Photos of Nanking
Under the Japanese Occupation
After the battle, many Nanking citizens, who had abhorred bad deeds done by the Chinese military in the city, welcomed the Japanese military. This is a photo of Japanese soldiers and the Nanking citizens giving cheers, on the day of the Japanese military’s ceremonial entry into Nanking (Dec. 17, 1937, 4 days after the fall of Nanking). The citizens are wearing armbands of the flag of Japan, which were given to all civilians of Nanking to distinguish them from hiding Chinese soldiers in civilian clothing. (“Sino-Japanese War Photograph News #15,” the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, published on Jan. 11, 1938)
Japanese soldiers distributing gifts to Chinese citizens in Nanking. Photo from the British newspaper North China Daily News, published in China in English on December 24, 1937, eleven days after the Japanese occupation of Nanking
Japanese soldiers playing with Chinese children in Nanking using toys, and their parents wearing armbands of the flag of Japan. Photo taken on Dec. 20, 1937, seven days after the occupation, and published in the pictorial book, Shina-jihen Shasin Zensyu, in 1938.
The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, published on Dec. 18, 1937, five days after the occupation, reported scenes of the city in the article entitled, “Nanking in Restoring Peace“:
(Right) Japanese soldiers buying from a Chinese;
(center top) Chinese farmers who returned
to Nanking cultivating their fields;
(center bottom) Chinese citizens returning to Nanking;
(left) Street barbershop, Chinese adults and children smiling.
The Asahi Shimbun, published on Dec. 21, 1937, eight days after the Japanese occupation, reported scenes of Nanking in the article entitled, “Kindnesses to Yesterday’s Enemy“:
(Right top) Chinese soldiers under medical treatment;
(left top) Chinese soldiers receiving food from a Japanese;
(center) Japanese soldiers buying at a Chinese shop;
(right bottom) Chief Yamada talking with a Chinese leader;
(left bottom) Chinese citizens relaxing in Nanking city
Chinese people sick or wounded in a hospital in Nanking and Japanese medics nursing them. Photo from the North China Daily News on December 18, 1937, five days after the occupation of Nanking.
Japanese soldiers nursing Chinese wounded soldiers. Photo taken in Nanking on December 20, 1937, seven days after the occupation, by the correspondent Mr. Hayashi; placed in the Japanese pictorial magazine, Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, and published on January 27, 1938.
“The Chinese citizens did not fear the Japanese and willingly cooperated with me for photo-taking,” testified the press photographer Shinju Sato. Photo taken in Nanking Safety Zone on December 15, 1937, two days after the occupation of Nanking.
Nanking citizens with armbands of the flag of Japan selling vegetables on the street on December 15, 1937.
Chinese boy smiling and Second Lieutenant Takashi Akaboshi, who led a fight along the Yangzi River. Photo taken near the walls of Nanking just after the Japanese occupation(courtesy of Takashi’s wife).
When Japanese soldiers distributed food and sweets, Chinese adults and children gathered together. (December 18, 1937, in Nanking. From the Tokyo NichinichiShimbun.)
Japanese medics giving treatments to Chinese children in Nanking for plague prevention. Photo taken on December 20, 1937, seven days after the occupation, by the correspondent Hayashi. (From Asahi Graph, book 30, No. 3, published on January 19, 1938.)
Chinese citizens rejoicing to receive confectionery from Japanese soldiers on December 20, 1937, in Nanking. (From Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, published on January 27, 1938.)
Chinese prisoners of war going home smiling. From Japanese pictorial book, Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, “Scenes We Want to Show to Chiang Kai-shek,” published on August 5, 1939.
Liu Qixiong, a Chinese soldier who was hiding in the Nanking Safety Zone and caught as a POW. He was used as a coolie for a while, but later became the commander of a brigade for Wang Jingwei’s pro-Japanese government. (Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, No. 14, January 1, 1938)
Japanese soldier handing paper money to a Chinese family in the Nanking Safety Zone. Photo taken on December 27, 1937, fourteen days after the Japanese occupation, by the correspondent Mr. Kageyama; from Asahi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, published on January 27, 1938.
