspondent Kondo of the Asahi Shinbun newspaper testified about his experience in Nanking, "There was a fierce battle at the Guanghua Gate. I saw corpses of both Chinese and Japanese soldiers there, but I did not see any civilian corpses."
Jiro Nimura, a Mainichi Shinbun photographer, testified, "I climbed up a wall of Nanking and entered the city with the 47th regiment. Inside the walls I saw only a few dead bodies." And Isamu Tanida, a staff officer of the 10th Army, testified, "On December 14, the city was already quiet and I heard no shots there. In the afternoon I walked around in the city taking some pictures, when I saw a few corpses of Chinese soldiers only."
A veteran of the 7th Regiment, which was assigned to sweep the Safety Zone, testified that the regimental command had been, "Don't kill citizens. Don't dishonor the army," and they had followed this command. He testifies, "Absolutely there was no massacre." Thus, nobody saw the alleged massacred civilians inside the Safety Zone, as well as outside it.
The information given by Bates on the massacre of civilians was not what he witnessed, but an incorrect estimation, or what he heard from the Chinese officers whom the members of the International Committee had sheltered. There is no name of Bates in the "witness" section of any Committee murder case reports. Bates’ report on Japanese atrocities is written all in a hearsay style. In addition, he could not prove the massacre of civilians when he was required to show proof by Consul John M. Allison.
Information Source of Durdin’s Report
Miner Bates was an information source for the press also. On December 18, 1937, the American correspondent F. Tillman Durdin wrote in the New York Times, “all the alleys and streets were filled with civilian bodies, including women and children.”
However, this article was not what Durdin himself witnessed, for Durdin wrote, “Foreigners who toured the city and saw that all the alleys and streets were...” Durdin thus wrote what he had heard. Who were the “foreigners”? They were Rabe, Bates, and other International Committee members; however, no one in Nanking actually saw such civilian corpses in alleys and streets. So didn’t Durdin.
Durdin in fact wrote this article based on what he had heard from Bates, for Bates drove Durdin to the harbor on December 15 to see him off, and Durdin got on board a ship and left Nanking at 2:00 p.m. Bates later wrote in a letter of April 12, 1938, that he had given a memo about the incidents of Nanking to Durdin and other correspondents on December 15. Durdin's article was written according to this memo that Bates handed him. Bates was a source of false information on the alleged massacre of civilians in Nanking.
In 1938, the book entitled What War Means written by H.J. Timperley was published. Timperley, who was not in Nanking, but in Shanghai, wrote in the book sensationally about the massacre of Nanking civilians. This book is famous for having given a strong influence to the US public opinions. The information source was also Bates, for Timperley wrote so in the book. Bates, as an adviser to the Chinese Nationalist Party, was thus eager to drag the United States into their war against Japan by telling how bad Japan was. Concerning the strategy of the Chinese Nationalist Party, American journalist Theodore H. White, who had been an adviser to the Chinese Nationalist propaganda bureau, confessed:
“It was considered necessary to lie to it [the United States], to deceive it, to do anything to persuade America. . . . That was the only strategy of the Chinese government. . . .” (In Search of History: A Personal Adventure)
Chinese Soldiers Killed by Chinese Supervisory Units
The American correspondent F. Tillman Durdin reported in the New York Times that he had witnessed on December 15 a lot of bodies of dead Chinese soldiers forming a small mound six feet high at the Nanking Yijiang gate in the north.
Concerning this mound of Chinese dead, Professor Tokushi Kasahara interviewed Durdin on August 14, 1987. Durdin stated that the mound had been formed before the Japanese military reached there, and that the Chinese soldiers had not been killed by the Japanese military. He said, "The bodies were Chinese soldiers who tried to escape.... I think that the mound of bodies had been formed before the Japanese military occupied there. In that area there was no combat of the Japanese military."
According to Professor Higashinakano, the bodies witnessed by Durdin had been killed by the Chinese supervisory unit that had been waiting behind to kill Chinese soldiers trying to escape from the battlefield. The American or Japanese military never have such a unit, but the Chinese military always had such a unit to kill their fellow soldiers.
Professor Bunyu Ko at Takushoku University in Tokyo estimated that throughout the Sino-Japanese war the victims killed by such Chinese supervisory units had been more than those killed by the Japanese military.
