Japan complains after China says 300,000 died in Nanking Massacre


Japan told China in late December that it wasn’t appropriate for Chinese President Xi Jinping to say that 300,000 people were killed in the 1937 Nanking Massacre, government sources said on Wednesday.

Xi made the comment in a Dec. 13 speech at a ceremony marking the first national observance and the 77th anniversary of the massacre in the eastern Chinese city, which is now called Nanjing.

He called on Japan to own up to responsibility for the tragedy, saying that acknowledgment of the countries’ shared troubled past is crucial to improving relations between them.

The Japanese government told China via a diplomatic channel after the speech that the figure is “different from Japan’s position” and that it is “difficult to determine the concrete number of victims,” according to the sources.

Among Japanese historians, death toll estimates from the Nanking Massacre generally range from tens of thousands up to 200,000.

The Japanese government admits that noncombatants were killed and there was looting during infamous episode.

  • Dipak Bose

    May be just 30,000

    • kiraja

      ‘just’ 30,000 lives matter.

  • Yosemite_Steve

    I think 300k is probably close to the truth. Anyway it’s not just a numbers game, it’s also about an incredible level of brutality. Read Honda Katsuichi who spent years researching and interviewed as many witnesses as he could find. It’s not like this was an isolated incident, the Japanese were extremely brutal everywhere in China for years.

    The whole army was run on sadism. The officers were quite brutal and sadistic to their own soldiers! My FIL was a 16 yo draftee into the youth corp in Kansai and on his one trip home after a year of service he was dragged off the train and had the living crap beaten out of him by some random officers just because they didn’t like seeing him carrying an umbrella when in uniform. In the camp those kids were constantly beaten and every one of them cried himself to sleep every night. This is told by a stoic farmer, who never saw a doctor in his life until he was almost dead from stomach cancer. This dispute is not just political BS from the Chinese, there is institutional whitewashing of vicious history in Japan including the upper reaches of the LDP.

    I’m not saying current day Japanese who weren’t even alive then should carry guilt over the war, just don’t call a stinking cesspool a rose garden, and beware the militarist tradition which does not want to admit the truth.

    • Oliver Mackie

      “I think 300k is probably close to the truth.”

      On what basis? Do you have any information that all credible scholars who have studied this for years don’t?

      “Anyway it’s not just a numbers game..”

      No it isn’t, but it IS the point of this particular issue at this time: the willing and deliberate exaggeration of the numbers for domestic propaganda purposes. By doing this, the Chinese side seems to be showing just as much insincerity on dealing with this issue as some elements of the Japanese one.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Look up the “Second Sino-Japanese War” in wikipedia. Scroll down to the numbers killed – and when you come to the casualty figures of 20 milllion Chinese willingly and deliberately killed by the Japanese – have a think. Is it Chinese insincerity driving these valid reminders of past Japanese aggression, or is it a genuine attempt to get Japan to face up to the truth and tread a peaceful path like Germany does? Why is China’s insistence that Japan face up to the truth of what it did in China, before and during WW2, such a problem for Japan, when it is not for Germany? As we all know, the truth sets you free as it were!!

      • Yosemite_Steve

        Which credible scholars are you talking about? Which scholars who have no axe to grind are giving exactly what numbers? TJT cites “Among Japanese historians death tolls estimates range,,,,tens of thousands to 200k”. I’ll accept the higher number which is much closer to the Chinese number before I accept a Japanese number which is only 10% of that. Please do enlighten us better if you have more details at your fingertips than TJT offers.

        I don’t remember if Honda Katsuichi has came up with numbers but one of his books which I read consists mainly of hundreds of interviews with survivors, each describing a few to dozens of non-combatants getting murdered quite indiscriminately. This incredible mayhem adds up and he could only interview the survivors he could find. Have you read his work, by the way? I think his incredible journalistic leg work is probably all that keeps the Japanese right wingers from claiming ‘nothing happened there at all, this is all a Chinese lie’.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Well, it’s not me that is making claims about knowing the true numbers. As someone who decided to comment on the matter (despite, soon after, quite correctly stating that it wasn’t all about the numbers) that duty belongs to you.

        Japanese scholars put the number at 40-200,000. Chinese scholars go from 200,000 to 350,000+

        Let’s ignore both sides as being insufficiently unbiased to be trusted.

        Miner Searle Bates goes for 40,000

        Lewis Smythe 40,000

        Lloyd Eastman 42,000+

        Jean-Louis Margolin 50,000-90,000

        My point is that one’s view on the numbers put forward by others is likely more indicative of the extent of commitment to the principle of historical accuracy (along with the acknowledgement that in many cases we simply can never know the true picture) vis-a-vis one’s inclination to side with one or another party to the issue. These two approaches are mutually exclusive, regardless of whether your chosen view turns out in the end to be factually true or not.