Chinese merchants selling to Japanese soldiers in Nanking. Photo from the pictorial magazine Mainichi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, published on February 1, 1938.
Chinese Christians having worship service in Nanking with Reverend John Maggie, American pastor, after peace returned to the city. Photo from the Asahi Shimbunnewspaper published on December 21, 1937, eight days after the Japanese occupation, in the article entitled “Nanking Smiles.” The article stated, “Hearing their hymns, we noticed, ‘Oh, today’s Sunday.'”
Chinese women coming out of an air-raid shelter and protected by the Japanese military.Photo taken on December 14, 1937, the day after the fall of Nanking, by the correspondent Kadono, and published in the Asahi Shimbun on December 16, 1937.
Chinese people hired by Japanese soldiers to carry food. Photo taken on January 20, 1938, in Nanking. The Japanese distributed the food to the citizens, and there was no death by starvation in Nanking. (From Shina-jihen Shashin Zenshu (2).)
Chinese prisoners of war with legs or arms cut off recuperating in Nanking Concentration Camp in early spring of 1938. (From Mainichi Graph – Nihon no Senreki.)
Chinese prisoners of war playing music with handmade instruments in Nanking Concentration Camp (Mainichi-ban Shina-jihen Gaho, No. 59, May 20, 1939.)
Citizens celebrating the start of Nanking’s self-government on January 3, 1938, waving the Japanese flag and the Chinese five-color flag.
Watch Documentary Movies of Nanking at Youtube
(These are valuable records of the peaceful and restoring city of Nanking just after the Japanese occupation)
* Chinese refugees and the Nanking Safety Zone
* Japanese soldiers distributing certificates to Chinese citizens
* Japanese soldiers preparing for the new year 1938 and the Chinese children celebrating New Year’s Day
Forged Photos of the “Massacre”
Iris Chang’s book, The Rape of Nanking, dated this photo as having been taken just after the Nanking Massacre. However, the alleged Japanese soldier standing by wears a military uniform with a turned-down collar with class badges on it. This style was not introduced until after the uniform revision on June 1, 1938. In addition, the photo does not tell how the pictured dead were killed, by massacre or in battle, and there were many Chinese soldiers in ordinary clothes.
Design of Japanese Army uniforms before and after the June 1, 1938 revision.
In the fall of 1937, the Associated Press (AP) distributed this photo as a Japanese soldier using a Chinese national as a guinea pig for bayonet practice. Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking carries the same kinds of photos of Japanese atrocities. However, the soldier wears a turned-down-collared uniform, which no Japanese soldier wore at that time, so the man is not a Japanese soldier. The January 1939 issue of Lowdown, an American magazine, commented about these photos that this was in fact a communist Chinese officer torturing a Chinese prisoner.
This photo is explained as Chinese people buried alive by the Japanese as a part of the Nanking Massacre. However, the Japanese soldiers are not threatening the Chinese with guns. The Chinese look like they are going in willingly. And the color of true Japanese military gaiters were similar to their uniforms, whereas the gaiters in the photo are rather white—the color of Chinese military gaiters. Also, the size of each person is unnatural. Professor Higashinakano concludes that this was a composite of plural photos.
This photo was identified as Nanking Massacre victims on the shore of the Yangtze River, but these bodies were the Chinese soldiers who died in battle, not a massacre. Hashimoto, a Japanese soldier who fought there, testified, “The Chinese soldiers carried their rifles or machine-guns but none of them were in regular military uniform.” Sekiguchi also testified, “None of them showed signs of surrender.” Thus, the Japanese army had to continue to attack them and many of the Chinese soldiers were shot or drowned in the river. In this photo are the bodies that were washed up on shore.
This photo is used as purported evidence of Nanking Massacre victims, but there was no such custom of gibbeted heads among the Japanese after the 1870s. Among the Chinese, however, this custom was still observed in the 1930s, and several photos of gibbeted heads appeared in cities of China in those days. Chinese Nationalists and Communists often killed pro-Japanese Chinese people and gibbeted their heads on streets as a warning. Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking has the same photo with a larger background behind the heads on page 113. Looking at the photo, those who had experienced Nanking testified that the background is not of Nanking.
