‘Nanking’ have you heard this word before in your life time? It’s unlikely most of us have heard about this piece of history. Why is that there are many atrocities committed by one set of people against another, we only hear or know few selective ones? ( Some images might be disturbing for readers ) Whether the event is occurring in present time or it was history. The answer to that is very simple, we only want to pay attention to what is important to us and pay either no attention or kind of brush it off if it’s something that doesn’t suit our taste. One of such horrific incident was massacre in Nanking and Shanghai by the Japanese. Also known as Nanjing geographically Nanking is capital of Eastern China province. In 1937 Nanking was the capital of China. It was noon on December 9 1937, before starting it’s assault Japaneses Imperial military dropped leaflets into Nanking city threatening the city of Nanking to surrender within 24 hours. With the threat if there offer is refused no mercy will be shown to the city.
Japanese waited for 24 hours but received no response. Japanese waited for an other hour before mounted its assault on Nanking from multiple directions started their assault by bombing and mortar shells into city. On December 12, Chinese forced were pinned downed and General Tang Sheng ordered his men to retreat. On 13 December two divisions of Japanese Imperial army entered the city from one side and two more divisions entered from the other side. Later that day Japanese Navy fleets arrived on both sides of Yangtze River. What comes next will haunt the Nanking residents for ever. The day Imperial Japanese Army took over the capital city the wave of massacre against its residents started. It lasted for period of six weeks during this such cases of rape, looting, kidnapping and genocide occurred that would never be forgotten by China. Although the massacre is generally described as having occurred over a six-week period after the fall of Nanjing but the crimes committed by the Japanese army were not limited to that period. Many atrocities were reported to have been committed as the Japanese army advanced from Shanghai to Nanjing. Most Japanese military records of such war crimes were kept secret of destroyed shortly after the surrender of Japan in 1945 and Japan denied such horrendous incidents occurred but evidences, eye witnesses and documentaries say otherwise.
Thousands of others were buried while still alive. Rape was rampant as thousands of women were repeatedly gang raped and most of them murdered once the lust of their attackers had been satisfied. A German businessman John Rabe’s Accounts: John Rabe worked for Siemens Company and had resided in China since 1908. He was living in Nanking at the time of the Japanese invasion. John Rabe wrote in his diary: We “are quickly convinced of the miserable conditions in these hospitals, whose doctors and nurses simply ran away when the shelling got too heavy, leaving the sick behind with nobody to care for them. The dead and wounded lie side by side in the driveway leading up to the Foreign Ministry. The garden, like the rest of Chung Shan Lu, is strewn with pieces of cast-off military equipment. At the entrance is a wheel barrow containing a formless mass, ostensibly a corpse, but the feet show signs of life…It is not until we tour the city that we learn the extent of the destruction. We come across corpses every 100 to 200 yards. The bodies of men and women that I examined had bullet holes and stab marks on their bodies. “The road to Hsiakwan is nothing but a field of corpses. There are piles of corpses outside the gates of so called safe zone. The Japanese aren’t lifting a hand to clear them away.The population of Nanking was subjected to an uncontrolled butchery that came to be known as “the Rape of Nanking.” As the Japanese army poured into the city, fleeing residents were shot or bayoneted. Army tied men’s behind their backs and led en mass to killing fields where they were shot, beheaded, used for bayonet practice or killed in some other gruesome manner before being dumped into mass graves.
The Japanese march through the city in groups of ten to twenty soldiers and loot the shops. If I had not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it. They smash open windows and doors and take whatever they like. I watched with my own eyes as they looted the cafe of our German baker Herr Kiessling. Hempel’s hotel was broken into as well, as was almost every shop on Chung Shang and Taiping Road. Some Japanese soldiers dragged their booty away in crates, others requisitioned rickshas to transport their stolen goods to safety. “We run across a group of 200 Chinese workers whom Japanese soldiers have picked up off the streets of the Safety Zone, and after having been tied up, are now being driven out of the city. All protests are in vain. Of the perhaps one thousand disarmed soldiers that we had quartered at the Ministry of Justice, between 400 and 500 were driven from it with their hands tied. We assume they were shot since we later heard several salvos of machine-gun fire. “Mr. Han says that three young girls of about 10 or 12 have been dragged from a house in our neighborhood and were taken to Japaneses military camps.