      • Yosemite_Steve

        My approach to the numbers is very much influenced by what I do know about how difficult it is to know – how hard to quantify carnage during war when records are not kept and in fact are often deliberately destroyed, and how very motivated the perps are to vastly under-estimate. E.g. Lancet published a methodology which measured something like 1M casualties in Iraq in the 2000 while US sources usually quote about 100k at most. I don’t have the time to sort this out other than by a quick read, and nobody else seems to accept the Lancet’s numbers, but in my heart of hearts I have always assumed Lancet was closer to the truth than anybody is willing to officially accept.

        Not to split hairs, but I did not claim that i “know” anything, I said I “think”, and in terms of multiples, 300k is indeed much closer to the mean estimate (including the higher Japanese numbers) than 20k is. And I do suggest reading Honda to anyone interested in this subject. See how long you can stand to read the catalog of slaughter. It becomes a lot more real, imo when you read countless individual stories. That makes it easier for me to extrapolate to a very large number, though I admit that is hardly a methodology.

      • Gordon Graham

        Yes, everyone is equally as ugly and brutal. That is the truth we all need to face

      • iwishitweretrue

        It’s like arguing exactly how many people were killed in the gas chambers by the Nazi’s during WW2 – its pointless and futile – except to say that an extermely large amount of people were killed under the worst circumstances by extremely evil people.

        The real point is that the people and nations who commit massive crimes against humanity should be sorry and contrite, rather than try to weasel their way out of responsility for their actions. Germany for all its faults, has succesfully managed to do this.

        The fact that Japan have chosen the deniabilty path, whether rightly or wrong about the numbers, shows that they still have the wrong attitude and are not sincere. The Chinese are correct and have the moral high ground as they were the victims at Nanjing!!

      • Gordon Graham

        What about Tibet? Oops moral high ground forfeited…

      • iwishitweretrue

        Educate yourself. Tibet has been part of China for 800 years plus – longer than the US has been in existence!! Read it yourself, google: “michael parenti tibet myth”

      • Gordon Graham

        Perhaps you’d do better to advise the people of Tibet to read “Parentini”…They don’t seem to know your myth

      • iwishitweretrue

        Henry Kissinger said that “insolence is the weapon of the powerless”, and this accurately captures your predicament.

        Google Tibet and wikipedia, and you will see that China has been ruling Tibet off and on since the 7th century.

        “The Qing dynasty placed Amdo under their control in 1724, and incorporated eastern Kham into neighbouring Chinese provinces in 1728.[33] Meanwhile, the Qing government sent a resident commissioner, called an Amban, to Lhasa. In 1750 the Ambans and majority of the Han Chinese and Manchus living in Lhasa were killed in a riot, and Qing troops arrived quickly and suppressed the rebels in the next year. Like the preceding Yuan dynasty, the Manchus of the Qing dynasty exerted military and administrative control of the region, while granting it a degree of political autonomy. The Qing commander publicly executed a number of supporters of the rebels, and, as in 1723 and 1728, made changes in the political structure and drew up a formal organization plan. The Qing now restored the Dalai Lama as ruler leading government calledKashag[34] but elevated the role of Amban to include more direct involvement in Tibetan internal affairs. At the same time the Qing took steps to counterbalance the power of the aristocracy by adding officials recruited from the clergy to key posts.[35]”

      • Gordon Graham

        So, the only incidence of violence and oppression in 1000 years was a riot? My apologies

      • iwishitweretrue

        If you’ve lost your way again and are looking for some moral high ground, I hear Ferguson in the US is good for riots!!

      • Gordon Graham

        I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean…

      • iwishitweretrue

        You are simply out of your depth on this thread. You’ve only been able to post silly comments, and so have been taking a hiding!! You’re wrong about Tibet, and the only country which has riots is the US – google “2014 ferguson” unrest!!

      • Gordon Graham

        Get over yourself. It’s a conversation not a contest. You might want to review what you said previously. It helps to be consistent.

      • iwishitweretrue

        To repeat what I said, contribute something useful to this thread, instead of insolence, innacurate personal attacks and ill judged comments. There is plenty of useful stuff to be said, but we have not had anything from you yet!!

      • Gordon Graham

        Patting oneself on the back for quoting wikipedia and offering up gems like “the only country which has riots is the US” while contending that the only violent aggression between Tibet and China in close to 1000 years was an incidental riot is contributing something useful?

      • iwishitweretrue

        You only seem to be great at closing your eyes – being unable to read learn something useful or intelligent – hence my commenting that you are out of your depth. Try googling – “Michael Parenti Tibet Myth” – and do read it – so that you at least gain yourself a little bit of an education.

        I am still waiting for an intelligent comment about the Nanking Massacre from you!! I won’t be holding my breath.

      • Gordon Graham

        Perhaps when you’ve read as much as I you won’t be so smitten by intelligence alone. A cursory glance at Parenti”s secondary sources is all I need to know. That’s called an education in history.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Ha ha – how do you know I haven’t – as its been pretty easy dealing with you!! For someone who claims to be so well read and versed in history, you are extremely reticent to say anything of note? Did the cat get your tongue or are you employed by a security agency where loose tongues cost lives? Interesting enough Michael Parenti states that the CIA funded a lot of the early trouble in Tibet, and your mistake in this thread was to mention Tibet – which has nothing to do with the Nanking Massacre!! You also sound a little long in the tooth – and so I’ll guess that you are retired!!

