Banned manga depicting Nanjing Massacre

This is a repost of an article from the Kyodo news service originally published on October 14th of last year.

Publisher pulls Nanjing Massacre manga after politicians protest
TOKYO — Major publisher Shueisha Inc said Wednesday it will suspend publication of a comic in a popular weekly manga magazine after Japanese local politicians claimed it “distorts history.”

Shueisha said it will not publish the comic “Kuni ga Moeru” (The Country is Burning) in the Oct 13 and Oct 28 editions of Weekly Young Jump, which is immensely popular with Japanese men.

“Some people say the photo used for reference in the drawing was fabricated. It was inappropriate to use such material,” a Shueisha representative said.

The comic series, authored by Hiroshi Motomiya, is a fictional tale about the life of a bureaucrat in the turbulent times of the early Showa era (1926-1989). It has been carried in the magazine since November 2002.

In the magazine’s Sept 16 and Sept 22 editions, the comic described Japanese soldiers massacring civilians in Nanjing in China, in reference to the Nanjing Massacre of 1937.

A group of 37 members of local assemblies protested to the publisher on Oct 5, saying the massacre was presented as if it were the truth in the form of manga and that it was deliberately distorting history by using a photo whose authenticity cannot be confirmed.

They said in a letter that there is strong evidence that the massacre never happened and no proof that it did.

“The parts related to the use of the fake photo as pointed out will be edited or deleted when the comic book is published,” Shueisha said in its reply to the complaint.

The Nanjing Massacre refers to atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army against civilians in Nanjing and its vicinity from December 1937 to January 1938.

The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal concluded that more than 140,000 people were killed. Some Chinese historians put the death toll much higher at 300,000 in Nanjing alone. Japanese accounts vary from several thousand to 200,000 dead. (Kyodo News)

Here is a sample page from the original manga, chosen to show how graphically it actually depicts the Massacre. Do realize that this comes from the weekly manga magazine ‘Young Jump,’ whose primary audience is Jr Highschool boys-the same segment that the shitty rightwing textbook is supposed to be teaching.
nanjing massacre manga

The entire 20 or so pages can be found here.

I think that this backs up both of my points in my previous post; namely that firstly, the Japanese public at large is in fact exposed to and open to a range of viewpoints regarding history and are not opposed to the truth, and secondly that the ultra rightists, in their vocal attempts to stifle what the public sees, succeed in becoming the only voice picked up by international media. Still, it is most disturbing that there are a number ultra rightists who deny that the Nanjing Massacre ever took place. Of course their presence on the web is mainly in Japanese, but here is one example in English. Japanese readers may be interested in this detailed page trying to ‘prove’ that the photographs used in Iris Chang’s book The Rape of Nanking are false. For the record, I find Nanjing Massacre-denyers about as credible as people who believe that we never actually landed on the moon. (To be clear, that means I don’t believe them.) It is very unfortunate that the Japanese public is willing to accept this kind of bullying by extremists.

15 thoughts on “Banned manga depicting Nanjing Massacre”

  1. Ya I’d say that first of all, the ultra-rightists are sponsored by the yakuza which makes them untouchable as far as the average Japanese is concerned. I saw a guy get hit by a car once in Osaka, and once he realized it was a shiny black caddilac (the yakuza’s brand of choice) he just limped away.

    That said, the Japanese public’s complacence is a testament to their brand of civic participation. That is, the average Japanese person’s idea of political participation can be summed up in one word: voting. Despite a high level of political apathy and the near-absence of politics from every day conversation, Japanese voter turnout is really high.

    So a good beginning to getting the average Japanese to stop tolerating this badgering is to let them know that being in a democracy is more than just voting, it’s making your voice heard. And public politics is not just the venue of party officials and extremist thugs.

  2. Okay…. so let me get this straight. The work isn’t being pulled because it’s offensive, inflamatory, or libelous, but because it “deliberately distorts history?” Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t this a work of fiction to begin with? I don’t know much about Japanese politics, but I do know plenty about corporate doublespeak, and that’s about as high-quality of an example as you can find.

