Rape of Nanking: My Thoughts

By Iris Chang

I thought a lot about this book before writing about it. This book definitely is a must-read, not in the sense that as a book-lover, you will love this, no this is a book that is needed to be read by humanity so that we can learn from our past mistakes.

“Civilisation is paper-thin.”

I think that is going to be my takeaway from this. The Rape of Nanking is horror, it is hopelessness, it is murder. It is significant because not only of how an entire city was razed to the ground, but how even after that, it continues to be tried to be buried and forgotten. The Japanese got away, and really negligibly did the criminals have to pay anything at all. The victims were not given reparations, fuck they weren’t even given respect. Even now, Japanese MPs say that they were comfort women and prostitutes. This is horror.

The fact that this book is written by an amateur journalist in the making, whose passion guided her to create the most comprehensive account of all of it, is hopelessness. What good is academia, if it is swayed by politics and covers up actual events. The fact that an AMATEUR JOURNALIST WROTE A MORE COMPREHENSIVE BOOK than 50 FIFTY years of academia is just so bizarre and heartbreaking. That a descendant of the victims had to scout around and write their experience to even bring this to modern day light is, I don’t have words.

This book needs to be read because everyday, there are people actively trying to deny this ever happened. This book needs to be read because Japanese children don’t even know what their forefathers and their ministers and their emperors did. This book needs to be read because so many civilians were raped,massacred, died of starvation and whatnot and Emperor Hirohito died peacefully of cancer in his old age.

I don’t have words or the skill to tell all of this better to you than say the book or far more competent reviewers. You should read this. The balance between the academic tone and the outrage of a human is not always maintained but I can’t blame her. I myself would have wished for a more humane account, but I didn’t do the fucking research. None of us did. This exists. You should read this. When Nazis risk their lives to save people and China shakes hands with Japan and all we know of the Japanese is their electronics and J-pop and anime, this is relevant and needs to be still talked about.

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