…by Jonas E. Alexis, Arimasa Kubo, and Moteki Hiromichi
Born in Japan in 1955 in Hyogo, Arisama Kubo is a writer. He has written numerous works on science, culture and history over the years, and he is the president of Remnant Publishing. Many of his works have been translated to Korean and Chinese.
Moteki Hiromichi was born in Tokyo in 1941 and is a graduate of Tokyo University’s School of Economics. After working for Fuji Electric Company and the International Wool Secretariat, he founded the publishing company Sekai Shuppan in 1990.
In cooperation with the American company Mangajin, Inc., Moteki published Mangajin, an educational magazine on Japan containing bilingual comic books for Japanese language learners. He is also the secretary of the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact.
JEA: For readers who have never heard of the so-called Nanking or Nanjing Massacre, describe for us the issue here.
AK: During the Shanghai Incident in 1937, when the Chinese military of more than 30,000 soldiers attacked Shanghai, many people were killed: Japanese, Chinese and Western civilians.
That was the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war. To stop the Chinese attack, Japan decided to occupy Nanking, the then capital of the Republic of China. So the Nanking Massacre thesis states that the Japanese military liquidated, tortured, and slaughtered Chinese civilians in Nanking on a massive scale in December 1937.
This issue is quite divisive. 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 argue that the Japanese massacred about 300,000 Chinese people in Nanking over a period of six weeks.
On the other hand, massacre skeptics claim that newspapers, photos, documentary films, records and testimonies in those days overwhelmingly suggest that the Nanking Massacre is pure fiction. According to skeptics, the so-called Nanking Massacre was spearheaded by Chinese Nationalists and Communists for purely political purposes.
I was born in 1955, ten years after the end of World War II. After Japan was defeated in 1945, Japan was being deprived of independence for seven years. Military leaders who knew the events and complex issues leading up to the war itself were executed, and all the important documents and information which would have situated the conflict in a historical and rational context were controlled by US officials.
During those seven years Japan lost many good testimonies, records and memories of the war. There is no question that the United States, as professor and prolific scholar Nishio Kanji puts it in his meticulous article “Breaking the Seal on the GHQ Burned Books,” was involved in what ought to be called “book burning.” They would confiscate documents, newspaper articles, magazines and TV shows which attempted to present a fair balance of the causes of the war.
During the Tokyo Trial (1946-1948), Japanese NHK radio under the American occupation army repeatedly broadcasted the American version of the war that the bad guys were not Japanese civilians, but the Japanese military. Many Japanese people were thus led to believe that the Japanese military was very bad indeed.
That was why many Japanese who had been born after the war ended up believing the lie that the Nanking Massacre was a fact which ought to be placed in the canons of historical research. I myself used to believe that the Nanking Massacre was incontrovertibly true. I thought, “Many people say so. It was a war, and such a thing could have happened.”
But many scholarly studies which thoroughly explain the issues surrounding Nanking have already been published in Japan. Those studies are a breath of fresh air. We now have enough evidence which puts to rest that the Nanking Massacre is an invention.
Atrocities and massacres were rather committed by the Chinese military in Nanking and its suburbs. The Chinese military in those days was like gangs and burglars, so to speak.
As I will demonstrate, they even massacred many Chinese civilians. American eyewitnesses were also there. Japanese soldiers committed a small number of crimes like robbery or rapes, but they were strictly punished. I think we should know these historical facts.
Historical Facts & Stubborn Things
JEA: You argue that the massacre has been fabricated. You said: “Today, we have numerous reliable pieces of evidence showing that the massacre did not actually occur.” Flesh out the arguments for us here.
AK: When Hu Jintao, former president of China (who by the way was a proponent of the Nanking Massacre narrative), visited Japan in 2008, the Committee for the Examination of the Facts about Nanking (Japanese committee) handed him an open letter, and requested his answer. The main points of the letter were the following.
(1) The president late Mao Tsetung had never referred to the “Nanking Massacre” even once in his life.
