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The Nanking Atrocity, 1937-1938

Complicating the Picture

Edited by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi

456 pages, 7 maps, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-180-6 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (June 2007)

ISBN  978-1-84545-500-2 $34.95/£24.00 Pb Published (December 2007)

eISBN 978-1-78238-211-9 eBook

Hb Pb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors

“This collection of 16 thoroughly researched articles is a refreshingly candid response to Japanese scholarship that denies or minimizes the attack on Nanking in order to advance contemporary jingoistic politics… the volume provides an invaluable summary of the politics surrounding the atrocity in Japan… Highly recommended.” · Choice

“This volume is of great use to historians of modern China and Japan, and  proves valuable for scholars working on comparative genocide A number of chapters would work well in terms of undergraduate and graduate teaching Taken together, the essays here drive the point home that only through more detailed historical study can we remove the politicized lens of contemporary nationalism which continue to cloud our understanding of the horrendous episode of history.” · History

“...the vociferous debates over what happened at Nanjing are far from over. Wakabayashi’s book has provided an admirable starting point however for approaching the subject with balance and as much objectivity as can be gathered…professional historians and researchers of the period, especially Western historians, would do well to consult The Nanjing Atrocity in their efforts at gaining a more complete picture of the event.”  ·  In-Spire: Journal of Law, Politics and Societies

“The book offers a much more nuanced approach to the study of the Atrocity, based on new research findings, and represents a springboard for future scholarship. The many shades of opinion on Nanking are represented and discussed with a fairness and balance not often found in this particular field. The book deserves to be read widely, and should be deemed compulsory reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of East Asian history and contemporary international relations.”  ·  Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

"All of the articles in the volume are essential reading for anyone interested in the subject..."  ·  The Historian

“…Wakabayashi called on his authors to offer cutting-edge, revisionist perspectives based on new empirical research. As such, most of the essays rise to this challenge and successfully undermine many of the assumptions and basic facts employed by both the Chinese nationalists and the Japanese deniers…any scholar or student serious about exploring the significance of Nanjing 1937–38 should have this book at the top of their reading list.”  ·  Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies (EJCJS)

“This excellent book… is an outstanding contribution to furthering our understanding and conversation about one of the most controversial episodes in the twentieth century.”  ·  Journal of Japanese Studies

“These articles are presented as point of departure for discussions and not as the conclusion of a debate that will continue to be heated in the years to come. They are essential reading for those who try and understand not only the events of Nanking in 1937-38 but also their importance in Asian politics today.”  ·  Vingtième Siècle

“The essays are of high quality and are carefully edited … Wakabayashi’s introductory essay sets out the ‘messiness’ of historical reality very clearly, arguing against melodramatic interpretations … These essays are meant as a starting point for discussion…Yet for anyone concerned to understand not only the events in Nanjing in 1937-38 but the question of why they are so potent in Asian politics today, they will be essential reading.”  ·  Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

“…a timely, valuable addition to a controversial field…The 16 chapters provide a carefully considered balance of historiography and research based on Chinese, English and Japanese sources…[this publication] provides a tremendous service to those interested in the current, especially Japanese, state of the field.”  ·  Pacific Affairs

“This outstanding collection of essays detailing what is known about what actually happened at Nanjing, and overview of the historiographic battle lines, is an invaluable contribution to an understanding of the ‘Atrocity.’ These essays provide a compelling refutation of the tired and implausible arguments typically espoused by the deniers and minimizers and also vividly portray the various atrocities committed by the Imperial Armed Forces. This collection also offers refreshing counterpoints to the hyperbole that biases - and undermines - Chinese accounts of the tragedy.”  ·  Japan Times

December 13, 2007 marks the 70th anniversary of the fall of the Chinese city of Nanking to the Japanese army. The "Nanking Atrocity" of winter 1937-8, also known as the "Nanking Massacre," lies at the core of bitter disputes over history, wartime victimization, and postwar restitution that preclude amicable Sino-Japanese relations to this day. This volume, which is both history and historiography, offers the most recent scholarship about what actually happened in Nanking and places those findings in the context of how Chinese and Japanese writers have attributed mutually incompatible meanings to the event ever since; an event that is coined, on the Chinese side, as "the forgotten Holocaust," after the subtitle of Iris' Chang's 1997 bestseller, The Rape of Nanking, uncritically adopted by Western public opinion, a gross distortion according to the contributors of this volume. However, the authors also deflate Japanese exculpatory narratives which, serving their own ideological agendas, holds that Nanking was a combat operation against unlawful belligerents, which produced only a few dozen innocent victims. This volume presents new facts and fresh interpretations with the overriding aim to "complicate the picture" and to debunk myths, expose fallacies, and rectify misconceptions that obstruct a clear understanding of the issues and prevent ultimate reconciliation between China and Japan.

Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi is Professor of History at York University, Toronto, specializing in Japanese political thought and World War Two in East Asia. His publications include Anti-Foreignism and Western Learning in Early-Modern Japan (Harvard University Press, 1986), Japanese Loyalism Reconstrued (University of Hawaii Press, 1995), and Modern Japanese Thought (Ed.,Cambridge University Press, 1999).

Series: Volume 2, Asia-Pacific Studies: Past and Present
Subject: Genocide Studies WWII History
Area: Asia

LC: DS797.56.N365 N38 2007

BL: YC.2008.a.7554

BISAC: HIS027100 HISTORY/Military/World War II; HIS008000 HISTORY/Asia/China

BIC: HBTZ Genocide & ethnic cleansing; HBWQ Second World War


Preface and Acknowledgments
Wade-Giles to Pinyin Conversion Table


Chapter 1. The Messiness of Historical Reality
Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi

Chapter 2. The Nanking Atrocity: An Interpretive Overview
Fujiwara Akira

Section One: War Crimes and Doubts

Chapter 3. Massacres outside Nanking City
Kasahara Tokushi

Chapter 4. Massacres near Mufushan
Ono Kenji

Chapter 5. Part of the Numbers Issue: Demography and Civilian Victims
David Askew

Chapter 6. The Nanking 100-Man Killing Contest Debate, 1971–75
Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi

Chapter 7. Radhabinod Pal on the Rape of The Tokyo Judgment and the Guilt of History
Timothy Brook

Section Two: Agressors and Collaborators

Chapter 8. Letters from a Reserve Officer Conscripted to Nanking
Amano Saburô
Chapter 9. Chinese Collaboration in Nanking
Timothy Brook

Chapter 10. Westerners in Occupied Nanking: December 1937 to February 1938
David Askew

Chapter 11. Wartime Accounts of the Nanking Atrocity
Takashi Yoshida

Section Three: Another Denied Holocaust?

Chapter 12. The Nanking Atrocity and Chinese Historical Memory
Joshua A. Fogel

Chapter 13. A Tale of Two Atrocities: Critical Appraisal of American Historiography
Masahiro Yamamoto

Chapter 14. Higashinakano Osamichi: The Last Word in Denial

Chapter 15. Nanking: Denial and Atonement in Contemporary Japan
Kimura Takuji


Chapter 16. Leftover Problems
Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi


Notes on Contributors

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