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While the tone of the Jan. 25 article “Filmmaker to paint Nanjing slaughter as just a myth” was, commendably, mostly neutral, it did contain a couple of noteworthy evasions. It stated, for instance, that most historians accept the International Tribunal’s findings, but didn’t mention that only Japanese historians dispute them — in the same way that only a handful of European historians deny the Holocaust. To say that the facts “have been debated for decades” overlooks that this debate exists only in Japan between those who want to acknowledge the facts and move on, and those who don’t.

As for the movie itself, I imagine we’ll see kind Japanese troops hosting parties for orphans, while the evil people of Nanking slaughter, rape and mutilate each other. The nationalists’ efforts to delete Japan’s atrocities from history are like a man trying to disguise his baldness with a comb-over; everyone knows the truth. Fortunately, a recent poll showed that the younger generation is less blinded by patriotism, and more receptive to a genuinely open examination of past events.

peter sidell

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