What really happened in Nanking
the refutation of a common mythTanaka Masaaki
Chongshantang Burial Records Manufactured
A. Lies Exposed by Official Chinese Documents
In November 1945 the Chinese Nationalist government launched a citywide drive in Nanking to collect data that would support the IMTFE's case against Lt.-Gen. Tani Hisao (former commander of the 6th Division), and thus hasten his execution. To supervise the investigation, a committee was formed bearing the imposing name of "Committee for the Investigation of Japanese War Crimes Committed in Nanking: Procurator of the District Court, Nanking."
The members of the Committee represented both government and private organizations, including the Central Bureau of Military Affairs Committee, the Statistics Bureau, the Nanking Police Agency, the Lawyers' Association, the Physicians' Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Red Swastika Society, and the Self-Government Committee, but not Chongshantang (a small chari organization).
But the Committee's initial appeal to Nanking's population to come forward and attest to a massacre or other Japanese atrocities was fruitless. The city's residents "would give out no information."64 The Committee accelerated its efforts to locate witnesses, conducting investigations "with utmost care, by means of various interviews and inquiries."65 The result was the "Summary Report on the Investigation of Japanese War Crimes Committed in Nanking," an excerpt from which follows.Just about the time of the fall of NANKING, our troops and citizens, numbering 2000-3000, were swept by enemy fire in the vicinity of YUHUATiAI before they could retreat. Sad wailing was heard everywhere; the ground was strewn with corpses and blood ran knee-deep. Meanwhile our troops and citizens attempting to escape by crossing the YANTZE [sic] River from the vicinity of PA-KUA-CHOU [Baguazhou] were swept by enemy fire. Many corpses floated on the water, dyed red with blood.66
This passage, however eloquent, does not constitute proof that more than 300,000 persons were massacred, and what it describes is a combat situation, not a massacre.
The report also contains accounts of sexual assaults.For amusement, a father was forced to assault his daughter. In another case, a boy was forced to assault his sister. An old man was forced to assault his son's wife. Breasts were torn off, and women were stabbed in the bosoms. Chins were smashed, and teeth knocked out. Such hideous scenes are unbearable to watch.67
It is possible that the Chinese derive pleasure from such assaults (they often lace their arguments with insults containing references to incestuous sex), but that is certainly not true of the Japanese, who have never found such acts amusing.
In any case, the Nationalist government submitted this hastily cobbled "survey report" to the IMTFE. The Court used this document as ammunition for its "Nanking Massacre" campaign, never subjecting the "evidence" or accompanying "testimonies" to even perfunctory scrutiny.
The year of Japan's defeat in World War II, 1945, marked the ninth anniversary of the Nanking Incident. The writer of an article that appeared in the December 15, 1945 edition of the Shanghai newspaper Dagongbao expressed surprise that "offerings were seen at only a few homes, and that almost no one spoke fondly of the dead, expressed gratitude at having survived the war, or shed tears over the terrible tragedy that occurred nine years ago." The article continues: "When Chiang Kai-shek's organizations (the Nationalist Party and the Nationalist government) investigated enemy atrocities, they estimated the number of victims at 500,000. Why, then, are we seeing offerings at only a very few homes?" Why indeed? Perhaps because the "terrible tragedy" had never occurred?
The 500,000 figure was arrived at by inflating the original estimate of 300,000-400,000 victims submitted to the IMTFE, details of which follow.
Total number of persons killed: 340,000 Number of houses burned or otherwise destroyed: More than 4,000 Number of women raped or killed after rejecting sexual advances: 20-30 Number of persons arrested and still missing: 184 Number of murder victims: 279,586 Location of Bodies Number of Bodies; Witnesses 1. Xinhe District 2,873 (Burial workers Shen Shizheng and Chang Kaixing) 2. Near Army Arsenal outside South Gate; Huashenmiao More than 7,000 (Burial workers Rui Fangyuan and Zhang Hongru) 3. Caoxiexia District 57,418 (Lu Su, a survivor) 4. Hanzhong Gate More than 2,000 (Wu Zhangde and Chen Yongqing, survivors) 5. Linggu Temple More than 3,000 (Gao Guanwu, a traitor; epitaph on the tombstone of an unknown person) 6. Total number of bodies buried by Chongshantang and Hongwanzihui (Red Swastika Society) More than 155,300
If we add the figures shown in 1-6, they total 227,591, not 279,586, as stated above. The connection between 279,586 and the initial estimate (340,000) is unclear. The number of women who were supposedly raped or killed after they were raped (20-30) had multiplied a thousand fold to 20,000 by the time judgements were handed down at the Tokyo Trials.
The breakdown of burial figures is as follows:
Red Swastika Society  43,071 Chongshantang 112,261 Total 155,332
What is problematic here is the number of bodies allegedly buried (upwards of 155,000). Both the Red Swastika Society and Chongshantang prepared charts listing details of burials including city or town, date, sex, and sites where bodies were found. However, since these charts were created after World War II had ended, their veracity is suspect.
Nevertheless, the IMTFE accepted them without question. In its judgement, the Court describes the number of confirmed victims as follows.Estimates made at a later date indicate that the total number of civilians and prisoners of war murdered in Nanking and its vicinity during the first six weeks of the Japanese occupation was over 200,000. That these estimates are not exaggerated is borne out by the fact that burial societies and other organizations counted more than 155,000 bodies which they buried.68
Obviously, these burial statistics were used as irrefutable proof that there had been a massacre. Defense attorneys, of course, objected to the admission of this "evidence," on the following grounds:
- The burial charts were prepared 10 years after the fact. It is not possible to make any definitive statements about corpses after 10 years have elapsed, so we must assume that these figures were invented.
- In view of the sites where the bodies were discovered, they must have been those of soldiers killed in action. It is mistaken to assume that they were victims of a massacre perpetrated by Japanese military personnel.
- These figures were, most likely, invented. For instance, Chongshantang supposedly buried an average of 130 bodies per day until the end of April. However, there is a sudden rise in the number of interments after April, to an average of 2,600 bodies per day for 10 successive days.
- Yuhuatai, Shuixi Gate, and Zhongshan Gate were swept by Japanese troops, which would have removed or arranged for the removal of any corpses found. In any case, it is extremely unlikely that so many bodies remained at those locations five months after hostilities had ended.
- Virtually no women or children are listed in Red Swastika Society records. But in Chongshantang records, figures for men, women, and children have been supplied so as to reflect the portion of the population each group accounts for. They were certainly fabricated.
Anyone who examined the burial records would have broached the objections raised by the defense. Nevertheless, the Court overruled those objections, and handed down a judgement defining all bodies interred as those of massacre victims.
This writer has harbored suspicions about Chongshantang for years. I asked people connected with the Nanking Incident, as well as those familiar with Nanking to provide information about the organization.
Former Col. Nakazawa Mitsuo (chief of staff, 16th Division) responded as follows, on the basis of his experiences in Nanking.The Japanese military undertook the main responsibility for burials, for which we hired many private organizations and a great number of coolies. The widespread perception that the Red Swastika Society and Chongshantang undertook the burial work independently of the Japanese military is incorrect. These charts were based on statements from coolies who took part in work supervised by the Japanese.
