Overview | Judgement | Denials | Controversy
What happened during the Japanese occupation of Nanking has been heavily disputed by Japanese academia. During post World War II and even today, authors from both sides of the controversy on the truth of the Nanking Massacre are making different claims and arguments. Photographs and film footage used as evidence of the massacre have been proven to be fabricated, spliced, or falsely captioned by the Chinese and United States media on Nanking atrocities (Yoshida). Supported arguments have been made to dispute the number of civilians killed in Nanking, arguing that Nanking’s population was about 200,000 before the arrival of the Japanese army on December 13th and Europeans and Americans in Nanking reported that 200,000 were present on Christmas Eve (Higashinakano). This means the famous claim of 300,000 reported deaths in Nanking was exaggerated and impossible. Another popular argument is on whether the Chinese soldiers captured and executed by the Japanese soldiers were legitimate Prisoners of War, since they took off their uniforms and mingled with civilians. By doing this, they could not be considered lawful combatants under Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of war (Higashinakano).
These disputes have claimed to be well referenced and supported but are discrediting and denying the claims of the Chinese victims and foreigners who were eye witnesses to the atrocities. Including a member of Hitler’s Nazi party who testified at great personal risk once he was home in Germany.
Even the authors of this website struggle under pressure of this heavy controversy, to give a balanced and objective presentation of the facts on this monumental human tragedy. I hope that you are inspired to study more about Nanking and the related issues.
Higashinakano, Shudo. The Nanking Massacre: Fact Versus Fiction -A historian's Quest for the Truth. Tokyo: Sekai Shuppan, Inc., 2005.
Yoshida, Takashi. The Making of the "Rape of Nanking". New York Oxford University Press, 2006.