Nanjing Massacre Memorial
The Nanjing massacre (often also referred to as "The rape of Nanking"
) was one of the biggest war crimes committed by Japan
during their war against China
. Beginning in December 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army, after conquering the then Chinese capital city of Nanjing, set about a mass rape and killing spree.
The exact death toll is difficult to ascertain, the Chinese insist the massacre cost over 300,000 civilian lives. Japanese nationalist revisionists, if they acknowledge that the massacre had taken place at all, insist it was significantly less (cf. Japan
, esp. Yasukuni shrine & Yushukan museum
). It's still a very sore point in Sino-Japanese relations.
In the West, the Nanjing massacre was hardly known amongst the general population until quite recently when it started to feature more in the media – not least through the film "John Rabe", about a German
business man (and Nazi
) who at the time was based in Nanjing and is said to have saved about 200,000 Chinese civilians from the massacre through negotiating with the Japanese the recognition of a "safety zone" in the city. His diary notes are an important source of information about the massacre. Rabe's former residence
has recently been turned into another memorial and museum about the massacre (it's on the University's campus).
But the main memorial site is the massive Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall
in the south-west of the city. It consists of various outdoor sculptures and memorials, a mausoleum shaped like an oversized coffin in which bones of victims found during the construction of the memorial are displayed, and a modern museum containing hundreds of photos, artefacts, documents, models and multi-media installations. It is certainly the No.1 dark tourism site in the whole of China
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Nanjing, today a large modern city of over 7.5 million inhabitants, is about 200 miles (300 km) upstream theYangtze river west of Shanghai.