(2) From Dec. 1, 1937, till Nov. 24, 1938, the spokesman of the Chinese nationalist party gave about 300 press interviews at Hankou, but never mentioned that “Civilians were massacred in Nanking” nor “prisoners of war were illegally executed.”
(3) According to the “International Committee” which took care of the “Nanking Safety Zone” (the Japanese military installed a safety zone in Nanking to protect civilians, and had Westerners take care of the civilians), the population of Nanking just before the fall of Nanking was about 200,000. How could the Japanese military massacre 300,000 people in a city that has only 200,000?
Later, the Committee also announced that the Nanking population had increased to about 250,000 a month after the occupation. If Nanking were a completely devastating city, why did Chinese citizens come back to Nanking, which increased the population?
(4) The same record also listed crimes of Japanese soldiers. In the list, murders were 26 cases in total, one of which was actually witnessed, and the rest were all hearsay. It was evidently declared that the witnessed murder was a legitimate killing, and the Japanese are not responsible for it. This record indicates that your country’s claim of the Nanking Massacre is false.
(5) The Nanking Massacre Memorial Museum displays many pictures of the alleged massacre by the Japanese military, and other museums in China and books also do the same; however, we now know from many pieces of evidence and scientific research that not even one of the pictures is genuine. Every one of them is either unrelated to Nanking, fabricated or elaborated.
This open letter ends with the words, “Wishing the true friendly relationship between China and Japan, we handed this to you. We look forward to hearing your response.”
China has yet to formulate a cogent response to the open letter. They can’t answer, because the Chinese Communist Party knows that the Nanking Massacre was an elaborate hoax.
As I have already mentioned, if we open the newspapers of those days—not only Japanese newspapers, but also newspapers from the United States and the UK—we would come with the inexorable fact that the pictures taken at the real scenes of Nanking under the Japanese occupation are different from the pictures that are being perpetuated by the Chinese government and American writers like the late Iris Chang.
The earlier newspapers portrayed a city where peace and order were being restored; Chinese were coming back to the city; Chinese were buying and selling and smiling. Those papers also reported that the Chinese were also in the process of buying and selling from Chinese merchants.
If you think I am lying, please check your country’s newspaper during several weeks after Dec. 13, 1937. I think you can check it at the National Library online. When the Japanese troops entered Nanking, more than 100 press reporters and photographers were with them. The press corps were not only from Japan, but also from European and American press organizations, including Reuters and AP.
You will notice that none of them reported the occurrence of a massacre of 300,000 people. Paramount News produced films on the Japanese occupation in Nanking, but again none of those films ever suggested that there was a massacre.
Just eleven days after the Japanese occupation in Nanking (December 24, 1937), the British newspaper in China—the North China Daily News—published photos portraying Japanese soldiers distributing foods to Nanking citizens, and the citizens were more than happy to receive them. A Japanese pictorial book (published in 1938) has photos taken on Dec. 20 of Japanese soldiers playing with Chinese children in Nanking using toys. Chinese parents welcome those Japanese soldiers.
The newspapers and media of all over the world were replete with such scenes. How can we say that it was a massacred city? All the cruel pictures like the ones that are shown in Iris Chang’s book and in other places are either fabrication or unrelated to Nanking. Some pictures are of Chinese victims killed by Chinese soldiers. The Chinese propaganda bureau used such pictures to blame the Japanese military.
We also have testimonies of those who actually were in Nanking under the Japanese occupation. Kenichi Ara, a researcher of modern history, published a compilation of the testimonies of Japanese press reporters, soldiers and diplomats who had documented accounts during the Japanese campaign. In these testimonies, no one testified that there had been a civilian massacre.
For instance, Kannosuke Mitoma, a press reporter of the Fukuoka Nichinichi Shimbun newspaper, worked as the head of the Nanking branch office for some years. In those days his daughter attended the Japanese elementary school in Nanking (from the first grade to the fifth). The daughter testified, “I used to play with neighboring Chinese children in Nanking, but I have never heard even a rumor of the massacre.”