The Alleged 'Nanking Massacre'
Japan's rebuttal to China's forged claims

竹本忠雄 大原康男
Takemoto Tadao & Ohara Yasuo


2. Systematic massacre


Argument 5
Did the Japanese Army plan a systematic murder?

In a murder case, what makes a great difference is whether it was intended or not.
The Prosecution accused the Japanese Army of an intentionally planned massacre as follows:
The 'Nanking Massacre' was not mere disobedience against military discipline by a group of soldiers as had been partly the postwar Japanese interpretation. When terrible murders took place in Nanking, westerners staying inside the city demanded that the Japanese Embassy and the occupational authority stop the violence. In reply to the demand, the Japanese Embassy said, "The Imperial Army had already decided to attack Nanking." After the outbreak of Sino-Japanese war, the Japanese authority not only consistently denied an entry into belligerency with China, but also regarded it as an 'incident' for the purpose of 'giving punishment'. Therefore, no rules of engagement nor the international humanitarian law in regard to the treatment of inhabitants and the POWs could be applied for this incident. Japanese violence just after the capture of the then capital city of Nanking was intended for the Japanese military clique to frighten Chinese people and to diminish their will to fight.
If the massacre of 300,000 persons had been planned, systematic planning procedures would have been necessary. If so, there must have been many official documents regarding mobilization plans through operation plans. However, no such documents were presented as evidence. The Prosecution alleged that "the Japanese government did not declare war against China so as not to apply the international humanitarian law." This was one-sided speculation developed by the CCP.
It is true that Japan did not declare war, but it was because of an avoidance of an embargo on munitions of war. Once Japan officially declared war both in name and in reality, it would become forbidden to import munitions of war from neutral nations such as the U.S. Neither did the KMT for the same reason, and the U.S. government did not consider this incident as war, either.43
Then the Japanese government was nervous about how to apply the international humanitarian law in the 'incident', because interpretation and application of the international humanitarian law were quite different depending on whether the nation was at war or not. After the consultation made with the scholar of international humanitarian law, on capturing of Nanking on December 7, the Japanese Army (the Central China Area Army) notified the whole troops of the instruction entitled All the Orders and Words of Advice Concerning the Capture of and Entry into the Walled City of Nanking. It included, with the recognition of a 'state of war', 'strict prohibition of illegal actions', 'protection of foreign rights and interests', 'caution to an accidental fire' and so on. It was an official principle of Japanese Army to have to abide by the international humanitarian laws: even this conflict was an incident. It was unfair for the Prosecution not to pay attention to the existing order.
註一 ・・・・・・ 一九三七年十二月七日、南京総攻撃に際し中支那方面軍が全軍に示したものの要旨。原文は漢字カタカナ混じり文なので、現代語風に書き改めた。原文は『南京戦史』百四十六〜百四十七頁参照。
All the Orders and Words of Advice Concerning the Capture of and Entry into the Walled City of Nanking 44
The substance thereof was as follows:
  1. The entire world has been paying sharp attention with the realization that the capture and entry into a foreign capital by the Japanese Army is an event, which is quite unprecedented in the history of our country and will remain permanently as a model case in the future. In view of the above fact, all troops should absolutely refrain from forcing their way violently into the city, from fighting among themselves, and from making any illegal acts.
  2. Military discipline and morale of each unit should be most strictly maintained so that both Chinese soldiers and civilians may respect the dignified manner of the Japanese troops and may also pledge allegiance to them. Thus, any such acts as would dishonor the Japanese Army should never be taken under any circumstances.
  3. You are never permitted to approach any places for foreign rights and interests particularly diplomatic organs that are illustrated in an annexed sketched map. You should never enter any neutral zones where diplomatic corps have been established unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. (At that time, the Japanese Army has perceived that the Safety Zone was established by diplomatic corps, but in fact, by the Safety Zone Committee.) Sentries should be posted in all necessary points. Moreover, you are prohibited to enter Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and the mausoleum of the Emperor Hsiao of the Ming Chao Era and other resting places of patriotic revolutionists that are situated outside of the walled city of Nanking.
  4. Units to enter the walled city should be especially selected by the divisional commanders. The words of advice for the capture of the walled city of Nanking especially all the places of foreign rights and interests inside the wall, should be thoroughly given beforehand to all in order that no mistakes may be made for any reason whatever. If necessary, sentries should be posted.
  5. Severe punishment is to be given to those who loot or who cause a fire to break out, even because of their carelessness. A great number of military policemen should be made to enter the walled city at the same time as troops in order to prevent all unlawful acts.
In those days Japan had no motive for conducting the mass killing of the Chinese citizens. In Germany, the holocaust, which might be frequently compared with the so-called 'Nanking Massacre' recently, was driven from a 'dominant motive' under the 'policy for extermination of Jewish people'. If the 'Nanking Massacre, had actually existed, there might have been some motivation. Indeed it was an argument of motivation that the Prosecution never tried to dispute so far. The Japanese had no 'policy to exterminate the Chinese'. The Prosecution explained that the motive was to threaten Chinese people. But no evidences were shown to prove it.
On the contrary, Japan had a motive to avoid illegal actions.
In those days Japan, running short in natural resources, entirely relied on the U.S. and Europe for the import of munitions and fuel, actually 65% of the import was from the U.S. and Europe. The embargo from the U.S. was barely avoided at the close of the Manchurian Incident, but at the start of the China Incident, the U.S. government began to think of drastic economic sanctions against Japan. In this situation, if the Japanese Army had constituted an infringement of international humanitarian laws in the manner of repeatedly committing atrocities to citizens and POWs, westerners would have been critical and the U.S. and Europe would have started economic sanctions against Japan accordingly. The fatal damage to Japan would have been inevitable. Having been well aware of these circumstances, the Japanese government had to absolutely avoid unnecessary and unlawful acts.


