Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Attitudes toward Nanjin massacre- - - in case of Iris Chang's the rape of nanking

it is not exaggeration to say that Iris Chang made Nanking Massacres known to the public of English speaking countries.And the impact was huge.
This is her official
The book also made her famous.The book was shocking to the layman and succeded in realizing her intention.But the story is not so simple as Chang intended.
Let's look at how hisotrians evaluted her book.
Here are some reactions from professional historians.
When Chang’s book came out, as Robert Grey observes, there were already "many excellent books available in Japan on the topic of the Rape of Nanking. In fact, some of the best scholarly research on the Rape of Nanking has been done in Japan by dedicated Japanese scholars."(1) However, Chang insisted that, while the Japanese "as a people, manage, nurture, and sustain their collective amnesia," with "few exceptions, the academic community in Japan has shied away from studying the Rape of Nanjing."(2) She might not have been so arbitrary, if she had delved as deeply as a professional historian will do into historiography.

A good history about the Nanjing Massacre should also employ source materials from all sides involved, not just the survivors and observers, but also, and probably more importantly, the participants. In 1999, Honda Katsuichi’s works were published in English as The Nanjing Massacre: A Japanese Journalist Confronts Japan’s National Shame. "The shocking persuasiveness of this excruciating story," as John Dower observes, "rests on Honda’s unprecedented assemblage of both interviews with Chinese victims and intimate writings by Japanese participants and observers."(3) Honda, who is also a non-historian, thus offered what Carol Gluck calls "a fuller confrontation with Japan’s wartime past."(4) Unfortunately, Chang’s book, in contrast to what William Kirby wants us to believe, does not "show more clearly than" Honda’s "previous account" what the Japanese did during the Nanjing Massacre.

Nevertheless, the Chinese community received Chang’s book more enthusiastically. At issue is the question of the "body count." China insists that the Japanese massacred more than 300,000 Chinese people in Nanjing, while those Japanese scholars who firmly believe that the Massacre did happen, have a more or less lower figure. Chang used China’s estimate. William Kirby claims: "This business of the body count is really a gruesome exercise in historical revisionism. If 100,000, 300,000, or 500,000 were killed, is it morally any different?"(5) No, it is just politically different. As Musato Kajimoto observes, "In the ongoing controversy, however, one side of the dispute often calls a ‘denier’ anyone who writes off a certain figure as ‘inflated.’ Conversely if one dismisses a certain estimate as ‘minimized,’ the other side of the polemic tends to place the label ‘masochistic’ for Japanese and ‘hysteric’ or a ‘political agent’ for Chinese."(6) Unfortunately, Chang’s book helped further politicize this issue

The general public tends to enjoy vivid narrations with startling rhetoric, but may also be easily misled. For example, in the case of the Holocaust, the Nazi ideology rejected the right of a population, a religion, a culture, and a civilization, to exist on this planet. Chang’s English subtitle may lead general readers to believe that Japan had the same kind of ideology against the Chinese. That would be unfortunate.

Chang’s book, vivid in description, weighty in judgment, but lame in analysis, added little to our understanding of the causes of the Nanjing Massacre, as many scholars have already observed. Disturbingly, however, few of those scholars are ethnically Chinese. To my knowledge, only Jing Zhao of US-Japan-China Comparative Policy Research Institute has openly said that Chang’s book "is not a historical study"(7) Are other scholars of Chinese ethnicity not capable of identifying Chang’s faults and errors? Or, are they reluctant to do so simply because the book is "Chinese(or victim)-authored?" Is a victim-authored history necessarily a good history?

Ironically, it is in Japan where scholars could openly debate those recollections, while in the Chinese community, anyone who questions Chang’s book may be seen, again, politically, as "undesirable." How could a good history possibly be written where historians are not free to debate?

