This week marks the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, which began with the fall of the capital of the Republic of China on December 13, 1937.
Few events in modern Chinese history have a historical valence comparable with the Nanjing Massacre. The wholesale slaughter of Chinese soldiers and civilians, the notorious “killing contests,” and, of course, the horrific sexual violence visited on Chinese women during the six weeks that followed Nanjing’s fall inhabit an understandably large part of China’s historical memory. The details of the event, however, and the way that those details are remembered, remain a sticking point in relations between China and Japan.
On the podcast to discuss his own study of the Nanjing Massacre, and the way that historical atrocities are remembered around the world, is Rana Mitter of Oxford University. Rana teaches the history and politics of modern China, and has written several excellent books on China, most recently, China’s War with Japan, 1937–1945: The Struggle for Survival, which was released in the U.S. with the title Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937–1945.