jinto the Chinese city of Nanking. During the following six weeks, they murdered and tortured countless civilians whose only crime was being Chinese. Over 300,000 were killed and over 20,000 women and children brutally beaten and raped. To this day, the Japanese still deny that this atrocity ever happened. They've tried to hide their disgusting actions from society, and that is why so few are aware of The Rape of Nanking.

The green is the population before the Massacre. As you can see, there is a huge drop. Even after four years of building back up, the population has only increased a little over half way.

Background Info: Social Issues

On December 13, 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded China, murdering hundreds of thousands. Over 300,000 civilians and soldiers were killed in the 6 weeks of violence that later became known as The Rape of Nanking.

The Japanese began their first attack in Shanghai, where the Chinese were ready with great numbers of healthy troops ready for battle. The Japanese were infuriated. They had bragged that they would conquer China in just three months, so the resistance in Shanghai just made things worse. Once they defeated Shanghai in November, 50,000 Japanese troops marched into Nanking, still seeking revenge for the time they lost at Shanghai. Unfortunately, Nanking was not as prepared as Shanghai was. Although they outnumbered the Japanese by a ton, and had all the necessary weapons for battle, they were horrified by the cruelty and viciousness of the Japanese attack, therefore leading to a hectic retreat. The Japanese had direct orders from Emperor Hirohito himself to “kill all captives”.

The Nanking Massacre had many key social issues. For instance, inequality and racism played huge roles in the Japanese decision to move in on Nanking. The Japanese believed they were superior to the Chinese, and that they had the right to do as they wished with them, in other words, treat them like animals. The Japanese not only physically abused the Chinese, but also verbally abused them. They were called horrible names, and treated like pigs, just because they were different.

One of the biggest social issues during the Nanking Massacre was violence. The executions in China began as elimination of Chinese soldiers disguised as civilians, but became more widespread as the weeks went on. Innocent men, women and children were murdered. There are estimates of about 300,000 murders total, but other studies say there were more. There were around 20,000 rapes. The Japanese even designed “rape chairs” in which women were bound by the wrists and ankles and then raped over and over again until they couldn’t take it anymore. Then they were hit over the head and killed. The Japanese came up with new ways to torture and kill the Chinese everyday. Women and children were raped and beaten, and men were used as live practicing targets for Japanese swordsmen. They were also buried up to their heads and then left to be eaten by dogs. Pregnant women had their stomachs cut open, and their unborn baby was ripped from the womb and shown to the dying mother. Children were forced to have sex with their siblings, parents, and grandparents. Many civilians were even bound at the wrists and ankles and thrown into the Yangtze River, alive.

"We had fun killing Chinese. We caught some innocent Chinese and either buried them alive, or pushed them into a fire, or beat them to death with clubs. When they were half dead we pushed them into ditches and burned them, torturing them to death. Everyone gets his entertainment this way. It’s like killing dogs and cats." --Asahi Shimbun, Japanese soldier, describing Japanese atrocities during the Rape of Nanking.
"We took turns raping them. We always stabbed and killed them. When we were raping her, we looked at her as a woman. But when we killed her, we just thought of her as something like a pig." --Azuma Shiro, Japanese soldier.

The Rape of Nanking was one of the most horrific examples of genocide (the deliberate killing and extermination of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation) in this century. Although many are ill informed of its atrocities, it still remains one of the most violent genocides in history. The Japanese moved in on China intending to wipe out an entire nation, and were almost successful.

In February of 1938, the massacre ended. China fell into the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army. From the years 1970 through 1990, the Japanese lied to the world that the Nanking Massacre ever happened. They distorted the facts, and tried to downplay the massacre. The Japanese Education Ministry re-wrote history books, calling the massacre a minor incident. It was then renamed “The Nanking Incident”. The Japanese claimed that there were only 40,000 victims, rather than 300,000. In 1990, the Japanese government told the US that the massacre never occurred. Finally, in 1995 (the 50th anniversary of the genocide), the Japanese prime minister gave the first “clear and formal apology for the disgusting actions of the Japanese during the war.




“Nanking Massacre – 1937-1938 – 300,000 Deaths”, United Human Rights Council, Last Updated: 7/27/06

Wikipedia contributors, “Nanking Massacre”, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Last
Updated: 4/7/08.

Iris Chang, “The Rape of Nanking – The Forgotten Holocaust of World War 2”, Penguin Books/Penguin Group, Copyright 1997

Dan Reeves, “The Nanking Massacre”, Last Updated: 1995

Rhawn Joseph, PhD, “Japanese Textbooks, Koizumi, Sex Slaves, & the Nightmare of Nanking”, History News Network, Last Updated: 10/17/05

Sources for Images