Morally, I appreciate Chang’s attempt to refresh our memories of the Nanjing Massacre, even though she failed to understand Akira Kurosawa’s intent in his Rashomon, which is to problematize the past, but not to assume that any one narrative is more "objective" or more "authoritative" than others. However, intellectually, I do not think that our profession should encourage "her kind of history." It is because there are already too many "not-so-good" histories for the public, and, for our students as well.Renyuan Gan

Moreover, Kennedy emphasized that, contrary to Chang's assertion, neither the United
States nor Japan had collectively ignored the Nanjing Massacre. In order to support his view,
Kennedy informed readers of news reports and other documents of the Massacre written by
Americans and Europeans immediately after the incident and the ongoing work of the Japanese
progressive left, which had preserved the history and memory of the Massacre in Japan.To Kennedy, the keynote of Chang's book was accusation and outrage rather than analysis and understanding, and he found the project as a whole to be intellectually insufficient.Similarly, although recognizing that the book had good intentions, Joshua Fogel, a professor in history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, stressed that the book was seriously flawed. Fogel was disturbed by Chang's repeated denunciations of an alleged Japanese mentality. Although Chang at one point denied any intention to demonize the Japanese national character, this denial struck Fogel as unconvincing. Rather, it seemed to him that the style and structure of the book plainly identified and indicted an allegedly "Japanese" identity and perspective.
In addition, Fogel condemned Chang's uncritical and unquestioning approach to her Chinese interviewees and documents as well as her unprincipled attempt to equate the Massacre with the Holocaust.He urged Chang to consider how it was possible that "so many Chinese could be led to the slaughter when they so vastly outnumbered
the Japanese invaders." He reminded her that, unlike the defenders of Nanjing, the European Jews neither possessed military force nor outnumbered their persecutors.
Moreover, Fogel denounced Chang's discussion of postwar Japan as too simple.
Refuting Chang's claim that Japanese researchers addressed the Massacre and other war crimes at grave risk to their careers and even their lives, Fogel referred to Japanese scholars such as Kasahara Tokushi and Yoshimi Yoshiaki, who had been studying these topics in safety more than a decade.Pointing out that Chang herself had interviewed some of these Japanese, Fogel strongly criticized her for deliberately ignoring these voices in Japan and concluding that "the Japanese as a nation" were still trying to consign the victims of the Massacre to historical
oblivion. Yoshida

Yoshida is particularly critical of Iris Chang’s account for its simplistic, one-dimensional portrayal of the event, which he puts on a par with works penned by Japanese revisionist historiansHerbert P. Bix

The first major monograph on Nanjing to be published in English after Hsü was the problematic work by Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking (1997), a work that can only be described as frequently fabricated and/or fictitious. David AskewYosihda

In light of the discrepancies I found in Chang's book, it makes me wonder whether any of the reviewers know enough about the subject (Chinese and Japanese history, WWII, war crimes, historiography, not to mention the pertinent scholarly literature) to venture an informed opinion about the merits of Chang's book. It would not surprise me in the least if occasionally eating sweet-n-sour pork and / or liking sushi constitutes the sum and substance of many of their qualifications to review The Rape of Nanking. If that sounds harsh, good, that's precisely what I intend it to sound like. The mass media and those who write for it are often incredibly irresponsible and they need to be told so.

With respect to the many errors in The Rape of Nanking, the blame must fall directly on Chang and indirectly on her editors at Basic Books. Chang's claim that certain scholars at big name universities (Oxford, Columbia, and Harvard) "took the time to review my book before publication and to enrich it with their important scholarly suggestions" (p. 230), notwithstanding, the book is still fraught with problems.Timothy M. Kelly

It seems that her book provoked fierce debates among Japanese and resulted in strenghing Chinese nationalism.

Here is a site that discusses and points out the mistakes of the book's content.
Here are some site from Japanese sites about the Nanjin massacre.
Japan's rebuttal
rebuttle to the rebuttle(in Japanese)
M. Kajimoto
Open Question to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
Nanking Incident Documents
Nanking Incident Documents(so-called denier)
鳥飼行博研究室Torikai Lab Network

Here are some sites from Chinese sites about the Nanjin massacres.
M.H. Yao
Asian Holocaust
The Nanjing Massacre

Here are some sites from non-Japanese and non-Chinese about Nanjin Massacre.
David Askew
Herbert P. Bix
Richard C. Kagan
The International Committee for the Nanking Safety
Zone: An Introduction
/David askew

the fake caption

(other review of her book.
Reviewed for H-Asia by Robert Entenmann, ,
Department of History, St. Olaf College