According to Testimonies: The Great Nanking Massacre, each Chongshantang burial crew consisted of 12 persons: a foreman, a regular worker, and 10 temporary laborers.69 But as we mentioned previously, the organization maintained that it buried an average of 2,600 bodies per day. In an era when there were no bulldozers or power shovels, and when most trucks were owned by the military, how could Chongshantang have managed to inter so many bodies? Furthermore, no Japanese ever saw such a burial crew at work.
Recently, Ara Ken'ichi discovered some documents that further discredit claims made about burial work done by Chongshantang. All of them are Chinese records, and all of them refute assertions that Chongshantang buried 112,000 bodies between December 1937 and May 1938.70
- "Statistical Report for 1935 Prepared by the Nanking City Government." This report contains a list of charitable organizations, on which both the Red Swastika Society (described as a branch of the World Red Swastika Society) and Chongshantang appear. Chongshantang dated back to 1797, but its main activities were supplying alms (mainly clothing) to the poor, and providing aid to widows and children. Nowhere in this report is there any mention of burial work.
- 'The Situation in Nanking: 1938."71 Subsequent to the Japanese occupation, private charitable groups found themselves with almost no financial resources. In September 1938, the Nationalist government awarded subsidies to 26 organizations, including Chongshantang. But it is clear from this document as well that the organization had no connection with burials. Furthermore, Chongshantang is described as still active, but on a very small scale. The following passage concerns burials.Disposition of Caskets and Dead BodiesHere again, there is no mention of Chongshantang. The burial work was performed only by the Red Swastika Society and the Self-Government Committee.
Corpses inside and outside the city were disposed of by burial crews organized by the Red Swastika Society and the Self-Government Committee. Before the burial work commenced, caskets were interred by relatives. Unclaimed caskets and bodies were transported outside the city and interred.
- Nanking,72 compiled by the Nanking Japanese Chamber of Commerce, contains "The Nanking City Government Service Committee: Statement of Income and Expenditures for May-December, 1938." This is part of a financial report for the City of Nanking, and states that the Executive Yuan expended 150,000 yuan in subsidies to charitable organizations. An accompanying chart shows that the largest subsidies (1,000 yuan per month) were awarded to the Red Swastika Society and Pushanhui, with seven other groups, including Chongshantang receiving 200 yuan each per month. The statement also reports that "private charitable organizations had been inactive for a time because the conflict in Nanking had depleted their finances. However, when they received subsidies from the Service Committee, they gradually resumed their activities." Chongshantang was unable to resume its activities full scale until September 1938, eight months after the occupation. This information is totally inconsistent with Chinese claims that the organization interred more than 110,000 bodies during the four months following the occupation.
B. Red Swastika Society Burial Records Unreliable
The burial records submitted by the Red Swastika Society in chart form are also suspect. In one section of the chart no burial site is listed, only "December 28: 6,466 bodies." This figure far surpasses any recorded before or after this date. Furthermore, according to the diaries of International Committee member George Fitch and Hamasaki Tomizo (45th Regiment), there was heavy snowfall on December 28.
The April 16, 1938 edition of the Osaka Asahi Shimbun carried an article that stated, in part: "According to recent reports, 1,793 bodies have been interred in Nanking, and 30,311 in its environs." When we combine these two figures, we arrive at a total of 32, 104 bodies; and when we subtract the aforementioned 6,466 bodies that the Red Swastika Society claimed to have interred on December 28 from the total number of burials reported by the Society, we arrive at a total of 36,605. A discrepancy of 4,000 still remains, but Itakura Yoshiaki suspects that the figures for December 28, 1937 were manufactured by the Red Swastika Society. Hora Tomio disagrees. Last winter, a group of proponents of the "Nanking Massacre," including Hora, went on an inspection tour of Nanking. There they noticed that "on the original copy of the chart, which is housed at the Dan'anguan in Nanking, a piece of white paper has been pasted over the December 28th entry in the "Burial Site" column. Underneath the paper is printed 'Corpses dumped into Yangtze River near Xiaguan.'" Hora postulates that the Society wanted to conceal the fact that its crews had disposed of those corpses by dumping them into the river instead of adhering to standard burial practices, and that the 6,466 figure represents six days of work, not one. These are merely conjectures, however, and not evidence.73
An examination of a table in Testimonies: The Great Nanking Massacre, reputedly a collection of official Chinese sources, reveals that on December 28, 6,468 bodies were placed in caskets and buried at "Pude Temple outside Zhonghua Gate."74 Citing this inconsistency, Itakura writes:Xiaguan is situated to the north of Nanking, diametrically opposite the area outside Zhonghua Gate, which is south of the city. Further confusing the issue is the fact that, according to IMTFE references to evidence not admitted, including 15 photographs, those same 6,468 bodies were interred by Chongshantang.75
If Hora insists on attacking me because he is convinced that those corpses were dumped in the river, he must first prove that the aforementioned official documents are worthless. However, efforts in that direction will surely cast further doubts on the reliability of burial records.
We believe we have provided sufficient evidence to convince readers that the Chongshantang burial statistics are totally fictitious, and the Red Swastika Society's were inflated. In closing, we would like to add the following.
- Most of the bodies buried were those of Chinese soldiers killed in action. The fact that only a few women and children are listed among the dead interred by the Red Swastika Society lends credence to this theory.
- In the fall of 1937, thousands of wounded and sick soldiers were transported to Nanking from battlefields in Shanghai, Wuxi, and Changzhou. According to the diary kept by a foreign resident of Nanking, the city was filled with soldiers and reeked of medicine. Government buildings and even private homes were requisitioned to house them.76 Soldiers who died from their wounds or illnesses, and those killed by aerial bombs should be accounted for as such in the mortality statistics.
Professor Smythe's Report on War Damage in the Nanking Area
One of the most trustworthy primary sources relating to the Nanking Incident is Lewis S.C. Smythe's War Damage in the Nanking Area, A Sociological Survey. The scientific and rational methods used in its preparation raise it to a status unparalleled by any other contemporaneous reference.
Smythe, a professor of sociology at Jinling University, had conducted similar surveys in the past. During his tenure as both secretary and treasurer of the International Committee, he worked hard to maintain order in the Safety Zone and to establish good relations with Japanese military officials. On February 10, after transferring its duties to the Self-Government Committee, the International Committee disbanded. With the assistance of Professor Bates, Smythe hired a large number of Chinese students and, over a period of approximately two months, proceeded to conduct a survey on war damage sustained by the residents of Nanking. For the survey, Smythe used the random sampling method. He did everything he could to ensure that it would be meticulous, accurate, rational, and fair.
For the portion of the survey that focused on households, the students, working in teams of two, visited one out of every 50 occupied homes. They interviewed the residents and multiplied the figures obtained from those interviews by 50. For the portion relating to damage to houses, the teams inspected one house in 10. A certain amount of bias was inevitable, since the interviews were conducted by Chinese students, but the scientific methods used cannot be faulted.