Argument 6
Was the mopping-up operation a systematic murder?

For four days, from December 13 through 16, the Japanese troops had the systematic mopping-up operation and found many Chinese soldiers hiding disguised as citizens. And some of them were put to death. In the operation, the Japanese troops had no intention of killing non-combatants. But arresting the hiding soldiers disguised as non-combatants created a great deal of misunderstanding among the westerners, giving the impression the Japanese troops had systematically committed the murder of civilians.
The Prosecution asserted as follows:
On the morning of December 13, the Japanese Army entered the city. Even after the Chinese Army had already ceased resistance, the Japanese Army repeated atrocities, rapes, and looting in the name of 'mopping-up' operation. Inside the city, four divisions of Japanese troops continued such horrific activities in the large scale until December 21. And then the 16th Division remained inside the city and continued subsequently systematic massacres and looting for six weeks.
As the Japanese Army entered the city and threw hand grenades at inhabitants taking shelter, the streets were filled with dead bodies. Following this thrust, the Japanese troops made a search for stragglers from door to door and entered in the defenseless Safety Zone. Many young people suspected to be soldiers, refugees, and disarmed soldiers, were all chained one to another with the ropes and taken out of the city of Nanking and killed.
Why did the Japanese Army dare to practice the mopping-up operation, which would easily cause misunderstanding, even though it was legal under the international humanitarian law? Three reasons would be explained.
First, the KMT refused to cease fire and dared to make Nanking a battlefield. On December 9, at noon, the Japanese Army scattered 'Bills advising surrender of the Chinese Army' from the plane in order to avoid unnecessary victims.45
Bills advising surrender of the Chinese Army
The Japanese Army, one million strong, has already conquered Chiangnan. We have surrounded the city of Nanking... The Japanese Army shall show no mercy toward those who offer resistance, treating them with extreme severity, but shall harm neither innocent civilians nor Chinese military personal who manifest no hostility. It is our earnest desire to preserve the East Asian culture. If your troops continue to fight, war in Nanking is inevitable. The culture that has endured for a millennium will be reduced to ashes, and the government that has lasted for a decade will vanish into thin air. This commander-in-chief issues Bills to your troops on behalf of the Japanese Army. Open the gates to Nanking in a peaceful manner, and obey the Following instructions.
If the KMT had accepted the Japanese summons and opened the fort, there would have been able to avoid the battle in Nanking, but the KMT ignored them. When the defense force entrenched themselves in the city, the city was turned into a 'Defense City' in term of the international humanitarian laws, and they could not make any complaint as to an indiscriminate attack. First of all, Chiang Kai-Shek should have assumed the responsibility for refusing to open the city, while knowing that the citizens would become victims.
The second reason was that Tang Sheng-zhi, the commander-in-chief of the Nanking Garrison, made the irresponsible order toward each unit on December 12, at 8:00 p.m. just before the fall of Nanking, saying "each unit must break through the surrounding army by itself and then re-assemble at the target point," and he, himself, fled with his staff officers from Nanking. Without the commander-in-chief, the Nanking Garrison was left behind in the city surrounded by the Japanese Army, then some Chinese troops continued systematic battles, and others ran away in panic into looting.
As long as the enemy did not announce formal surrender, the Japanese Army had to continue the battle. As of December 13, the Chinese Army was keeping a state of war. Actually at Tang-chui-chen in the suburbs of Nanking on the 13th, the headquarters of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force was attacked by Chinese troops.
If Tang Sheng-zhi had clearly shown the intention of surrender to the Japanese Army, and the cease-fire agreement had been made, and the remaining soldiers in the city had accepted orderly disarmament, the mopping-up operation would not have been practiced.
Third, many of 'Chinese soldiers who had not surrendered,' were hiding disguised in civilian garments, and lay hidden in the Safety Zone in which no less than 200,000 of civilians had been seeking refuge. Some of them were still armed by the order of their commander.46 The Chinese troops were apparently making preparation for the guerrilla warfare. This attitude, having the 'Chinese Plain-clothes soldiers' pretend to be non-combatants would be considered to come under Article 23 in 'Regulation respecting the laws and customs of war on land' (the 4th Hague Convention) concluded in 1907 that specifies an 'act of disloyalty' and it infringed on the international humanitarian law. Therefore, it was legal activity that the Japanese Army conducted the mopping-up operation to arrest and to intern the Chinese Plain-clothes soldiers.
How was the mopping-up operation practiced? As the indictment pointed out, did the Japanese Army instruct or authorize massacre and looting?
On the 13th prior to practice of the operation in the whole Nanking city, the 6th Infantry Brigade under the 9th Division of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force ordered 'protection of foreign privilege', 'prohibition of unduly behavior', 'protection of non-antagonistic civilians', 'prohibition of looting', and so on. What was more remarkable in the rules of engagement was not to kill Chinese soldiers immediately, but 'arrest and intern'. But the rules of engagement included 'arrest and internment of all the youth looked upon as stragglers.' This meant, as stated above, the Japanese Army might as well suspect all the youth even in civilian clothes, because Chinese soldiers disguised as civilians lay hidden.
