The Tokyo District Court ordered a Japanese historian and a publishing house Friday to pay a combined ¥4 million in compensation for calling a Nanjing Massacre survivor an impostor.
Xia welcomed the ruling, telling reporters that Higashinakano “lied and spread wrongful information” in his publication. “Higashinakano is an insolent man,” she said after the ruling.
According to Xia’s accounts, some 20 Imperial army soldiers stormed into her house at around 10 a.m. on Dec. 13, 1937. Xia and her younger, 4-year-old sister survived the intrusion despite being bayoneted — but all seven other members of her family, including a newborn, were slaughtered.
Xia was filmed after the attack by a U.S. missionary serving with the Red Cross in Nanjing — a scene frequently cited by historians as key evidence of the massacre.
In his book, Higashinakano argues that there were inconsistencies in many of Xia’s recollections, and that the 8-year-old captured on the missionary’s film is a different person.
During the trial, the author, a history professor at Asia University in Tokyo, denied that his publication was intended to defame the plaintiff, claiming the book was merely the result of freedom of research.
However, Judge Miyokawa stated that his argument put forward in the book that Xia is not the girl in the film “cannot be certified as the truth.”
In a statement, Higashinakano indicated he would appeal.
Katsuhiko Takaike, a lawyer representing Tendensha, also said the ruling infringes on the author’s right to freedom of academic research.
Xia’s attorneys, which had demanded ¥15 million as compensation, said Higashinakano never contacted Xia to verify his theory and charged that his book was an attempt to whitewash the massacre.