Smythe's survey covered not only the Nanking city limits, but also Xiaguan and other areas located immediately outside the city's gates. The fieldwork was done between March 9 and April 2, and analyzed between April 9 and 23. The survey of buildings was conducted between March 15 and June 15. Smythe also conducted an agricultural survey in six counties adjacent to Nanking, from March 8-23, covering damage to crops, seed, farming equipment, as well as human casualties.
The survey results reveal that of the 3,250 persons who died as a result of the hostilities, 850 were killed during military operations. Soldiers' violence was responsible for the deaths of 2,400 and injuries to 3,050 others.
A table from Smythe's report, which we have reproduced as below, shows that 89% of the 2,400 deaths and 90% of the 3,050 injuries occurred subsequent to December 13, i.e., after the Japanese had occupied Nanking. The 4,200 persons listed as having been "taken away" may have been drafted by the Japanese to serve as stevedores or to do other types of labor but, as Smythe notes, most of them hadn't been heard from as late as June:In addition to those reported killed and injured, 4200 were taken away under military arrest. Persons seized for temporary carrying or other military labor were seldom so reported. Very few of those here mentioned were heard from in any way up to June.77
Thus, those 4200 must contribute an important addition to the number killed by soldiers.78
NUMBER AND CAUSE OF DEATHS AND INJURIES BY DATE
|Date (1937-1938)||Deaths by||Injuries by||Taken away**||Total killed and injured||Per cent killed and injured by soldiers' violence|
|Military operations||Soldiers' violence||Unknown||Military operations||Soldiers' violence||Unknown|
|Per cent of cases of violence occurring after Dec.13th|| ||89%|| || ||90%|| || || || |
* By "military operations" is meant bombing, shelling, or bullets fired in battle.
** Most of those "taken away" have not been heard from in any manner.
Another table in Smythe's report (Table 5), which classifies the dead according to age and sex, lists the number of males as 2,400 (71%) and the number of females as 1,000 (29%). However, according to burial records kept by the Red Swastika Society, only 0.4% of the 1,793 bodies interred in Nanking were female. Therefore, though his survey was conducted in accordance with sound scientific methods, it seems to be marred by a significant amount of bias. Since bias of this sort would not result in an underestimation of the number of persons killed, the correct figures may very well be lower than those stated in his report.
Proponents of the "Nanking Massacre" have disparaged this worthy report, refusing to find any merit in it. Hora Tomio and others who share his views are convinced that approximately 200,000 persons (including 70,000-80,000 civilians) were killed in Nanking. They warn us not to "abuse" Smythe's casualty statistics.79 Additionally, they object to Smythe's findings, i.e., that 2,400 persons were killed and 4,200 abducted by Japanese troops, for a total of 6,600 dead or assumed dead. Hora also cites the number of dead in the six counties surrounding Nanking as stated in Smythe's report: "Note the inordinate number of civilians who died."80 But ironically, Hora has opted to espouse the theory Edgar Snow posits in The Battle for Asia - 300,000, believing this figure to be correct. Hora embraces theories that agree with his own, and discards those that do not.
Repeated requests on the part of defense attorneys at the IMTFE to summon Smythe as a witness were denied. The court would accept only his affidavit, which stated simply that he had indeed made the aforementioned survey.81
Witnesses were never punished for perjuring themselves at the IMTFE. Smythe wrote his affidavit in Nanking at a time when the Republic of China was engaged in a frantic, nationwide campaign to expose Japanese crimes. Smythe could have followed Bates' example and inflated or otherwise altered the results of his survey. The perfect excuse was at his disposal: His original figures were stated in order to placate the Japanese, who were in control of Nanking. But he did not. Smythe possessed the pride and conscience that one would expect of a scholar, as well as confidence in his work. The Nanking District Court Prosecutor's Report on the Investigation of Crimes Committed by the Enemy, which asserted that the "massacre" had claimed 340,000 victims, was prepared in February 1946. Smythe signed his affidavit on June 7, 1946. By doing so, he was indicating that his figures were correct; he never made any revisions to his report.
As we mentioned previously, the fieldwork for Smythe's investigation was done by teams of Chinese students who, equipped with safe-conduct passes, combed the six counties surrounding Nanking, and conducted in-depth interviews with farmers to determine war damage incurred. If anything resembling a massacre had occurred, it would have been reported to Smythe, Bates, or other International Committee members and, without question, included in Smythe's report. The fact that it was not is proof that there was no massacre.
Gen. He Yingqin's Military Report
How do Chinese references describe the Nanking Incident? This writer is in possession of a copy of Modern Chinese History: The Conflict With Japan, published by Wenxing Shudian in Taipei. It was written by Gen. He Yingqin and edited by Wu Xiangxiang. The first printing was issued in December 1948, and the second in June 1962.
Neither the PRC government (not established until 1949) nor Chinese Communist forces had any connection whatsoever with the Battle of Nanking. Chinese soldiers who fought in that conflict were under the command of Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist government. Gen. He Yingqin, one of the top-ranking officers in the Nationalist Army, served as both minister of defense and chairman of the Military Affairs Committee. The aforementioned book contains the military reports written by Gen. He between 1937 (the year of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident) and 1945 (when Japan was defeated in World War II). The reports were submitted on an annual basis to the Legislative Yuan, a branch of the Nationalist government equivalent to Japan's Diet, for approval. They are detailed and lengthy, covering a total of 688 pages.
A statement in the book's introduction attests to the completeness and accuracy of their content: "The references included herein are exhaustive, and recount events as they actually occurred." The reports include several hundred pages of statistics and maps. The statistics list the number of soldiers killed and wounded in action in units of tens and hundreds. Military organization and combat conditions are also described in minute detail. Because these are also official records, they are primary sources, and probably the most informative and reliable Chinese sources available.
What did Gen. He write about the conflict in Nanking? This particular report was presented at an interim session of the Legislative Yuan in the spring of 1938, when the wounds of the fall of the Nationalist capital, Nanking, were still raw. It covers the period between July 1937 and February 1938. In its table of contents, we find: "Military operations conducted from the commencement of hostilities to the fall of Nanking." Readers are referred to Page 82 for an account of the fall of Nanking, which is very brief account (only six lines long) and, at first glance, seems almost perfunctory. However, organization charts and other specific information are provided in "Military operations conducted from the fall of Nanking to early March 1938."
The account of the fall of Nanking reads as follows.After abandoning the Xicheng line on November 26, the Supervisory Unit, the 36th and 88th divisions, and the 10th, 66th, 74th, and 83rd armies were ordered to assist in the defense of Nanking. Since all of these units had been engaged in combat for quite some time, their members were exhausted. They withdrew from the banks of the Suzhou River, and headed for Nanking. However, on their way there, they became involved in several conflicts, and were unable to regroup. The majority of 10th Army soldiers were raw recruits lacking combat skills, a factor that significantly reduced the effectiveness of that unit. Beginning on December 5, battles were fought at Tangshan and Chunhuazhen. On December 8, Tangshan fell to the enemy. Forced to abandon their position at Fukuo, our troops were pursued relentlessly by the enemy. All units engaged in intense, bloody battles. Many men were killed or wounded. Unable to defend the last position at Yuhuatai on December 12, they were ordered to abandon Nanking. The enemy occupied Nanking on December 13.82
Note that there is no reference in this account to Japanese atrocities or a "Nanking Massacre." Also contained in the report are over 100 charts and tables containing detailed statistics for each battle fought, but these too are devoid of any mention of a massacre in Nanking.