Rules of Engagement as to mopping-up
(issued by Major General AKIYAMA Yoshimichi, the commander of the 6th Infantry Brigade prior to an entry into the city at 10:00 a.m. dated on Dec. 13th.47)
  1. Execute mopping-up after seeing to it that the precautions per the brigade commander are thoroughly enforced to all ranks.
  2. Entry into any buildings belonging to foreign interests is strictly forbidden, unless said building is being used by the enemy. Post soldiers on sentry at important places.
  3. Mopping-up units are in charge of wiping out enemy stragglers and are to be commanded by officers at all times. Anyone ranking in non-commissioned officer or below is absolutely forbidden to act independently.
  4. Regard young people and adult males as stragglers or Plain-clothes soldiers, and place them under arrest. With that exception, Chinese civilians other than young people and adult men who do not behave in a hostile manner, especially the elderly, women and children are to be treated kindly and open-mindedly, so as to have them respect for the dignity of the Japanese Army.
  5. Post sentries at public or private banks, but do not enter such establishments.
  6. Take precautions against entering private houses and taking actions similar to looting, and prohibit from abusing and abandoning unnecessary amount of articles.
  7. Anyone who commits arson or cause an accidental fire shall be severely punished.
  8. In case of fire, the mopping-up units, as well as any other units in the vicinity of the fire, shall endeavor to extinguish it.
註一 ・・・・・・ 歩兵第六旅団が十二月十三日午前十時城内侵入に際し示した「命令」の抜粋。原文は、『南京戦史』百八十六〜百八十七頁参照。
註二 ・・・・・・ 上海派遣軍司令部が「南京陥落」を声明したのは、十三日の午後十時。この段階では、中国軍の抵抗は城外でも続いており、城内でも激しい市街戦があることを想定しており、あくまで戦争時の戦闘行動としての「掃蕩」作戦であった。
註三 ・・・・・・ 三で示されているように、掃蕩部隊は必ず将校の指揮に率いられ、無秩序に発砲することはでさなかった。
註四 ・・・・・・ 七及び十で「火災」について触れているのは、占領に際して被害を増加させないためと、進駐する日本軍の宿舎等を確保するためと思われる。
It was 10:00 p.m. of Dec.13 when the headquarters of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force issued the official statement on the 'fall of Nanking'. At that time, the Chinese Army still continued the resistance outside and inside the castle. That is, the 'mopping-up operation' was a military action ordinarily taken place in wartime. As indicated in paragraph 3, every mopping-up unit was always commanded by officers, so that anyone could not open fire thoughtlessly. The reason why paragraph 7 and 10 referred to a 'fire' was to prevent from increasing damage on occupation and to secure military installations for the Japanese Army.
Considering the above situation, it should be able to point out the following misunderstandings in the indictment.
  1. It was not until on the late afternoon of December 13, 1937, that Chinese troops inside the walled city gave up their resistance. On early morning of the 13th when Japanese troops successfully approached the city, severe battles were expected in the streets.
  1. The mopping-up operation was a military action in the enemy's territory where many soldiers were hidden. Under the strain and with fright at unexpected sniping, Japanese soldiers searched about among main buildings. They could not have had time for looting or rape, nor could they mentally afford to, and furthermore looting and rape was prohibited by the order.
  1. When Japanese troops (about 10,000 soldiers) entered the walled city, most of the Chinese citizens had already assembled in the Safety Zone, and it was absolutely impossible for Japanese soldiers to throw hand grenades into the crowd of people who were seeking refuge. Dead bodies had already been on the street before the Japanese Army entered the city. They were victimized among themselves.
  1. The Safety Zone Committee declared "there is no Chinese soldier in the Safety Zone" and refused to let the Japanese troops search the Safety Zone. But actually the committee had been harboring a great number of Chinese soldiers. Therefore, the Japanese troops (about 1,600 soldiers) carried out a search. As a result, a large amount of arms and bombs: 960 rifles, 390,000 bullets, 55,000 hand grenades and so on were found. At the same time, 7,000 stragglers were identified and arrested.48 Following the search, continuous arsons occurred. Therefore, the Japanese Army distinguished soldiers from inhabitants from December 24, 1937, through January 5, 1938, and found and arrested 2,000 of Chinese soldiers led by officers, along with a large amount of weapons and munitions.
The Safety Zone had to be a neutral zone without defense, but it was not a disarmed area, but a dangerous zone where Chinese armed soldiers were lying hidden with a great deal of arms.
Through the mopping-up operation, many arrested Chinese soldiers were put into prisons and the interned POWs were about 10,000 in number. A half of them were sent to Shanghai as laborers at the end of December 1937 and most of the remainder were admitted into the Army of the Nanking Government led by Wang Ching-wei, established in 1940. Namely, they were by no means given immediate execution.
On one hand, the Japanese Army intended to follow the policy to protect civilians, and on the other hand, it was true that the Japanese Army arrested and confined the youth suspected as combatants. As to these affairs, the Safety Zone Committee and the KMT had to mainly assume responsibilities. Because the committee had harbored a great number of Chinese soldiers while it kept saying "The Safety Zone is a neutral zone" and the KMT dared to involve into war the city of Nanking where no less than 200,000 inhabitants were living in addition to having intentionally used Plain-clothes soldiers against the international humanitarian law.