      • Gordon Graham

        My original comment was regarding your trumpeting China’s moral high ground. As for Micheal Parenti he obviously relies heavily on the PRC for his claims. You sound a little wet behind the ears. Your mistake is believing everything you read. There are some textbooks here in Japan if you care to read about Nanjing. Perhaps Parenti would be interested in soliciting the Japanese government for information on the matter so he could pen a “Myth of Nanjing” article.

      • iwishitweretrue

        As I said, you are out of your depth, as your logic, is not what it should be. China was invaded by the Tibetan empire circa 700AD, and returned the favour within 100 years, and has controlled Tibet on and off ever ever since. China was very plainly a victim of Japanese aggression before and during WW2(yes where up to 20 million Chinese were killed by the Japanese), of which Nanking was a notorious example. For any reasonable person, China was the victim and 100% has the moral high ground as reagrds Japan. The only people who would deny this are right wing Nazi’s or criminals. Denying that China has the moral high ground as regards teh Nanjing Massacre is the equivalent of saying that the Jews do not have the moral high ground with Germany as regards the holocaust and the murder of 6 million Jewsl. It’s patent nonsense. Dr Parenti has a huge list of extremely good secondary references for his Tibet Myth article and they are extremely varied – to not read the article and to say that Parenti relies on the PRC is just a deliberate and ignorant lie. (Note that you are unable to refute anything he wrotes!!) The present Japanese govt is a right wing one, and is well known for lieing, which is why its landed itself in hot water with China and South Korea over the Comfort Women issue. Its why the Chinese and South Koreans rightly do not trust Abe and his adminstration and keep asking it to show proof of sincere and good intentions. China and South Korea are correct and most of teh world sides with them as regards Abe. People like Japan and teh Jpanese because of Japan’s economic miracle and peaceful philiosophy since WW2, and now Abe and the Japanese govt are actingf like Holocaust deniers, they bring in a secrecy act to stifle all dissent, they arm themselves to the teeth, they try to change the consititution to allow them to attack other countries. Its deja vu – WW2 revisitted I’m afraid. I’m afraid it sounds as though you are both a little ignorant as well as a little brainwashed!!

      • Gordon Graham

        Please point out where I’ve denied or excused Japan’s wartime atrocities. Also, nowhere on Parenti’s list do I see any source material from an actual Tibetan.

      • Yosemite_Steve

        BTW I’m also influenced by Nick Turse who recently published his long researched book “Kill everything that moves” on the slaughter of civilians in Vietnam. After interviewing many US vets he realized that the civilian slaughter was far from limited, it was much more common than has ever been hinted at officially. Armies are very good at killing lots of people and have zero reason to ever keep an accurate account. Counting bodies that show up at morgues and the records are preserved will come nowhere near the truth.

      • KenjiAd

        Japanese scholars put the number at 40-200,000. Chinese scholars go from 200,000 to 350,000+

        I’m just guessing here, but some Chinese scholars, if you ask them in private off the record, might agree with the Japanese numbers.

      • KenjiAd

        Honda in his book did not endorse any particular estimate of the casualty number. But he did mention that the Chinese number, 300K, may be exaggerated (as I recall, “おおげさ” is the word he used).

        However, he also stated that, if we include the areas beyond the city wall as the area of Nanking Massacre, a number like 100K would not surprise him.

      • Yosemite_Steve

        Kenji, thanks for this. I read Honda many years ago and had a vague memory that he endorsed that kind of number though I thought it might have been as many as 200k. On reflection, my first comment should have been that I thought the Chinese number was ‘closer’, rather than ‘close’ to the truth. Maybe I was being deliberately provocative in my response, I don’t remember my exact feelings. If the ‘true’ number is 100k then 300k is wrong by a factor of 3 but still closer than 20k because that is relatively more wrong (off by a factor of 5), though there is still a huge difference between 100k and 300k. Both the Chinese and the Japanese attitudes scare me but I’ll address that as a comment to your other post below.

      • KenjiAd

        By the way, I agree with you that the exact number of casualty doesn’t matter in understanding what happened in Nanjing.

        Lives are not numbers. It’s absurd to even think that murder of, say, 40,000 innocent people isn’t as bad as killing of 300,000 people.

        To understand the Nanjing Massacre, which is the point of Honda’s reportage, one would have to learn what was going on, not just in Nanjing but throughout China. *That* understanding is far more important than the number of casualty, which is essentially an academic topic.

        Most of those soldiers did not consider Chinese people as humans. Chinese women were to be killed anyway (because they produce enemies), so why not rape them before killing them? That kind of mentality was so wide-spread that an incident like the Nanjing Massacre was already happening all over the place just in smaller scales.

        Dehumanizing your enemies is not just restricted to Japanese soldiers though. Americans, Germans, Russians, all dehumanized their enemies. As John Dower wrote in his book, WWII was a “race war” to a large extent.