According to this report, 33,000 Chinese soldiers were killed in action in Shanghai and Nanking (Combat Zone 3) and 65,340 wounded, for a total of 98,340. In those conflicts, 23,104 Japanese soldiers died in action and 50,000 from diseases contracted on the battle front. In contrast, the Chinese figures seem low, but we have no reason to believe that they are inaccurate.
The Japanese suffered enormous losses in Shanghai, where most of their casualties occurred. Conversely, the Chinese lost far more men in Nanking than they did in Shanghai. In an entry in his diary, included in The Secret Memoirs of Chiang Kai-Shek, Chiang Kai-shek wrote that more than 6,000 Chinese soldiers were killed or wounded during their attempt to defend Nanking.83 Chinese propagandists habitually understated their own losses, while inflating those of their opponents. When Imperial General Headquarters announced the Japanese victory in Nanking, it reported 86,000 enemy casualties. This was an overstatement, but it pales in comparison to Chiang's understatement.
Again, there is not the slightest hint of a massacre in Nanking, much less one that claimed the lives of more than 10,000 Chinese, in this official, primary source prepared by Gen. He Yingqin.
This writer is grateful to Takagi Keizo, a China specialist who was intimate with Gen. He, for having supplied this reference. Takagi offered the following comment on the Nanking Incident.If tens or hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed in Nanking, there would certainly have been mention of that in this report. But there is none. There have been many debates about the events that transpired in Nanking over the years. I cannot understand why no one has referred to this report, which is an official document issued by a nation with which Japan was at war.
Takagi's point is well taken. If the mission of the IMTFE had been to administer justice, these important references would have been admitted as evidence. Needless to say, the governments of both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China are in possession of these documents.
However, Gen. He's report was not cited at the IMTFE. In fact, most of the evidence relating to the Nanking Incident presented did not derive from primary sources, or even secondary or even tertiary sources, but from hearsay, political propaganda, guesswork, and fiction. Figures supposedly representing the number of victims of the "massacre" ballooned until they took on a life of their own.
Even those known to this writer from books or articles published in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Beijing vary wildly, as follows.
Sources published in the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Hong Kong
Sources published in the People's Republic of China
- More than 100,000: An Outline of the Eight-Year Conflict by Chen Cheng, Army chief of staff, 1946
- 340,000: Nanking District Court Prosecutor's Report on the Investigation of Crimes Committed by the Enemy, 1946
- More than 100,000: A Brief History of Chinese Resistance, Ministry of Defense Department of Political History, 1952
- More than 100,000: History of the People's Revolution, compiled from a variety of Republic of China sources in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Sun Yatsen, 1965
- More than 100,000: History of the War of Resistance Against Japan, 1966
- More than 100,000: A Short History of the Sino-Japanese Conflict, Defense Research Institute, 1968
- 200,000: Anti-Japanese Resistance, Jiang Jingguo, 1978
- 430,000: Reform Daily, 1945
- 200,000: People's Daily, 1946
- 300,000: Worker's Daily, 1946
- 300,000: History of China at War, Shu Zongfu and Cao Juren.
- 300,000: People's China (Japanese translation), 1947
- 300,000: Government-approved textbooks currently in use
- Several hundred thousand: The Great Nanking Massacre, Department of History, University of Nanking, 1948
- 400,000: Testimonies: The Great Nanking Massacre, edited by the Historical Reference Research Committee, City of Nanking, 1 984
- All of these publications were written subsequent to the IMTFE, and are what I refer to as "sources created after the fact."
- Inexplicably, most of the publications issued by organizations connected with the Nationalist government (the government in place at the time of the Nanking Incident) state the number of victims as "more than 100,000," while figures issued by PRC government-related publications range from "more than 300,000" to "400,000."
- Figures listed in PRC publications vary, increasing every decade or so. They have been inflated for political purposes, and have no basis in fact.
Some Japanese actually believe these figures, and have begun to denounce the "Nanking Massacre." Their efforts in this direction are far more passionate and persistent than those of the Chinese. Furthermore, figures concocted to achieve political objectives now appear in Japanese textbooks. Will our descendants be forced to acquiesce to these figures for all time, even though they have been exponentially distorted? Surely I am not the only one who harbors this fear. Worst of all, these numbers are now being used as political and diplomatic weapons.
Nationalist Soldiers Killed or Wounded in Action Between July 7 and December 12, 1937
(Compiled by the Military Organization Bureau, Military Administration Department)
Conflicts in Shanghai and Nanking (Combat Zone 3) Nationwide Combat Zones 1,2,3,5,10   Wounded Killed Total Wounded Killed Total Officers 3,288 1,638 4,926 9,810 4,884 14,694 Non-commissioned officers, rank and file 65,052 31,362 93,414 233,142 119,856 352,998 Totals 65,340 33,000 98,340 242,952 124,740 367,692
Source: Modern Chinese History: The Conflict with Japan, He Yingqin
No Mention of the "Nanking Massacre" in Chinese Communist Party Records
How did the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and the Red Army perceive the Nanking Incident? The massacre of hundreds of thousands of Chinese would have served as excellent fodder for the anti-Japanese propaganda machine. And in their crusade to win rights for China's peasants, the Communists were battling another enemy, the Nationalists, and would have taken advantage of any opportunity to discredit them.
Beginning on May 26, 1938, Mao Zedong began his now famous nine-day lecture entitled "On Protracted War" at a forum in Yan'an held to discuss strategies for resisting Japanese inroads into China. Mao criticized Japanese military tactics, citing the hostilities in and around Nanking as an example: The Japanese succeeded in surrounding their opponents there, but failed to annihilate them. He did not, however, utter one word about a massacre's having taken place in that city. Nor do any other contemporaneous documents mention a "Nanking Massacre," though their authors do not hesitate to hold Nationalist negligence responsible for the fall of Nanking.
In connection with the absence of references to a massacre in Chinese documents, Takagi Keizo, the aforementioned China scholar, told this writer that such references are nowhere to be found either in Gen. He Yingqin's report or in PRC records.A book entitled Chinese Military Affairs During Wartime has been published on the Mainland. It is a collection of contemporaneous publications relating to Chinese military affairs, and includes Issue No.109 of Military Affairs Magazine, dated June 20, 1938, which contains the earliest PRC account of the conflict at Nanking. The account reads as follows. "On the night of December 12, the enemy invaded Nanking. A fierce battle, waged on the city's streets, ensued. Ground troops were assisted by aircraft units. By noon on December 13, the fighting, much of it hand-to-hand combat, had become even more intense. Realizing that it was no longer politically crucial to continue to defend Nanking (all government organizations had been moved to Hankou), Nationalist troops decided to abandon the city in order to avoid incurring further, needless casualties."84
Readers will note that there are no allusions to the massacre of civilians or of prisoners of war by the Japanese military in this account.