Argument 7
Did the Japanese Army have a policy of killing POWs?

The Prosecution asserted "Japanese troops primarily had an intention of killing the POWs," and said as follows:
At the time of Japan's surrender in World War II, as military authorities were ordered to burn all the documents which were supposed to be used in the courts against the war criminals, it was, therefore, difficult to locate documents concerning the 'Nanking Massacre'.
But according to prosecution by the person concerned, before the Nanking occupation, Prince ASAKANOMIYA Yasuhiko, the commander of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force ordered that all POWs should be killed, and at the end of the document, put a note that 'documents should be burnt after being read.'
NAKAJIMA Kesago, the divisional commander of the 16th Division wrote in his diary on December 13, 1937: "Our general policy is not to take the POWs... All POWs should be dealt in the appropriate way in accordance with the circumstance." Furthermore his diary read, 'dealing' of many engineers and laborers in the city resulted in hours' suspension of power and water supply, and the Japanese Army was forced, as well, to lead an inconvenient life. (The Diary of General NAKAJIMA) Also, there were battle reports of the different Japanese unit found after the war, revealed 'dealing of POWs'.
Prince ASAKANOMIYA's 'order for killing POWs' was referred to in Japan's Imperial Conspiracy (New York, William Morrow and company, Inc., 1971) by David Bergamini. However, American historians pointed out that the contents of this book were greatly suspicious.
For example, Richard Finn, Emeritus Professor of American University, criticized Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking saying, "She referred to that notorious order for Prince ASAKANOMIYA and his staff to 'kill all POWs', but her statement was of no reliable evidence."49
また、スタンフォード大学歴史学部長デビツド・ケネディは『アトランティック・マンスリー』一 九九八年四月号に寄稿して次のように述べている。
For another example, David M. Kennedy, the chief of history department of Stanford University, contributed to the Atlantic Monthly (April 1998), and demonstrated his opinion as follows:
She [Iris Chang] is clearly tempted to argue that the Rape of Nanking resulted from formal political decisions taken at the highest levels, an argument whose virtually lone proponent is the historian David Bergamini, whom Chang repeatedly cites. In a decidedly eccentric book, Japan's Imperial Conspiracy (1971), Bergamini tried to lay the blame for Nanjing and much else squarely at the feet of Emperor Hirohito. Chang is obliged to concede that "unfortunately, Bergamini's book was seriously criticized by reputable historians." That's putting it mildly. One reviewer observed that Bergamini was "believable only by violating every canon of acceptable documentation." The historian Barbara Tuchman said that Bergamini's thesis "appears to be almost entirely a product of the author's inference and of his predilection for the sinister explanation."
Certainly there was a passage: "All POWs should be dealt in the appropriate way in accordance with the circumstance" in NAKAJIMA's diary, but the passage didn't necessary mean 'murder of the POWs'.
The Vice-Minister of war ordered in his notification dated on August 5, 1937, four months before the battle in Nanking, entitled 'Application of Rules of Engagement' that in order to reduce the ravages of war "endeavor to respect the international humanitarian law and do not kill enemy soldiers who apply for surrender." Based on 'Application of Rules of Engagement, Rules of Engagement Concerning Warfare' was anew issued on October 9, 1937, by the 13th Division Headquarters, the Shanghai Expeditionary Force. The Section 11 of that new notice, entitled Treatment of POWs', read as follows:
When capturing a great many POWs, do not shoot them dead, but have to have them disarmed, assembled in one location and kept a watch on, and report their presence to division headquarters. As to small number of POWs, however, appropriately deal with them after designated interrogation.
The same day when this notice was issued, IINUMA, the chief of staff of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force gathered all the chiefs of staffs of respective divisions and said "the KMT is carrying out spreading a rumor that POWs will be killed once captured, therefore, in order to eliminate their propaganda, it is necessary to let the Chinese soldiers know that they will never be put to death."50 Namely the purpose of this 'notice' was to alter the rumor through the Chinese propaganda that 'POWs would be killed once captured.'
Considering such context, an expression of 'proper dealing with POWs' should be taken not so much a 'execution of POWs' as a 'discretionary release of POWs'. In fact, YAMADA, the brigadier of 103rd Brigade belonging to the 13th Division tried to set the POWs free. (But, he had to hold off the plan until the riot was calmed down.)51
The policy for treatment of POWs' described in the Japanese formal documents directed that if there were many, not to kill but confine, and to appropriately release in case of a small number, based on the international humanitarian laws in the effort of reducing the ravages of war, except particular cases against orders. This policy was carried out in the Nanking battle and thousands of stragglers were interned as POWs.
In addition that there did not exist the formal documents 'ordering to kill all POWs,' the existing formal documents had been saying clearly contrary to the accusation. Therefore, there was absolutely no ground for such criticism that 'the Japanese Army's policy was to kill all POWs from the beginning.'


3. Systematic large scale looting and rape


Argument 8
Did the Japanese Army practice systematic looting?

