The following article, in full, encapsulates what atrocities can do to a nation and that has an effect for generations. It describes well the emotional feelins of a peoples that will probably never be eradicated. I will add comments at the end of the article from time to time.
“We hate the Japanese.”
“We don’t like Japanese people.”
It is surprisingly common for Chinese people to make statements like these in otherwise polite conversation. These words are often spoken as rote repetition, with a lack of emotion that comes from expressing a sentiment that is so commonly expressed as to be cliche. These statements tend to be delivered with an argumentative impunity which seems to say, “Why wouldn’t we hate Japan?”
As a fresh wave of anti-Japanese sentiment just broke across China, I decided to look into the roots of the animosity this culture so loudly expresses for Japan and delineate its boundaries. My questions here were very broad, but they generally provoked very poignant and simple responses.
“Why do Chinese people not like Japanese people?” I asked a group of Chinese college students in a cafe in Taizhou.
“Because they are devils!” one girl shrieked as the others laughed.
Meanwhile, another girl walked through the coffee shop chanting “China! China!” while pumping a fist in the air as though cheering for an Olympic athlete.
Then a young man, with a little more stoicism, said one word in English:
He meant WW2.
Because of what they did to us in World War Two.
This is the main and, from what I can tell, sole reason behind China’s animosity for the Japanese. I’ve never heard another explanation in all my years in China, and it’s spoken as though anyone who knows what the Japanese military did in China during those war years would not disagree with this reactionary sentiment.
The Nanjing Massacre Museum
Nanjing massacre museum
There is a focal point in China from which to investigate the history of Japanese aggression in China during the Second World War, and that place is the Nanjing Massacre museum.
The Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre sits on the site of a mass grave where 12,000 Chinese civilians and surrendered soldiers were dumped haphazardly after being murdered by the Japanese military. It sits by Jiangdong gate, an area that is now full of modern high-rise apartments, shopping malls, and highways. From looking around this area it is difficult to image that it was the scene of some of the most atrocious events in human history a little over 70 years ago.
I walked into the museum and made way through the outdoor exhibits. They consisted of testimonials from survivors, sculptures, and a wall that had the names of some of the victims carved into it. I then turned a corner and walked down a set of stairs into a cool, dark hall. A sign by its entrance urged visitors to be quiet and respectful, and I came to a start when I found out why: a section of the mass grave was uncovered and left exposed for visitors to see what it held inside.
Skeletons were laid out in disarray over an area that was not unlike the archaeology sites I spent my youth working on. The excavators peeled back the earthen blanket that covered the bodies for decades and dusted off the bones, leaving them as an in-situ reminder of the atrocities that put them there. It was here that I could see, raw and direct, what had happened during the Nanjing massacre. Some of the remains were disfigured with incisions and bullet holes, others, so the excavator’s notes detailed, had nails hammered into their skulls or pelvises premortem.
250,000 to 300,000 unarmed soldiers and civilians were slaughtered by the Japanese military in Nanjing during a six week period at the end of 1937. Tens of thousands were killed and tossed into mass graves like the one I was looking upon, while others were tossed into the Yangzi River, burned in giant bonfires, or just left to rot where they fell. Women, children, the elderly, monks, and nuns were not except to the carnage as the Japanese indiscriminately slaughtered civilians with complete impunity.
Mass grave at the Nanjing Massacre Museum
In addition to the murders, 20,000 incidents of rape were estimated to have occurred during the Japanese occupation of Nanjing alone.
I know not where to end. Never I have heard or read such brutality. Rape! Rape! Rape! We estimate at least 1,000 cases a night, and many by day. In case of resistance or anything that seems like disapproval, there is a bayonet stab or a bullet … People are hysterical … Women are being carried off every morning, afternoon and evening. The whole Japanese army seems to be free to go and come as it pleases, and to do whatever it pleases. -Reverend James M. McCallum, witness to the Nanjing occupation.