      • KenjiAd

        the willing and deliberate exaggeration of the numbers for domestic
        propaganda purposes. By doing this, the Chinese side seems to be showing
        just as much insincerity on dealing with this issue as some elements of
        the Japanese one.

        Emphasis mine.

        I strongly disagree with the statement above. You implied that China knows the true number is (much) lower, but inflated it for the purpose of cultivating anti-Japan feelings (“domestic propaganda”). I don’t think there is any evidence for that assertion (if there is, please show us), and I think much evidences are against it as described below.

        First of all, perhaps we can agree on two things.

        One, it is extremely difficult to estimate the number of casualties in cases where you can’t count the number of bodies for all the practical reasons (e.g., victims of Nanking Massacre, A-bombing, fire bombing, etc).

        Historians are not counting the bodies. They are extrapolating the casualty number from other numbers they can get. But even these numbers have various degrees of uncertainty as we will see below.

        Two, the estimates for the causalities of Nanjing Massacre (NM) also depends on the definition of NM causality – that’s where reasonable historians may disagree. The disagreement is in: duration of the massacre, area of the incident, and whether to include the Chinese soldiers.

        Now, why is the Chinese number (300K) greater than the estimates given by most historians (typically ranging between 40-200K)? Is it as sinister as political propaganda?

        Consider the number of casualties for A-bombing in Hiroshima. The number Americans most often hear is 70-80K, while the number Japanese people most often hear is 140K.

        Is the Japanese number a political propaganda, intended to create anti-America sentiment? No sensible people would argue like that.

        The most likely explanation is simply that a victim tends to believe the highest possible number available. It’s just a human nature.

        Why would Chinese people be any different?

      • Yosemite_Steve

        Given recent events in China with anti-Japanese riots running out of control, I don’t think there is much room to doubt that the CCP has an active strategy of keeping anti-J sentiment alive. Given that the CCP has (in my humble opinion) very little legitimacy after the many huge-scale horrors of the Mao era, and are in fact a one party-army-state entity, I think the upper reaches of power have a lot to fear from their own people if they ever lose complete control. Hence I think they want to keep Japan as a very useful external enemy towards whom they can raise the hate anytime they need to.

        On the other hand, the last time Japan had a strong military they too crushed democracy completely and did crazy horrible things. So I think that everybody in the world should have legitimate fears of how change will work out in East Asia if the American empire ever gets drastically scaled back, which it almost certainly will sooner or later.

        I doubt that there is anything that the Japanese can do to make the CCP leadership ever want to throw away their ‘hate-Japan’ trump card. I think what’s bad about the Japanese nationalism is that they don’t have a stable history of democracy with civilian control over the military and they don’t seem to be growing in political maturity now either. JMHO.

      • KenjiAd

        I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a Japanese national currently living in China (with my Chinese wife). Before I came to China three years ago, I lived in America for 26 years. Basically I spent the bulk of my adult life as a foreigner, the experience which colors my view.

        Although my experience in China is still limited (only 3 years), I actually do not totally agree with the popular idea (popular in Japan, that is) that CCP is hell bent on keeping or even growing anti-Japan sentiment.

        I do know that a large part of CCP legitimacy came from the notion that they, not KMT, were the one who defeated Japan. This notion isn’t accurate, but it is true that China was a quagmire for Imperial Japan, causing almost a half-million KIAs, for which CCP’s Army wasn’t an insignificant bystander.

        Still, in 70’s-80’s, at least the official position of CCP was to distinguish Japanese militarists and innocent Japanese people. If you are old enough to remember what China-Japan relationship was like in early 80’s, it was really, really good.

        It started to unravel when the infamous textbook incident occurred, in which the Japanese government tried to change the school textbook’s description about China-Japan war. Although the governmental interference was ultimately unsuccessful at that time (Ienaga lawsuit), an important point which is quite often missed, the legacy of this textbook incident still lives on the mind of most Chinese people. So suspicion about Japanese commitment to peace does exist in China, and it does not require any governmental propaganda. It will always be there, just like Polish people might still feel about Germans.

        With that said, I do agree that the Chinese government does seem to take advantage of general anti-Japan sentiment from time to time. This is somewhat inevitable, because all the Confucian countries (China, Japan, Korea…) are very ethnocentric, and ethnocentrism in modern China has revolved around the concept of defeating Japan.

        Had the cultural revolution not occurred, China could have found Chinese traditions as a central theme for their ethnocentrism, just like Japan does. But those traditions were destroyed, only anti-Japan traditions remained. Unfortunate.

        But if you actually listen to real Chinese people, especially young ones, most of them do not harbor any resentment against Japan or Japanese people. I can prove it if you want. :-)

      • Yosemite_Steve

        You know much more about China than I do, but it has been observed and seemed pretty reasonable to me that given the way other unrest has been very quickly suppressed, the fact that the recent anti-J large demos (and riots — I think that even some Chinese were murdered by mobs just because they happen to be driving Japanese cars at the wrong time and place) were allowed to continue openly for at least a few days seemed to indicate a desire by the Chinese authorities to fan those fires. A lot in China seems to depend on timing in the generational power transition cycles. Xi is still consolidating power and doesn’t seem to want to liberalize anything any more than Abe does in Japan. I don’t know what his calculations are with the rhetoric. Besides the Japan related stuff, the Uighurs are getting crushed with a vengeance. I think they are toast.