The Japanese didn't know about the Nanking Incident, and it's quite obvious that the Chinese didn't, either - not the Communist Party, nor the Nationalist Party. Their ignorance is the strongest evidence that no massacre occurred.
Agnes Smedley, an American and the author of Battle Hymn of China,85 was a Comintern member. (She was also the person responsible for having introduced Soviet spy Richard Sorge who supplied information to the U.S.S.R. that may very well have affected Japan's fate in World War II to Ozaki Hotsumi, also a Soviet agent, in Shanghai.) Smedley travelled with Communist Chinese leaders such as Mao Zedong, Zhu De, and Zhou Enlai. Her book is an account of her journey from Yan'an to Hankou. In it she describes the fall of Nanking and her impressions of the city, but does not refer to a massacre or to Japanese atrocities.
In the summer of 1938, a team of five Indian physicians travelled to Hankou on a relief mission. They met with both Nationalist and Communist party leaders, and kept records of their experiences. Besides describing combat conditions they encountered during their travels, the physicians also write that the Chinese complained about Japanese crimes. However, they do not make any mention of a massacre.
In actuality, neither the Nationalist government in Taiwan nor the PRC government in Beijing voiced the word "massacre" until after Japan's defeat in World War II. Prior to the IMTFE, when the Allies unilaterally judged the vanquished, and to "trials" of Class B and C war criminals at various locations, there was no massacre. Not only the Japanese, but also the Chinese were hearing of it for the first time.
Himeda Tsuyoshi is the perpetrator of the Japanese translation of the aforementioned Testimonies: The Great Nanking Massacre, which purports to be a collection of official Chinese documents. In his commentary, he "explains" why there are no contemporaneous, official Nationalist or Communist records relating to a massacre in Nanking.Even after three of four years had elapsed, no references to the Nanking Massacre appeared in Chinese records describing the conflict with Japan. The most likely explanation is that the Communists had just united with the Nationalists to resist the Japanese, and the former refrained from mentioning the incident out of consideration for the latter.86
If the issue at hand weren't such a serious one, we might find this interpretation amusing.
In 1941, the Research Committee on Current Affairs in Yan'an issued a series of books entitled China in Wartime. One of the volumes, Chinese Military Affairs in Wartime, holds Nationalist troops responsible for the fall of Nanking:Who is to blame for the ruin and utter chaos in which our retreating troops were engulfed? ... How sad that a few high-ranking government officials failed to understand that moving the capital does not mean deserting it. They lost their ability to think clearly and rationally. In addition to alarming the Chinese people, their behavior made them the laughingstock of foreigners.87
Though the authors are unsparing in their criticism of Nationalist government officials, they make no mention of a massacre.
Returning to Himeda's commentary, another explanation he provides follows.Word of the Nanking Massacre did not reach ordinary Chinese citizens mainly because Japanese authorities controlled the media and prevented their representatives from writing or broadcasting news stories about it.88
If Himeda is implying that Japanese censors muzzled the Chinese government and the press, he is wrong. Even if they had attempted to do so, they lacked the power to silence the Chinese people. Not even a child would fall for this argument. In its Book Review section, the Asahi Shinbun described Himeda's commentary as "glittering." However, as the proverb tells us, all that glitters is not gold.
Why, after nearly half a century, is the Chinese Communist Party clamoring: "Four hundred thousand persons were massacred in Nanking.89... Evidence abounds. We will accept no excuses?"90
Not until 1985, during the reign of Deng Xiaoping, was a memorial hall for the victims of the Nanking Massacre erected. The hall's facade bears the inscription "Victims: 300000." When the Communists came into power (1949), one of the first projects launched by Mao Zedong was the construction of a monument to Communist martyrs. The inscription on the monument reads:The Nationalist Government captured 300,000 Chinese Communist Party activists, brought them to Nanking, and slaughtered all of them at this execution site in Yuhuatai. This memorial park was created to comfort the souls of those heroes.
The political motives behind the sudden appearance of a monument to the victims of the "Nanking Massacre" with an inscription bearing the same figure (300,000), are patently obvious.
No Protest Against the "Nanking Massacre"
Submitted to the League of Nations
As we stated earlier, accounts of the "Nanking Massacre" in textbooks written for Japanese middle- and high-school students include statements such as "at the time, Japan was censured by the nations of the world." In this chapter, we shall proceed to disprove this claim.
Between 1920 and 1946, the League of Nations (the forerunner of the United Nations and the first permanent organization of its kind) attempted to resolve international problems. Neither the United States nor the Soviet Union ever joined the League; Japan withdrew subsequent to the Manchurian Incident (1931), and Germany and Italy not long thereafter. However, the United States maintained observer status throughout the League's existence, and participated in conferences held when disputes arose. Japan was asked to take part in several international conferences. By 1937, the U.S.S.R. was also an observer.
The matter of the Second Sino-Japanese War was brought before the Far East Advisory Committee during a meeting of the League's Assembly in August 1937. The United States was represented on the Committee; Japan was also invited to join it, but declined. As a result of a resolution adopted by the Committee, another conference was held in November of the same year in Brussels. Japan received an invitation from the Belgian government to take part in the proceedings, at which representatives of the United States were present, but again declined.
At that time, League of Nations conferences provided a forum for participants to exercise their considerable debating skills in arguing international problems. When the Second Sino-Japanese War began, Chiang Kai-shek, with support from the U.S.S.R., used League conferences as diplomatic weapons against Japan. Not long before the invasion of Nanking, the Nationalist government had received a peace proposal from Japan. Instead of replying promptly, they dragged their feet, hoping that a resolution more favorable to them would be adopted at the League's Brussels Conference. They hedged their bets, so to speak, and by doing so, failed to issue a response in time to forestall the Japanese assault on Nanking.
Gu Weijun served as China's representative to the League of Nations. His League activities dated back to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, at which the organization was established. From then on, he served as China's representative to the League. The Columbia University graduate had been endowed with a commanding presence, and his many connections in both the American political and international diplomatic arenas helped him garner success after success.
The League of Nations was asked to debate incidents involving the Japanese that had occurred in North China at the 18th Conference of its Assembly, which met between August 13 and October 6, 1937. These matters were submitted to the Far East Advisory Committee, which took China's side, and decided to hold a conference in Brussels, at which the Sino-Japanese Conflict Appeal was adopted. China also submitted the Resolution to Condemn Japanese Bombardment of Towns in China, in connection with Japanese aerial bombing of Nanking and Guangdong (Canton), which was adopted by the Committee and the Assembly. In fact, China issued protests to the League against every Japanese military action, which would invariably support the Chinese position, and pass resolutions condemning Japan.
The 100th Conference of the League of Nations' Council commenced on January 26, 1938, subsequent to the fall of Nanking. During that conference, Great Britain, France, the U.S.S.R., and China formed the Sino-Japanese Conflict Committee. The Commission's members proceeded to discuss the possibility of international support for China. However, China failed to prevail this time, due in part to American apathy. However, on February 3, the League's Council unanimously passed a resolution promising support for China, with the exception of two nations, which abstained.