On and on, the exhibits in the museum went like this, showing evidence of one of the worst massacres and wholesale human rights abuses ever recorded in human history. There were photos that showed babies with bullet holes in them, bayoneted children, raped and mutilated women, men with their arms tied behind their backs being led to slaughter, piles of corpses filling mass graves and clogging the banks of the Yangzi River. Where the Germans were systematic in their WW2 era exterminations, the Japanese were indiscriminate: civilians, unarmed and surrendered soldiers, women, children, babies, everybody seemed to be fair game. They truly did act as devils.
Much of the primary evidence — photos, videos, diary testimonies — used to show what had happened during the Nanjing Massacre were taken by foreign residents and journalists, or even the Japanese themselves.
The Chinese visitors in the museum for once were neither chattering nor toying with their mobile phones. They were demure, obviously occupied with and disturbed by the scenes they were looking upon. Most were visibly upset, some appeared angry, many had eyes that were glazed over with tears. I have never seen the Chinese so introverted before. They were in their holocaust museum.
“How do you feel in this place?” I asked a young Chinese man that struck up a conversation with me.
I could not understand his response, but his gesture said it all. He raise a hand up to his head as if to say, “too much.” Then in English he said, “We have to come here.”
But Nanjing was not where the story of Japan’s atrocities in China started or ended. Wherever the Japanese military went they left a similar trail of murder, rape, pillage, and carnage as they took over large parts of the country. In addition to conventional weapons, they used chemical and biological agents — many of which were “tested” on civilian population centers. Japanese germ warfare alone, which included cholera, anthrax, and plague is estimated to have killed at least 400,000 Chinese civilians.
These bombs enabled Japanese soldiers to launch biological attacks, infecting agriculture, reservoirs, wells, and other areas with anthrax, plague-carrier fleas, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, and other deadly pathogens. During biological bomb experiments, scientists dressed in protective suits would examine the dying victims. Infected food supplies and clothing were dropped by airplane into areas of China not occupied by Japanese forces. In addition, poisoned food and candies were given out to unsuspecting victims and children, and the results examined.
In 2002, Changde, China, site of the flea spraying attack, held an “International Symposium on the Crimes of Bacteriological Warfare” which estimated that at least 580,000 people died as a result of the attack. The historian Sheldon Harris claims that 200,000 died.
Nazi-esque medical testing, including human vivisection, killed and/ or seriously maimed thousands more at Unit 731 and other similar facilities set up around China.
Prisoners were subjected to other torturous experiments such as being hung upside down to see how long it would take for them to choke to death, having air injected into their arteries to determine the time until the onset of embolism, and having horse urine injected into their kidneys . . . In other tests, subjects were deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death; placed into high-pressure chambers until death; experimented upon to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival; placed into centrifuges and spun until death; injected with animal blood; exposed to lethal doses of x-rays; subjected to various chemical weapons inside gas chambers; injected with sea water to determine if it could be a substitute for saline; and/or burned or buried alive.
The military tactics used by the Japanese in China during WW2 count as some of the most heinous in modern history. China was not just defeated by the Japan, China was humiliated. A humiliation that continues to be a blemish on the culture more than sixty years later. When I ask why the Chinese maintain a strong animosity for the Japanese, this is the reason.
The final thing that you see when exiting the Nanjing Massacre Museum is a large monument of a woman holding a child that has the word “peace” written in large letters upon its base. It is my impression that this is the last sentiment that many Chinese people feel towards the Japanese upon exiting this memorial. But it is difficult to blame them for this feeling: if this was something that had happened to my country during my grandparent’s era, if the things I saw in this museum were culturally familiar to me, if I had just looked at photos of my city razed to the ground and of piles of corpses of my people, I must admit that it would probably be difficult for me to exit such a place feeling completely level headed and culturally sensitive.
The continuation of animosity
“Reviving war memories keeps the nation united against Japan, and behind the party.” -Liu Xiaobo.
