You know about the Holocaust, and German atrocities during World War Two. You know about Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Stalin’s Gulag Archipelago. But we’ll bet you’re not so familiar with another one of the greatest atrocities to occur during the 20th Century.

As a general rule here at the Outrage we focus on the Here and Now; there’s certainly no shortage of current events to feed the fires of outrage. But the publication of Iris Chang’s book, The Rape of Nanking, has inspired us to take a look back at one of the most nauseating events in the history of Outrage.

Chang has written a well-documented book based on American missionary diaries, U.S. Naval intelligence reports, Japanese military diaries, letters and reports from Nazi party members stationed in Nanking, Japanese foreign office communications, news reports, photographs, and film footage. But the most chilling evidence is the 1,700 testimonials from Chinese survivors, many of whom are still alive.

In December of 1937 the Japanese Army swept into the eastern Chinese city of Nanking and began an orgy of rape, torture and murder which was so brutal that even the Nazis were appalled. Within weeks of the invasion more than 300,000 civilians had been butchered.

To put this atrocity into perspective consider this: in six to eight weeks, Japanese soldiers killed more Chinese civilians than the combined death toll from the U.S. atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More civilians were killed in two months in Nanking than were killed in Great Britain, France, and Belgium, combined, during all of World War Two.

But the real Outrage can not be explained simply with statistics. Japanese soldiers, acting on orders to spare no one, were probably seeking to terrify the rest of China into submission by making an example of the civilians in Nanking. Their brutality was almost beyond comprehension.

Chinese men and women were used for bayonet practice and decapitation contests. Babies were tossed into vats of boiling water. In a secret laboratory called Ei1644 Japanese scientists injected Chinese captives with poisons, germs, and lethal gasses.

Methods of killing included hanging victims by their tongues on iron hooks, and burying civilians waist deep to be torn apart by German Shepherds. Nazis in Nanking at the time called the Japanese atrocities the work of a “bestial machinery.”

As the sobriquet implies, the worst atrocities were inflicted against Chinese women. Japanese soldiers raped from 20,000 to 80,000 Chinese women during this orgy of brutality, making it the second worst mass rape in world history. (The worst supposedly being the attacks on Bengali women by Pakistani soldiers in 1971.)

In addition to gang rape, many of the victims were brutally tortured to death after being raped. Some rape victims were disemboweled, or nailed alive to walls. Others had their breasts cut off. Japanese soldiers forced some Chinese civilians to commit incest while their families and the soldiers watched. During and after the Rape of Nanking “uncounted” numbers of Chinese women committed suicide by drowning themselves in the Yangtze River.

As terrible as it was, the atrocities that took place in Nanking in late 1937 and early 1938 were only a small part of Chinese suffering. Chang estimates a staggering 19 million Chinese died as a result of the Japanese invasion during World War Two.

  • Save this Post to Scrapbook

0 thoughts on “THE RAPE OF NANKING!

  1. ih, my god. this is the most disturbing thin i have read in a long time.

    Being a student of history, I have, over the years come across references about Japanese atrocities in China. My real outrage comes when I encounter people who have what I call “SelectaVision. These are usually the typical Liberal Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve Warmed Over Sixties Hippies who rant in outrage over the Evil Empire of the United States for dropping two bombs on Japanese cities. They either have no knowledge of or are deliberate in their hypocrisy toward Nanking’s sufferings. All I can say, if I had been a survivor of Nanking or a relative of its victems, I would have bought tickets for a ring-side seat at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Irrational? There is no rationale for what the Japanese Army did in China. Responsibility? If we forced the Germans in whole communities to pass in review before the rotting corpses of Hitler’s innocent victems, why not the Japanese people?

    The perpetrators of this atrocity are the money behind the global citizen disarmament program. After they confiscate our means of resistance, there is nothing to stop them from doing it again.

    The perpetrators of this atrocity are the money behind the global citizen disarmament program. After they confiscate our means of resistance, there is nothing to stop them from doing it again.

    Time: 1/19/98 (0:57:37)

    as this is the first I have heard of this, I have no coment to what may or may not be fact…except to say what comes around goes around.

    I believe its chinas turn to get even if true.

    The Japanese will never apologize for the rape of Nanking. They have never apologized for the atrocities they committed during WW II. What happened during the Japanese invasion of China is conveniently ignored or hidden by the Japanese government.

    My uncle was US Consul in Shanghai when the Japanese invaded China. He had direct and very unhappy experiences with them. He considered the invaders as inhuman destroyers of thousands of Chinese people.

    The extraordinary thing is how few Americans are aware of these terrible atrocities today. I look forward to reading the book and congratulate the author for her investigative reporting.

