The Rape of Nanking

The Rape of Nanking

The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II


A massive cover-up of the massacre of 300,000 people, mostly civilians by the Japanese army. The unbelievable brutality! Why don’t people know about this? We all have heard of Hitler and how Stalin was responsible for the death of 10 million of his own people. but no one talks about the atrocities that took place in Nanking in 1937…how can that be?

An American scholar and first generation Chinese woman, Iris Chang talked to survivors and found heretofore unpublished diaries kept by a German businessman and an American minister. What she writes is shocking but riveting.  More people need to read this book. I couldn’t put it down.

As I was reading the last chapter, I heard that this young writer had died under mysterious circumstances which may have been made to look like a suicide. Certainly, right-wing Japanese groups were angered by her speaking out and she had received death threats.

Iris Chang, American author and activist

Iris Chang, American author and activist

I want to read the book her own mother, a university professor, wrote about her daughter’s life. It is most likely that Iris Chang took her own young life. But as I read hte last pages of this book, I could heartily agree with her on how Japanese politicians and historians have tried to deny that the Rape of Nanking ever occurred or that it was on a very small scale. The Japanese ministry of education deletes all negative facts from the school textbooks and rewrites their own hstory. They refuse to accept the responsibility for their actions or to sincerely apologize or pay reparations.

Denying the beheading of civilians en masse and the rape of so many young girls (as young as 8 years old) and even old women, the Japanese government has not come to terms with their past. Only a few soldiers came forward to be interviewed and showed great remorse for the part they had taken.

Memorial erected to Iris Chang by the people of Nanking

Memorial erected to Iris Chang by the people of Nanking

Iris Chang is a hero to the Survivors Support group and they have erected a memorial to her in Nanking.

Since I am interested in Chinese history and also concerned about how Japan teaches history, this book was a must-read for me. If we deny and cover up an atrocity, it is as if we kill the victims all over again. On her webpage, I found this quote from Iris. I want to remember these words and strive to do what I can in my own small sphere.

“Please believe in THE POWER OF ONE.  One person can make an enormous difference in the world. One person — actually, one idea — can start a war, or end one, or subvert an entire power structure. One discovery can cure a disease or spawn new technology to benefit or annihilate the human race. You as ONE individual can change millions of lives. Think big. Do not limit your vision and do not ever compromise your dreams or ideals.” — Iris Chang


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