On a visit to the Nanjing Massacre Museum in 2004, Chinese president Hu Jintao said, “This is a good place to carry out patriotic education. We must never forget the patriotic education of the young, and this tragic history must also never be forgotten.”
They call it National Humiliation Education, and its a required course that every Chinese student must takes. Its lessons focus on the various humiliations that China faced at the hands of foreign powers throughout history, and come to a crescendo when focusing on Japanese aggression during the Second World War. It’s a curriculum that encourages patriotism and national cohesion, and the effect seems to plant a seed of animosity in the country’s youth against Japan in particular.
Chinese kids can be forgiven for thinking Japan is a nation of “devils,” a slur used without embarrassment in polite Chinese society. They were raised to feel that way . . . Starting in elementary school children learn reading, writing and the “Education in National Humiliation.” This last curriculum teaches that Japanese “bandits” brutalized China throughout the 1930s and would do so today given half a chance. Although European colonial powers receive their share of censure, the main goal is keeping memories of Japanese conquest fresh. –Why China Loves to Hate Japan
Whenever China needs its population to come together, whenever support for a new leader is wanted, whenever a wave nationalism and the mania of having an enemy could be used to heal a political fracture or cover up a governmental blunder, a button is pushed and the Chinese start protesting Japan.
It seems to work. Right now, the Chinese population is ablaze with anti-Japanese sentiment, and the news is all about the Diaoyu Islands and fighting Japan — not corruption in the upper tiers of the government or what is really going on with the new president who is about to come into office.
Hatred for the Japanese is not something that has yet been healed with time. It is not a scenario comparable to how Jewish people today tend to feel towards Germans. To the contrary, anti-Japanese sentiment remains strong in China as the government, media, and education system work together to continuously re-open the wounds of history.
The extent of anti-Japanese sentiment
The people of China say they hate the Japanese and want to fight Japan, but I have to truly question the extent of these sentiments.
There is a difference between hating the idea of culture, nationality, or race and expressing this hatred directly to the individuals of the targeted group. The Chinese public seem to hate the Japanese as a sports team hates an opponent. If this was a genuine hatred that manifested itself openly with action I’m quite sure there wouldn’t be over 130,000 Japanese people living in China right now.
I’ve been traveling in and out of China since 2005, and I’ve met many Japanese people here during this time. When doing so I always try to ask them about their experience of living in a culture that so openly professes animosity towards them. Oddly, none of them have ever said that they’ve been the recipient of any direct hostility. Even during the most recent anti-Japanese flare up, outside of a few minor incidents (one Japanese guy had soup thrown in his face, another was kicked in the streets), relatively very few Japanese people were actually harmed in any way. There seems to be a big separation between the Chinese hating Japan as a country and hating Japanese individuals.
“Do you think the Japanese are different now than they were in WW2?” I recently asked a young, educated Chinese man.
He thought for a moment before saying, “Yes, I think they are different now.”
Japan and China are so interwoven politically and economically that any vital expression of hatred would not be in the interests of either country. There are thousands of Japanese people living in China, Japanese students are going to Chinese universities, Japanese businesses are everywhere, Japanese products are very popular, and Japanese themed restaurants are on the rise. The second most studied foreign language in China is Japanese. Chinese tourists visit Japan in droves and vice-versa. Japan is China’s fifth largest trading partner. Japan gives over a billion dollars in aid to China each year. Japanese people drink in the same bars as Chinese people, eat in the same restaurants, ride on the same subway trains, work the same jobs, sleep in the same dorm rooms.
On the streets of China, Sino-Japanese relations is not a cockfight scenario where you toss a Chinese and a Japanese guy in a room watch them fight. Outside of occasional flare ups, on a day to day basis anti-Japanese sentiment in China takes a backseat to the mutual interests that benefit both countries.
After an extended discussion with a young accounting student as to why he so boldly stated to me that he hated the Japanese, he turned to me and said something that made complete sense given the intertwined cultural influence that his country shares with it’s much flaunted enemy:
“It’s not the Japanese people that we hate,” he admitted. “The people are okay. It’s their officials who we don’t like.”