Relative to the looting, the indictment accused the Japanese Army of committing the looting as a part of the systematic massacre. What was the policy of the Japanese Army against the looting?
MATSUI, at the time of the offensive entry into Nanking, strictly ordered all the troops that 'the whole world would pay attention to Japan's entry to the capital of a foreign country, which had never been experienced ever since,' so that looting or accidental fire would be severely punished. Based on this policy, on December l3, about 10:00 a.m., the 6th Infantry Brigade engaged in the mopping-up operation of the whole Nanking city, issued the 'notification in practice of the operation', 'prohibition of entry to the Foreign rights and interests', 'prohibition of looting', and 'rigid maintenance of the military discipline'. On the 14th the next day, the commander of the 7th Regiment under the 6th Infantry Brigade which took in charge of the mopping-up operation of the Safety Zone, also ordered his soldiers 'Rules of Engagement as to POWs and foreign rights and interests.'52 He gave the detailed order by saying 'prohibition of other troops' entry to the Safety Zone' and 'avoidance of misunderstanding between the foreigners' prior to starting the first mopping-up of the Safety Zone:
註一 ・・・・・・ 歩兵第七連隊長が十二月十四日、初めて「安全区」掃蕩を行うにあたって示した「注意事項」の抜粋。原文は、『南京戦史』百九十三頁参照。
註二 ・・・・・・ 一で示されているように、選抜された「掃蕩部隊」(約千六百名)以外は、「安全区」は立ち入り禁止であった。
註三 ・・・・・・ 二によって、「安全区」で摘出した敗残兵は「即時処刑」するのではなく、まず「収容」する方針だったことがわかる。
註四 ・・・・・・ 四について解説しておく。「安全区」には、外国権益、つまり欧米の大使館や欧米企業の建物等が多数存在していた。日本軍が国際社会との摩擦を避けるために、こうした「外国権益」には立ち入らないことは中国側に広く知られていたため、中国軍は意図的に「外国権益」に潜伏するようになっていた。
註五 ・・・・・・ 四及び五を読めばわかるように、日本軍は、言語不通のために南京に在住する欧米人たち、つまり国際委員会のメンバーと無用な摩擦が起こることに極めて神経質になっていた。
Rules of Engagement as to POWs and foreign rights and interests
  1. Strictly prohibit an entry of soldiers, except those on duty, into the Safety Zone, and furthermore absolutely prohibit any arbitrary activities by corps other than the 7th Infantry Regiment
  2. Intern POWs whom each unit captured into a camp of a place in the Safety Zone, and request their provisions to the Division.53
  3. The 7th Infantry Regiment has not come to stay in the walled city, but entered as a mopping-up unit. Therefore do not forget to get out of the walled city upon completion of the mopping-up.
  4. It is anticipated that there exist a large number of stragglers in the area of foreign rights and interests. As for them, I will select and assign interpreters who are proficient in foreign languages, each unit has to keep watch on the foreign rights and interests from outside.54
  5. Be careful to avoid being misunderstood and conflicts with foreign people due to language differences.55
How drastically did these principles prevail? WAKISAKA Jiro, the commander of the 36th Regiment, the 9th Division stated in his affidavit presented to the IMTFE that such was rigidity of orders that a certain paymaster lieutenant was given penalty at the military court only for carrying woman's shoe of this pair found on the street back to his unit.56 The Japanese Army was greatly concerned about soldiers' illegal actions in Nanking in order to avoid friction with key trade partners such as the U.S. and the U.K. As a result even pocketing of a pair of shoes could be a case which had to be tried by the court-martial.
How often did looting take place?
We must pay attention to the fact that before Japanese soldiers entered the city, Chinese government authorities and the wealthy had already taken their property away, and just before the fall, Chinese soldiers had already looted, and considerable damage was caused.
Concerning the looting, however, T. Durdin wrote in the New York Times dated on December 18:
The Japanese looting amounted almost to plundering of the entire city. Nearly every building was entered by Japanese soldiers, often under the eyes of their officers, and the men took whatever they wanted... Even the home of the United States Ambassador was invaded.
This article was written, as mentioned before, based on the Safety Zone Committee Memorandum which had been handed over from Bates to Durdin, though.
Then, how much was the Safety Zone Committee aware of looting? According to documents, so far referred to in this paper, those demonstrated the total number of looting by Japanese soldiers was 179 including those in rumor. Although Magee, member of the Safety Zone Committee, testified in the IMTFE by saying 'the Japanese soldiers took everything away from the Chinese residents', he confessed in the cross-examination, what he himself witnessed was nothing but one case that 'a Japanese soldier deprived of some electric ice boxes.'57
In fact, how bad was the damage?