This photo was identified as a Japanese soldier executing a Chinese. However, the alleged Japanese soldier is swinging the sword down with one hand. This is indeed Chinese way. The Japanese never swing a sword down with one hand, but with both hands. It is clear that this was a Chinese prearranged performance. The man with the sword appears in other forged photos, also.
This photo is used as purported evidence of infant victims of the Nanking Massacre and is displayed at the Nanking Massacre Memorial Museum in China. However, this photo was not taken in Nanking, for the photo is from a postcard sold in China in war days as the one taken at Tiyelien in Manchuria.
There was no custom of slaughtering infants even of the enemy throughout Japanese history, although this custom frequently appears in Chinese chronicles. Denialists suggest that this photo is in fact a picture of victims of Chinese civil war.
It is well known in Japan that General Iwane Matsui of the Japanese army saved from the battle a Chinese infant who was found crying. He let his subordinate carry the child on his back when marching into Nanking, named her Matsuko, and continued to nurture the child.
This photo of a gibbeted head appeared in Life magazine on January 10, 1938. The caption stated that the head was of an anti-Japanese Chinese man and had been placed there on “Dcember 14, just before the fall of Nanking.” However, December 14 was not before the fall of Nanking. The caption also gives the impression that the Japanese military were responsible for this atrocity, but in China there were a lot of cases of gibbeted heads due to personal hatred or civil war, and there is no positive proof that the Japanese were responsible for these acts.
This photo from Life magazine on January 10, 1938, was taken on December 6, 1937 and explained as a Chinese man carrying his son who had been wounded in the Japanese bombing. This was not a photo after December 13, 1937, the day of the fall of Nanking. The soldier on the left wears a cap that looks Chinese. The movie, Battle of China, and others, used this photo as a depiction of the Nanking Massacre.
Purported evidence of a Japanese public execution in Nanking. However, the surrounding people wear summer clothes, so this photo is not related to the Japanese occupation of Nanking, which took place in winter. There was no custom of public execution in Japanafter the 1870s, although it remained in China in the 1930s. Denialists allege that this was a prearranged pose set up by the Chinese for propaganda purposes.
This photo is explained as an old woman who was killed by the Japanese military and skewered with a pipe thrust into her vagina, without proof that the criminal was really Japanese. This photo has no accompanying reliable information about the evidence: who judged it and how. This kind of killing by skewering was a Chinese practice frequently seen among the Chinese in those days and in Chinese chronicles—not among the Japanese.
This photo is described as a Japanese sailor after beheading and used to show a Japanese atrocity. However, the uniform of the man with a sword is different from a Japanese sailor’s. And, if we look closer, the severed head is so short-haired that the standing “sailor” could not possibly hold it up by grabbing its hair. In addition, the part under the severed head is blackened, which may cause us to speculate that this was actually a touched-up photo of a live man with the area around his head blackened sitting next to the sword-holding man. Denialists allege that this was a prearranged pose set up by the Chinese for propaganda purposes.
This photo was taken in the ruins of Shanghai by H.S. Wang, a Chinese American photographer, and first appeared in Life magazine on October 4, 1937. This became one of the most influential photos to stir up anti-Japanese feeling in the USA, and is still used to show Japanese atrocities in relation to the Nanking Massacre. However, a correspondent of the Chicago Tribune News Service later presented other photos taken at the same hour and same place showing evidence that this had been a staged photo: the baby was brought there by the photographer to create a dramatic photo.
Lies and Propaganda
These forged photos above were distributed by the Chinese Nationalist Party propaganda bureau to enlist the support of the United States for their war against Japan. Theodore H. White, who had been an adviser to the Chinese propaganda bureau, confessed, “It was considered necessary to lie to it [the United States], to deceive it, to do anything to persuade America. . . . That was the only strategy of the Chinese government. . . .”(In Search of History: A Personal Adventure)
Historians say that the Chinese chronicles were the history of those who deceived and of those who were deceived. The alleged Nanking Massacre was one of their deceiving means.