Why was little said about the Rape of Nanking, in China, the United States, and Japan, for nearly 50 years?
According to Yoshida (2006), very little was mentioned about the Rape of Nanking for about 50 years in many countries including China itself, Japan and Japan. Researchers have also advanced their views on why this was the case. For instance, CBC (2014) revealed that the cause of diminishing prominence of the massacre in the said region was due to the World War II event. As Masters (2007) revealed, the innumerable horrors of this war eclipsed the ‘Rape of Nanking.’ Therefore, the focus and discussion was on the World War II. As such, rather than dealing with the past memories of the Rape of Nanking, the three countries had to deal with the issue at hand, which had grave, widespread consequences. For instance, Chang (2012) indicated that following the end of the war, Japan was left devastated. Each if its large cities, save for Kyoto, its industries, as well as, the transportation networks were damaged extensively. Aside from this, for a period of close to fifty years, there was a severe shortage of food. Yoshida (2006) added to this indicating that following the war, the territory that Japan had acquired in 1894 was lost. To worsen the case, the Soviet Union occupied the Soviet Union, and the US gained control of several others.
The effects of the war were devastating, as well. It has been documented by scholars that as a result of the war, 16 million people died at the hands of the Japanese troops. Additionally, the country’s economic and social contexts were disjoined and dislocated. On top of this, civilians underwent various forms of suffering including rapes. Aside from this, as Barnard (2000) posited, the World War II in China undermined Chiang Kai Shek’s government thus providing an avenue for the communists to seize power.
As a result, a rift took place leading to the separation of Taiwan from the Mainland China.
However, different from the two countries, the effects of the war to the US were a positive one. Indeed, Brook (2001) reported that the war appeared to stimulate the US economy as close to 17 million jobs were created and this meant virtually ending unemployment. Aside from this, it has been reported that the average wages increased to a high level of industrial output.
Especially for China and Japan, the effects of the World War II were of high intensity that it took several years to restore. On the other hand, the US focused its efforts in ensuring that the newly acquired status was maintained. To do this, the US established relationships with countries such as China, a thing that created further tensions with Japan and Germany.
Has China’s government, since the 1980s, exploited the memory of the event for political gain?
A set of scholars have also sought to explore how the Chinese government has, since 1980s, exploited the memory of the Rape of Nanking for political gain. As reported in an article by Kristof (1998), since 1980s, the government has used these memories to establish a contemporary Chinese national identity. It has been reported that since 1989, the Chinese government has used the sort of victimization that took place to prove its legitimacy. National identities, as Harris (2002) stated, often evolve through public contestations, and are often founded on the recognition from not only opponents but also neutral parties. Based on this, Goldstone (2002) claimed that the memories of the event under review have provided an opportunity for a public contest between the Chinese and the Japanese governments before a jury of opinions from the Western world. As such, the Chinese has been able to quantify the pain and has successfully presented its case to the world.
Why does Japan refuse to officially apologize for the event? Do current relations China and Japan have anything to do with this?
Even with theoretical and hard evidence that Japanese Imperial Army inflicted torture on the Chinese people in Nanking, Japan has refused to officially apologize for the incidence. The country has openly denied the occurrence of the incidence. Indeed, most Japanese officials, along with writers have claimed that the Rape of Nanking was just a propaganda, which was aimed at sparking anti-Japan movements. It has been expressed that the relationship between the two countries has played a chief role in Japan’s denial of its role in the incidence and its refusal for issuing out an official apology to China. The relationship between China and Japan is characterized by a series of tensions. Japan has accused and heavily criticized China for withholding its valuable earth element reserve.
A further evolving dispute is that of the Senkaku Islands with each claiming that the islands are within its territories. As a result of this dispute, there have been a series of extremely hostile encounters, riots in China, along with heated rhetoric. More recent event that underlines the tension between the two includes the Near miss over East China Sea and the Baosteel emotion seizure, each of which occurred in 2014. The Near miss over East China Sea involved the reconnaissance planes from Japan coming perilously close with the Chinese fighter jets in what has been reported as an overlapping disputed airspace over the sea. The two countries have continued accusing each other for causing circumstances, which are potentially dangerous.
In the Baosteel emotional seizure event, the Chinese government took charge of the Baosteel Emotion as a way to compensate itself for the two Chinese ships that were leased to Japan in mid 1930s. These, along with other growing tensions between the two countries, have made Japan not to give an official apology to China.
Has the United States exploited the memory of the Rape of Nanking for its own purposes as well?
Just like China, the US has also exploited the memory of the massacre for its own purpose. The growth of popular media such as music, novels, films, non-fiction works, and TV series could be used to affirm this. With regard to music, an American thrash metal band called the Exodus has written a sing about the massacre. Aside from this, there have been a series of notable novels that have been motivated by the memories of the massacre. Good examples of these include the Nanjing Requiem, and When the Purple Mountains Burns: A Novel, both of which have been authored by Asian-American novelists. There have been non-fictional works whose production has been motivated by the incidence.
A good example of such is Erwin Wickert’s The Good German of Nanking, which was released in 1998. The massacre’s memories have also made a mark in the film industry given the range of movies whose story lines are based on the event. The 1944’s The Battle of China, which is a documentary film directed by Frank Capra provides a good account of these. A famous T.V series that is based on the event is 2007’s War and Destiny further shows how Americans have exploited the memories of the event to promote the US popular culture. The television series relates a story regarding the life in Nanking not only during but also after the invasion by the Japanese imperial army.