In Nanking also, there were many Chinese soldiers who were killed by the Chinese supervisory unit, not by the Japanese military. The casualties that Miner Bates and other Committee members mentioned included such victims.
Only Legitimate Executions
When the defeat of the Chinese military became definite in the battle of Nanking, Chinese soldiers had three choices. The first was to surrender, and those who surrendered were taken as POWs (prisoners of war). The second was to escape from Nanking. Those who ran away were killed either by the Japanese military or the Chinese supervisory unit. The third was to hide, wearing civilian clothes, in the Safety Zone which had been specially set up inside the walls of Nanking for civilians. Every Nanking citizen was taking refuge in the Safety Zone, and many of the Chinese soldiers took this choice and hid themselves in the Zone.
After the fall of Nanking, the Japanese military did a mop-up operation to find those Chinese soldiers hiding in the Zone. Those who were caught and found hiding weapons were executed. They were considered to have been preparing a street fighting or guerilla activities. According to Professor Higashinakano, the Japanese military executed several thousand such dangerous Chinese soldiers. Some scenes of this execution were witnessed by both Western and Japanese press reporters.
The question is whether or not the executions by the Japanese military were legally justifiable. Legitimate combatants who have become POWs are under the protection of international conventions, which govern their treatment. They are immune from capital punishment unless they violate laws or regulations. The killing of such POWs without legitimate cause would indeed constitute an unlawful massacre. However, the Chinese soldiers who were arrested in the Safety Zone were not entitled to the privileges of POWs because they did not meet any of the four qualifications of belligerents as stipulated in the Hague convention of 1907. These four qualifications are:
1. To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates
2. To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance
3. To carry arms openly
4. To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war
Those who did not satisfy these qualifications were deemed to be illegitimate combatants and were not eligible for protection under international law. This principle was upheld in the 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of POWs. The execution of such illegitimate combatants was customarily practiced in each country, and the execution was thought to be legitimate. Unfortunately, the Chinese soldiers did not have the wit to follow this international law. Massacre denialists thus claim that the execution of the Chinese soldiers, who were in civilian clothing and hiding weapons, was legitimate.
The Japanese military executed these Chinese soldiers; however, the Japanese military did not execute all the captured Chinese soldiers. They employed many of them as a labor force, and they numbered about 10,000 by the end of February 1938. Some of them were registered as civilians.
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Genuine Photos of Nanking
Just After the Japanese Occupation
After the battle, many Nanking citizens, who had abhorred bad deeds done by the Chinese military in the city, welcomed the Japanese military. This is a photo of Japanese soldiers and the Nanking citizens giving cheers, on the day of the Japanese military’s ceremonial entry into Nanking (Dec. 17, 1937). The citizens are wearing armbands of the flag of Japan, which were given to all civilians of Nanking to distinguish them from hiding Chinese soldiers in civilian clothing. ("Sino-Japanese War Photograph News #15," the Mainichi Shinbun newspaper, published on Jan. 11, 1938)
Japanese soldiers distributing gifts to Chinese citizens in Nanking. Photo from the British newspaper North China Daily News, published in China in English on December 24, 1937, eleven days after the Japanese occupation of Nanking
Japanese soldiers playing with Chinese children in Nanking using toys, and their parents wearing armbands of the flag of Japan. Photo taken on Dec. 20, 1937, seven days after the occupation, and published in the pictorial book, Shina-jihen Shasin Zensyu, in 1938.
The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shinbun, published on Dec. 18, 1937, five days after the occupation, reported scenes of the city in the article entitled, "Nanking in Restoring Peace":
(Right) Japanese soldiers buying from a Chinese;
(center top) Chinese farmers who returned
to Nanking cultivating their fields;
(center bottom) Chinese citizens returning to Nanking;
(left) Street barbershop, Chinese adults and children smiling.
The Asahi Shinbun, published on Dec. 21, 1937, eight days after the Japanese occupation, reported scenes of Nanking in the article entitled, "Kindnesses to Yesterday's Enemy":
(Right top) Chinese soldiers under medical treatment;
(left top) Chinese soldiers receiving food from a Japanese;
(center) Japanese soldiers buying at a Chinese shop;
(right bottom) Chief Yamada talking with a Chinese leader;
(left bottom) Chinese citizens relaxing in Nanking city
Japanese soldiers nursing Chinese wounded soldiers. Photo taken in Nanking on December 20, 1937, seven days after the occupation, by the correspondent Mr. Hayashi; placed in the Japanese pictorial magazine, Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, and published on January 27, 1938.
