Rape of Nanking

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Rape of Nanking
Nanking bodies 1937.jpg
Perpetrator: Japanese Imperial Army
Date: December 13, 1937 - January 1938
Location: Nanjing, China
Motive: Anti-Chinese sentiment


Crimes: Mass murder




War crimes

Crimes against humanity

Let me recount some instances occurring in the last two days. Last night the house of one of the Chinese staff members of the university was broken into and two of the women, his relatives, were raped. Two girls, about 16, were raped to death in one of the refugee camps. In the University Middle School where there are 8,000 people the Japs came in ten times last night, over the wall, stole food, clothing, and raped until they were satisfied. They bayoneted one little boy of eight who [had] five bayonet wounds including one that penetrated his stomach, a portion of omentum was outside the abdomen. I think he will live
~ Robert O. Wilson on the Rape of Nanking

The Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Nanking Massacre or the Rape of Nanking, was a series of atrocities instigated by Imperial Japanese troops under the command of Iwane Matsui against citizens in Nanking, the then capital of the Republic of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The event started on December 1937 and ended on January 1938, and led to the deaths of 50,000 to 300,000 people. It is considered to be one of the most heinous acts of mass murder ever perpetrated.

The massacre was so horrific that John Rabe, a German businessman and a staunch member of the Nazi Party, teamed up with other foreigners to establish a "Safety Zone", where they could attempt to keep civilians safe. As Rabe wrote in his diary, he and the other Europeans and Americans lived in constant fear of the Japanese despite being theoretically safe.

An article published in the journal Sociological Theory has described the massacre as a genocide, given the fact that residents were still slaughtered en masse during the aftermath, despite the successful and certain outcome in battle.

Hisao Tani was the main instigator of all atrocities and was accused of raping 20 women.

List of Atrocities

  • A contest was held between soldiers Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda on who could kill more people with a sword. Initially competing for who could kill 100 people first, both soldiers reportedly lost count of the first tally of kills and decided to increase it to 150. The final tally ended up being 106 to 105.
  • Women, ranging from children to the elderly, were systematically gang-raped by Japanese soldiers, who went from door to door. Once women were raped, they would be mutilated and dismembered in a gruesome fashion, using sticks of bamboo or bayonets to penetrate their vagina. Children were not excluded from this practice.
  • Japanese soldiers forced mothers to rape their sons, and fathers to rape their daughters.
  • Anyone in the city who was affiliated with the Chinese military was systematically executed. They would be beheaded, machine-gunned, impaled, drowned, buried alive, and their bodies were disposed out on the streets in massive heaps if they weren't burned.
  • Citizens would be shot and left dying on the road; some were intentionally thrown into the Yangtze River.
  • Widespread looting.
  • There are reports of Japanese officers committing cannibalism, eating the organs of Chinese soldiers.
  • One-third of the city was destroyed as a result of arson. According to reports, Japanese troops torched newly built government buildings as well as the homes of many civilians. There was considerable destruction to areas outside the city walls.
  • During post-war period to modern era, Many of the Japanese politicians are in full denial about the Massacre as they paraise the deceased Imperial Japanese Army soldiers and Navy sailors in the infamous Yasukuni shrine and lied about the atrocities of the Japanese military.