Looting and Mass Execution in Nanking: John Rabe wrote in his diary: December 16: Now pillaging, rape, murder, and mayhem are occurring. There is not a vacant house, whether with or without a foreign flag, that has not been broken into and looted. No Chinese even dares set foot outside his house. Women and children on the street outside kneel and bang their heads against the ground, pleading to be allowed to camp on my garden grounds. You simply cannot conceive of the misery. Both officers supposedly surpassed their goal during the heat of battle, one killed 105 men the other killed 107. But it the war was making it impossible to determine which officer had actually won the contest. Therefore,There are executions everywhere, some are being carried out with machine guns outside the barracks of the War Ministry. As I write this, the fists of Japanese soldiers are hammering at the back gate to the garden. Since my boys don’t open up, heads appear along the top of the wall. When I suddenly show up with my flashlight, they beat a hasty retreat. We open the main gate and walk after them a little distance until they vanish in the dark narrow streets, where assorted bodies have been lying in the gutter for three days now. Makes you shudder in revulsion. First to Kill 100 Men with a Sword: Two Japanese officers, Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda, held a killing contest to determine who could kill 100 men the fastest, using only a sword. They decided to begin another contest, with the aim being 150 kills and stated over. Japanese veteran Shintaro Uno wrote an autobiographical account that he consecutively beheaded 15 people with his sword, comparing his experiences with those of officers involved in the killing contest. Eyewitness Accounts of Rapes in Nanking: Women were often killed after being raped. Their bodies were mutilated with bayonets, sticks, bottles, and other objects that were shoved into their vaginas. One eyewitness, Li Ke-hen, “There are so many bodies on the street, victims of group rape and murder. They were all stripped naked, their breasts cut off, leaving a terrible dark brown hole.A Chinese eyewitness in Chang’s book describes the body of an 11-year-old girl who had been raped continuously for two days: ”The blood-stained, swollen and ruptured area between the girl’s legs created a disgusting scene difficult for anyone to look at directly.”
Some of the woman were bayoneted in the abdomen, with their intestines spilling out alongside them; some had a roll of paper or a piece of wood stuffed in their vaginas.” John Rabe also wrote in a report to Hitler, “They would continue by raping the women, girls, children and killing anything and anyone that offered any resistance, attempted to run away from them or simply happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time. There were girls under the age of 6, and women over the age of 70 who were raped and then, in the most brutal way possible, knocked down and beat up. We found corpses of women on beer glasses and others who had been lanced with bamboo shoots. I saw the victims with my own eyes. I talked to some of them right before their deaths and had their bodies brought to the morgue at the Kulo hospital so that I could be personally convinced that all of these reports had touched on the truth. American missionary Minnie Vautrin also wrote in an eye witness accounts:On December 16, 1937, she noted in her diary: “There probably is no crime that has not been committed in this city today. Thirty girls were taken from the language school last night, and today I have heard scores of heart breaking stories of girls who were kidnapped by Japaneses from their homes last night. Chu-Yeh Chang, a survivor of the Nanking massacre, experienced and witnessed the violence sweeping through Nanking firsthand: “On New Year’s Eve of 1937 five Japanese soldiers charged into our house, forced my father and me out, and then raped my mother, my 80-year-old great-grandmother, and my 11-year-old-sister.”
