Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Episode 143 – Nanjing, Part 2


This week, we talk about how views of Nanjing have shifted since WWII, and where the modern right-wing revisionists came from.  Why are we still talking about a massacre from 80 years ago?


Listen to the episode here.


Yoshida, Takashi. The Making of the Rape of Nanjing.

Fogel, Joshua. The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography.

Tadashi, Bob Wakabayashi. The Nanjing Attrocity, 1937-38: Complicating the Picture.


Iwane Matsui

Matsui Iwane receiving his death sentence from the IMTFE. His commander, Prince Asaka Yasuhiko, would be far luckier than him, and would retire to a life of golf.


An exterior view of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum, completed in 1985.


The 300000 victims number is a deeply controversial one that the Chinese government has embraced wholeheartedly. To my mind, it’s fundamentally the wrong thing to be talking about.


This picture really encapsulates the whole Chinese view of Nanjing for me. The massacre is a warning of what could happen if the strength of the communist party — here depicted as three People’s Liberation Army soldiers — is not there to protect the Chinese people.


Xia Shuqin, a Chinese witness to the massacre, in Japan. Xia won a libel case before the Japanese supreme court, suing Nanjing denier Higashikano Shudo for 4 million yen.

kdenounces brainwashing in the name of peacemuseums

Kobayashi Yoshinori’s Sensoron is an attempt to take the reivisionist message and repackage it for a younger generation. This panel shows Japanese youth being “brainwashed” (i.e. confronting historical reality) at one of Japan’s many “leftie” museums.


Episode 142 – Nanjing, Part 1


Episode 144 – An Offer You Can’t Refuse, Part 1


  1. Aaron Bias

    I’m enjoying your podcast very much. Just listened to the two-part coverage of Nanjing. Have you seen the film “The Flowers of War”? It’s currently streaming on Netflix. It’s set during the Nanjing attack and, while not overly graphic, is fairly unsettling. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on it.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Laurence COPELAND

    listening to this episode, i felt you tried a bit too hard to convince us that revisionism is near-universally discredited in today’s Japan. After all, even if, for example, Shintaro Ishihara’s view of the Nanjing Massacre is completely unrepresentative, you can’t get away from the fact that he was literally representative of the capital city, so presumably most people regarded his attitude to the war as not important enough to stop them voting for him. Can you imagine a holocaust-denier being voted mayor of Berlin? Then of course there is the somewhat ambivalent attitude to Japanese warcrimes of the PM……
    In general, my own impression is that Japan has attempted (and perhaps succeeded) in executing a piece of historical sleight-of-hand comparable to that of Austria. Both countries appear to have largely convinced themselves that they were victims, not aggressors ….Austria because it was “invaded” in 1936, Japan because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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