"The Chinese citizens did not fear the Japanese and willingly cooperated with me for photo-taking," testified the press photographer Shinju Sato. Photo taken in Nanking Safety Zone on December 15, 1937, two days after the occupation of Nanking.
When Japanese soldiers distributed food and sweets, Chinese adults and children gathered together. (December 18, 1937, in Nanking. From the Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun.)
Japanese medics giving treatments to Chinese children in Nanking for plague prevention. Photo taken on December 20, 1937, seven days after the occupation, by the correspondent Hayashi. (From Asahi Graph, book 30, No. 3, published on January 19, 1938.)
Liu Qixiong, a Chinese soldier who was hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone and caught as a POW. He was used as a coolie for a while, but later became the commander of a brigade for Wang Jingwei's pro-Japanese government. (Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, No. 14, January 1, 1938)
Japanese soldier handing paper money to a Chinese family in the Nanking Safety Zone. Photo taken on December 27, 1937, fourteen days after the Japanese occupation, by the correspondent Mr. Kageyama; from Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, published on January 27, 1938.
Chinese Christians having worship service in Nanking with Reverend John Maggie, American pastor, after peace returned to the city. Photo from the Asahi Shinbun newspaper published on December 21, 1937, eight days after the Japanese occupation, in the article entitled "Nanking Smiles." The article stated, "Hearing their hymns, we noticed, ‘Oh, today's Sunday.’"
Chinese women coming out of an air-raid shelter and protected by the Japanese military. Photo taken on December 14, 1937, the day after the fall of Nanking, by the correspondent Kadono, and published in the Asahi Shinbun on December 16, 1937.
Chinese people hired by Japanese soldiers to carry food. Photo taken on January 20, 1938, in Nanking. The Japanese distributed the food to the citizens, and there was no death by starvation in Nanking. (From Shina-jihen Shashin Zenshu (2).)
Watch Documentary Movies of Nanking at Youtube
(These are valuable records of the peaceful and restoring city of Nanking just after the Japanese occupation)
* Chinese refugees and the Nanking Safety Zone
* Japanese soldiers distributing certificates to Chinese citizens
* Japanese soldiers preparing for the new year 1938 and the Chinese children celebrating New Year's Day
Forged Photos of the "Massacre"
Iris Chang's book, The Rape of Nanking, dated this photo as having been taken just after the Nanking Massacre. However, the alleged Japanese soldier standing by wears a military uniform with a turned-down collar with class badges on it. This style was not introduced until after the uniform revision on June 1, 1938. In addition, the photo does not tell how the pictured dead were killed, by massacre or in battle, and there were many Chinese soldiers in ordinary clothes.
In the fall of 1937, the Associated Press (AP) distributed this photo as a Japanese soldier using a Chinese national as a guinea pig for bayonet practice. Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking carries the same kinds of photos of Japanese atrocities. However, the soldier wears a turned-down-collared uniform, which no Japanese soldier wore at that time, so the man is not a Japanese soldier. The January 1939 issue of Lowdown, an American magazine, commented about these photos that this was in fact a communist Chinese officer torturing a Chinese prisoner.
This photo is explained as Chinese people buried alive by the Japanese as a part of the Nanking Massacre. However, the Japanese soldiers are not threatening the Chinese with guns. The Chinese look like they are going in willingly. And the color of true Japanese military gaiters were similar to their uniforms, whereas the gaiters in the photo are rather white—the color of Chinese military gaiters. Also, the size of each person is unnatural. Professor Higashinakano concludes that this was a composite of plural photos.
This photo was identified as Nanking Massacre victims on the shore of the Yangtze River, but these bodies were the Chinese soldiers who died in battle, not a massacre. Hashimoto, a Japanese soldier who fought there, testified, "The Chinese soldiers carried their rifles or machine-guns but none of them were in regular military uniform." Sekiguchi also testified, "None of them showed signs of surrender." Thus, the Japanese army had to continue to attack them and many of the Chinese soldiers were shot or drowned in the river. In this photo are the bodies that were washed up on shore.