      • KenjiAd

        As to the recent anti-Japan riot in 2012, I think people in Japan (or elsewhere) misunderstand a couple of things.

        In most cities, including my city (8 million people) and mega-cities like Shanghai and Beijing, no large-scale anti-Japan demonstration took place. It is a mistake to think that the central government in Beijing somehow orchestrated those violent demonstrations. Contrary to popular opinions, Chinese politics is highly decentralized.

        Riots happen all the time in China, in factories and villages, but usually in a lot smaller scale. They are such a common occurrence that they don’t get reported. Many state-run companies have installed electrified fences (like in prison) partly to control the riot by their own employees.

        I should note that the central government is always afraid of a large-scale demonstration because it could become a riot against it very easily.

        Those who destroyed Japanese cars and businesses are thugs, not regular Chinese people. They probably came from country side and are generally frustrated young males. They would smash KFCs if there were anti-America demonstration and go eat McDonald’s the next day.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Thank you for your contribution and my apologies for taking so long to respond. You were right to pull me up on the language I used. I wrote in a short way and I will now try to explain it in longer fashion. I will still argue that the key essence of what I wanted to say was true.

        First of all, I agree with your two points on the difficulty of estimating numbers and the differing definitions of the incident in explaining some of the variance between estimates.

        Finally you state, “(t)he most likely explanation is simply that a victim tends to believe the highest possible number available. It’s just a human nature.
        Why would Chinese people be any different?”

        I don’t entirely agree. I do agree that there is a strong tendency for the country of the victims to believe higher numbers and vice-versa. As to whether that is ‘human nature’ I’m not sure but there certainly seems to be a tendency to that.
        I dealt with two other similar topics during my undergraduate days as a history major and my subsequent interest in history as a lay-observer. Those two were the Irish famine and slavery from Africa to the Americas. Both are highly charged ‘debates’ with the events in question playing a prominent role in the history and identity of certain ethnic groups or nationalities.

        Such debates always seem to follow a similar course: being forgotten or ignored for a long time except in the oral traditions of the victimized party, being brought up as a historical issue by the victimized party as it acquires better status and enters the established political and academic worlds, being initially resisted by all or the vast majority of the side of the perpetrator for a significant period, the emergence of elements within the perpetrator side which accept it and take it as a cause celebre, and finally the emergence on the side of the victims of a small group those who take the side of the perpetrators. (If you don’t believe the last step, just google “Thomas Sowell” and “slavery”.)

        I should add a very important caveat that this general pattern is observed when there is fairly open public debate and/or academic freedom, such as in the US or Europe. It is interesting that you speculate that some Chinese academics might agree with the lower estimates made by Japanese and Western academics. They would represent the final stage of this process in this case, but are hidden as there isn’t freedom of academic expression in China.

        My point was directed not at the mass of ordinary people on either side of such issues, but rather at the leadership of China, particularly the topic of this article. Make no mistake about it, as much as we might like to think of international relations as being based on some kind of international cooperation, friendship, objective debate, sincerity, justice or whatever, the reality is very different. (We can argue about how and why that is in another thread, but that it is, is beyond dispute.) Even issues such as this are subject to the realpolitik of cynical negotiation (‘you make such a statement and we will allow a trade mission’, ‘you conclude this treaty and we will allow a high level visit’), with both parties considering both the advantages to be gained and, particularly for democratic nations, the possible repercussions amongst domestic opinion. A previous leader of China has, for example, already officially concluded a treaty with Japan, which renounces any claims for wartime compensation and ‘normalizes’ relations. There may well be elements of Chinese society that objected to this move (as there may be when any government agrees to anything) but what counts in IR is what countries do officially. (This is another reason why the Japanese government has fair complaint under the IR system with the actions of the government of South Korea regarding the ‘comfort women’ issue.)

        For anyone who holds a more idealistic view in IR and would like to see plenty of examples to the contrary, or who would like a useful categorization system with which to analyze history, I highly recommend Meirsheimers’ “Why Leaders Lie.”

        This brings me at last to my previous comments about China. The Chinese leadership is fully aware of the scope of the debate on numbers. In choosing to specifically state a number in public of a level that is highly controversial, even within the debate itself, it is sending a very clear signal to the Japanese side that it is not prepared to negotiate behind the scenes (as is the norm) to resolve this issue. This is even more the case given that the CCP leadership has much greater control over the vast majority of the domestic media and could quite easily make vaguer statements that could still be used by said media to satisfy the domestic appetite for anti-Japan commentary that the CCP has itself encouraged when it suited them. (I note from your posts below that you agree with this.)