If atrocities were perpetrated by the Japanese in Nanking, as some would like us to believe, if Japanese military personnel indeed looted, raped, and murdered, and if the atrocities they committed were far more heinous than the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then a protest would surely have been submitted to the League of Nations and, as usual, Japan would have been censured. But Gu Weijun never submitted any such protest.
The 101st Conference of the League of Nations' Council opened on May 9, 1938. China asked the League to censure Japanese aerial bombing and the use of poison gas during the conflict at Shandong. These proposals were adopted unanimously. But the League never censured Japan for a massacre in Nanking, accusations of which were never even brought before the League.
Judging from these events, it is obvious that the "Nanking Massacre" was a fiction created at the Tokyo Trials. In other words, there was no "Nanking Massacre" prior to the IMTFE.
No Protest Against the "Nanking Massacre" from the United States, Great Britain, or France
What was the reaction to the invasion and subsequent occupation of Nanking in diplomatic circles? When Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro announced that he would engage in no further dialogues with the Nationalist government, on January 16, 1938, both Japan and China recalled their ambassadors. However, the Chinese continued to file protests against Japan. In fact, after the Nationalist government relocated to Chunking (Chongqing) in November 1938, these protests became more frequent, taking the form of the Wang Chonghui91 Declaration, the Chiang Kai-Shek Declaration, the Nationalist Government Declaration, and the National Assembly Declaration, to name some of them. However, the Nationalists issued no protest in connection with the Japanese occupation of Nanking.
During negotiations following two separate incidents in which the Japanese sank the American gunboat Panay and shelled the British gunboat Ladybird, Japan offered profuse, sincere apologies, and acceded to demands for reparations from the two affected nations. A variety of other protests were submitted by the United States, Great Britain, and France, all of which enjoyed considerable rights and interests in China. The Japanese responded to each and every one of these protests by issuing apologies and making reparations for damages. Housed in the Diplomatic Record Office of Japan's Foreign Ministry is a long list of goods offered by way of compensation; it includes even automobiles and ships. The Ministry's gestures demonstrate how anxious the Japanese government was to avoid displeasing the Western powers.
Normally, when an international protest is lodged, it is signed by at least two nations. One and only one such protest, which accuses the Japanese of indiscriminate aerial bombing during the assault on Nanking, was submitted by the United States, Great Britain, and France on September 22, 1937. According to an investigation conducted by Lewis Smythe, about 600 Chinese civilians were killed by Japanese shelling and aerial bombing (see p.p. 62, 63 ). New York Times correspondent Tillman Durdin wrote that fires set by Chinese troops (the scorched-earth strategy) caused far more damage than Japanese aerial bombing, and that the Japanese did not fire one shot into the Safety Zone. The point we wish to make here is that not one of the many protests lodged even hints at a massacre or at Japanese atrocities.
The only explanation for this "oversight" is that no massacre ever occurred in Nanking. Nevertheless, Japanese textbooks state that as a result of the Nanking Incident, Japan was censured by the world's nations. We would like to ask the authors of those textbooks and the members of the Ministry of Education's Textbook Authorization Research Council exactly which nations censured Japan, and when and in what form they did so?
A. Only Timperley and Durdin Wrote About Atrocities
No Mention of the "Nanking Massacre" in the American or Brithsh Press
As stated earlier, when the Japanese occupied Nanking, neither the Nationalist government (whose soldiers fought against Japan) nor the Chinese Communist Party accused the Japanese military of having perpetrated a massacre in that city. Not until the IMTFE began, 10 years later, was this accusation articulated. Nor did Western nations allege that a massacre had been committed. The vast majority of American and British journalists, in their coverage of Nanking, viewed incidents that occurred there as a breakdown of military discipline, not a massacre. Only two publications focused on Japanese misconduct.
One was What War Means: Japanese Terror in China, edited by Manchester Guardian correspondent Harold Timperley, and published in July 1938 by Victor Gollancz Ltd. A Chinese translation was issued simultaneously, under the title Acts of Violence Committed by Japanese Military Personnel as Witnessed by Foreign Nationals, and included a foreword written by statesman and scholar Guo Moruo. Both versions were intended to serve as anti-Japanese propaganda and were widely disseminated. What War Means enumerates Japanese "atrocities" in Nanking, and also contains reports written by foreigners on Japanese bombings in North and central China. A portion of the documents prepared by the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone is included as supplementary material. After the end of World War II, this book was translated into Japanese.92 The translation became the bible of Japanese proponents of the "Nanking Massacre." For instance, it is the first publication cited in Fujiwara Akira's The Great Nanking Massacre.93
Timperley was in Shanghai, not Nanking, at the time of the Japanese occupation. He had no firsthand knowledge of events that transpired there. His role was simply to compile documents that presented the Japanese in a bad light, which he had received from friends in Nanking. What War Means, like Edgar Snow's Battle for Asia (1940), which we shall discuss later, cannot be considered a primary source, based as it is on hearsay.
To support his view that What War Means is a reliable reference, Fujiwara quotes from Shanghai Sojourn, written by Matsumoto Shigeharu, who was head of the Domei Tsushin Shanghai Bureau at the time of the Nanking Incident.Matsumoto responded: "Mr. Timperley, as a Japanese, I am terribly ashamed of the acts of violence and murders committed in Nanking. Your book will turn its readers against Japan, at least temporarily, but that cannot be helped. We must offer a sincere apology to the Chinese people - to the entire human race, in fact. I hope that your book will remind us that we must do all possible to prevent a repetition of this tragedy. Thank you for your kind words."94Fujiwara has quoted Matsumoto out of context. The passage he cites is preceded by:Timperley appeared at my office and announced that he had edited a book entitled Japanese Terror in China. He had the decency to add, "The book is anti-Japanese. There's no question about that. I'm sure that you will find it offensive, and it pains me greatly to think that our friendship may be affected. The times being what they are, I didn't mention your name, but in my Preface, I did express my great respect for the two of you. Please accept this book for what it is: propaganda."95More pertinently, the passage cited by Fujiwara is followed by:I purchased the book in June, intending to read it in its entirety. However, I was so sickened by the enumerations of incidents therein that I could not bear to read beyond the first half.96
Matsumoto had no personal knowledge of what took place in Nanking. Nor was his response to Timperley's announcement an opinion he had formed after reading Japanese Terror in China. The comments he made to Timperley were nothing more than the meaningless niceties that are exchanged at social gatherings.
Later, it became clear that Timperley's activities in China involved more than journalism. In The Illusion of a Great Nanking Massacre: Updated Edition,97 Suzuki Akira writes that he found an entry for Timperley in Notable Foreign Visitors to China: The Modern Era,98 which states that the latter was an advisor to the Nationalist Party's Central Propaganda Department.
