USF Libraries | Special & Digital Collections | Exhibits

Japanese Acknowledgement of the Nanking Massacre

Iris Chang, Author, The Rape of Nanking

For the past sixty years, Japan has barely acknowledged even the existence of the Rape of Nanking, as well as their other crimes against humanity during the Sino-Japanese War. They have essentially distorted or whitewashed the role of Japan during the war from school textbooks, thereby depriving the next generation from fully learning the truth, which I think is a very dangerous situation.

And they have done nothing to preserve, really, the memory of these victims in public monuments, such as what Germany has done for the Holocaust. On the contrary, the Japanese have worshipped their Class A war criminals in the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which some people have compared the situation to moving statues of top Nazi officials into the biggest cathedral in Berlin and honoring these men as gods.

So, they have come a very, very long way from acknowledging these crimes at all; and in fact, noted members of Japanese government and even academia have openly denied the existence of the Nanking Massacre. They claim the entire thing is a fabrication or a lie made up by the Chinese. And I think that a society like Japan can't move forward if they won't accept the past. It's the amnesia that really worries me.

About this video

About Iris Chang