The Alleged 'Nanking Massacre'
Japan's rebuttal to China's forged claims

竹本忠雄 大原康男
Takemoto Tadao & Ohara Yasuo


Chapter I




1. The Road from Shanghai to Nanking

Before discussing the so-called 'Nanking Massacre', we would like to briefly clarify the fact and the reason why the Japanese Army had to capture Nanking (Nanjing) in December 1937.


From the Marco Polo Bridge Incident to the second Shanghai Incident

In September 1931, the Manchurian Incident occurred. Even after the Manchukuo Government was established in March 1932, the Japanese and Chinese Armies engaged in battles repeatedly along the Great Wall that was the boundary between China and Manchuria. Two months after Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations in May 1933, the cease-fire agreement was concluded at Tanhku (Tanggu) and the demilitarized zone was established in North China, and it resulted in the withdrawal of both troops. Since then, there were no major conflicts recorded. At least for four years, a temporal peace was obtained.
The Kuomintang (KMT, or Nationalist) Party,4 which was led by Generalissimo Ciang Kai-Shek, started the fifth 'Bandit Suppression Campaigns'5 in October 1933, which had been prepared since the time of the Tangku Agreement, and pushed the CCP into the frontier region of Ya'nan by 1935. However, in 1936, due to the out-break of Sian (Xi'an) Incident,6 the KMT chose a different path against Japan. This was what was called 'Anti-Japanese United Front'. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurred in such intensified circumstances.
During that time, due to the occurrence of the Boxer Rebellion, the U.K., the U.S., France, Italy, and Japan had a military agreement (Final Protocol Relating to the North China Incident) with Manchu China (Qing Dynasty) in 1901, and were allowed to station their troops in the suburbs of Peiping (Beijing) for the protection of their residents.7
On July 7, 1937 based on the protocol, the Japanese Army was having field practice at night near Marco Polo Bridge. Suddenly, several shots were fired against the Japanese troops from the directions where the Chinese troops were staying. This caused a major conflict between Japan and China. This was the start of the unfortunate incident, called the 'Marco Polo Bridge Incident'.
Japan had no intention of starting the war against China, and immediately ordered the front army not to expand the battle beyond and cease fire swiftly and peacefully, as the Emperor Showa (Hirohito) so strongly wished.8 The cease-fire agreement was reached in four days. However, China broke the agreement. Japan reluctantly dispatched three more divisions on July 27 to North China. On the 29th, in the city of Tungchow (Thongzhou), some 250 Japanese residents were murdered by the Chinese troops, and this incident was being called the 'Tungchow Massacre'.9
In August 1937, the Japanese government formulated the peace proposal. Both the Japanese Army and Navy agreed to this peace proposal. What this proposal implied was that all the interests Japan had acquired since the Manchurian Incident should become nullified. This was indeed a drastic concession, which Japan had ever conceded.
However, the peace negotiation between Japan and China crumbled immediately due to the incident in which two soldiers were slaughtered in Shanghai on the very day the peace negotiation started in shanghai between Japan and China.
The KMT was building up their troops in great number in Shanghai. During that time, there were a large number of Japanese residents. To defend them, there was only one defending unit consisting of 4,000 combatants. To the Japanese unit, the KMT sent a numerically far superior number of troops consisting of thirty divisions on August 13. Thus, the war expanded to Shanghai.
Japan organized the Shanghai Expeditionary Forces, and deployed them to Shanghai. By that time, Japan had abandoned the existing non-expansion policy.
Chiang Kai-shek was successful in luring the Japanese Army into Shanghai, where the Chinese units, well trained by the cooperation of German military advisors,10 were stationed. (The second Shanghai Incident).