Timperley compiled What War Means while he was under the employ of the Central Propaganda Department. Therefore, there is nothing strange about the fact that the Chinese translation was issued simultaneously, in July of 1938, to commemorate the first anniversary of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The book was intended to serve as propaganda for the Nationalist cause, and should not be perceived as the independent work of a Western journalist. We hope that proponents of the "Nanking Massacre" who have based their arguments on What War Means will come their senses.
Later, Matsumoto spoke to journalists Arai Kiyoshi, Maeda Yuji, and Fukazawa Mikizo, all of whom reported on the Japanese conquest of Nanking and its aftermath. The following is his report on their conversation.All three men agreed that it was difficult to distinguish between acts of war, acts of violence, and outright slaughter.99 They also shared the conviction that no massacre of tens of thousands of persons ever occurred.100
The other publication is a two-part article written by F. Tillman Durdin, a correspondent for the New York Times, which appeared in the December 18, 1937 and January 9 editions of that newspaper. Though Tillman criticizes the Japanese military for its brutality, he is more critical of the Chinese, devoting more than two-thirds of his report to the Chinese "orgy of burning," the infiltration of the Safety Zone by Chinese soldiers dressed in civilian clothing, and acts of looting committed by the Chinese. But the statistics he offers for the number of war dead on both sides and the number of persons executed by the Japanese are conjectures, and do not coincide with known fact.In defending the city as they did - against all the dictates of modern military strategy - the Chinese allowed themselves to be trapped, surrounded and wiped out to the number of at least 33,000, about two-thirds of their army there. Of this number, it is estimated, about 20,000 were executed.101
Elsewhere in the same article, Durdin writes: "Japanese casualties during the actual siege probably totaled 1,000, Chinese casualties 3,000 to 5,000, perhaps more." Later, he adds:The Japanese themselves announced that during the first three days of cleaning up Nanking 15,000 Chinese soldiers were rounded up. At the time, it was contended that 25,000 more were still hiding out in the city.
These figures give an accurate indication of the number of Chinese troops trapped within the Nanking walls. Probably the Japanese figure of 25,000 is exaggerated, but it is likely that about 20,000 Chinese soldiers fell victim to Japanese executioners.
However, the main thrust of Durdin's invective is directed toward Chiang Kai-shek and Tang Shengzhi.Certainly, General Chiang should not have permitted the blunder that occurred. Certainly, General Tang, too, is to be strongly censured for starting on a course of sacrifice that he failed to carry through or at best managed badly.
It may be that Tang made some efforts to save the situation on Sunday by arranging for a general withdrawal under protection of small units left to hold up Japanese penetration far into the city. Appearances indicate otherwise, and in any case the situation was not saved and Tang's departure, unknown even to many members of his own staff, left the army leaderless and was the signal for complete collapse.102
The Battle for Asia by Edgar Snow, who had already won acclaim for Red Star Over China (1938), was written three years after the Nanking Incident. Snow was not in Nanking when the incident occurred and, therefore, this book is not a trustworthy reference. It is intended to be an account of the Second Sino-Japanese War as a whole, and Snow's references to Nanking occupy only a few pages, which are essentially paraphrases of reports written by Timperley and Durdin. But Snow was a convincing writer, and The Battle for Asia was instrumental in propagating the myth of the "Nanking Massacre." (Even Hora has conceded that The Battle for Asia is a second-rate source, and that it contains errors.)
B. No Editorials Condemning the Nanking Incident
By the time Nanking was transformed into a battlefield on December 12, 1937, most foreign journalists had boarded the Panay to escape from Nanking. Remaining in the city were five journalists: Durdin (New York Times), McDaniel (Associated Press), Archibald Steele (Chicago Daily News), Smith (Reuters), and Arthur Mencken (Paramount News).
McDonald, a correspondent for the London Times, was temporarily housed near Xiaguan because the Panay had been sunk. He eventually returned to Shanghai (on December 17), but resurfaced in Nanking on December 15, where he reported on events there.
The claim has been made that the "Nanking atrocities" created a sensation overseas, and earned Japan the censure of other nations. Supposedly, only the Japanese knew nothing about it. In The Great Nanking Massacre, Fujiwara Akira writes, "News of the numerous atrocities committed by Japanese troops spread throughout the world like wildfire."103
If three or four of the world's tens of thousands of newspapers report on an incident, is that worldwide coverage? Did the nations of the world indeed condemn Japan? The Nanking Incident remained in the news only briefly, and was reported on by only a few newspapers. It is unlikely that the four wire services that held a monopoly over news from China at the time (Reuters, Associated Press, United Press, and Agence Havas) would have overlooked an incident in which hundreds of thousands of Chinese were massacred - an incident allegedly equivalent in magnitude to the genocide at Auschwitz.
Critic Ara Ken'ichi has embarked on a laborious enterprise, which involves searching the tables of contents of editions of the New York Times published between December 1 , 1937 and January 31, 1938, Time Magazine, and the British newspaper The London Times for articles about the Nanking Incident. We regret that space constraints prevent us from printing the results of his investigation in full here. Instead, we shall provide a summary.
Most of the China-related reports in the New York Times in December 1937 dealt with the sinking of the American gunboat Panay. Accounts relating to this incident were on the paper's front page for two weeks (December 13-26). They appeared not only on the front page, but also on, for instance, pp. 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, and 24 of the December 14 edition. No other China-related news received this much coverage either before, during, or after the Panay incident. In comparison, only a few lines of the first installment of Durdin's two-part article about Nanking, its length notwithstanding, appeared on the front page of The New York Times. Nor were there any other front-page articles or editorials about the "Nanking Massacre" in that newspaper. Articles about the Nanking Incident were relegated to the Current Events section.
Between December 1, 1937 and January 31, 1938, the New York Times ran a total of 10 articles about the situation in Nanking, some of which were brief, one-column articles. Among them was one about Chinese officers who committed crimes for which the Japanese were blamed, an excerpt from which follows.American professors remaining at Ginling College in Nanking as foreign members of the Refugee Welfare Committee were seriously embarrassed to discover that they had been harboring a deserted Chinese Army colonel and six of his subordinate officers. The professors had, in fact, made the colonel second in authority at the refugee camp.104
From January 28-30, the newspaper printed articles describing the assault on U.S. Consul Allison by a Japanese Army corporal. But not a single article appeared describing mass slaughter in Nanking.
An article written by Archibald Steele (Chicago Daily News) describes the disorderly Chinese retreat and the panic that ensued when the Japanese invaded Nanking, and is essentially neutral. Durdin ends one of his articles with, "There was little glory for either side in the battle of Nanking."105 He also mentions that the Japanese executed Chinese soldiers and committed rapes. Though the viewpoints of the articles written by the three foreign journalists remaining in Nanking are quite different, none of them even alludes to the massacre of civilians of any sex or age, or to mass executions of prisoners of war.
Ara Ken'ichi has made a list of The London Times headlines between December 12, 1937 and January 31, 1938. Since the British presence in China was longstanding, and British interests and settlements there were substantial, there was a higher level of interest in Chinese affairs in Great Britain than in the United States. Consequently, The London Times devoted more space to news from China, which made the newspaper's front page on the average of twice per week.
