The Forgotten Holocaust

Mar 2010
1,960
Florida
In the late '90s I caught Iris Chang, author of the newly-published book The Rape of Nanking, being interviewed by Brian Lamb on CSPAN-2's "Booknotes" (now no longer being broadcast). Chang related a tale of wartime atrocity so horrific in scope that it's almost inconceivable as to why an event which took the lives of an estimated 300,000 people in just six short weeks has received so little attention in the US.

In December 1937 Japanese troops occupying the Chinese city of Nanking embarked on a campaign of annihilation that is almost beyond belief. Young men were herded by the truckload to the outskirts of the city where they were ruthlessly exterminated by various means. Buried alive in shallow graves they themselves were forced to dig, lined up and mowed down by machinegun fire, decapitated by the swords of Japanese officers, doused with gasoline and being set on fire were but a few of the methods employed. These same methods were applied equally to old men, women, and children within the city limits itself by Japanese troops looking for a way to break the monotony of army life so commonly experienced by occupying soldiers with little else to do. Once begun, no one, regardless of age or sex, was safe from the frenzy that consumed Nanking. The final death toll after the smoke had cleared was astounding by anyone's measure. To put it in perspective: more civilians died in this one city in six weeks than died in six years of war in Britain (61,000), France (108,000), Belgium (101,000), or Holland (242,000); more in fact than the combined totals of those Japanese who died as a result of the A-bombs that leveled Hiroshima (140,000) and Nagasaki (70,000).

Women were also literally "raped" by the tens of thousands. Many who became pregnant as a result drowned themselves in rivers rather than lose face in the eyes of their families and ancestors. Others ranging in age from 12-60 were forced into military prostitution in an effort relieve sexual tension among the troops. Some soldiers, apparently not having vented their pent-up frustrations to their satisfaction after the raping of young girls and elderly women, decided to amuse themselves by thrusting bayonets into their vaginas and cutting off their breasts while still alive.

The book contains pics that are among the most gruesome that I've ever laid eyes on: men being used as live dummies in bayonet practice, a severed head perched on a wooden fence with a cigarette placed in its mouth as a "joke", a stick rammed into a dead woman's vagina, young men being forced into a ditch and about to be buried alive, a beheading by sword captured by the camera at the exact moment of decapitation. But the most disturbing of all was not one that was pictorically graphic -- it was the caption itself underneath that most horrified the reader. The pic was of two Japanese officers standing side by side and leaning on their swords while looking at the camera. Nothing grisly or repugnant about that, right? Then the caption: "The Japanese media avidly covered the army's killing contests near Nanking. In one of the most notorious, two Japanese sub-lieutenants, Mukai Toshiaki and Noda Takeshi, went on separate beheading sprees near Nanking to see who could kill one hundred men first. The Japan Advertiser ran their picture (above) under the bold headline 'Contest to Kill First 100 Chinese with Sword Extended When Both Fighters Exceed Mark -- Mukai Scores 106 and Noda 105.'" Both fighters? Well aren't these two the heroic little Audie Murphys of the Orient. What's even more remarkable is that this headline and pic appeared not in a military establishment paper such as the US armed forces Stars and Stripes, published strictly for the consumption of troops stationed far from home, but in a civilian daily read by millions on the home islands. My only question is whether this interesting little tidbit was plastered on the front page or in the "Sports" section. It was "entertainment" not only for those who witnessed or participated in such utterly inhumane spectacles, but also for the folks back home; the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters of these "fun-loving" butchers.

Journalists and cameramen from around the globe bore witness to many of these atrocities firsthand without experiencing any harassment whatsoever on the part of the Japanese. Why? Apparently the wholesale slaughter was intended to be made widely known to the public so as to terrorize those Chinese troops still resisting into surrendering. This ill-conceived "battle plan" backfired completely however and only served to strengthen the resolve and stiffen the resistance of Chiang Kai-shek's forces all the more.

Today in the West we are reminded on an almost daily basis via the media of the horrific crimes carried out by the Germans in the camps of eastern Poland. Hollywood movies, tv documentaries, museums and memorials, classroom instruction, magazine articles and books; you name it, it's there 24/7. Why then, with all this coverage and constant reminder of "man's inhumanity to man", are we not told of a holocaust committed by an enemy Axis power located not in Europe but in the Orient? Over 300,000 noncombatants murdered in just six weeks. No Hollywood movies have been made; no remembrance committees to commemorate the dead have been slapped together; not so much as one little statuette to honor those who perished at the hands of an army every bit as capable (more so in fact) of inflicting unspeakable horrors on a totally innocent population as were their co-conspirators in Europe. Why is that? Are they not deserving of our reflections and sympathy also?
 
Last edited:

diddyriddick

Historum Emeritas
May 2009
14,692
A tiny hamlet in the Carolina Sandhills
Are they not deserving of our reflections and sympathy also?
In a word, yes. That such a thing could happen is horrible...perhaps moreso since the Japanese people have never acknowleged responsibility.

What is perhaps different is that THE holocaust was the result of fundamental governmental policy; for the first time in the "civilized" west, institutional murder became official edict.
 

Bucephalus

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
2,176
Sacramento, CA
The Rape of Nanking, like the Nazi extermination of Jews during the Holocaust, is one of those examples of human behavior that is so extraordinarily vile that it almost defies one's ability to fully comprehend it. When the government and citizenry of an entire nation are complicit in the imprisonment, torture, rape, and murder of entire populations of civilians, we see in ourselves the capacity to commit unspeakable evil.

