Au­thor de­ter­mined to tell truth of war crimes erased from coun­try’s mem­ory

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

TOKYO — Ta­maki Mat­suoka could never for­get about her first visit to Nan­jing, China, in Au­gust 1988, where she saw ev­i­dences of the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted by the in­vad­ing Ja­panese army to the city in 1937 and was deeply shocked.

She was then a his­tory teacher for six-graders in Ja­pan. She found his­tory text­books vague and am­bigu­ous about the in­va­sive war against China and de­cided to find out more about the truth.

“The text­books only men­tioned that Ja­pan lost the war, but noth­ing about the in­va­sion, they de­scribed the US atomic bomb­ings of Hiroshima and Na­gasaki, but miss out the suf­fer­ings of the peo­ple vic­tim­ized by Ja­pan’s in­va­sion,” she said.

“As a teacher, I taught the chil­dren about jus­tice, but the text­books in Ja­pan seemed not just,” she said.

When see­ing pho­tos of the heads cut down and the women raped at an ex­hi­bi­tion in Nan­jing for the first time, Mat­suoka said she could not help shed­ding tears of pain and shame.

“I made up my mind at that time that I have to tell my stu­dents in Ja­pan what had re­ally hap­pened, and what pain and sor­row were as­so­ci­ated with the his­tor­i­cal truth,” she said.

Mat­suoka spent the next 30 years in­ter­view­ing hun­dreds of sur­vivors and vic­tim­iz­ers of the 1937 Nan­jing Mas­sacre,

With­out know­ing the ter­ror of the war, they can­not un­der­stand the pre­cious­ness of the peace.” Ta­maki Mat­suoka, au­thor on Ja­panese war crimes

and based on their tes­ti­monies, wrote books and pro­duced doc­u­men­taries to con­vey the his­toric truth.

The first tes­ti­mony Mat­suoka heard was from Li Xi­uy­ing who was born in 1919. She was stabbed 37 times by Ja­panese soldiers and lost her baby in the 1937 mas­sacre.

To get tes­ti­monies from the vic­tim­iz­ers was more dif­fi­cult. It was not un­til eight years later that Mat­suoka started in­ter­view­ing Ja­panese war vet­er­ans, and Yoshi­haru Mat­sumura was one of them.

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