        Propaganda doesn’t have to be an outright lie, you are very mistaken there. Most of it is spin of a greater or lesser extent. Your example of the Hiroshima stats is not propaganda simply because the issue is not a flash-point between the governments of Japan and the US. Thus the two governments do not need either to engage in making official pronouncements on such numbers either as a signalling of their willingness to negotiate an agreement, or to appease domestic opinion.

      • 300k is an insane number. This is just to paint Japan in wrong color.

      • Julie_thomas

        I suppose next we will hear that the holocaust either didn’t happen or “only” a couple hundred thousand people died… All of these deaths were documented. Japan wants to rewrite history and the Chinese are having none of it. Japan also denies the Korean Comfort Women. Next they will deny Pearl Harbor.. You can’t rewrite history. BUT their behavior hasn’t changed. Just look at that blatant violation of international law on whaling. Look at the BRUTAL SLAUGHTER in Taiji and other places in Japan of our sea Mammals. The culture of brutality and cold hearted murder still exists. And don’t forget that this current Prime Mininster’s Grandfather was arrested as a WAR CRIMINAL during WWII

    • JimmyJM

      And apparently, those soldiers who were brutalized by their “betters” took it out on those whom they considered their “lessors”. According to numerous POW accounts, the most brutal prison guards were the Koreans serving in the Japanese army. Even Japanese privates could batter Koreans in the Japanese Army. Extrapolate that mind set to every country conquered by Japan and massacres of three hundred thousand doesn’t seem all that astonishing.

    • KenjiAd

      The Chinese number, 300K, originates from Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal. It was partly based on the sum of burial records; as such, it includes civilians and soldiers killed in and around Nanjing. It also includes the number given by some charity organizations (I don’t remember which ones, maybe red cross). But the accuracy of this latter number has been disputed.

    • Gordon Graham

      so much for whitewashing history

  • Guy Takamatsu

    I think academics place the number at 50,000. At least that his the number I heard when I talked to one professor. That is still a lot of people. So don’t say “only” 50,000.

  • kingyama

    tens of millions of people(chinese) died because of the japanese army…..lets leave the nanjing aside….horrible mistakes were made by japan lets not deny that……mistakes can be forgiven if asked genuinely…. relations are made on trust,respect,understanding and compromise….currently abe is a strong leader…if there is someone in japan that has the capacity to improve relation that is abe….he can afford to loose some of his approval rating what other leaders in past and present could not afford……but everything that is happening is just bad…..they are moving in a right path in a wrong direction!!

    • iwishitweretrue

      Yes – you’ve hit the nail on the head. Abe is heading in a Right Wing direction, and its only the poor state of the Japanese economy that has forced Abe to begin to try to make better relations with China.

      From a Chinese perspective, when they see what Abe’s grandparents did, and his attempt to rearm Japan and to try and contain China, it’s no surprise they fear the worst. It’s also no surprise that the Chinese keep asking Abe and Japan to show sincerity, because sincerity was the last thing the military rulers of WW2 Japan were capable of shopwing – WW2 Japan was 100% built of lies.

      What is worrying is that the US is encouraging and fueling Abe’s military ambitions by selling Japan masses of military hardware – as well as increasing the size of the base in Okinawa? Instead of ratchetting things down, the US is ratchetting things up!!

      Abe needs to show some humulity and statemanship, as China and Japan have been neighbours for ages, and will be neigbours for ages in the future. The Japan China relationship is important and needs to be maintained so that peace can prevail.

      • Yosemite_Steve

        I don’t like Abe much either and I agree statesmanship is desperately needed but OTOH I don’t think it’s normal for a country with an economy the size of Japan’s to be completely dependent on another military empire to defend itself from it’s larger and more populous neighbor. The most important question is whether Japan can possibly have a larger military without the military completely taking over the state the way they did in the early 20th century. And the Japanese state does not have a lot of institutional power and coherence to oppose a strong military. They seem more likely to end up another Thailand than be like another European democracy. That’s very scary for domestic Japan, let alone for international military stability.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Well, I agree that you may be right on a lot of the above, but you have made one glaring error. Why should Japan be forced to uphold the US’s military stability – Japan just really needs to look after itself? The reality is that neither China nor anyone else wants to attack Japan, and Japan can easily settle the Daioyu issue through negotiation.

        China and Japan can easily sign some mutual defense treaties, and Japan can come close to China as South Korea has, and deal with their North Korean fears.

        The problem for Japan is that it needs to settle its outstanding WW2 issues and debts, before it is fully trusted again in Asia. Japan has done a brilliant job since WW2 by being peaceful, and it needs to capitalise on this by making the appropriate apologies, and signing a threeway defense pact with South Korea and China, which would provide stability in the area. If Japan secures long term peace with China, then it will have a huge positive impact on its trade.

        Of course all of the above is tough for US neoCons and those still stuck in a Cold War mentality. However, why should the US have to forever have US bases in Japan and pay the price thereof? Whatever way the US can peacefully wind it all down, should be the method that is adopted.