It was on the morning of January 6, 1938 when foreigners entered the walled city of Nanking under the Japanese occupation for the first time. They were James Espy, the vice consul at the American Embassy to Nanking and the third Secretary John M. Allison. Allison immediately investigated the damage made against the U.S. interests. In spite that the correspondent reported the residence of American Embassy was one of the targets of looting, Allison sent a telegram on January 8 to the Secretary of State in Washington that 'American property in the so-called Safety Zone received relatively small damage, except for occasional looting or thefts.'58
The record written by the Safety Zone Committee endorsed this report, and it detailed the 'damage due to looting committed by the Japanese soldiers', from December 12 through 18 when a massive looting was supposed to have occurred, as follows:
Five automobiles, six bicycles, several motorbikes, two cows, one pig, several ponies, three sack's of rice, 500 futon mats, two gloves, a bottle of milk, a handful of sugar, one pan, one trash box, six fountain pens, a half can of kerosene, and a few candles.
From this list, would anyone be able to say that a large scale looting had taken place?
The truth of the looting
As for 179 cases of looting recorded in the documents of damage, all of them were not necessarily due to Japanese soldiers. They must have been categorized in the following three cases.
The first case was that the looting committed by the Chinese refugees who came into the Safety Zone was misunderstood as the acts of Japanese. After the fall of Nanking, Guo Qi, commander of one of Chinese battalions, stayed hidden in the Italian Embassy, wrote about the reality of looting by the Chinese refugees:
Refugees, who were generally badly-off but courageous, hid themselves during the day and moved around during the night just like so many rats. The night was the good opportunities for refugees to take actions, since wild soldiers [Japanese soldiers] became inactive and only the Japanese guards were posted to watch over the area where soldiers slept. The refugees went outside their area and ransacked large firms, shops, and houses of whatever they wanted. In those days, food was in store in food companies, daily provisions in consumer goods companies, and silk products in silk textile wholesales. One day's work, therefore, enabled them to get everything, and anything they want became available and at their disposal.59
Rabe also wrote in his diary on January 2 about how busy the 'stolen goods market' was in the Safety Zone. All the Chinese refugees in the Safety Zone were 'poor and needy.' It was doubtful why they could obtain these goods in Nanking where any commercial circulation was suspended. As Guo Qi testified, those commercial goods were stolen goods.
The second case was that the Chinese Plain-clothes soldiers hidden in the Safety Zone tried to make it appear that the looting and rapes had been committed by Japanese soldiers, as part of their propaganda activities.
一九三八年一月四日付「ニューヨーク・タイムズ」には「元中国軍将校が避難民のなかに ─ 大佐一味が白状、南京の犯罪を日本軍のせいに」と題する次のような記事が載っている。
The New York Times dated on January 4, 1938 carried the following article, entitled "Ex-Chinese Officers Among U.S. Refugees: Colonel and His Aides Admit Blaming the Japanese for Crimes in Nanking."
American professors remaining in Nanking as foreign members of the Refugee Welfare Committee were seriously embarrassed to discover that they had been harboring a deserted Chinese Army colonel and six of his subordinate officers. The professors had, in fact, made the colonel second in authority at the refugee camp.
The officers, who had doffed their uniforms during the Chinese retreat from Nanking, were discovered living in one of the college buildings. They confessed their identity after Japanese Army searchers found they had hidden silt rimes, live revolvers, a dismounted machine-gun and ammunitions in the building.
The ex-Chinese officers in the presence of Americans and other foreigners confessed looting in Nanking and also that one night they dragged girls from the refugee camp into the darkness and the next day blamed Japanese soldiers for the attacks. The ex-officers were arrested and will be punished under martial law and probably executed.
The third case was that westerners misunderstood what Japanese troops did.
On entering the walled city what Japanese troops had to do was to get buildings for quartering. In order to furnish and equip them with daily necessities, officers instructed soldiers to take furniture and futon mats out of the empty houses. When they were put under requisition, certificates for compensation to be made later on were attached.60 However, the westerners and Chinese, watching what happened in the distance, possibly misunderstood interpreting the activities as the planned looting by Japanese soldiers.
As stated above, there were existed three types of occasions as to the looting, all 179 cases of looting reported from the Safety Zone Committee were not necessarily caused by Japanese troops.


