More From Alder's Ledge

September 18, 2012

Land Of The Fallen Sun

Japanese Atrocities Rehashed

Last week Japan claimed to have purchased a series of islands in the East China Sea. These islands are in dispute due to China's historical claims to them. And it seems that this purchase has only served to highlight a day that China has never forgotten.

On September 18Th, 1931 when the Japanese decided they would invade main land China. This was the day that the Japanese Imperial Army set into motion a long brutal and barbaric occupation of Manchuria. An occupation that would peak with the Rape of Nanking.

For the last 70 years or so the Japanese have received a horrible review in the eyes of history for their actions in World War Two. In Southeast Asia the Japanese built the rail line from hell upon the backs of prisoners of war and indigenous slave labor. On the coast of Australia and New Zealand the Japanese made it a habit to bomb civilians and sink noncombatant ships. Then in Pearl Harbor the Zeros were launched to commit a savage attack on a nation that had no dog in the fight till that day in December.

For us here on Alder's Ledge this image of a blood thirsty war machine of heartless barbarians is well deserved. We do not make an attempt to distinguish between the soldier and the master he served. For it was the soldier who willingly risked his life for a cause he could not deny nor be ignorant of. It would for me be the same idiotic view to say that the German people had no idea what the SS was actually doing than to say that the Japanese people had no idea what happened in Nanking.

On December 13Th, 1937 (just over 6 years from the initial invasion) the capitol of the Republic of China fell to the Imperial Army of Japan. For the next six weeks the Japanese army released its soldiers, all the way from the grunt to the commanding officers, to commit some of the worse atrocities of World War Two. The hallmarks of the following six weeks were beheading, executions, immolation, molestation, infanticide, and the ever present rape.

Upon capture of Nanking the Japanese ordered that all Chinese women were to "provide comfort" to the ruling Japanese soldiers. To achieve this all girls from around 8 years of age to their late 20s were dragged out into the streets and escorted to areas where the Japanese soldiers could gang rape their captives. When traditional rape lost its appeal the soldiers resorted to sodomy and sadism to continue their savaging of Nanking's female population.

Those not subject to rape were taken to the killing fields. There men and children were subjected to shootings, beheading, and babies were often thrown into the air for target practice. In Japanese culture the bayonet was traded in for the sword of the Samaria. The killings were so common that within days the city was littered with corpses and decapitated heads.  In all around 300,000 Chinese citizens were slaughtered by the Japanese in Nanking within those six weeks.

The man with whom the most blame for the massacre rest is without a doubt Prince Asaka Yasuhiko. This member of the imperial court was sent from Tokyo to the front lines just as the Japanese forces approached Nanking. It was under his command that the 10Th Army of Japan began implementing mass rapes and massacres while on approach to Nanking. And it would be Prince Asaka who would give the command to kill all Chinese soldiers captured and to massacre the population of Nanking once the city is under Japanese control.

Once in the city the Japanese soldiers were let loose like dogs. The initial attacks did not need much encouragement seeing as how the Japanese soldiers appeared far more than willing to slaughter and rape the Chinese civilians. However within a short period of time the commanders in the Japanese Army decided they needed to implement "killing contest" to drive up the death toll. These "games" would result in some of the most sadistic acts of the entire war.

Japanese soldiers were often ordered to have Chinese men dig mass graves in which the Japanese would bury the Chinese alive leaving only their heads exposed upon the surface. It was at this point that the Japanese would let loose their dogs, war animals trained to attack men, so that the hounds could finish the job. At other times the Japanese would force their horses to charge over the graves so that the horses hooves would crush the Chinese civilians' heads.

Another game often involved wrapping a Chinese captive up so that the civilian could hardly stand let alone run. The Chinese captive was then told to run as the dogs were sent out after him/her. If the dogs did not kill the captive the Japanese soldiers would savage the animal then force the Chinese captive back at the abused dog. This would often lead to the dog mortally wounding the Chinese victim.

In another recorded case the Japanese soldier recorded that he had enticed a dog to bite off the genitals of a Chinese man. His torture of the Chinese victim was only outdone by another Japanese soldier who reported that his unit had gotten a dog to rip open the abdomen of a Chinese man. The dog was said to have run off with the Chinese victim's entrails dangling from his mouth.

These forms of savagery were all to common. And sadly children were not spared the wrath of the Japanese Empire.

Children were often tied to poles and used for bayonet practice. Babies were flung into the air as Japanese soldiers lined up for target practice. Older children were not spared as they were often told to run only to be gunned down or charged by soldiers on horseback. The treatment of these most innocent of lives shows that, at the time at least, Japanese viewed the Chinese as less than human.

This is why the Chinese, from all over the country, came out to protest the Japanese Embassies. The wounds that Japan inflicted upon China have never truly healed. And the collective heart of China has never forgotten the atrocities Japan unleashed upon its people. These islands are historically Chinese. And this purchase appears, to China at least, to be Japan spreading its imperialist will upon the Chinese once again. 

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