Iris Chang attributes this neglect to a politically-motivated conspiracy of silence and an alleged atmosphere of intimidation that prevents Japanese from facing their history. Research on this subject can be “life-threatening,” she claims, and “. . . the Japanese as a nation are still trying to bury the victims of Nanking - not under the soil, as in 1937, but into historical oblivion” (p. 220). The present generation, she writes, “can continue to delude themselves that the war of Japanese aggression was a holy and just war that Japan happened to lose solely because of American economic power . . .” (pp. 224-225). The flyleaf of the cloth-bound edition states that “the story of this atrocity . . . continues to be denied by the Japanese government,” although that assertion, which is false, does not appear anywhere in the paperbound version.

Chang seems unable to differentiate between some members of the ultranationalist fringe and other Japanese. A Japanese translation of the dairy of John Rabe, a German businessman who helped protect civilians in the Nanking Safety Zone, is a best-seller in Japan. Moreover, despite what Iris Chang maintains, current Japanese textbooks discuss the massacre, giving figures of between 150,000 to 300,000 killed. A 1994 opinion poll found that eighty percent of respondents in Japan believed that their government had not adequately compensated victimized peoples in countries Japan colonized or invaded. “This is hardly the response of a people suffering from acute historical amnesia,” as John Dower notes [3]. Chang generalizes from extremists who deny that the incident took place, fanatics motivated by ultranationalism and ethnic prejudice, who have as little credibility and moral authority as Holocaust deniers have in the West. Moreover, although Chang explicitly rejects explanations of national character, her own ethnic prejudice implicitly pervades her book. Her explanations are, to a large extent, based on unexamined ethnic stereotypes.

Many in Japan would certainly prefer that the incident be forgotten, feeling that unpleasant and shameful things should not be talked about. But that is not the same as denying it occurred. In any case, many Japanese have dealt with the Nanking massacre, and have done so for many years. As early as 1940 Yanaihara Tadao, an economist and specialist in colonial policy, courageously criticized his fellow Japanese Christians for honoring General Matsui Iwame, commander of Japanese troops in Nanking [4]. Immediately after the war Maruyama Masao dealt with the incident in his attempt to understand Japan's wartime behavior [5]. My first reading about the Nanking massacre was in Ienaga Saburo's _The Pacific War,_ originally published in Japanese thirty years ago. In recent years other Japanese, including Hora Tomio, Honda Katsuichi, and Tanaka Yuki, have published significant studies of the Rape of Nanking.

The Japanese historical background Chang presents is clichd, simplistic, stereotyped, and often inaccurate. She writes that “. . . as far back as anyone could remember, the islands' powerful feudal lords employed private armies to wage incessant battle with each other . . . ” (pp. 19-20) - a description appropriate to the Warring States period of the sixteenth century but not to any other period. She places the Tokugawa unification of Japan in the wrong century (p. 21). She asserts that the conditions of Japan's unconditional surrender “exonerated all members of the imperial family . . .” (p. 176). Her use of sources is uncritical and credulous, treating hearsay as the equivalent of more reliable evidence. She engages in implausible speculations, for example about “Emperor Hirohito's role in the Rape of Nanking” (p. 177). “We will probably never know exactly what news Hirohito received about Nanking as the massacre was happening,” she writes, “ but the record suggests that he was exceptionally pleased by it” (p. 179). Chang confuses Japanese leaders' delight in the fall of the Chinese capital with exulting in the massacre that occurred afterward.

So why has this book become so widely acclaimed? Probably because of her account of the massacre itself, a vivid and gut-wrenching narration. Moreover, she brings out of oblivion the neutral foreigners who established the Nanking Safety Zone to protect non-combatants, particularly the enigmatic Nazi party member John Rabe. Yet her description of the massacre itself, the strongest part of the book, is also open to criticism. The Japanese historian Hata Ikuhito makes some telling criticisms, although Hata himself minimizes the extent of the massacre [6]. He questions Chang's estimate of the number of victims, a ghoulish exercise perhaps, but an important one. He argues that Chang's figure of 300,000 is impossibly high, but his own figure of 40,000 killed, although similar to the estimates of some Western witnesses, is implausibly low. Hata claims that eleven photographs in Chang's book are “fakes, forgeries, and composites,” although he succeeds in demonstrating that with only two. One, a photograph of a row of severed heads, depicts bandits executed by Chinese police in 1930 rather than victims of the Nanking massacre. Another photo, which appeared in the November 10, 1937 issue of _Asahi Gurafu,_ is a propaganda picture of Chinese villagers returning from fields “under the protection of Japanese soldiers.”