From Shanghai to Nanking

In Shanghai, the Japanese Army continued to suffer from the enemy suppression. On November 5, Japan had to deploy the 10th Army at the northern bank of the Hangchou (Hangzhou) Bay, and encircled the Chinese Army. As this operation was successful, most of the Chinese Army had to withdraw from Shanghai and a part of the army moved to Nanking on the 9th. On the 7th, two days prior to this event, the Central China Area Army was organized under the direction of MATSUI Iwane, combining the Shanghai Expeditionary Force and the 10th Army. This army was ordered to capture the city of Nanking.
During this period, the Japanese government had desired to cease fire, and asked the German government to intervene in a peace settlement. Under the advice of the German government, Oskar Trautman, the German ambassador to China, tried to negotiate with the KMT, but this peace negotiation could not be settled.
The city of Nanking then was a castle city, surrounded by the rampart of 12 meters high, and of 6 to 12 meters thick, and occupied the total area of about 35 square kilometers. On November 14 and 15, the KMT held an opinion conference and discussed whether they should defend the city, or abandon the city and fight in another place. At the conference, the majority expressed their opinions to abandon the city.
Von Falkenhausen, the chief of the Military Advising Group of Germany, agreed to their opinions. But, Chiang Kai-Shek insisted on defending the city. Chiang Kai-Shek appointed Tang Sheng-zhi as the commander-in-chief of the Nanking Garrison (Nanking Defense Force), and ordered him to reinforce the wall and destroy citizen's properties outside the wall as the Chinese traditional tactics of the 'Scorched-earth policy'11, not letting the Japanese Army take advantage of them.
American correspondent F. Tillman Durdin, described this scene from Nanking on December 8, in the December 12 edition of the New York Times :
The burning of obstructions within the defense zone by the Chinese continued. Palatial homes of Chinese officials in Mausoleum Park district were among the places burned late yesterday.
The city was ringed by a dense pall of smoke, for the Chinese also continued to burn buildings and obstructions yesterday in towns in a ten-mile radius.
This correspondent, motoring to the front, found the entire valley outside Chungshan Gate, southeast of Mausoleum Park, ablaze. The village of Hsiaolingwei, along the main highway bordering the park, was a mass of smoking ruins, and inhabitants who had not evacuated days before were streaming toward Nanking carrying their few miserable belongings and occasionally pausing to take sorrowing looks at their former homes.
On 16th, Chiang Kai-Shek declared his intension to move the capital from Nanking to Chungking (Chongqing) so that all of the government offices would be withdrawn by the 21st. Also, on November 27, all the foregn residents were asked to evacuate from the city. Then, the government high officials and the wealthy started getting away from the city, carrying their valuables and furniture.12


