New books shed more light on atroc­i­ties

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - ByWANG KAIHAO wangkai­hao@chi­

A ma­jor pub­lish­ing project, com­pris­ing 70 books, sheds new light on the in­fa­mous Nan­jing Mas­sacre car­ried out by Ja­panese troops dur­ing WorldWar II.

The books were re­leased last week by the Na­tional Li­brary of China on the eve of Na­tional Me­mo­rial Day when vic­tims of that ter­ri­ble mas­sacre are re­mem­bered.

More than 300,000 peo­ple were slaugh­tered by Ja­panese troops in that in­ci­dent.

The books, which also cover other atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted dur­ing the war, rep­re­sent a se­ries called The Nu­mer­i­cal Case Files Re­lat­ing to Par­tic­u­lar In­ci­dents and Sus­pected War Crim­i­nals, In­ter­na­tional Pros­e­cu­tion Sec­tion (19451947). They com­prise first­hand in­quiry records from the Tokyo Tri­als con­ducted at the end of the war.

The work was pub­lished jointly by the li­brary and Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity.

The Tokyo Tri­als, for­mally known as the In­ter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal for the Far East, ran from April 1946 Novem­ber 1948.

Twenty-eight Ja­panese mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers were charged with Class A crimes, and more than 5,700 Ja­panese na­tion­als were charged with Class B and C crimes.

The new books are com­plied us­ing orig­i­nal files of the In­ter­na­tion­alProse­cu­tion Sec­tion of the Tokyo Tri­als, which are now housed in the Na­tional Ar­chives of the United States. De­tails of about 470 cases are recorded in the books, in­clud­ing the in­ter­ro­ga­tion records of Ja­panese lead­er­sHideki Tojo, Kenji Doi­hara and Kishi Nobusuke.

“They (th­ese doc­u­ments) have never been seen in China,” says Han Yongjin, cu­ra­tor of the NLC.

“I be­lieve China’s stud­ies on the Tokyo Tri­als and the history of the war be­tween China and Ja­pan will be ac­cel­er­ated (with the pub­li­ca­tion of the books).”

Han says the new se­ries is a cru­cial com­ple­ment to the se­ries called The Pro­ceed­ings of the In­ter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal for the Far East, which was pub­lished in 2013, and was the first Chi­nese book

to se­ries based on the files of the tri­bunal.

Speak­ing of the rel­e­vance of the books to counter rightwing pro­pa­ganda about the tri­als, Cheng Zhaoqi, di­rec­tor of a re­search cen­ter on the Tokyo Tri­als at the univer­sity, says: “Since 2000, ex­press­ing doubts about the Tokyo Tri­als has be­come a pop­u­lar theme in some cir­cles in Ja­pan.”

Be­fore the cen­ter was es­tab­lished by the univer­sity and the NLC in 2011, sys­tem­atic re­search on the tri­als was

orig­i­nal al­most non-ex­is­tent academia.

Ex­plain­ing the rel­e­vance of the tri­als, Cheng says: “The tri­als laid the foun­da­tion for the post­war or­der in Asia. If they are de­nied, the world’s faith in the judg­ment about Ja­pan’s war crimes will be shaken.”

Mean­while, more his­tor­i­cal files on Ja­panese war crim­i­nals have also be­come avail­able on the NLC’s web­site. The data­base trans­lated and com­plied in­for­ma­tion from first­hand Ja­panese and English files on the tri­als. It was opened to the pub­lic on Dec 10.

The con­tent on the web­site has been up­dated since then, and is also si­mul­ta­ne­ously avail­able through a smart phone app and mi­cro blogs.

NLC has re­leased more books on the Chi­nese War of Re­sis­tance Against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion (1937-45), as 2015 marks the 70th an­niver­sary of the end of the war.

Zhang Ji­wen, deputy di­rec­tor of Jiangsu Provin­cial Archive, par­tic­i­pated in re­search for the books on the newly pub­lished Chi­ne­seMagazines on War of Re­sis­tance Against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion.


Chi­nese She says the se­ries (67 books) in­cludes ma­te­rial from 55 wartime mag­a­zines, and “of­fers new an­gles and fills gaps in the stud­ies of the war”.

“The archive files are the most gen­uine records of wartime history,” she says.

Zhang says her institution’s co­op­er­a­tion with pub­lish­ing houses was im­por­tant as it (the archive) is not just a cus­to­dian of the files.

“Ear­lier, we used to em­pha­size on their po­lit­i­cal as­pects (of the files) rather than the sig­nif­i­cance of cir­cu­lat­ing the ma­te­rial among the pub­lic. But, now, it is time to trans­fer our re­search to a wider group.

“With such solid proof, we have bet­ter tools rather than just reg­u­lar books to counter Ja­panese right-wing pro­pa­ganda.”

Zhang says the books give more insight to mem­bers of the pub­lic. For ex­am­ple, there were 10 re­gional tri­als in China of Ja­panese war crime sus­pects af­ter the con­flict ended. But, bar­ring the one in Nan­jing, the provin­cial cap­i­tal of Jiangsu and China’s na­tional cap­i­tal at that time, de­tails of the other tri­als re­main mostly un­known to the pub­lic.

The project con­tains first-hand in­quiry records from the Tokyo Tri­als.

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