This sentiment has been echoed to me many times over as I listen to Chinese people say how much they hate Japan in one breath and then ogle over the latest Japanese anime, video game, or technology in the next.
I recently sat next to a Chinese guy on a bus who could only be described as an ultra-nationalist. “I HATE Japan!” he roared. “China needs to fight Japan, we need to go to war with Japan,” he continued staying over and over again.
I stopped him short:
“What do you think of the Japanese people?”
His tone then changed, he looked at me inquisitively and said, “I think they are kind.”
There is a drastic separation in logic here: the Japan that many Chinese say they hate is more the idea of Japan rather than the actual individuals that make up the country. It is my impression that when the Chinese say they want war with Japan it’s more to rectify the embarrassment which pockmarks their history than the true desire to kill Japanese people. On an individual to individual level, the Japanese are, for the most part, treated rather amiably in China — which belies all the anti-Japanese rhetoric and slogans of hate which are being aired fervently across the country.
To learn about an atrocity is one thing, to have it brought up regularly in school, in the media, and in politics as a crutch to manipulate the general public is quite another. History, as it was shown at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial, is an example from which to guide the future, not something from which to incite vengeance in the present. None of us come from a culture, a race, or a country that has not committed massacres at some point or another in the past. No matter if you’re from the USA, Chinese, European, a Native American, Maya, Eastern European, Kenyan, Namibian, or Japanese, in the eyes of history we’re all descendants of devils. The Nanjing massacre and the other atrocities that the Japanese committed in China during WW2 stand as extreme examples of the brutality that humans are capable of, but it is still history.
About the author: Wade Shepard is the editor of The China Chronicle. He has been traveling the world since 1999, though has been using China as his base of operations on and off since 2005
Comparisons of Japanese Attrocities in China and the Holocaust.
Holocaust Death Toll
2:18PM GMT 26 Jan 2005
Millions of Jews, gipsies, Russians and prisoners of war died in Hitler’s death camps as part of his Final Solution plans.
Below is a list of the death toll.
- Between five and six million Jews
- More than three million Soviet prisoners of war
- More than two million Soviet civilians
- More than one million Polish civilians
- More than one million Yugoslav civilians
- About 70,000 men, women and children with mental and physical handicaps
- More than 200,000 gipsies
- Unknown numbers of political prisoners, resistance fighters, homosexuals and deportees 
That roughly adds up to 12 million 270,000 thousand people disposed off during those few years.
“Statistics Of Japanese Democide
From the invasion of China in 1937 to the end of World War II, the Japanese military regime murdered near 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most probably almost 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture (such as the view that those enemy soldiers who surrender while still able to resist were criminals).
Table 3.1 presents the sources, estimates, and calculations on Japanese democide in World War II. There is one major omission, however. Democide in China during the Sino-Japanese War that begun in 1937, and merged with WWII in December 1941, is excluded. This democide has been separately calculated in Rummel (1994), and only the total derived there is given in the table (line 386) in calculating the overall democide.
The first part of the table (lines 2 to 42) calculates the number of Japanese that died in Japanese wars, 1937 to 1945. This amounted to 1,771,000 to 3,187,000 Japanese, most likely 2,521,000 (line 42). Of this number, 672,000 probably were civilians (line 32), virtually all killed in American air raids (including the two atomic bombs).
The first democide I consider is against prisoners of war and interned civilians (lines 45 to 93). Most of these figures are official, and were presented at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial.1 No figure for French POWs deaths in Indochina were available in the sources. I then estimated this from the total garrison (line 52) and the percent of POWs killed for other nations (line 53).
The overall number of POWs and internees killed was about 138,000 (line 93). Since this is largely based on official figures released shortly after the war, I give no high and low. For nations releasing figures on both the total number of POWs captured and the number dying in Japanese captivity, the POW death rate averaged nearly 29 percent.
