'Shock' from Kyodo report a result of misunderstanding, translator says

Journalist now stands by Nanjing book

by

Staff Writer

Former New York Times Tokyo bureau chief Henry S. Stokes is standing by a claim made in his new book that the Nanjing Massacre never took place, describing the event as a “propaganda tool of the KMT government.”

Kyodo News reported Thursday that Stokes’ book, titled “Eikokujin Kisha ga Mita Rengokoku Sensho Shikan no Kyomo (“Falsehoods of the Allied Nations’ Victorious View of History, as Seen by a British Journalist”), contained “rogue passages” that didn’t reflect the author’s view of the event.

The news agency accused translator Hiroyuki Fujita of adding lines to “fabricate” Stokes’ denial of Japan’s wartime responsibility for the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.

Stokes, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, released a statement Friday through the book’s publisher Shodensha, blasting the news report as “wrong” and “far from the truth.”

“The so-called ‘Nanking Massacre’ never took place,” Stokes said in the statement. “The word ‘massacre’ is not right to indicate what happened. It was originally a propaganda tool of the KMT government,” he said, referring to the Kuomintang.

Kyodo News in turn released a statement dated Friday, saying it was “confident in the accuracy of the article,” which it said “drew on its interview with the former Tokyo bureau chief.” The agency also said the interview was taped.

In an interview with The Japan Times on Monday, Fujita dismissed the Kyodo report as “simply wrong,” saying the entire story was based on “Henry’s misunderstanding about what was written in Japanese in his book.”

Stokes was quoted as saying in the Kyodo article that he was “shocked and horrified” when he learned some passages of his book, published only in Japanese, claimed the Nanjing Massacre, in which Beijing claimed about 300,000 Chinese were killed by Japanese troops, never took place.

According to Fujita, Stokes acknowledged saying “shocked” and “horrified,” but only because he was under the impression the paragraphs in question “were different from my idea,” he quoted Stokes as saying.

The paragraphs in question translate as: “From this, it is clear that the so-called ‘Nanking Massacre’ did not take place. As a historical fact, the ‘Nanking Massacre’ did not take place. It was a propaganda fabricated by the KMT government.” When presented with this translation, Stokes said it poses no significant difference from his own idea, Fujita said.

The Japan Times contacted Stokes, but he declined to be interviewed, citing fatigue and ill health.According to Fujita, he conducted English interviews with Stokes “almost every day” from July to September last year, in a room at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. The book was released in December.

Asked about the allegation that he added several passages to the book, Fujita said that since the interviews spanned such a long period of time, punctuated with Stokes’ off-topic comments about his childhood, among other things, Fujita basically “put together” the remarks that were pertinent to the Nanjing Massacre and arranged them in an order he thought would work best. He also “added” mentions of some historical facts, he said.

“There was no original written English, so I guess that’s the initial cause of confusion,” Fujita said.

“The story also made it look like me and Henry are somewhat at loggerheads,” he added.

“But the truth is that what I wrote in the Japanese book doesn’t deviate at all from his actual opinion.”

  • http://japedant.blogspot.jp/ Japedant

    Thanks for the follow-up article. I was worried JapanTimes ignored this rebuttal against the allegation.

  • zer0_0zor0

    So the Japanese right-wing revisionists have an advanced Parkinson’s disease Brit as their poster child now. Pathetic.

  • seth0et0holth

    No better than Holocaust deniers.

  • itoshima2012

    with China history is not always what it seems…… It is important to look at facts and in the case of Nanking the facts are very very blurred to say the least. I read many books on the issue and spend 12 months researching it. It is totally undeniable that the KMT (and China now) used it massively as a propaganda tool. Let’s be clear here, horrible things happened during that period of history and nothing can or should be whitewashed but one must absolutely stick to the facts and I dare to say that the facts do not point at a “massacre”. Of course it depends on how one defines “massacre” but we would have to put this event in the perspective of that specific historical period and during that period we have the genocide on the Jews, the creation of the gulags in the USSR and although Nanking was surely horrible it is not more than a blip in the history of the millions that got killed in Nazi Germany and the USSR. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m no revisionist but you really have to take care with China. For example, please read Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 by Yang Jisheng and you can get a good feel on the monster the Chinese Comunist regime was and still is.

  • U Nyunt Shwe

    If that opinion was of Stokes and regarding that he has authority on the subject to say so, alas, the whole wide world must apologise Fujita and Right wing politicians of Japan for their wrong accusation.

    This book of Fujita won’t bring any positive result with the neighbours, but will agitate a new round of denouncements by China and world’s historians. What a shame FUJITA.

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  • Testerty

    This revisionist book can only wish all those recorded historical documentation on the Nanjing Massacre disappear. You can’t stop deniers from denying.

  • Christopher Glen

    One word to describe this journalist – lowlife

  • nooyawka212

    Not only does this correspondent who was at the scene deny the alleged massacre, many other contemporaneous historic records back his story. If people waste their time by calling Stokes names and denigrating him, there are many other routes to the same conclusion, the conclusion that the rape of Nanjing didn’t happen. Stokes is only one witness. There are many other published witnesses who deny the myth.

  • echykr

    Perhaps the rest of the world could start considering writing history books about how there were miraculously no casualties in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I’m sure the Japanese would love that.

    No Nanjing massacre, no Hiroshima bombing, no war, we’re all at peace. So what’s to complain?

  • Eddie Gao

    This man should be ashamed of himself

  • itoshima2012

    …. literally millions were executed or starved to death from the start of communist China so I suggest you go back to school and start reading some books on the Chinese regime and its total disregard for human life. Of course there’s a point to it, China uses this incident for its propaganda, no scientific historic discussion is possible on this issue in China. I never said that this didn’t happen, it has been proven, so that’s it. This war crime happened. japan has apologized many times, China first accepted its apologies, so that FDI would start flowing massively, now that they’re pumped up economically but their country is totally messed up (ecologocally and socially) they need to make sure that the anger of the population is not directed towards the regime but have to try to find a different valve, nationalism always plays well for this purpose and Japan is an easy target. So yes, this war crime happened, but as I said China is using and abusing it massively and I prefer to base my judgement on information that comes from a free country and a free press than on information that is spoon fed by a Communist Dictatorship to bolster their griup on the people it has been abusing for the last 60 years!

  • Patrick Jonas

    worryingly there seem to be websites and articles appearing more often that dispute what happened in Nanking http://www2.biglobe.ne.jp/~remnant/nankingm.htm