  3. Pingback: Andrés Gentry
  4. All photos that China offered to prove Nanking Massacre were false. There was not photo to prove Nanking Incident at all. People who believed these photos were taken at Nanking Massacre will react as following, “What objective does China need to use fake and fabricated photo in order to Nanking Massacre? For what!? What meaning does China offer fake photos? It is not necessary for China to fabricate history!! Don’t tell a lie!” You think so. I also think so at the first time to have heard it. Because it proves you have common sense. China’s thinking way is beyond our common sense. They can do any dirty things in order to get their own goal.In Chinese proverb, “Even if it is a lie, it will be true by telling 100 times.”

  5. Man this is ehavy stuff.. As the old saying goes.. the people in power write the history.. I wonder how our modern day history will be seen in the eyes of the future generations.. kinda scarey dont u think ?

  6. 問い

     why has the number of negative sects of
      the nanking massacre increased in japan?
     it is perhaps because the following book is published.
     this book is based on the confidential document
      of the guomindang(chinese nationalist party).

    『南京事件 “証拠写真” を検証する』
      analyzing the “photographic evidence”
        of the nanking massacre
       ( → )
       ( → )
        參考 )
       charles cheung’s blog

  7. Nope, the Nanking massacre or rape did happen and it was a TRUE FACT.
    Most people of Japanese, I believe, deny the Nanking Massacre event because they don’t want to change world’s view on them, as it may be embarrassing or shameful for such what-so-called-as-honourable-country to commit these unforgivable crimes. After all, it’s Japan, the nation of honor, where pride is important to be maintained.
    To gain more evidence about this event, perhaps you may try to buy a historical book called “Horror in the East”. This book was written by Laurence Rees, which shows almost clear the truth that Imperial Army of Japanese during 1937s had caused uncountable deaths of both eastern, whom at that time was regarded by the Japanese as ‘sub-human or more appropriately called “Chancorro” (means below human in Japanese, like bugs or animals; mostly was referred for Chinese)’, and the western as well.
    Well, if you still don’t believe it then, I have several historical evidence from my asian friends’ elders, and they still condemned the Japanese’s act, causing much of their precious people at that time to lost their own lives. ‘Women, men and children desperately fled for their lives from Japanese soldier and hid themselves in the mountain. You young people don’t understand how ruthless Japanese are.’ said one of my friend’s grandmother in anger when I started to run my J-pop songs on computer.
    Yes, even though Chinese is not my nationality, in my opinion, Japanese’s agression towards the Chinese were truly unforgivable and never should be forgiven. Half of myself agreed that the tsunami calamity caused in 2011 was deserved for their past atrocity and inhuman acts. I love Italy, and German for their recognition over the crimes they caused and they even apologized for it in front of the world!
    While Japan…today Japan is criticized as a nation because of an inability to apologize properly over the crimes they committed for their own name.

  8. ““Chancorro” (means below human in Japanese, like bugs or animals; mostly was referred for Chinese)’”

    It is a bad word, but comes from 中国人(チュンクォレン)and basically just means “ch##k” and makes no judgement on humanity. I think that you are mistaking this for Kichikubeiei, which means “English and American beasts” (Kichiku are one of the degenerate states in Buddhism). That’s still a lot better than American anti-Japanese racial propaganda.

    “Most people of Japanese, I believe, deny the Nanking Massacre event”

    This isn’t the case. Polls were done in 1982 and 1997 confirming that 85% of Japanese believe that Japan holds powerful responsibility for its historical violence against China. Absolute denial rates around 2% of the population.

    Don’t look at “Horror in the East”, a rather poor documentary by amateurs. Historians working in neutral third countries do not accept the major Chinese claims about the Nanking massacre (300,000+ civilians murdered) or the Comfort Women (200,000+ “enslaved” by the Japanese military).


    Bob Wakabayashi, The Nanking Atrocity, 1937-38: Completing the Picture
    Joshua Fogel, The Nanking Massacre in History and Historiography
    C. Sarah Soh, The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan

    The conclusions: While Japan’s widespread wartime violence is obvious, Chinese and Korean official accounts are not based in historical evidence, Japan’s apologies and compensation lag behind that of Germany but are far superior to what Italy accomplished (or other colonial powers).

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