The Making of the "Rape of Nanking" History and Memory in Japan, China, and the United States

Paperback | April 1, 2009

byTAKASHI YOSHIDA

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On December 13, 1937, the Japanese army attacked and captured the Chinese capital city of Nanjing, planting the rising-sun flag atop the city's outer walls. What occurred in the ensuing weeks and months has been the source of a tempestuous debate ever since. It is well known that the Japanese military committed wholesale atrocities after the fall of the city, massacring large numbers of Chinese during the both the Battle of Nanjing and in its aftermath. Yet the exact details of the war crimes--how many people were killed during the battle? How manyafter? How many women were raped? Were prisoners executed? How unspeakable were the acts committed?--are the source of controversy among Japanese, Chinese, and American historians to this day. In The Making of the "Rape of Nanking Takashi Yoshida examines how views of the Nanjing Massacre have evolved in history writing and public memory in Japan, China, and the United States. For these nations, the question of how to treat the legacy of Nanjing--whether to deplore it, sanitize it,rationalize it, or even ignore it--has aroused passions revolving around ethics, nationality, and historical identity. Drawing on a rich analysis of Chinese, Japanese, and American history textbooks and newspapers, Yoshida traces the evolving--and often conflicting--understandings of the NanjingMassacre, revealing how changing social and political environments have influenced the debate. Yoshida suggests that, from the 1970s on, the dispute over Nanjing has become more lively, more globalized, and immeasurably more intense, due in part to Japanese revisionist history and a renewed emphasison patriotic education in China. While today it is easy to assume that the Nanjing Massacre has always been viewed as an emblem of Japan's wartime aggression in China, the image of the "Rape of Nanking" is a much more recent icon in public consciousness. Takashi Yoshida analyzes the process by which the Nanjing Massacre has becomean international symbol, and provides a fair and respectful treatment of the politically charged and controversial debate over its history.

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On December 13, 1937, the Japanese army attacked and captured the Chinese capital city of Nanjing, planting the rising-sun flag atop the city's outer walls. What occurred in the ensuing weeks and months has been the source of a tempestuous debate ever since. It is well known that the Japanese military committed wholesale atrocities a...

Takashi Yoshida is an Assistant Professor of History at Western Michigan University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:April 1, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195383141

ISBN - 13:9780195383140

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"Yoshida does the field a service in bringing myriad insights together in one manuscript. He succeeds in opening windows on the psychologies behind all positions in the debates, and in highly readable prose."--James Orr, Pacific Affairs "The Nanjing Massacre is now an iconic event in international history. This book adroitly summarizes how this state of affairs came to pass."--Laura Hein, Northwestern University "This is by far the most comprehensive and judicious survey of how Japanese, Chinese, and American journalists, scholars, and propagandists have interpreted and polemically exploited this tragic atrocity from its occurrence in 1937 to the present day. Yoshida's incisive, sensitive, and even-handed account is a must-read for anyone interested in World War Two, modern Sino-Japanese history, and East Asian current affairs."--Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, York University "A serious, sobering dissection of the shifting and conflicting images of the Nanjing Massacre. Yoshida's eye-opening account shows how the popular media in each country have helped to frame the debates and stir controversies about Nanjing ever since."--Tom Havens, Northeastern University