      • Yosemite_Steve

        Sorry to be so dismissive but this sounds like very foolish idealism. If the all the US ships and planes left East Asia, how long do you think it would be before the PRC occupied Taiwan? A week? And do you trust China to totally effectively restrain North Korea’s Kim? Good luck with that! The real world isn’t all love and peace and flowers and international law.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Sorry to be so dismissive of you, but you still seem stuck in a time warp. It was tough for the US to end slavery, and it will probably be tough for the US to stop treating Japan as a conquered land and as a slave. Its not so much asking how much N Korea can be trusted(China and South Korea seems to be doing fine), but how much can the US be trusted. Don’t be niaive – the US is not looking after Japan for nothing, or making out North Korea is a massive threat because the US is a nice guy? The US has a warmongering mentality and is controlled in part by the military industrial complex and has attacked more countries and started more wars around the world than China has. In essence, the US is very often a menace to teh world and peace. China has its own problems and is focussed on its economy and there is zero chance of China attacked Japan, except in defense. The Daioyu islands are an issue, but one that can be easily be dealt with.

        Why should Japan forever be the US’s lackey and not look after its own interests? That countries and people have their own lives and interests aside from the US, is something that most US people fail to understand.

      • Yosemite_Steve

        If you are going to respond to me, please respond only to what I write and don’t put your words in my mouth. I did not say one single word about trusting the US. I’m just pointing out to you that the real world always has and always will run on balance of power, not “trust”, and that sans USA, China is definitely an 800 lb gorilla which Japan would be incredibly foolish to trust and would very much need to contain to have any peace of mind. Let me agree to disagree on move on before your next straw man response.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Sorry to be so blunt, and to again interrupt your niaivity, but it’s hard to listen to contrary facts sometimes. You must be aware that you obviously nail your flag to the US mast by trying to make China out to be a bogeyman – an 800lb goorilla and threat to Japan – when its almost certainly the US that is Japan’s bogeyman or slave master? Who has an occupying force on Japan’s islands? Who dictates Japan’s foreign policy? When did China last invade Japan? Why on earth would China invade Japan when China continually makes such a song and dance about imperialism and freeing itself from imperialism? Waht would China ever do with Japan if it invaded? No – it will never happen – at least not until their is a complete madman running China. The only people trying to make out China as a worrying threat is the US – who wants an excuse to leave its occupying army, navy and airforce in Japan.

        Abe can easily build up a good relationship with China should he want to do so, or of the US allows him to do so, and I’m sure that China would be only too happy to sign a non aggression treaty with Japan to deal with any Japanese worries. Of course, this would not go down too well with yourself and the US, who wants to control Japan and use the Japanese as a stick to beat China(so that the US does not get its hands dirty), but it would be good for the region. China and South Korea have shown that two big players in the region can settle their differences and get on well and responsibily.

        I am happy to move on now – now that we know where you stand on the US/Japan relationship.

      • Yosemite_Steve

        You’re still projecting tons of attitude on me with zero justification. My basic point is the fact that the Japan can hardly demand that the US leave without being willing to spent a whole lot more on defense vs your complaint about Abe’s defense spending coupled with your idea that the US can just leave and Japan would not have to pick up the slack militarily. You disagree, and think that the US could leave East Asia tomorrow. Apparently your view is that the US could withdraw all armed forces from Japan and Korea back to Guam/Hawaii/where ever, and the balance of power between China, Japan and the 2 Koreas need not change at all, because diplomacy. And for that reason you think I am ‘naive’ and an American apologist. You are wrong on all counts

        In the background for me, I believe that the people of Okinawa have no way to get out of being screwed by Tokyo’s plans to expand the US bases there over their strong resistance. I strongly support their right to self-determination, but I don’t see how that can happen because Tokyo wants the US protection and has no problem forcing Okinawa to accept Tokyo’s will, so Okinawa will continue to be screwed as they always have been, no doubt about it. And I sense I should be strongly opposed to Abe’s defense spending but then I have to ask myself, “How can I expect Japan to tell the US to leave if they don’t build up their own forces?” and I have no answer to that. I don’t accept your ‘no problem, the Chinese are really nice, peace loving people’ Because I think that plan A for the CCP and Red Army if the people ever rise to drive them out of power, is to start military conflict with Japan and boom, internal problem solved immediately. The “homeland security” card is every party’s strongest trump.

      • iwishitweretrue

        No offence intended, but Japan’s issues with China, are going to be solved between Japan and China. Making China out to be a big bad bear is only in the US’s interests. Most of what you have put forward is standard US junk about the “need for US military might” to keep everyone safe, and its obvious a new approach is needed.

        The beauty about two sides talking and pushing each other, like China and Japan talking, is that they can deal with each others fears and issues in a more realistic and effective way, without getting sidetracked or railroaded by the US. The US and its citizens should not be part of the equation, except as peacemakers. It’s not rocketscience, but I’m sure it’s not something that the US would currently like, as it scuppers US plans for the region.

        Unfortunately, the US’s plans usually involved the military, and it needs some decent non military brains involved, to see what is in Japan’s and China’s long terms interests, and not the US’s. A stable Japan and China, who have a great relationship, would greatly help US trade as well as world trade.

    • Why should you hold the current generation accountable for the crimes done by someone who was four generation ago. This is just rabble rousing.