Argument 9
Did the Japanese Army commit systematic rape?

The Prosecution asserted that the Japanese Army committed systematic rape during the occupation.
Another crime of the Japanese Army was the rapes on a great number of women. According to the source confirmed at the IMTFE, it was reported that the number of rapes after Japanese occupation came to 20,000, and most of the women, regardless of young or old, in the whole area were raped. Even if young women could run into the Safety Zone set up by the westerners or foreign consulates for safety, most of them were taken to be raped and killed by Japanese troops who broke into the premises. According to Summary report on the Investigations of Japanese war crimes committed in Nanking, prepared by the Procurator of the District Court, Nanking, which was publicized by the KMT after World War II, stated "There were no less than 80,000 women who received such cruel treatment in the city at that time, and many of them were torn on the breast or cut stomach off." 'Nanking Massacre', therefore, has been referred to the Rape of Nanking.
Among evidences submitted to the IMTFE, there was nothing described as to 20,000 cases of rape. On 20,000 victims of rape, Rabe mentioned in the telegram dated on January 14, 1938, to the Shanghai consul as if "the Japanese military authorities apparently lost control of their troops, and they looted the city for weeks and raped about 20,000 women and little girls."61
But, Bates who took the witness stand at the IMTFE denied Rabe's statement, as follows, while he testified that he himself had not witnessed any case of rape:
One month after the occupation, Mr. Rabe, the chairman of the International Committee, reported to the German authorities that he and his colleagues believed that not less than twenty thousand cases of rape had occurred. A little earlier I estimated, very much more cautiously and on the basis of the safety zone reports alone, some eight thousand cases.62
The basis of 'some eight thousand cases of rape' Bates pointed out was depending on the 'reports issued from the Safety Zone Committee'.
Then, how many cases of rape were (including attempted) reported in the documents by the Safety Zone Committee? The total number was 361. And among them, there were only 61 cases, which definitely clarified who witnessed the cases, who heard and reported. Among these cases, only seven cases were clarified to be crimes committed by Japanese soldiers and notified the Japanese Army of the crime in order to disclose the fact and to capture the suspects. Out of these records, how could Bates have calculated the number 8,000 on rapes?
Furthermore, as reported in the article of the Chicago Daily News dated on February 9, 1938, the Japanese Army investigated criminals about seven cases and severely punished them. The punishment was so severe that some complaints were expressed among the soldiers.63
What about the second item of evidence, Summary report on the Investigations of Japanese war crimes committed in Nanking, prepared by the Procurator of the District Court, Nanking, which the prosecution indicated? The exact number of victims was not clarified, but the number of those who were raped and then killed was reported to be 'twenty or thirty persons'. The indictment said, "Most of the raped women were killed by Japanese soldiers, which means the casualties were only twenty or thirty persons." Therefore, the 'view of 80,000 victims of rape' should be likely to be denied by the Chinese sources themselves.
To begin with, the Safety Zone was the only place where women stayed in the city of Nanking. And in order to protect foreign rights and interests which were concentrated in the Safety Zone and avoid unnecessary conflicts with members of the Safety Zone Committee, the headquarters of the Japanese Army prohibited their soldiers' entry to the Safety Zone and posted guards at every important points, judging from the danger of being attacked by many hidden Chinese soldiers as well.64 For these reasons, Japanese soldiers were unable to enter the Safety Zone at will, or no one dared to enter there at the risk of being attacked.
Actually, the Japanese soldiers were very busy carrying out their duties such as guarding the gates and walls, taking up their position at antiaircraft observation posts and other various duties. Therefore, there were no Japanese soldiers who could have time to go out of their quarters. Those who only got admittance to the Safety Zone were all in all about 1,600 soldiers of the 7th Regiment, the 9th Division, that were in charge of the garrison for the Safety Zone. In this situation a large-scale rape could not have happened. It must be further pointed out that there existed a significant reason why soldiers were restrained from committing rapes, because if crimes had been disclosed, more than seven years' penal servitude would have been inevitable by the army penal code. They were fully aware of the severe penalties.
Among the Japanese Army, the optimistic expectation prevailed that they could be able to return home soon after winning battles in Nanking. They also knew that due to Japan's economic prosperity nice jobs would be open to them. There were no motives to run the risk of illegal actions.
The truth of the rapes
By whom were 361 cases of rape committed that the Safety Zone Committee recorded? In fact so many things were misunderstood on rapes as well.
The first instance of misunderstandings was for the committee to take recruitment for prostitutes for rapes. Documents of the Nanking Safely Zone, for example, described a following case of rape.
「一月十七日 日本兵は再びやってきた。トラック二台と、クルマ二台に、将校二名を連れて来た。そして、養蚕の建物から男性数名と女性七名を獲得した。ペイツ博士がそこにいて一部始終を目撃した。男や女たちが完全に自由意志で行こうとしているのが分かった。一人の女は若かったが、喜んで行った[六十一]
On the morning of the 17th, about 8, they came again with two trucks, two cars with two officers and got some men and seven women from the Sericulture Building. Dr. Bates was there and observed the whole process and found it was completely voluntary on the part of the men and women going. One woman was young but went willingly. (p.89.)
Was this considered as a case of rape? It would be rather interpreted as a scene where Chinese went to recruit prostitutes to a refugee camp set up at Ginling College in the Safety Zone under Japanese consent, and the women applied for the recruit 'willingly'65. Bates and his colleagues misidentified the recruit of prostitutes by common consent as if it was a systematic rape by Japanese troops. (In fact, the Chinese traders concerned recruited prostitutes and managed comport houses on a commercial basis, and the Japanese Army admitted to support their business.)
The second instance was the confusion of taking Chinese soldiers for Japanese soldiers. Bates wrote a letter of January 14, to Allison in the American Embassy as follow:
Last night four Japanese went into a classroom of Nanking University Middle School. Details of their behaviors were unknown because due witnesses were frightened. It was certain they took a girl with them. The Japanese were military polices, and some of them were guards served at the gate of the middle school. They had Chinese cloth shoes on, and some were in Chinese garments.66
How could Bates conclude that the criminals were Japanese military polices disguised as Chinese without seeing them? He merely accepted without the slightest suspicion the testimony given by a Chinese who called himself an eyewitness. But why did Japanese soldiers have to disguise themselves as Chinese? It does not make any sense.
Furthermore, the representatives of the refugee camps of nineteen places established in the Safety Zone were all the Chinese, except Miss Minnie Vautrin.67 Though those Chinese took charge of the maintenance of public order in these camps, there were some Chinese officers who camouflaged themselves as if they were citizens. And many cases of rape occurred in the 'refugee camps' set up by the Safety Zone Committee. After February 1938 when the 'camps' were dissolved, rape was rare. Therefore, we are not able to trust the 'crimes of Japanese soldiers' just as the Chinese representatives of the refugee camps claimed.
The third instance was that Chinese, who lay hidden in the Safety Zone, camouflaged themselves to create the impression that looting and rapes had been committed by Japanese soldiers, to practice one of a series of Chinese strategies for the purpose of throwing Japanese soldiers into confusion.
There were three different groupings as to the 'cases of rape' some Chinese asserted, and even 361 cases recorded in the documents of the Safety Zone Committee couldn't necessarily be concluded as Japanese crimes at all events.68


4. Cruel Atrocities


Argument 10
Did Japanese officers perform the 'Murder Race'?

