The dark corners of modern history ensconce an obnoxious event; one which deserves no less attention than the Jewish Holocaust; one which requires the same levels of awareness; one which cannot be denied; one which cannot be forgotten.

I am referring to the abhorrent Nanjing massacre, which ensued after fascist Japan invaded the city of Nanjing on December 13, 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. What makes this mass murder even more detestable is the very short period of time during which it occurred: six weeks. It seems as if the fascist appetite for human lives had been so unquenchable that they had to commit crimes which Hitler would have coveted. The no less abhorrent perpetrators — the Imperial Japanese Army along with their demigod, Emperor Hirohito — committed the following crimes in that very short amount of time:

1. Raping women
Or, I should say females, given that they made no age distinction, including children. As if raping weren’t enough, the Japanese killed the raped females by sticking bayonets or long bamboo canes into their vaginas. I reiterate, this included cutting infants into two halves — as barbaric as that — and not excepting pregnant women.

2. Beheading prisoners of war (POW) or burying them alive
Hirohito, convinced that his people were sufficiently brainwashed to think of him as a deity, went a step further and defied international legal frameworks by officially sanctioning the killing of POW. He delegated this bestial task to Prince Asaka, who was eventually downgraded to a mere general. A particular nauseous happening worth not leaving out in the cold at this point is a race between two Japanese officers as who could decapitate more Chinese. It even made the headline in Japan, as if some scientific discovery had been marked. More than 100 Chinese citizens combined were beheaded in that Japanese game.

3. Killing civilians
For a reason as simple as unpleasant demeanor, civilians were killed on the spot. A young man was reportedly killed for not taking off his hat. A photo of the perpetrator carrying his sword over the young man’s body was shot and promoted.

In total: 300,000+ deaths in 6 weeks, with the Yangtze River turning red! This translates to 7100 lives claimed per day.

When Japan shook from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it finally surrendered on September 2 thus officially ending WWII. Pursuant to the witnessed crimes, the Nanjing Tribunal of War Crimes was established. Alas, no member of the Imperial Family — not even the infamous Prince Asaka — were tried. Instead, US General Douglas MacArthur granted them immunity for strategic reasons (duh!). In that regard, I have prepared a list of people that meet my Hall of Shame criteria:

  • Emperor Hirohito and his entire royal circle
  • Iwane Matsui, who invaded Nanjing thus instantiating the barbaric rape
  • Prince Asaka, who witnessed the rape, but kept a blind eye
  • Every single member of the Imperial Japanese Army in Nanjing during those six weeks
  • Douglas MacArthur, for granting immunity to Prince Asaka and the imperial family
  • Officers Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda, who completed the contest to kill 100 people using a sword
  • Japanese intellectuals of the time, who opted for lip sewing instead of denouncing the massacre
  • Chiang Kai-shek, for his cowardice and collaboration with certain Japanese officers
  • Hisao Tani, who was at least executed (the only one)
  • Shōichi Watanabe, Nobukatsu Fujioka, Shudo Higashinakano, and other Nanjing massacre denialists
  • Ikuhiko Hata, Japenese historian who makes you almost believe that what you see in the photographic evidence is an illusion
  • Takashi Kawamura, mayor of Nagoya, who assumes a probabilistic argument: “It probably never happened.”
  • Shintaro Ishihara, governor of Tokyo, on the other hand, makes the aforementioned argument absolute: “It never happened.”

This by-no-means exhaustive Nanjing Massacre Hall of Shame should be attached to its counterparts: the Jewish Holocaust denialist list as well as Armenian Genocide denialist list.

Iris Chang, who alas isn’t among us any longer, granted an interview on her bestseller The Rape of Nanking, which revivified interest in the almost-forgotten massacre. Chang was criticized by some academics for her failing to not avoid getting into the analysis of the Japanese psyche. With all due respect to such academic kerfuffle, I don’t see how a rational researcher exposed to the factual truth of such atrocities as those committed by the Imperial Japanese Army in Nanjing can stop short of asking and analyzing: “Why would we, humans, even concoct such a brutal crime?”

December 13 is, as I wrote above, the 75th anniversary of the massacre. We must never forget what kind of calamity bigoted, vicious minds are able to incur unto humanity unless stopped in time.

One thought on “A loathsome, overlooked holocaust of WWII

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  • William Borix

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