The table next lists estimates of the total Asian forced laborers who died from Japanese maltreatment. The most notorious case of indifference to the health and welfare of prisoners and forced laborers was the building of the Burma-Thailand railroad in 1942 to 1943. Estimates of those killed, including POWs, are given (lines 97 to 104) in the table. I already included these POW deaths under the POW total (line 93). As for Asian forced laborers working on the railroad, 30,000 to 100,000 died, probably 60,000 (line 105).
I also list forced labor deaths for specific countries, beginning with Indonesia (Dutch East Indies, at the time). How many Indonesian forced laborers were actually conscripted by the Japanese is unknown. Estimates run as high as 1,500,000 (line 110a); even more speculative is the death toll. This varies in the sources from 200,000 to 1,430,000 deaths, with perhaps the most likely figure being 300,000 (the figure “accepted” by the United Nations–line 114).” 
Although the above figures are estimates is is also possible that the number of Chinese killed in the Japanese genocide could be as ahigh as 10 million, as high as that of the holocaust deaths.
Has Japan Ever Apologized to China for its Wartime Aggression?
By Minami Funakoshi on
[The following is an op-ed, and does not necessarily express the opinions of the editors.]
After the outbreak of anti-Japan riots in China incited by the Diaoyudao dispute, I asked my Chinese teacher, “Why do you think the anti-Japan sentiment is still so strong in China?” “I think it is because many Chinese people are upset that Japan still has not formally apologized for the atrocities they committed against China in the past,” she answered. “I feel the same way, too. I know every country, including China, has a dark history. But that does not mean Japan doesn’t have the obligation to admit its past mistakes. Germany has apologized for the Holocaust. Why hasn’t Japan apologized for its past aggression?”
Growing up, I always felt slightly ashamed of Japan, even indignant. When I learned about the atrocities Imperial Japan committed during the Second World War, I asked the same questions that my teacher asked—Why has Japan never admitted its wartime atrocities, and why has it never apologized?—until one day, I learned that Japan has apologized for its past aggression.
Or so I thought.
Apology? Yes and no
This yes-no question—has Japan apologized to China?—is not so simple as it seems. As this article on New York Times’ Chinese language site points out, Japan has repeatedly attempted to apologize for its wartime aggression. But Japan’s attempted apologies, China claims, have so far been unsatisfactory or insincere.
In 1972, 1995, and in 2001, various Japanese prime ministers have issued what they considered to be a valid apology. Each time, China rejected the statement as a valid apology for one or more of three reasons: 1) the lack of the explicit mention of the word “apology,” 2) the lack of the explicit mention of China as the victim of Japanese aggression, and 3) the apology was only stated in a speech, but not written down in an official document.
The New York Times article claims that Japan satisfied all but the third requirement for the first time in 2001, when Prime Minister Koizumi visited China. This is, however, debatable. In 1997, Prime Minister Hashimoto stated during a press conference in Beijing:
In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Government of Japan expressed its resolution through the statement by the Prime Minister, which states that during a certain period in the past, Japan’s conduct caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, including China, and the Prime Minister expressed his feeling of deep remorse and stated his heartfelt apology, while giving his word to make efforts for peace.
Perhaps what China wanted was to be singled out as the only country that suffered Japanese aggression, instead of being grouped amongst the “many countries.”
Over the last four decades, Japan has been rewording and reissuing statements in attempt to meet China’s criteria for a “valid” apology. “Japan does want to fully express its apologies to China,” my father said to me once, “And we have been trying to do so. It’s just that every time we try, China seems to come up with new criteria, new definitions. If they truly do want to let us apologize and move on, why not tell us all the criteria from the beginning? It just feels like China is making up reasons to reject our apologies on purpose.”
