The online companion to our Nanjing Atrocities book includes maps, images, timelines, and readings for students to gain a deeper understanding of East Asia during World War II.
Three testimonies from survivors of the Nanjing Atrocities are included here. They are only three of many and each has been translated from Mandarin Chinese. All include memories of extreme acts of violence and trauma. Gender violence is prominent in each testimony and great care and sensitivity should be considered in any use with students.
Revolutionary writings and efforts by leaders such as Sun Yat-sen and Zou Rong played a key role in the end of Qing rule in China. By the early twentieth century, feudalism was on the verge of collapse. Years of humiliation and defeat at the hands of Western colonial powers and the Japanese, and a series of failed uprisings, set the stage for the end of the Qing dynasty. Two key events were seminal in this process.
Decades after the end of World War II in China, Sino-Japanese relations continue to remain strained. Conflicting memories and accounts of imperial Japan’s occupation of China and wartime atrocities remain one element of this discord. One of the most visible expressions of this tension arises regularly at the Yasukuni shrine.
John H. D. Rabe’s story presents a paradox. He is remembered as a great humanitarian despite remaining a loyal member of the Nazi Party. Born in 1882 in Hamburg, Germany, Rabe first came to Shanghai in 1908. He began working for the Chinese branch of the Siemens Company in 1911 and 20 years later in 1931 transferred to Nanjing and served as director of the Siemens branch office with his wife and two children. Siemens was largely responsible for building the Nanjing telephone lines and supplying turbines for the electrical plant and equipment for the city’s hospitals.
Learn about a resistance group that used literary efforts to respond to the Japanese occupation of China.
Over the years Japanese political leaders have issued a number of general apologies for the Imperial Army’s conduct during World War II. Despite these apologies, the Chinese people and Sino-Japanese relations have yet to be fully normalized, and tensions remain. Often the criticisms revolve around the actual language used by Japanese public figures to acknowledge the destruction and terror waged on behalf of their nation during World War II. What weight do different terms carry under such important circumstances? Are there different levels of responsibility expressed in using terms such as remorse versus apology?
Cultural psychologists Hazel Rose Markus and Alana Conner studied different ways of being, or what they term the independent and interdependent selves. Markus and Conner looked at a range of environments, from class- room participation to ways of parenting, between students from Eastern and Western cultures. While there are important variations and distinct differences within these regions and cultures, Markus and Conner shared some general observations.
On the morning of December 13, 1937, four divisions of the Japanese army and two navy fleets on the Yangtze River invaded Nanjing. The capital city now became one of the largest cities under the Japanese Central China Area Army (CCAA). The prewar population of over one million had shrunk considerably by November as the Japanese army advanced. On the morning of the 13th approximately 500,000 Chinese still remained. These were largely the poor who had little alternative while those able to leave had either financial resources or a place to go west of Nanjing.
Japan’s efforts to build a modern nation considered both its history and adaptation of Western practices. This exposure to other nations paved the way for a new openness with the rest of the world and allowed for the emergence of a group of intellectuals who believed that adopting aspects of Western culture would only strengthen Japan. Kido Takayoshi (1833–1877), one delegate on the Iwakura Mission, wrote to his friend Sugiyama Takatoshi in 1873 and discussed the critical role of education in the United States.