I believe that there are several reasons that we haven't seen more media treatments of this event. Firstly, Japan has steadfastly avoided acknowledging their responsibility for virtually all of their wartime atrocities, helping to effectively sweep this under the rug of modern history. Secondly, much of the media coverage of the Holocaust that you mention (TV documentaries, films, etc.) have been produced by western media, which has been less focused on these events than those in Europe. That leaves only the Chinese and Japanese media who might be likely cover this. The Japanese, of course, won't mention it - because to them it officially "never happened." I do not know what kind of coverage Chinese state-run media has given to this over the years, but it is likely that it would not be widely distributed beyond China. Finally, I believe that many filmmakers and documentarians might shy away from an in-depth treatment of the Rape of Naking because few normal people would want to sit through an hour or two of that type of visual assault - and anything less than a no-holds-barred approach would do a disservice to the actual enormity of the horrors that took place. To cinematically treat this in a manner fitting the actual evil committed by the Japanese would probably have people throwing up in the aisles of the movie theaters...
 

vera

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,508
Israel
It is beyond comprehension that human beings can behave in such a manner to fellow humans, no matter what the "reason". There is every reason to learn and to teach about these atrocities.

I fail to see how it has anything to do with the Holocaust, though, and do not think that any comparisons should be made between tragedies.
 

Son of Cathal

Ad Honorem
Oct 2008
4,311
The Bright Center of the Universe
I remember reading somewhere that the Japanese forced fathers to rape theirs daughters and other sickening acts of humiliation and degridation. Of course they aredeserving of our sympathy and more needs to be done to make people aware that the Germans were not the only ones capable and responsible for such acts of human cruelty.

Just on the thing about movies not being made about the Rape of Nanking, there is one movie called Children of the Silk Road that touches on it but not to the extent that it should have
 

sculptingman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
3,673
San Diego
The Japanese have a saying... " a man away from home has no neighbors "
that gives some insight into how they think about such things.

Japanese culture fetishizes violence to this day. You can publish and sell on any street corner comic books showing underage school girls being violently raped and dismembered ( yet it is strictly forbidden to show any pubic hair as that would be obscene )


However... before we corral them with the nazis in the bad people pen...

All peoples are capable of this. All peoples have, at some point or another, indulged in this kind of horror.
Look to Acre and the chivalric example set there...

Once you can convince yourself that your enemy is beneath moral consideration, you can do anything to them..'

And if you watch and listen to the people calling themselves "Tea Parties" you can see process in action, as they sidle up to a violent, and hate filled scapegoating of everyone they politically disagree with.
Under the right circumstance... these same extremist ideologues and dogmatists could be the backbone of this kind of inhumanity.
 

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
And if you watch and listen to the people calling themselves "Tea Parties" you can see process in action, as they sidle up to a violent, and hate filled scapegoating of everyone they politically disagree with.
Under the right circumstance... these same extremist ideologues and dogmatists could be the backbone of this kind of inhumanity.
Sculptingman, this is the sort of gratuitous comment that disrupts an otherwise civil conversation and leads to thread hijacking.

HIJACK:

The attempt to equate the Tea Party movement with Japanese soldiers in China during WWII shows either a complete disregard for the proportions of history or a transparent political agenda, or both.

Even if the worst reports of behaviour by some Tea Party attendees is accurate (and there are on-line articles backed by video and audio that question the reported occurrences), there is simply no equivalence--moral or scale-- between the two.

Tea Partiers were physically attacked by SEIU, Move-On and other leftist groups last summer. Of course, that doesn't justify bad behaviour by Tea Partiers, but it just shows that it is not limited to any one side of the political spectrum.

YOU MAY NOW RESUME YOUR THREAD
 
Mar 2010
1,960
Florida
In a word, yes. That such a thing could happen is horrible...perhaps moreso since the Japanese people have never acknowleged responsibility.

What is perhaps different is that THE holocaust was the result of fundamental governmental policy; for the first time in the "civilized" west, institutional murder became official edict.
What is "perhaps" the most obvious question is whether or not you're missing the whole point of this thread: Yes, we're reminded daily of the poor Jews who suffered at the hands of the Nazis, but what of those we never hear about -- the yellows across the ocean. My objective was to drive home the point that the Jews, nor anyone for that matter, have a patent on the term holocaust. I mean come on, what human being in the West isn't aware of the "THE" Holocaust (patent pending) to begin with... you tell me. It's drummed into our heads relentlessly, is it not?

This thread was meant to draw attention to a "forgotten" holocaust, so let's not forget that. By no means will I have this discussion diverted into the subject of THE holocaust. Dig?
 
Last edited:
Mar 2010
1,960
Florida
It is beyond comprehension that human beings can behave in such a manner to fellow humans, no matter what the "reason". There is every reason to learn and to teach about these atrocities.

I fail to see how it has anything to do with the Holocaust, though, and do not think that any comparisons should be made between tragedies.
Comparisons you say? My answer to that is bull**** -- no one has a market on that one, sweetie (see above post).
 

vera

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,508
Israel
Comparisons you say? My answer to that is bull**** -- no one has a market on that one, my dear (see above post).
Well then, it's always good to know who a person is talking with. Not only do you make irrelevant comparisons - you are also rude to the people conversing with you (see both above posts).