Liu Xiuying, a 78-year-old survivor told “We knew what they were doing to women,” she said. “They were dragging them into a neighboring building where they were often raped. The following morning some soldiers returned and one of them seized me by the arms. I was 19 and I was seven months pregnant. I resisted with all my force and I bit him on the arm. The soldiers turned on her and stabbed her 37 times in the face and stomach. She was left for dead in a pool of blood. The next day she lost her child but miraculously survived. Prince Asaka appointed as commander Prince Yasyhiko Aska was appointed as commander in chief of the Japaneses army units which attacked Nanking. Japanese media and and court made sure Asaka’s role in the ensuing they never bring role of Aska into court. Japanese people and courts never blamed Prince Asaka for encouraging atrocities. Prince Asaka is alleged to have issued an order all atrocities or gave free hand to his soldiers. Even if Asaka didn’t order the killings and rapes but Asaka was nominally the commander in charge did nothing to stop the carnage. Asaka and other Royal family member who were officers in Imperial army and took place in carnage were never charge for any crime and they were given immunity since they were member of Japanese Imperial family. Fate of minorities in the city – The Hui people are indigenous Chinese Muslim minority also suffered hugely during the massacre since they were considered loyal to China and Chinese Emperor. Hui Muslims had a special unit in Chinese military to fight the Japaneses. They were not all based in Nanking. But Japanese went on rampage of any Hui Muslim they could find. Japanese destroyed many mosques according to statistics showed that the Japanese destroyed and burned 220 mosques and killed countless Hui people by April 1941.
After the Rape of Nanking, Nanjing mosques were filled with corpses of Hui Muslim men and women. Almost all the women were raped by Japaneses and killed. The Japanese devastation left many Hui jobless and homeless. Another policy was one of deliberate humiliation. Soldiers smeared mosques with pork, forced Hui Muslims to butcher pigs to feed soldiers and forced Hui young Muslim women to serve as sex slaves under the pretense of training them as geishas (prostitute and female entertainer) and singers. Not only mosques but Hui cemeteries were destroyed. Mosques were deliberately destroyed and burned. An eye witness Imam writes his mosque was found “filled with hundreds of dead bodies of Hui Muslims” who were shot at point blank rages and stabbed. There were many incidents against Muslims around the city on December 13 one of such incident reported by an eye witness. Around 30 soldiers were going door to door looking for booty and women they knocked at #5 Hsing Lu Koo in the southeastern part of Nanking, and demanded entrance. When Japanese knocked the door. Man of the house Muhammed Ha opened the door he was shot immediately with a revolver. Mrs Ha, who knelt before them after Ha’s death, begging them not to kill anyone else. Mrs Ha tried to hide her 1 year old baby under the table but she was dragged out into guest hall after being stripped and raped by two men, she was bayoneted in the chest, and then had a bottle thrust into her vagina.
The 1 year old baby was killed by an other solider with a bayonet. Some soldiers then went to the next room, where Mrs. Ha’s parents, aged 76 and 74, and her two daughters aged 16 and 14 were sitting. They started to rape the girls when the grandmother tried to protect girls. The soldiers killed grandmother with revolver. The grandfather grasped the body of his wife and was killed while he was leaning over dead body of his wife. The two girls were then stripped naked, the elder being raped by two men, and the younger by three men. The older girl was stabbed afterwards and a cane was rammed in her vagina. The younger girl was bayoneted also but some how survived the attack and became the witness to the horrible treatment that had been meted out to her whole family. The soldiers then bayoneted a younger sister of age 7 who was hiding in a closet. Before leaving Japaneses murdered Ha’s two children, aged 4 and 2 respectively. 4 year old older was bayoneted and 2 year old was split down into two through the head with a sword. Conclusion- In 1947 Nanjing War Crime Tribunal issued an evaluation. In which victims of genocide were 300,000 killed excluding Chinese soldiers. And there were rape cases between 20,000 to 30,000 most of these women were either killed of left for dead. After Japan surrendered and Americans made a deal with Royals in 1945 no imperial family member was brought front of International court of Justice for war crimes and victims still wait for closer. It took city years to over come the horrors of war, destruction but the genocide and rape will always be alive in hearts and minds.
Some beautiful pictures of Nanking’s Hui Muslims in the memory of those who were murdered.