    Time: 1/17/98 (14:56:25)

    when I was in jr high school, we were shown a movie about the german concentration camps that was very graphic, in the sense that we should not forget what can and will happen when so few deceive so many.

    However, the u.s. is not without fault, either. Is it any less atrocious what the goverment did during the period between 1945 and the time the nuclear proliferation ban was enacted on the above ground testing of atomic devices?

    The army, in particular, was very big on tests on uninformed pacific islanders and military service members alike, all in the name to study the effects.

    This comment is meant to draw attention to the many faces of the government, and although it does do good, it also at times does evil.

    Yes I am outraged! But this comes as no surprise to me. My father was a guest of the Japanese, for three and one half years during WWII.

    From his cell, He witnessed first hand, the cruelty of these people. After his ship sank, he saw his men being shot to death as they floundered in the water.

    He has published the only books about the Asiatic Fleet during WWII. Look for Winslow, W. G., USN. “THE FLEET THE GODS FORGOT”, and “THE GHOST THAT DIED AT SUNDA STRAIT.” Read the true history for yourself!

    I know how the Japanese placed the heads of Chinese captures, on bamboo polls all around the camp as a reminder to the men inside, how dangerous it would be to try to escape!

    Yes, I’m outraged but NOT surprised!

    Delsa Winslow Amundson

    You should have read comments, at Japanese websites, from some of the Japanese perpetrators who are still alive. They claimed that they “enjoyed” their sense of absolute power while committing the atrocities.

    We have allowed an entire generation of murderers and rapists to roam free in the streets of Japan. I hope they all die a
    haunting and agonizing death.

    Is this the first time you folks have heard of this? I’ve know about it for years.

    As far as an apology is concerned, it’s not going to happen. Can you imagine the turmoil it would cause in the world markets? Look at what happened when we found out about the Germans at the end of WWII. What possible good can an apology do for the Chinese now? None.

    These events are 50 years ago. I cannot think of a single good that would come from an apology or even an acknowledgement. When sadistic people get into government and can start a war, this type of thing will happen. There’s not much you can do about it.

    Except for utterly destroying the country responsible. Now you have more human rights folks screaming about the so-called innocent other people (civilians).

    This is what is known as a catch-22. Like I said: Nothing positive will come about by making an inter-national incident of this.

    Am I outraged? If I weren’t I would expect God to strike me dead where I sit. I can’t beleive that I’ve never heard this before. My father fought in WWII, in Europe. I fought in Viet Nam and am a self acclaimed conspiracy theorist.

    How could it have gone uncovered for so long. Surely God must have a broken heart. I am sick nearly to death. God forgive and have mercy on us all.

    Time: 1/15/98 (14:25:30)

    My fiance is Chinese. Her father is very cynical towards Japan. I always thought he was just narrow minded. He would have been just a child when this happened. I don’t blame him for his feelings.

    Regarding an official apology for the Rape of Nanking, don’t you think that it’s outrageous that while ordinary citizens can and are prosecuted for crimes that they committed years or even decades in the past, when a person commits crimes on behalf of the government, all that’s needed to patch things up is an official apology?


    God bless harry Truman! Having said that, let’s all turn off our Sony TV screens, get in our Nissans and Hondas and take some photos with our Nikons. I guess we really taught those Nanking rapists a lesson.

    Each time someone tells me about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I remind them of the rape of Nanking.

    I find most unforgivable the refusal of the Japanese government to acknowledge the crimes committed as a nation against the Asia countries during WWII and the brutal colonial rule it held Taiwan and Korea under for 50 years.

    As long as the Japanese as a people refuses to come to term with what they did, like the Germans have, the rest of Asia should be lerry. And the Chinese will NEVER forget what happend between 1937 and 1945.

    Time: 1/15/98 (8:9:4)

    Who is to blame for the for the outrage? Those who do not want to know are. When the bottom line is profit. who cares about the odd outrage.The Rape of Nanking and the Bengali women is on a rerun some place every day.

    So don’t outrage about it. Trade will suffer. Jobs will be lost.

    Time: 1/15/98 (4:40:1)

    Good article on the rape of Nanking. Now, as long as you’re being historical, how about a comparison between Hitler’s Holocaust & Stalin’s Purges?

    It amazes me how the one is thrown in every conservative’s face at least once a day, while the other seems to be well on the way to being forgotten. As soon as my daughter is old enough she will read Journey Into the Whirlwind.
    I recommend it to all.

    If anyone has been following the outrage…

    Humanity still is suffering these kinds of attrocities at the hands of other people and their “ideals”.

