Friday, March 24, 2006

Examining history - -- history is fun!!

I am not a historian, nor am I trained to critacally read historical documents.( My major was philosophy but that was a long time ago) I hated history when I was student.just memorization of names and times.But these days I've found it interesting.

When I studied Korea under Japanese rule, and Nanjin Massacre, I realsized that there are a lot of versions of history.A historian chooses the subject matter.
For instance, when you are writing about history of a nation, and if you belong to the nation, it is natural that you want to discover good things about your nation and
you don't want to see the bad things about your nation.
Thus, Japanese do not want to hear the massacre the Japanese soldiers did during the war, and Koreans do not want to hear its equivalent during the Korean war, for instance.
Likewise,Japanese want to believe Japan contributed a lot to the colonized nations while Koreans want to believe that she could develop without help of others.
Depending on your perspective, you choose different subject matters, and topics.
Probably most of the time historians have, conciously or unconciously, the purpose, or purposes, in writing the story.
It has been written, for instance,
in order to show the glory of of God.
in oder to show the legitimacy or illegitimacy of status quo.
in order to settle the present issue.
in order to cure the wounds of the past.[1]

Let's take Nanjin Massacre for instance.What happened in Nanking?
Chinese "patriots" wants to talk about it. Japanese counterparts would not.
But once the topic is chosen, the battel starts.
You have to state the facts.Dependeing on your perspective, the following facts can be asserted.
1) Civilians were killed in Nanjin
2) POWs were killed in Nanjin.
3) POWs were excuted in Nanjin
4) The soldiers were killed in Nanjin.
Basically, Chinese "patriots" want to say 1) is true,whereas deniers argure 3)or 4) was the case.
The many historians hold 2) was the case.
(I am simplifying the matter for the sake of the argument).

When the facts are stated, you have to prove it by evidences.

Are there any evidences/reports?
If not why?

A history professor once told me to be very wary of preserved documents. "Ask yourself," she said, "who decided that this document should be saved, while others were very likely destroyed? Who was in charge when the decisions to spare or obliterate were made?"Deborah Peifer

Hence that there is no evidence does not necessariliy means there was no fact.
At the same time, it does not follow we can infer anything.
Chinse " patriots" want to say there are more people killed than the records show,
Japanese counterparts say no,no.

If there is an evidence/a report[2]
1)Is it admissable?/Is the person qualified?
Is it reported directrly ? it is based on herasay?

For instance,
From its very beginning, the legitimacy of the IMTFE was questioned by many.

All the eleven justices were from the victor nations. Except for the Indian justice, Radhabinod Pal, no judges had much experience in international law.

September 24, 1946. The eleven justices on bench.

Besides, had the trial been in a normal court, some of them would probably have been disqualified.

The Chinese justice, Mei Ju-ao, had no experience as a judge in China or elsewhere.

The U. S. S. R. representative, Major General I. M. Zaryanov, did not speak either Japanese or English, the two official languages of the tribunal.

The Philippine justice, Delfin Jaranilla, was a Bataan Death March survivor.

The Australian justice and the designated president of the tribunal, William Webb, had been involved in an investigation of Japanese atrocities in New Guinea.

Many argued the Tokyo Charter was ex post facto, or retroactive, legislation. The burden of criminality that made a failure to prevent war crimes also a crime, and the individuals' criminality for acts of states, had never been indictable in international law before the Axis powers'

It seems to me this is relatively fair judgment.
(But note that the fact some judges were disqualified does not mean the defendants were innocent.)

Bix disagrees.
the Indian judge Radhabinod Pal, whom Falk mis-describes as a "neutral analyst," was, in fact, a supporter of the pro-Axis Indian nationalist Chandra Bose, and thus hardly a reliable guide to understanding why Japanese interpretations of the Asia-Pacific War still inhibit Japan’s redress of past grievances. An ardent nationalist who viewed the imperialism of Western white men as the main source of evil in Asia, Pal was the only judge who justified, whitewashed, or cast doubt on virtually all evidence of Japanese atrocities submitted by the prosecution, even going so far as to deny that large numbers of rapes had occurred at Nanking.Herbert P. Bix

Well if Pal is not qualified for this reasons, why are other judges qualified?
Anyway, some argue that IMTFE was not fair partly because Pal was qualified but his judge was ignored, while others argue, like Bix, that it was fair partly because Pal is not qualified.

2)Was the report reliable?biased?
For what purpose was it reported/written?
Who reported it?
is the reporter a male or a female, black, white, a spy, a scholar,rich, poor,layman,specialist etc[3]

For instance,the judgment of the Tokyo trial was based on Timperly's document,and
the massacare school argue that
Although Timperley was working as an advisor to the Chiang Kai-shek's propaganda organization, it seemed he was motivated by his strong conviction against war rather than his personal sympathy with

"Some 'deniers' argue that Nanjing was much more peaceful than we generally think. They always show some photographs with Chinese refugees selling some food in the street or Chinese people smiling in the camps. They are forgetting about Japanese propaganda. The Imperial Army imposed strict

The author thinks that Timparley, who was an adivisor to Chinese army, is reliable while the photos of peaceful Nanjin are not reliable because they were taken under the influence of Japanese army.
On the other hand,the deniers argue the opposite;since Timberly was an adviser of Chinese ministry of imformation, his report is not reliable.And they point out you can find out the description of peaceful Nanjin even in the Documents of the Nanjin Safty Zone by Shushi Hsu, which was entirely under Chinese editorship and management[4]

2)'Is the story consistent with other evidences?Was the testimony crossexamined?