Fatigue—this is what haunts Japan’s diplomatic relation with China. Many Japanese feel exhausted trying to satisfy China’s seemingly unending demands, and this fatigue also stems from the perception among many Japanese that China refuses to recognize, let alone show gratitude toward, Japan’s Official Development Assistance.
In the “Joint Communiqués Between Japan and China” signed by Prime Minister Tanaka and Chairman Mao in 1972, “the Government of the People’s Republic of China declares that in the interest of the friendship between the Chinese and the Japanese peoples, it renounces its demand for war reparation from Japan.” Nevertheless, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, from 1979 to 2006, Japan loaned US$40 billion to China in the form of ODA (Official Development Assistance), of which a very small percentage, US$1.8 million, comprised pure donations.
Beijing International Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport, and the Beijing subway system were all constructed with the help of Japanese ODA. Yet because the Chinese government refuses to publicize this fact, most Chinese citizens are under the impression that Japan has provided little, if any, financial aid to China.
Granted, no amount of money could ever compensate wartime horrors such as the Rape of Nanking. And ODA is different from war reparation; it is, after all, a loan. But it is important to note that Japan is not trying to add insult to injury by withholding reparations. Japanese aid takes the form of ODA because China willingly renounced its claims to war reparations—something of which most Chinese citizens are also unaware. Over the years, Japan became embittered and fatigued as its assistance went unrecognized. “No matter how much we help China, China will simply take it for granted and continue to demand more,” many Japanese citizens complained. “Even Chinese citizens don’t even know that they are receiving aid from Japan. Why should Japan continue to send aid to China if they show absolutely no sign of gratitude?” Finally, in 2007, Japan ended the ODA program to China.
Looking to the future
The history of China-Japan relations is more complex than most Chinese or Japanese people realize; it is not an issue that can be solved with a single apology. Yet there is too little information, and too little dialogue about it. How many Chinese people know about Japan’s attempted apologies to China? (New York Times’ Chinese-language site is now blocked in China.) How many Chinese people know about the US$40 billion that Japan has sent to China?
Of course, there are many other factors that must be considered when discussing China-Japan relation, including the Yasukuni Shrine controversy, a subject deserving its own article. But there is reason to hope for the future of China-Japan relations. If Japan accepts its past and issues an official written apology addressed specifically and exclusively to China, and if China’s government and its citizens recognize Japan’s efforts, relations will improve. That is easily enough said, but in neither country does it appear to be in any leader’s immediate interest to take the first step. Until that occurs, the hurt feelings and misunderstandings will continue.
America’s Role in the Nangking Rape Amnesia
With the ” Secret Deal ” and by withholding documents, the U.S. has significantly contributed and played a major role in Japan’s historical amnesia.
Japan subsequently signed treaties with other States, including the war claims settlements.
Both U.S. and Japan purposely ignored without honoring the provision of Article 26 and continues to deny its bounded responsibility to compensate its wartime victims to this day.
For details, refer to San Francisco Peace Treaty: Has Justice Been Served and Peace Secured ? , and A Just Peace ? The 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty in Historical Perspective
“Those of us who really believe in human rights believe that justice has not been achieved by the San Francisco Peace Treaty,” said Lillian Sing, a San Francisco Superior Court judge.
“Japan’s historical amnesia is a result of collusion between the U.S. and Jap
an,” said Mark Selden, a history professor at the State University of New York, “ That collusion reached its height in the San Francisco Treaty of 1951.” because the treaty becomes an obstacle to a full reckoning of the suffering Japan inflicted on other Asians and on American PoW.
Peace Treaty locked Japan into a flawed Present. 
Grand-daughter of Tojo: If there was no Emperor , there would be no Japan ……
 Halocaust Deaths: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1481975/The-Holocaust-death-toll.html
 Statistics of Japanese Democide: http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP3.HTM
 Asian Holocaust.,Nanjing Massacre: (For Reference) http://www.skycitygallery.com/japan/japan4.html
 America’s Role in Nanking Rape Amnesia: http://www.skycitygallery.com/japan/japan4.html#soul