This photo is used as purported evidence of Nanking Massacre victims, but there was no such custom of gibbeted heads among the Japanese after the 1870s. Among the Chinese, however, this custom was still observed in the 1930s, and several photos of gibbeted heads appeared in cities of China in those days. Chinese Nationalists and Communists often killed pro-Japanese Chinese people and gibbeted their heads on streets as a warning. Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking has the same photo with a larger background behind the heads on page 113. Looking at the photo, those who had experienced Nanking testified that the background is not of Nanking.
This photo was identified as a Japanese soldier executing a Chinese. However, the alleged Japanese soldier is swinging the sword down with one hand. This is indeed Chinese way. The Japanese never swing a sword down with one hand, but with both hands. It is clear that this was a Chinese prearranged performance. The man with the sword appears in other forged photos, also.
This photo is used as purported evidence of infant victims of the Nanking Massacre and is displayed at the Nanking Massacre Memorial Museum in China. However, this photo was not taken in Nanking. There was no custom of slaughtering infants even of the enemy throughout Japanese history, although this custom frequently appears in Chinese chronicles. Denialists suggest that this photo is in fact a picture of victims of Chinese civil war. It is well known in Japan that General Iwane Matsui of the Japanese army saved from the battle a Chinese infant who was found crying. He let his subordinate carry the child on his back when marching into Nanking, named her Matsuko, and continued to nurture the child.
This photo of a gibbeted head appeared in Life magazine on January 10, 1938. The caption stated that the head was of an anti-Japanese Chinese man and had been placed there on "Dcember 14, just before the fall of Nanking." However, December 14 was not before the fall of Nanking. The caption also gives the impression that the Japanese military were responsible for this atrocity, but in China there were a lot of cases of gibbeted heads due to personal hatred or civil war, and there is no positive proof that the Japanese were responsible for these acts.
This photo from Life magazine on January 10, 1938, was taken on December 6, 1937 and explained as a Chinese man carrying his son who had been wounded in the Japanese bombing. This was not a photo after December 13, 1937, the day of the fall of Nanking. The soldier on the left wears a cap that looks Chinese. The movie, Battle of China, and others, used this photo as a depiction of the Nanking Massacre.
Purported evidence of a Japanese public execution in Nanking. However, the surrounding people wear summer clothes, so this photo is not related to the Japanese occupation of Nanking, which took place in winter. There was no custom of public execution in Japan after the 1870s, although it remained in China in the 1930s. Denialists allege that this was a prearranged pose set up by the Chinese for propaganda purposes.
This photo is explained as an old woman who was killed by the Japanese military and skewered with a pipe thrust into her vagina, without proof that the criminal was really Japanese. This photo has no accompanying reliable information about the evidence: who judged it and how. This kind of killing by skewering was a Chinese practice frequently seen among the Chinese in those days and in Chinese chronicles—not among the Japanese.
This photo is described as a Japanese sailor after beheading and used to show a Japanese atrocity. However, the uniform of the man with a sword is different from a Japanese sailor's. And, if we look closer, the severed head is so short-haired that the standing "sailor" could not possibly hold it up by grabbing its hair. In addition, the part under the severed head is blackened, which may cause us to speculate that this was actually a touched-up photo of a live man with the area around his head blackened sitting next to the sword-holding man. Denialists allege that this was a prearranged pose set up by the Chinese for propaganda purposes.
This photo was taken in the ruins of Shanghai by H.S. Wang, a Chinese American photographer, and first appeared in Life magazine on October 4, 1937. This became one of the most influential photos to stir up anti-Japanese feeling in the USA, and is still used to show Japanese atrocities in relation to the Nanking Massacre. However, a correspondent of the Chicago Tribune News Service later presented other photos taken at the same hour and same place showing evidence that this had been a staged photo: the baby was brought there by the photographer to create a dramatic photo.
Lies and Propaganda
These forged photos above were distributed by the Chinese Nationalist Party propaganda bureau to enlist the support of the United States for their war against Japan. Theodore H. White, who had been an adviser to the Chinese propaganda bureau, confessed, “It was considered necessary to lie to it [the United States], to deceive it, to do anything to persuade America. . . . That was the only strategy of the Chinese government. . . .” (In Search of History: A Personal Adventure)
Historians say that the Chinese chronicles were the history of those who deceived and of those who were deceived. The alleged Nanking Massacre was one of their deceiving means.