Seven-days Nanking Battle

Within the city wall was the Nanking Garrison, together with the remaining citizens. In order to pretect them, the 'International Committee of the Naking Safety Zone' (Non-government organization. Here after 'the Safety Zone Committee') was organized by the remaining sixteen westerners on November 22. This Safety contained eighteen refugee camps, and was located in rhombic shape area of 2 miles in length and I mile in width in the central Nanking. This area of 3.8 square kilometers, which was corresponded to 11% of the whole Nanking city, was comparable in size to New York's Central Park.
On December 1, the Safety Zone Committee (John Rabe was the chairman) requested both Japanese and Chinese authorities not to attack the Safety Zone. Previously, in Shanghai, there was a case if which the Japanese Army avoided the attack of the Safety Zone set by a French Catholic priest, since the cooperation was offered by the French troops stationed there.13
However, Tang Sheng-zhi ignored the request, and decided to establish the 'Refugee Zone' in order to receive all of the refugees.
The Japanese Army also refused the Safety Zone Committee's request for the following reasons:14
  1. The Safety Zone was separated only by the landmarks. Therefore, the Chinese soldiers could easily penetrate the Safety Zone.
  2. Within the Safety Zone, there were many residences of Chinese officers.
  3. The neutrality of the Safety Zone of Shanghai was kept, owing to the voluntary cooperation offered by the French troops. However, in the case of Nanking, the Safety Zone Committee was not vested by military power, and there was no guarantee to keep the neutrality by pretecting from stranglers' coming in.
As previously stated, Trautmann's peace negotiation did not produce the favorable result, so the Japanese Army decided to attack the city of Nanking on December 1, on the same day when the Safety Zone Committee made the request. On December 9, the Japanese Army scattered 'Bills advising surrender of the Chinese Army' into the city by the aircraft. The bills were made in cooperation with a scholar of international humanitarian law as to a undefended or open city. The attack could have been avoided if the KMT had proclaimed Nanking a 'Defensive City' according to the international humanitarian law.15 (Paris remained indestructible in this way during World War II.)
The KMT did not reply for this offer until 1:00 p.m. on the 10th. Then, the troops opened fire. The Nanking Garrison fiercely resisted the attacks at the Chinese defense forts outside the wall of Nanking. However, the Japanese Army occupied the main areas (such as Purple Mountain, Rain Flower Terrace, Military Academy, etc.) by December 12. By 8:00 p.m., Tang Sheng-zhi, ordering the Nanking Garrison to withdraw from the area quickly, left with his staff's officers. On December 7, Chiang Kai-Shek left Nanking in the early morning. As a result, the Nanking Garrison became disordered. At dawn on the 13th, a part of Japanese Army successfully entered the city. During the process of the entry, the Japanese troops were ordered not to damage the historical sites, such as Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum as well as the Safety Zone, in spite of the formal refusal against the request of the Safety Zone Committee.
The Nanking Garrison had been preparing the deliberate defense by setting barbed wires, laying mines and positioning machine-guns at many places around the city. Contrary to the Japanese Army's estimate, the resistance of the Nanking Garrison was relatively weak, and no street fights occurred within the city wall. By 10:00 p.m. of the 13th, the Japanese Army announced the 'Complete Occupation of the city of Nanking'. However, in the suburbs of the city, there were continuous battles fought between the Nanking Garrisons and the Central China Area Army until the afternoon of the 14th.
As feared by Japanese authorities, many Chinese troops took refuge in the Safety Zone against the repeated requested to stop doing so made by the Safety Zone Committee. Many of them wore civilian clothes, yet they were still armed. They were called 'Plain-clothes soldiers.' According to the international humanitarian law, they could not be regarded as soldiers, but they were regarded as 'privately armed bandits', hiding their status of being regular soldiers.
The Japanese Army, after judging that the Nanking Garrison was preparing for guerrilla warfare, had to conduct the mopping-up operaion for four days in order to capture the resisting soldiers, starting at dawn of the 13th and continuing through the 16th. The Japanese Army ordered all the operation troops to protect the 'rights and interests of foreign residents,' and to strictly prohibit 'looting and arson,' and to capture the 'male and youth' suspected of being soldiers, and to treat 'all the citizens' with courtesy. The Japanese Army completed all the tasks prior to the night of the 16th, by capturing the stragglers and a large amount of arms and ammunitions in the Safety Zone. Then, the entry ceremony into Nanking was held on the 17th. Nanking fell within seven days since the start of the operation in December 10.
However, since a large number of Chinese soldiers were still suspected of being hidden in the Safety Zone, the 'Sino-Japanese Joint Commission' was established on December 24, in order to separate the citizens from the hiding soldiers by checking physique, outfit and language.16 This investigation was done until January 5, 1938 for all the Nanking citizens, not including the elderly and women and children. As a result, approximately 2,000 soldiers were captured, while 160,000 male adults acquired ID cards.
On January 1, 1938, nine Chinese committee members established the 'Nanking Self-government Committee,' and the administration of the city came under this committee upon recovery of public order. And, further, on March 28, the committee dissolved and the 'Nanking Restoration Government' was newly established by the anti-Chiang Kai-Shek Chinese group.


2. Prosecution of the 'nanking massacre' - Why Differs Widely in Casualties Count

The so-called 'Nanking Massacre' is the case wherein a large number of the citizens of Nanking and the captives have been alleged to have been murdered during the six weeks' occupation period under the Japanese Army, from December 13 immediately after the fall of Nanking through the beginning of February of 1938. After World War II, the Nanking District Court was held by the KMT, and a chief of division and three officers, who belonged to the Central China Area Army, were charged and put to a death penalty for their responsibility, so was a commander-in-chief of the Army at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE). And, the results are well known.
However, the prosecutions presented for this 'Nanking Massacre' have been various, and especially, the number of victims are controversial.

