Docstoc

The Rape Of Nanking by Iris Chang - Disturbing Excellent

Document Sample
The Rape Of Nanking by Iris Chang - Disturbing Excellent Powered By Docstoc
					  The Rape Of Nanking by Iris Chang




                              Disturbing, Excellent


China has endured much hardship in its history, as Iris Chang shows in
her ably researched The Rape of Nanking, a book that recounts the
horrible events in that eastern Chinese city under Japanese occupation in
the late 1930s. Nanking, she writes, served as a kind of laboratory in
which Japanese soldiers were taught to slaughter unarmed, unresisting
civilians, as they would later do throughout Asia. Likening their victims to
insects and animals, the Japanese commanders orchestrated a campaign
in which several hundred thousand--no one is sure just how many--
Chinese soldiers and noncombatants alike were killed. Chang turns up an
unlikely hero in German businessman John Rabe, a devoted member of
the Nazi party who importuned Adolf Hitler to intervene and stop the
slaughter, and who personally saved the lives of countless residents of
Nanking. She also suggests that the Japanese government pay
reparations and apologize for its armys horrific acts of 60 years ago.

Iris Chang's Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II is
an indictment not just of the horror of the six weeks that followed the fall of
Nanking but like Perilous Memories seeks to recover (or recapture) lost
suffering and marginalized narratives and bodies. Chang's Rape of
Nanking is a testament to the courage of a handful of individuals who saw
themselves as humans rather than as German, American or Chinese. The
most basic question is, Why? Chang offers several possible explanations.
She writes, "Some Japanese scholars believe that the horrors of the Rape
of Nanking and other outrages of the Sino-Japanese War were caused by
a phenomenon called "the transfer of oppression." [...] A second factor in
the atrocities, scholars believe, is the virulent contempt that many
Japanese military reserved for Chinese people - a contempt cultivated by
decades of propaganda, education, and social indoctrination. [...] A third
factor was religion. Imbuing violence with holy meaning, the Japanese
imperial army made violence a cultural imperative every bit as powerful as
that which propelled Europeans during the Crusades and the Spanish
Inquisition." What this leads into is a sense of the totalizing effect of
Racialization. Chang begins with, "Strangely, because of an incident in
Nanking a decade earlier, most expected to have more trouble with the
Chinese than the Japanese. [...] "We were more prepared for the excesses
from the fleeing Chinese, particularly troops from Hsiakwan, but never,
never from the Japanese. On the contrary, we had exp ected that with the
appearance of the Japanese the return of peace, quiet and prosperity
would occur." The liminality of race is evident. Not to reduce the war to
engagement of pure racial animosity, this book not just teases out it stands
as confirmation of the racial tensions explained by Dower in War without
Mercy.

Chang then proceeds to place the problematic of Japanese as empire
builders at the center of this discourse. Invited to the banquet and fearing
being served up as the meal, the Meiji Japanese set out to create an
empire at par with the other players in the imperialism game. Chang stops
short of any conspiracy theory. But in fact they did set out to conquer Asia
-- the whole narrative of the East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere speaks to this
legacy. After that having been laid out: the need to take control of East and
Southeast Asia, the Racialization, the massacre and then revisionism -- as
opposed to Nazis, one is compelled to ask: How did the Japanese get
away with it? The answer, Chang argues lies with the US.

With the advent of the Cold War, US relations vis-à-vis Japan changed
dramatically. From enemy to ally -- the Japanese and the Americans
collaborated to fend of communism by protecting the kokutai and rigging
the Tokyo War Trials. Chang writes, "Washington decided to maintain a
stable government in Japan in order to challenge communism in Asia. The
US left the prewar bureaucracy in Japan virtually intact, permitting many of
its wartime perpetrators to go unpunished. Therefore, while the Nazi
regime was overhauled and replaced and numerous Nazi war criminals
were hunted down and brought to trial, many high-ranking wartime
Japanese officials returned to power and prospered." Chang calls the
silence/denial of the events and the lack of restitution the "second rape."
Chang writes: "[...] many leading officials in Japan continue to believe (or
pretend to believe) that their country did nothing that requires
compensation, or even apologies, and contend that many of the worst
misdeeds their government has been accused of perpetrating never
happened and that evidence that they did happen was fabricated by the
Chinese and other Japan bashers." However, somehow truth wins out.
Chang writes, "Ironically, attempts to disprove the Nanking massacre
backfired when the revisionists themselves began to probe into the subject
for ammunition against the "massacre faction." For instance, in the 1980s
Kaikosha, a fraternity of army cadet school graduates, asked its eighteen
thousand members to come forward with eyewitness accounts to discredit
the Nanking massacre. To the dismay of the "illusion faction," many
Kaikosha members confirmed the details of the Rape of Nanking and
described atrocities that horrified even hard-core "Japanese
conservatives."
Did we need to drop the bomb? As much as she does not really tackle the
issue of the bomb, my sense is that she has fallen into the trap of alluding
that it was necessary -- finding a sense of relief in it when she writes: "The
end of Nanking's ordeal came at last in the summer of 1945. On August 6,
1945, the US dropped an untested uranium bomb on Hiroshima, Japan's
eight-largest city, killing 100,000 of its 245,000 people on the first day.
When a Japanese surrender was not forthcoming, the Americans dropped,
on August 9, a second, plutonium type bomb on the Japanese city of
Nagasaki. Less than a week later, on August 14, the Japanese made the
final decision to surrender." The final statement is philosophical, "The
Rape of Nanking should be perceived as a cautionary tale -- an illustration
of how easily human beings can be encouraged to allow their teenagers to
be molded into efficient killing machines able to suppress their better
natures." Rape of Nanking as text is a testament to resistance to a form of
military hegemony.

    For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price:
   The Rape Of Nanking by Iris Chang - 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:1
posted:7/26/2012
language:
pages:3
garyp900 garyp900
About