In the Memorial Hall of Victims in Nanjing Massacre built in the city of Nanking, a photo panel of two Japanese officers with military swords is displayed at a conspicuous corner. The exhibition demonstrates the so-called 'Murder Race' in which two Japanese officers were said to have competed to see which one of them could kill 100 Chinese soldiers with a Japanese sword sooner than the other, in the battle from Shanghai to Nanking. The indictment explained this problem as follows:
Besides the systematic murders of young men, many Japanese soldiers here and there, with mental madness, committed atrocities for their amusement against inhabitants living a peaceful life. Two Second Lieutenants, MUKAI and NODA, held a murder race in competition with each other for the number of murders by means of a military sword. In December 1937, the Tokyo NichiNichi (Tokyo Daily Times) covered shocking news of 'Katagiri corps' (the 16th Division) entitled "Competition for killing 100 enemies".
An article appeared on the Tokyo NichiNichi dated on December 13, 1937, was as follows:
At an interview dated on December 12, with Correspondent ASAMI Kazuo at the foot of Purple Mountain, MUKAI Toshiaki talked about a competition with NODA Iwao in a battle field through Nanking, regarding how many Chinese soldiers they could kill with a Japanese sword in a hand-to-hand combat.
この記事は英訳され、日本で発行されていた英文紙「ジャパン・アドバタイザー」十二月十四日付に転載された。その記事を、上海にいたティンパーリーが発見し『戦争とは何か』に再転載してしまったことから問題は複雑になった。というのも、ティンパーリーは、この記事に「THE NANKING "MURDER RACE" (南京の殺人競争)」という見出しをつけたからである[六十五]。ウェブスター大辞典によれば、murder とは「非合法な殺人行為、特に故意または計画的または重大な犯罪中に起った殺人」を意味する。ティンパーリーの見出しによって「戦争中の中国兵相手の戦闘行動」の話が、「意図的な非合法殺人競争」へと変えられてしまったのである。かくして、この英訳記事で「百人斬り」の話を知った中国国民政府は一九四七年十二月十八日に、向井、野田両名を南京軍事法廷で起訴し、その日の午後に死刑を宣告、翌年の一月二十八日に処刑したのである。
This article was translated into English and reprinted in an English newspaper the Japan Advertiser, issued in Japan on December 14. In Shanghai, Harold J. Timperley found this article and had it reprinted again in his book, What War Means. That made the problem more complicated, for Timperley gave the article the title, "the Nanking 'Murder Race'". According to Random House Webster's College Dictionary, a murder meant "illegal killing, particularly accompanied with murderous and planned intent, or homicide happened during crime of great importance." Because of Timperley's title, the article of interview as to 'actions taken in a combat against Chinese soldiers in a war' was misinterpreted as 'intentionally illegal murder race'. Informed of the 'Murder Race' in the article in English, the KMT consequently prosecuted MUKAI and NODA on December 18, 1947, sentenced a death penalty to them at the Nanking Court-martial in the afternoon, and immediately executed them.
Was the article of the Tokyo NichiNichi true? The illusion of a great Nanking Massacre ; New version by SUZUKI Akira disclosed that a Chinese counselor for the defense clarified that ASAMI's article was proved to be nothing but a fiction in the Nanking Court-martial as follows:69
  1. The certificate sent on December 10, 1947, from ASAMI clarified that 'the article was by no means what he had witnessed'.
  2. The units to which the accused MUKAI and NODA belonged had never been nor had a combat near at Purple Mountain (where the article covered). In other words, NODA had never been Purple Mountain.
Furthermore, the Chinese counselor advocated in the 'Statement of appeal' as Follows:
一、唯一の証拠として挙げられているのは日本の新聞だけである。そして「新聞記事を証拠とはできない」ことは、中国の最高法院の判例で明らかである。 二、被告人が、殺人競争を行ったことを証明する直接、間接の証拠は裁判では全く提出されなかった。 三、多数の白骨が紫金山の埋葬地点から掘り出されたことも証拠であると判決書に書かれているが、被告たちが行ったこともない場所で、たとえ幾千の白骨が現出しても、これを被告等の殺害の結果であると断定できない。
  1. The only evidence provided was a Japanese newspaper. However, judicial precedents at the Chinese Supreme Court had declared that newspapers were not to be regarded as proof'.
  2. Not a single direct or indirect proof was submitted to show that the accused had committed the 'Murder Race'.
  3. The written judgment said that many dried bones were excavated from burial sites near Purple Mountain as proof. Even if thousands of pieces of bone were found at the place, as long as the accused had never been there, that must not be concluded as the result of the 'Murder Race'.
In short, no Chinese ever witnessed the 'Murder Race', so that the Court-martial sentenced to death with only the newspaper article accepted as proof. Should such nonsensical judgment be allowed in the light of the world judicial system, based on the evidence trial principle?
Anybody who is familiar with military organizations, should easily understand that MUKAI and NODA, who were a commander of artillery and an adjutant of a battalion respectively, could not have taken part in a hand-to-hand combat in the front line. In Japanese samurai films, killing scenes with Japanese swords are frequently seen. But the known facts clarifies that a Japanese sword doesn't work well after killing one man, due to the attached grease of blood or a nicked or curved edge of the blade, while the Chinese blue dragon sword becomes more efficient in cutting with help of the weight of a sword itself added.
The 'Murder Race' has been looked upon as a representative of cruel atrocities committed by the Japanese Army in the battle of Nanking. As a result, two Japanese officers have been put to death. The judgment, however, proves to be an execution for the almost clear innocent.
南京事件資料へ還る back to Nanking Incident Documents