Chang also does not adequately explain why the massacre occurred. Maruyama Masao suggested that because Japanese soldiers lived in brutal hierarchical social order, they developed a habit of submitting to power and authority from above and dominating the weak and powerless below. They assumed their superiority over other races, especially the Chinese. Japanese soldiers were regimented, confined, and harshly treated by their officers. When discipline broke down they lacked any sense of individual responsibility for their actions. Chang argues simply that the Japanese army did not have the means to feed such a large number of prisoners of war, and therefore killed them. This is plausible for the slaughter of young men, but doesn't explain the rapes and the murder of women and children. Perhaps part of the answer lies in the way enemies were dehumanized, one of the distinctive features of World War II. The Nazis described Jews as vermin. Japanese soldiers in Nanking, similarly, regarded their Chinese victims as animals, comparing killing of Chinese to slaughtering pigs. It was not only Japanese and Germans who dehumanized enemies that way: John Dower describes the American use of bestial imagery about the Japanese in World War II [7].

World War II, of course, had broken all the rules of war. It was fought with a new technology that targeted civilians, creating what Omer Bartov calls industrial killing: “mechanized, rational, impersonal, and sustained mass destruction of human beings, organized and administered by states” [8]. Civilians were considered as legitimate military targets, and the notion of civilian immunity all but disappeared. Women and children became targets in warfare.

Yet the Rape of Nanking was not committed by impersonal or distant perpetrators, nor was its intent genocidal. The incident is difficult to explain, even in the context of a war which routinely violated the norms of civilian immunity. To return to theme of rape and sexual violence, for example, why were Chinese women subjected to these outrages? Rape was a weapon against “enemy” women, an action that was both misogynist and xenophobic. It humiliated the victims and demonstrated power, over both women who were the immediate victims and men who traditionally were regarded as their protectors [9]. The Japanese military encouraged a rape culture, and rape as well as murder was a means to avenge the 70,000 Japanese soldiers killed or wounded in first six months of the war in China.

Explanations for the behavior of Japanese soldiers should probably focus on their brutalization, in training as well as in warfare, and the military culture that encouraged them to see enemy human beings as animals. This was not exclusively a trait of the Japanese army, of course, but it was carried to an extreme there. Specific conditions of a particular time and place, not national character, led to the massacre. The Rape of Nanking was one of the greatest atrocities of modern times, and Iris Chang's book helps preserve the memory of that outrage. But as an attempt to explain it, it falls far short.

Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, July 26, 1998
One problem for Chang is that she didn't conduct research in Japan, making her vulnerable to criticisms of her portrayal of how modern Japan is facing up to the war. Another problem is the question of whether she is primarily an activist or a historian. At her appearances, there are often leaflet-distributing representatives of Chinese and Chinese American groups, including the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia, which sponsored the Cupertino conference where Chang saw the photos that inspired her book.

世の中を生暖かく見守るブログI wouldn't mind making Nanking massacre movie if it is based on researches done by professional historians. But this guy just read Rape of Nanking written by Iris Chang who was a member of the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII(San Fransisco) which is direct organization of CCP. CCP owns such organizations in the US and Canada and Australia, and the intension is to make the countries to be political colony of China. Ted Leonsis is AOL exective so Chinese market is attractive to him. I understand. But since most Americans learn history from Hollywood, the typical Chinese propaganda movie will drive racism against Japanese.
the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII is written 世界抗日戦争史実維護連合会 in Chinese. If you can read Chinese, you see the meaning in Chinese is "the Global Alliance for preserving the History of Anti-Japanese War" They clearly intend to lead "Anti-Japanese"

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