    When are we going to wake up and learn from the past. It might just be human nature…NAH!

    This was a little heavy for what I hope for in my daily outrage, but worth retelling. My father has mentioned seeing, as a kid, newsreel footage of the Rape of Nanking, in this country, but otherwise I’ve never heard this particular atrocity mentioned

    Japan may be our great ally now, but they tend to be very revisionist about their WWII history, and in this case we may be complicitous.

    I have heard about these and other wartime Japanese atrocities many times, and am appalled each time I hear them.

    This is barely a generation ago, and yet today we are being brainwashed into believing how wonderful the Japanese people are, and the how much we should imitate the Japanese system. Maybe we should have dropped more Bombs!

    Regarding Hanah’s comment, I agree that today’s outrage was grotesque, sickening and nightmarish, and a departure from your usual style.

    It was also wholly appropriate. The events you describe were sickening, and no description of them, whether emotional or dry and detached, could possibly be other than sickening. There was no room for satire here.

    I hope that for the most part you stick to your usual style, but today’s Outrage was well-received–by me anyway. I share your outrage.

    Oh my heavens…..I almost fainted just reading these atrocities!

    I like The Outrage for its brilliant satirical interpretations of events that most Americans take for granted as part of modern life. Today’s Outrage, however, provided none of that. It was completely grotesque, sickening, and nightmarish. If I want to be scared out of my wits, and lose my lunch at the same time, I can go rent a horror film. Thanks for nothing today, Outrage. Get back on track.

    My father fought at Guadalcanal against the Japanese and he says that by the second day there was no such thing as a Japanese POW unless an officer happened to get close enough to intervene. They fought you like you weren’t human and to beat them you had to adopt their ways. We became them to a certain degree. I agree that there should be an apology. Or at least an open admission of the horror of the act. We shouldn’t impose ourselves on other cultures but we also should not tolerate those that de-value the rights and lives of others. That is why the Bomb was a good decision.

    I sure do appreciate you guys. Thanks for bringing todays outrage to my attention. I had no Idea that that had happened. This old world, I’m thankful to be here and alive, but sometimes I cant wait to get off of it. Lincoln Turner

    Time: 1/14/98 (10:40:19)

    What do you expect from a people who would commit such acts? Of course they are not going to apologize for it because to do so would indicate that the Japanese people, at the core, are still barbaric!

    They would do it again in a heartbeat if they were able. Expecially to the Chinese, a long time hated enemy!

  2. Something was left out of the article: the general in charge of the capitulation/occupation of Nanking had originally had orders to participate in a campaign similar to the German’s when they invaded France (Wir sind nicht Barbaren/”We are not barbarians”). The idea was to show the Chinese that the Imperial Japanese were willing to share their power in the “Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere.” Unfortunately, one of the Imperial Princes was there as an observer (Prince Asaka, I believe) and countermanded the original orders and pulled rank in order to satisfy his own dark desires against the Chinese people (his wife had died shortly before his arrival in China – Hirohito was rumbered to have sent him in order to rouse him from his depressive mourning). One would have thought that he would have been executed at the end of the war for his role at the Rape of Nanking, but since Gen. MacArthur and the occupation army cut a deal to protect the Imperial family from retribution (in order to secure a bulwark against possible communist expansion in the east). So in short, they executed the General that was present at the Rape of Nanking, while Prince Asaka lived in one of his summer palaces (which conveinently was “owned” by the Fujiwara family) and played golf all day until he died peacefully of old age.

  3. My mother used to tell me comments about how easy we have it here, and how back in China, there were always “bad conditions.” I used to not care because she simply glossed over it, but I am glad of being informed. Thanks.

  4. What the Japanese soldiers did in Nanking is unimaginable. I feel sorry for those who are still denying the occurrence of the Massacre. It pains me to see that similar events are still taking place in many parts of the world.

    I always heard that Japan regards honour very highly, BUT THEY BLOODY WELL HAVE NONE!!! Is there anyway that we can bring this up in the next U.N. and demand from Japanese that they acknowledge what they done. Email me back if there is.

  6. I have to say, I myself have read a lot about the atrocities committed by Hitler during WWII- we are all forced to learn about them in school, anymore. But never, even in my interest in researching WWII and the Axis Powers, have I ever heard anything about the Rape of Nanking. I begin to wonder why, and then I realize- the Japanese are a major trade partner with the U.S. We don’t want to publicly say or learn anything offensive about them. It’s disgusting. Thank you, Outrage, for bringing this atrocity to my attention. There are a few people I’m going to have to talk to now. If chilcren learn about the Holocaust, should they not learn about the Rape?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *