Overview | Judgement | Denials | Controversy
As the Japanese right wing political party began to rise in 1972, denials of the Nanking Massacre became more apparent. These denials can be divided into three types: distorted facts and rewriting history, disputes on how many people killed, or denying the massacre altogether (Zhang).
In 1982, the Japanese Ministry of Education headed the campaign to distort and rewrite the events of World War II in the history books. Certain words were replaced in text about Sino-Japanese wars; Japanese “aggression” in Nanking being by “advancing in and out.” This was finally stopped because of the strong protest by the surrounding Asian countries and various Japanese educational groups, but the rewriting of the Nanking Massacre remained and repeated several times after. Moreover, the Ministry of Education has never admitted that the distortion of history is a mistake (www.cnd.org).
During the same period, some Japanese historians came to believe the numbers killed in massacre had been a great exaggeration. The book, Nanking Incident, by Hata Ikuhiko claims that there were only 38,000 to 42,000 victims (www. cnd.org).
Perhaps the most outrageous claim was of an absolute denial of the atrocity. The Journey to China sparked the publication of two articles, "Reply to Katsuichi Honda," and "The Phantom of the Nanking Massacre," both declaring that the massacre never happened. In addition, the book, "Fabrication of Nanking Massacre," by Massaki Tanaka, also denied the massacre and blamed the Chinese for the war (Zhang).
In 1990, Japanese government officials formally denied the Nanking Massacre by stating that it was a lie. On November 10, 1990, the deputy Japanese Consul in Houston told Americans that according to Japanese sources, the massacre never occurred. Shintaro Ishihara, a Japanese writer and politician, was quoted by Playboy, "People say that the Japanese made a holocaust there, but that is not true. It is a story made up by the Chinese." This treatment of the Massacre still continues today in the 21st century (Zhang).
"Basic facts on the Nanjing Massacre and the Tokyo War Crimes Trial." Japanese Army's Atrocities. 1993.New Jersey Hong Kong Network. 10 Jul 2007 <http://www.cnd.org/njmassacre/nj.html>.
Zhang, "History." Nanking Massacre 1937. 2000. 17 Jul 2007