年代 主張者 犠牲者数 出典
1938 安全区委員会     49 徐淑希編『南京安全区の記録』
1938 L.C.スマイス  15760 『南京安全区における戦争被害』
1938 M.S.ベイツ  42000 ティンパーリー編『戦争とは何か』
1941 E・スノー  42000 『アジアの戦争』
1943 A・スメドレー 200000 『支那の歌声』
1946 南京検察処 340000 『敵罪行調査報告』
1948 東京裁判 200000 『極東国際軍事裁判速記録』
1971 台湾国防部史政局 100000 『抗日戦史』
1993 ブリタニカ大辞典  42000 The New Encyclopadia Britannica
1995 中国共産党 300000 『対日戰爭史録』
1997 アイリス・チャン 300000 『ザ・レイプ・オブ・南京』

Date claims Number of
1938 The Safety Zone Committee     49 Documents of the Nankgin Safety Zone
1938 L.C. Smythe  15760 War Damage in the Nanking Area
1938 M.S. Bates  42000 What War Means
1941 E. Snow  42000 The Battle for Asia
1943 A. Smedley 200000 Battle Hymn of China
1946 Nanking district Court 340000 Summary report on the Investigations of Japanese war crimes committed in Nanking
1948 The IMTFE 200000 The Tokyo War Crimes Trial (stenographic records)
1971 Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai 100000 History of The Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)
1993 The New Encyclopedia Britannica  42000 The New Encyclopadia Britannica
1995 Communist China 300000 History of the War against Japan
1997 Iris Chang 300000 The Rape of Nanking

〈南京大虐殺〉に関する歴代中国政府の代表的見解と言えば、中国国民党南京検察処の「報告書」(一九四六年)や興祖著『日軍侵華暴行─南京大屠殺』(上海人民出版、一九八五年)などがあるが、本書では敢えて『中国版 対日戦争史録』(中国国際戦略研究基金編纂、一九九五年)所收の「日本軍の南京攻略・占領と大虐殺」を中華人民共和国政府の代表的な〈南京大虐殺〉論として取り上げた。
The following is a list of the variety of views on the 'Nanking Massacre', expressed by the CCP.
Summary report on the Investigations of Japanese war crimes committed in Nanking, prepared by the Procurator of the District Court, Nanking (Nanking District Court, 1946)
Atrocities of the Japanese Invasion Army - the Nanking Massacre (Shanghai People's Publishing, 1985)
History of the War against Japan (Committee of China International Strategic Studies, 1995)
We especially focus on a portion titled "The Nanking Capture by Japanese Army-Occupation and Massacre", presented in History of the War against Japan.
The reason is because The Rape of Nanking written by Iris Chang, a Chinese-American, mainly has quoted from it. In addition, it has been published under the supervision of Chi Peng-fei, former deputy premier and foreign minister of the People's Republic of China. Therefore, the view shown in it can be regarded as the latest official view of the CCP on the 'Nanking Massacre'.
なお同書は、第二次大戦終結五十周年を記念して一九九五年に編纂された七五一頁の文献写真集で、編纂主幹・執筆は中国国防大学教授の徐焔である。徐焔は、そのほかにも『一九四五年 満洲進軍』(朱建栄訳、三五、一九九三年)などの著作がある、日本でも比較的知られている戦後生まれの歴史学者である。
For further details, the photographs presented in the book are quoted from the 751 pages of photo-collection, compiled by Fund Xu'yan, professor of Chinese Defense University, published in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. Fund Xu'yan is the author of the book, called 1945 March to Manchuria, and he is a postwar historian relatively well known in Japan.
南京事件資料へ還る back to Nanking Incident Documents
go to What really happened in Nanking