      • kingyama

        this case would have been solved many many years ago if japan had genuinely asked for forgiveness and compensated for which they never did….what japan has now been doing is just opposite….they are just making the case complicated……their ministers still visit the notorious shrine,they question the comfort women case,they now has started to dispute the history……you know innocent lives matter even if it is single!! japan is a perpetrator here ….japan should take the first step !! now dont say me japan never attacked china,never killed innocent people,never caused famine in china and above that dont say they asked for genuine forgiveness and compensated fully to china!!

  • ostkrieg

    Why even bother responding to Chinese communist propaganda?

    • iwishitweretrue

      The truth is always seen as progaganda by those who are evil. In reality, the truth is just the truth.

      • ostkrieg

        Of course there was a huge warcrime in Nanjing but to me it is simply astonishing how many people take what the Chinese communist party presents as fact.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Holocaust denial is a terrible thing, and there are those right wing elements in Japan who support denial. The Japanese govt. should therefore show some sincerity and apologize, and go on publically apologizing for such a heinous crime as the Nanking Massacre. The numbers are always going to be debatable, but the crime is not debatable. The Chinese govt., whether a communist govt or something else, has every right to alert its citizens to what has happened in the past as regards Japan, and this is especially so when it doubts the sincerity of Abe, whose grandfather was allegedly a war criminal. Its got nothing to do with Communism, because South Korea feels the same way. Part of good governance is quietly assuring your neighbours that you won’t repeat these sorts of crimes. Abe needs to show some statesmanship and assure China and South Korea and the rest of Asia, that Japan wishes to create a peaceful future and not repeat its past.

  • Ahojanen

    Why not just leaving it to historians and experts? They also better be a third party or a joint team comprising of different nationalities.

  • CaptainAsia

    Who knows what the exact numbers really are? The Chinese Communist Party are well skilled in the art of deception and lies. They needed a scapegoat in order to reign in the powers that nationalism holds. The problem with the 300000 number is lack of bodies and time it would have taken to complete the job.
    On the other hand given that the CCP make so much noise about the so called Nanking incident, I would recommend that they look closer in their own back yard and count the numbers of Tibetans killed by Chinese. Although disputed, the numbers vary between 1 to 2 million Tibetans killed in the sixty years of Chinese Invasion.
    You would want to ask: For a society that is making such a big noise about Nanking, is what they did to Tibet a proper response? In other words if Nanjing was so bad why did so many Tibetans get murdered.
    I am not sure about numbers, maybe all need to looked into more carefully.

    • iwishitweretrue

      Nonsence. Google Michael Parenti and the “Tibetan Myth” – you are making the numbers up – and Tibet has been part of China for 800 years. The US has killed more people in the world over the last 15 years than anyone else. Look at the massive wealth inequalities in the US and the US’s own social problems – like policemen who like to kill non whites..

      Japan killed 20 million people in China, before and during WW2, and its something that the Chinese are unlikely to forget – hence the need for Jpan to be contrite like Germany was after WW2. Google Second Sino-Japanese war and read the casualty figures.

      Nanjing, like Hiroshima, like Aushwitz, is a reminder of what militaristic war crimonas can do, and the world should always remeber these incidents.

  • Ahojanen

    I think that the number 300,000 is highly inflated, many stories politicised while blushing aside a claim of no mass killings in the city. Again I suggest an independent fact-finding commission take care of the case.

  • Tomoko Endo

    I think Japan must compensate for the masaccre, if it is the fact.
    It has been passed 70 years, too late. Why Japan did nothing for it obviously? Who knows the facts? Who can research the facts?
    I think that we must not forget victims’ memories.

  • Dipak Bose

    Chinese Internet army invaded this website.
    whatever China says, that stinks rotten meat, rotten rice, fried cock-roach, spider, snakes. It really does not matter whether 3000 or 300,000 because if the Chinese are alive, more and more countries they will occupy. Thus, Royal Japanese Army did a great service to mankind,

  • derekdj

    This is a problem cause by the growing right wing nationalists on both sides. Previous Japanese administrations already apologized and acknowledged its past atrocities, however China will never move on because if provides them a handy propaganda tool in order to distract citizens from their domestic issues. In case anyone has forgotten recent history, China and Japan profited greatly economically during previous administrations when both parties tempered their rhetoric.

    Like most right wing groups, there is a tendency to use contentious propaganda when they don’t have answers to domestic problems. It’s no coincidence that China started to flame these fires not only between Japan, but the entire asian region just as domestic economic disparity and environmental destruction and political corruption threatens the ruling party. Similarly in Japan, Abe’s party needs to continue their revisionist campaign to clean their own family history and provide legitimacy to their will to power. Abe has used China to his own ends economically as well, just as his Abenomics strategy is floundering and any talks of reforming government left behind on the campaign trail, he dramatically increased spending in the defense industry (another right wing economic booster).

  • ThinkDifferently

    War has passed.. but the attitude of Japanese in general has never changed.
    When you invaded a country first, you have lost your argument.