For example, the Chinese authority insist, based on one report, that 300000 people were killed.linkthe denier school counterargues, based on another report, that the population of Nanjin was only 200000 just before Japan's invasion, how can you kill 300000 people when there were only 200000 people in the first place? And the poulation increased after the invasion because the people who run away came back, realizing the Nanjin was slready in peace.see also linklink

Still another example is that based on one record,some Chinese insist a Chinese organization buried an average of 2600 bodies per day, deniers aruge that with the limited number of Chinese workers, and without bulldozers,it is practically impossible to bury that much.[5]

3) Evaluation of evidences.

What matters for history is not such a trivial fact as the cat is on the mat",but some siginificant facts.The fact that people died in Nanjin is not siginificant but the fact that civilians are killed is a siginificant fact.
However to assert the sinificant fact, you need to evaluate the evidence you have.
For instance,
"Are the subjects killed cvilians, POWs, soldiers? "
It depends on not only how you evaulate the situation, again based on evidences,documents,reports and testimonies, but also on the interpretation of the term .[6]

Prisoners of war

Art. 4. Prisoners of war are in the power of the hostile Government, but not of the individuals or corps who capture them.
They must be humanely treated.
All their personal belongings, except arms, horses, and military papers, remain their property


The qualifications of belligerents

Article 1. The laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia and volunteer
corps fulfilling the following conditions:
1. To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
2. To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
3. To carry arms openly; and
4. To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of warSecond Peace Conference of The Hague, 1907

Based on these articles, deniers argue that since subjects killed do not fit in the categroy mentioned above, they are not POWS;for instance, chinese soldiers took off the uniforms and hide in the Safty Zone, carrying the pistols.

The Massacre school counterargues.

Until a more complete code of the laws of war has been issued, the High Contracting Parties deem it expedient to declare that, in cases not included in the Regulations adopted by them, the inhabitants and the belligerents remain under the protection and the rule of the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity, and the dictates of the public conscience.The Hague, 1907

Based on this introductoion,the massacre school argue that deniers are wrong in interpreting the article.Besides, the way Japanese army checked whether the peroson is soldier or not was not appropriate.

4)Evaluations of fact

Even after you found the fact, still you can evaluate the fact in various ways.
For instance, was it legal or illegal? If the the subjects killed were civilians, it was illegal."Was it fair or unfair?Was it liberate the country or to invade the country?Some argue, of course,it was to invade the counrty, others argue that it was necessary to restore the peace as soon as possible.(Note that this is always used when aggressor try to justify their cause, at Hiroshima, Nanjin, Iraqi) Again, it depends on how you interpret "fair"and "liberation" and "invasion", and how you evaluate the whole situation.

What happened is cruel, brutal, mad,but I've found hisroy fun for the first time through studying pros and cons.

[1]What is hirory for?Beverley southgate
What is histroy E.H. Carr
It is very interesting to see the reveiws of hisotrical books.
The Good Man of Nanking : The Diaries of John Rabe
John Rabe was a German businessman, living and working in Nanking when the Japanese invaded and conquered the city in 1937. Rabe had lived in China for 30 years and had risen to the position of senior agent for the German conglomerate, Siemens. He was tasked with selling industrial equipment to the Chinese government, enabling the construction and maintenance of electrical, water, phone, and health care facilities.

Rabe also had terrible timing; he left war-torn China and made his home in Berlin, suffering under Russian atrocities and near-starvation starting in 1944. Ironically Rabe had been briefly imprisoned and questioned by the Gestapo after he wrote another letter to Hitler about Japanese behavior in China. Rabe received some aid from the Chinese Nationals when Madame Chang Kai Shek heard of his predicament in Berlin.

Overall, this is a very good read. The diary style is a little unusual, as Rabe was clearly writing for himself and his family, and not the general public. He is an excellent author with a keen sense of humor and his role in extraordinary times. The last part of the diaries, set in Berlin under Russian occupation show Rabe depressed and afraid, not knowing how he will support his family

It is hard to believe that some people really think this book is an evidence of the "Nanking Massacre". Have they really read this book carefully, they should have reached a different conclusion. I gave 3stars to this book because I think John Rabe wrote this diary quite honestly..... maybe too honest to propagate the Japanese Army's "atrocities".
Essencially, there are no massacre actually witnessed by those "objective" westerners.

Eyewitnesses to Massacre: American Missionaries Bear Witness to Japanese Atrocities in Nanjing
You can tell the quality of this book's account just by looking through the first few pages of the book, its specific and detailed style should establish the credentials within minutes. By clicking on the book icon, you can even read the first few pages (including TOC), of the book in PDF format.

