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Rape of Nanking

  1. Nov 13, 2004 #1
    Few days ago author of book "rape of Nanking" died,I don't wan't to talk about her but i have just one question: why everybody calls athrocities commited there Rape of Nanking?
    Of course what happened there was very terrible, but in many places During WW2 simillar things happened or even worst,and nobody calls bombing of Hamburg,Cologne or Dresden in simmilar "colorfull" terms. Is it to make Japanese disproportionally bad and to hummiliate Japanese for the rest of their existence?- I think so.
    PS.who came up with that -Rape- remark?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2004 #2


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    1. The scale of the horror was extreme for the period. This was before the holocaust, before things like the Cambodian genocide, and people hadn't become hardened to the horrors visited on civilians. of modern times. At about the same time a few score people were killed in the aerial attack on the village of Guernica, during the Spanish Civil War. The world was shocked, and Picasso painted his famous picture. But now we do the same thing every day in Iraq, and even the arabs can't get too excited over each individual case.

    2. This horror (~100,000 killed, tens of thousands of women raped) was the result of the capture of the city by the Japanese army. If such things were to be visited on every city that was captured, that would be a shocking innovation. As it turned out things ween't that bad, and even the Japanese army somewhat modified it's behavior after the outcry.
  4. Nov 13, 2004 #3
    I won't post any explicit images here but if you use images.google.com you will find out why it is so bad.

    Bombing a city is one thing (and bad), but what they did was comparatively much worse.

    We're talking about cutting off womens breasts after raping them, slicing up their genitals, cutting off the head of any men and putting the genitals in his own mouth. Oh and the cannibalism (they did that in the pacific too)...they'd slice off deposits from people just enough to keep them alive and throw them in ditches and do you know why? The rest of their "meat" would spoil if the individual died... so they'd sit incapacitated for days while bit by bit they were taken apart. Of course many would die from the initial "taking", but some would probably survive enough to be mentally tormented.

    I don't know about you... being bombed sounds much more enticing if I had to make that choice.
  5. Nov 13, 2004 #4


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    I did not know about Iris Chang until seeing Tumor's post and for some reason I had not heard about the case of Nanking. So I have Tumor to thank for alerting me.

    Here is a New York Times article about Iris Chang suicide on November 9 this year. It gives a little background on the book too.

    http://www.indystar.com/articles/5/194383-2585-010.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  6. Nov 13, 2004 #5
    If I were to be bombed by atomic bomb I would go for it.
  7. Nov 13, 2004 #6
    I didn't even know what the event was up until the last year. I didn't even know much about the war in the pacific between Americans and Japanese trying to one up each other on the fear scale (retreating armies would leave tokens of "what will happen to you")...it saddens me what people are actually capable of :(
  8. Nov 13, 2004 #7
    Something curious about Iris Cheng death,she shot herself.It is not the usual manner in which women commit suicide.
  9. Nov 13, 2004 #8


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    Iris Chang lived in San Jose California. She was married to Brett Douglas. I am very sorry for Brett and for their son, who lost his mother.

    I think that Iris Chang was a very brave woman, to face what she did in doing the research for her book.

    She was 36. here is what the NY Times article says about her growing up.

    "Iris Shun-Ru Chang was born March 28, 1968, in Princeton, N.J. She grew up in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. Chang received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois in 1989. After working for The Associated Press and The Chicago Tribune, she earned a master's from Johns Hopkins University in 1991."
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  10. Nov 13, 2004 #9


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    the english word "atrocity" comes from the latin word atrox
    meaning cruel

    synonyms like "savagery" and "brutality" (imputing cruelty to primitive hunter-gatherers and to animals, perhaps rightly in some cases) do not have quite the same sense.

    On the map, Nanking looks to be about 650 miles west of Nagasaki, across the East China Sea. It is up the Yangtse River.

    I am trying to get into focus an idea of "demographic war". this is like the Serbian war against Bosnians, the Israeli war against Palestinians, the Iraqi war against Kurds.
    In such a war the aim is presumably to reduce the numbers and fertility of the other population. The war-aim is not mere power. One is not merely trying to change the political system or the economic system or to install a friendly or subservient government. One is actually trying to change the demographics of the region.

    Atrocity may be a natural outcome of demographic war. Committing horrible acts may help convert the enemy population into refugees.
    Or it may so traumatize the women and children that it interferes with
    normal reproduction. And so cruelty may be seen as multiplying the effectiveness of mere killing.

    I imagine that atrocity would appear repeatedly in warfare in overpopulated regions where basic resources like farmland and water are strained.
    Or where one population has a much higher birthrate than another population-----so that the less reproductive ones feel threatened by a massive and rapid shift in demographics.

    I wonder if those japanese soldiers, in Nanking in 1937, were thinking that the japanese people needed land ("Lebensraum" room to live) and if their behavior was in any sense calculated to cause millions of refugees to leave the region. Was the Japanese invasion partly (at least in the mind of the individual soldier) a demographic war?

    Or was it merely an imperial-ambitions-type war for power and economic advantage------that was the predominant European model for several centuries. If all you want is power and resources, then atrocity to the inhabitants has got to seem really stupid. (of course under Bush we are seeing our share of that too)
  11. Nov 13, 2004 #10
    They humiliated themselves. Then they rewrote their own history. They deserve whatever more humiliation they get.
  12. Nov 13, 2004 #11
    Whatever! But for how long?
  13. Nov 13, 2004 #12


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    Tumor, you raised the issue of punishment and humiliation. I think you are too interested in punishment and humiliation.

    I think the focus should be on understanding history and human nature, and having the truth---from the efforts of a brave journalist---helps.

    Humans are much the same all over the world and it is not such a high priority to point the finger of blame and try to decide who has acted worse than whom, and who more recently and who less recently.

    this is merely to rank the disasters of human nature and parcel out the blame

    we have to do more than this-----we have to understand how atrocity is affected by conditions, and by the personalities of leaders, and by accidents of culture and collective experience, by accidents of religion and culture and education. If it is at all affected by such subtle and fragile things.

    maybe it is not influenced by such things. maybe it is only driven by the crude forces of over-crowding and restricted opportunity and differences in birthrate.

    we have to understand because we are probably looking at a century of increased demographic warfare, all the more so if we do not understand.

    the story of Nanking, and the story of the Kristall-nacht, of violence to women and children--group against group, of Partition India, of Hutu on Tutsi, etc. of the 20th century is probably only a foretaste of the future. especially if we do not understand well enough to foresee and prevent.

    and so one journalist, if she was able to uncover and document the truth, may in time help to save the lives and well-being of people in the future----people in some completely different part of the world.
  14. Nov 14, 2004 #13
    I imagine most of the Japanese living today, had no say in these events and have no power to go back and change them. I fail to see why the Japanese of today need to be punished/humiliated for this.
  15. Nov 18, 2004 #14
    That is the beauty of it.Remember one thing, Japan is ultra rich, its people are truly pacified, my conclusion: there is BIG money to be made there ie,repatriations.Something similar to what Germany must still do, pay exhorbirant repatriations(bilions$) to the second generation holocaust "survivors".

    PS.I pay respect to all murdered peoples in WW2. but that is my take on what is slowly unfolding over there.
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