In December, the main news stories concerned the Shanghai Settlement, the assault on Nanking, the Soviet election, and the sinking of the Panay. Featured in January were the Spanish Civil War and the change of government in France. After exhaustive coverage of the Panay incident, Nanking reappeared in the news (January 15-16) in an article wired by McDonald from Shanghai. Some excerpts follow.Sunday evening [December 12] saw the first signs of the Chinese collapse, when a whole division began streaming towards the River Gate. They were fired on and stopped, and later it was learned that a general retreat had been ordered for 9 o'clock. The movement towards the gate leading to the Hsiakwan river-front, the only way of escape, was orderly at first, but it soon became clear that the Chinese defence of the southern gates had broken down, and that the Japanese were making their way northward through the city. The noise reached its climax in the early evening, by which time the southernmost part of the city was burning furiously. The retreat became a rout, the Chinese troops casting away their arms in panic when they found little or no transport to get them across the river. Many frantically re-entered the city and some burst into the safety zone.
While retreating the Chinese fired the Ministry of Communications, the most ornate building in Nanking, built at a cost of 250,000, and as it was filled with munitions the explosions caused a tremendous racket.
On Monday morning the Japanese were still gradually moving northward, meeting with no resistance, and a systematic mopping-up had already begun.
On Tuesday the Japanese began a systematic searching out of anyone even remotely connected with the Chinese Army. They took suspects from the refugee camps and trapped many soldiers wandering in the streets. Soldiers who would willingly have surrendered were shot down as an example.
Young men who might have been soldiers and many police constables were assembled in groups for execution, as was proved by the bodies afterwards seen lying in piles. The streets were littered with bodies, including those of harmless old men, but it is a fact that the bodies of no women were seen.106
Photographs of the sinking Panay, taken by McDonald, occupied a great deal of space in the January 4 and 5 editions, but by the time he returned to Nanking, the situation there was back to normal. In any case, not one photograph of Nanking appeared in the newspaper, perhaps because there was nothing of interest to capture on film. And again, there were no references to a massacre or to mass murder. Other than those mentioned above, no other noteworthy articles about Nanking appeared in The London Times.
The Sunday Express, which reportedly sold far more copies than The London Times, carried two feature articles about Japan during that same period of time. The first (January 19) was a report on the sinking of the Panay. The second (January 23) was an editorial speculating about future Japanese foreign policy. The only other article printed described the assault on U.S. Consul Allison.
Returning to the American press, the weekly newsmagazine Time ran three articles that referred to the situation in Nanking. The first appeared in the December 27, 1937 issue. An excerpt follows.At the last resting place of his old friend [Sun Yatsen] it was General Matsui's duty last week to complete the butchery of those Chinese troops, tragically misled, who, against the advice given by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's German military advisers, had been left to defend Nanking. It was a tiresome job, lining up hundreds of prisoners and shooting them down batch after batch. However, according to foreign correspondents who witnessed some of the executions, Japanese soldiers invited Japanese sailors as their guests and apparently all of them "thoroughly enjoyed it."
All [the Chinese] knew that to be found in possession of a uniform or a gun meant death. Rifles were broken up and thrown into piles to be burned. The streets were strewn with discarded uniforms and munitions.107
This seems to be a reworking of the report Durdin wrote for the New York Times. Whatever the case, it does not describe a massacre.
The second article (February 14 issue) was essentially a reproduction of a report written by Archibald Steele for the Chicago Daily News, which read in part:As the Japanese net tightened some of the soldiers went nearly crazy with fear. I saw one suddenly seize a bicycle and dash madly in the direction of the advancing Japanese vanguard, then only a few hundred yards distant. When a pedestrian warned him of his peril he turned swiftly about and dashed in the opposite direction. Suddenly he leaped from his bicycle and threw himself at a civilian and when I last saw him he was trying to rip the clothes from the man's back, at the same time shedding his own uniform.
The Japanese were bent on butchery. They were not to be content until they had slaughtered every soldier or official they could lay hands on. ... One Japanese soldier with a rifle stood over the growing pile of corpses with a rifle pouring bullets into any of the bodies which showed movement. This may be war to the Japanese, but it looked like murder to me.108
The third article, a synopsis of material that had appeared in newspapers, appeared in the April 18 issue. The magazine's owners were obviously hostile toward the Japanese, since this article congratulated the Chinese on their victory at Taierzhuang, and included some pejorative comments about Japan. Apparently, Time's editors viewed the Second Sino-Japanese War as one of the top news stories, since they ran an article about it in every issue, in the "Foreign News" section. In 1938, they selected Chiang Kai-shek as "man of the year." But even Time never claimed that the Japanese had perpetrated a massacre in Nanking, nor did it accuse Japanese troops of murdering tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children, or disarmed Chinese soldiers.
We have described the content of newspaper and magazine articles published in the two Western nations most hostile to Japan, the United States and Great Britain. Japanese "atrocities" never created a worldwide sensation. Japan was never censured by the nations of the world. Fujiwara's assertion is categorically false.
C. Foreign Journalists Inspect Former Battle Sites in Nanking
The American, British, and French media failed to write about the "Nanking Massacre" only because there was no massacre. Further evidence exists in the form of a tour of Nanking and environs by Western journalists, which took place in the summer of 1938, the year following the Japanese occupation. Members of the Shanghai Foreign Press Club had asked permission to visit former battle sites in Nanking. Japanese military authorities granted their request. A group of 15-16 journalists chartered a plane and flew to Nanking. The visitors set their own schedule, and inspected sites of their own choosing. Members of the Japanese military's Nanking Press Section served as their guides. The journalists visited the hospital and the detention center for prisoners of war in the former Safety Zone. Accompanying them was Domei Tsushin Nanking correspondent Koyama Takeo, who kindly provided his records of the experience, along with photographs.
According to Koyama, the visitors asked probing questions about the hostilities, the number of casualties suffered by both sides, the state of public order after the fighting had ceased, and prisoners of war. Then they discussed the questions and responses among themselves. However, they neither asked about nor discussed the mass slaughter of prisoners of war or the massacre of civilians. These men were not shy. If they had heard rumors about such incidents, they would surely have asked.
The group visited Zijinshan, Sun Yatsen's tomb, Zhonghua Gate, Yuhuatai, Xiaguan, and Jidong Gate, proceeding from there to Tangshuizhen and Mufushan. Not once did any one of its members ask about a massacre.
Koyama adds, "I arrived in Nanking in the spring of 1938, and was stationed there for more than three years. I never heard anything about a massacre. I covered every inch of the city while I was there, so even a rumor would have reached my ears."
Subsequent to the fall of Nanking, Gen. Matsui Iwane held two press conferences for foreign reporters. However, no one asked him about Japanese atrocities in Nanking. He also met with American and British military officials, on which occasion he apologized for the Panay and Ladybird incidents. During his conversation with them, no one broached the subject of a massacre. In an affidavit, Gen. Matsui swore that the first time he heard about the murder of Chinese civilians or the mass slaughter of prisoners in Nanking was on a radio program broadcast by the U.S. military in Tokyo. Dumbfounded, he summoned his subordinates and ordered them to conduct an investigation.