One crucial question should be asked here: Did they really see the so-called "The Rape of Nanking / The Nanking Massacre"?
The clear answer everyone can get from this book is, NO.
In the perfect matter of fact, NO ONE EVER SAW "MASSACRE" AT ALL!!

On 12 Dec 1937, the night before the city was captured, the tens of thousands of retreating Chinese soldiers who disguised themselves as civilians poured into the Safety Zone in which the Nationalist Army had its headquarters, arsenal, antiaircraft batteries and everything. (The Documents, Rabe's diary, and in this book, p. 253: Diaries of L.S.C. Smythe, etc..)

other losses
The Book "Other Losses" tells the same story my father told. He was an ambulance driver in the war. After WW2 was over and his unit found out, the entire unit surrendered to the Americans who in turn sold(!) him and all others of his unit to the Russians for slave-labor in siberian coal mines. He managed to escape in 1951, but almost all others of his unit died of hunger and lack of food and medical help.

In this serious and heavily documented study, Canadian investigator James Bacque shows how American and French leaders (Eisenhower and De Gaulle) didn't respect the elementary rights of their german military inmates. Bacque estimates that denying these P.O.W sufficient food killed almost one million of them. And this is not a thing they could be proud of... In fact, Bacque shows us how they managed to hide this hidden genocide by destroying or manipulating several documents

Those who win the war get to write the major history books any way they want. Those who lose the war don't get to write any books. This book was written by an American soldier who saw what happened to the German soldiers after WW II.


I cannot conceive how any rational reader can believe Mr. Bacque's conclusions. A simple education in math and reading comprehension at a basic level will be all the rope anyone needs to hang this book. The table that he sites as "the smoking gun" is the most commonly refuted precisely because it is so easy. Either there were only 1/10 the prisoners with a 36% death rate or there were 10 times the # of prisoners with a 3.6% death rate. People should really read what they have before them.

In a professional history magazine it was stated that Ambrose, other U.S. historians and German scholars wanted to review the allegations.

The author refused to show up! Last I heard in this debate is that there was a selective use of data (small population size) and poor use of statistics.

It is also interesting to note that when the Japanese reviewer deniesthe massacre, some says, it's "embarassing", "one sick puppy" etc while when others deny the massacre by the U.S. nobody comment on the denier.see thelink
[3] A feminist wants to reexamine the history because it has been written in veiw of male's perspective.
p137[南京事件」の真実 北村稔 文春新書
p234 The Nanking massacre by higashinakano

I have found the photos Kajimoto is talking about. He claims that the peope below are forced to laugh.
The photo are from Asahi Newspaper.
the photos

Dec 17
the right;Japaenese soldiers shopping 5 days after the occupation.
the center/top:fields in Nanking
the center/ bottom:the refugees protected by Imperial army
the left:peaceful scenery of barbars

Dec 20
the right/top: Chinese soldeirs getteing medical treatment 治療を受けている支那傷病兵
the left/top: Chinese The surrender soldier who satisfies an appetite
the center: The friendlyscenery after the bombardment in Nanjing Castle
the right/bottom:The Japanese commanding officer is talkin to the Chinese major.
the left/ bottom: freindly senery in the Nanking Castle.

Dec 25 the photo probably taken on Dec23
the right/top:Japanese soldiers play with Chinese children with a toy tank
the left/ top kids are having fun with a broken a carriage
the right/ bottom;freindly relatiion develope through the activety of the imperial medical team.
the left/bottom:The hymn which leaks out from a garden of a Chinese church, praising the light of peace,

Dec 30 the photo probably taken on Dec 28

the right:let's fix shoes for the coming new year
the center/ top:have some milk.
the left/top A boy, you must cure the trachoma
the left/bottom:change new gauze for the happy new year.

Feb 13
the right/top:Water service revived
the right/bottom:pipe for water
the left/bottom:water from Yangtze River is being purified,
the left/bottom:Spring has come over the vender shops.

Jan 3
3000 more citizen celebrate a new self-government committee,waiving a Japanese flage and a new Nanking flag.

Japanese soldeirs making Buddhist style tombs for the nameless Chinese soldiers killed at the battle field in Nanking and are praying to console the souls of the deads.

(update May 1youth tube)

It is interesting to compare thses photos with the photos on this Chinese site.
Denier school suspect the authenticity of the photos.
The massacre school counterargueslinklink

[5]p57 What really happened in Nanking /sekai syuppan/tanaka masaaki
[6] This is a serious problem when you try to understand the remote past and a radically different culture.

第十章 判定 


















(『南京大残虐事件資料集 第1巻』P398~P399) 資料:極東国際軍事裁判判決

Even the so-called denier like Hiagashinakano admit that there was a mass killing.
If Chinese soldiers attacked Japanese troop in the safty zone, the Gun battle would begin and it is not safty zone anymore.... At Iraqi in 2003, such sweeping away of remnants was carried out.....As a result of this sweeping out the soldiers in the safty zone, Japanese soldiers arrested many illegal Chinese guerillas. And in the daytime, thousands of those rebelious was exucuted at Yangtze River.

南京事件「証拠写真」を検証する (単行本)
東中野 修道 (著p45


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