International Committee's crime statistics of the Japanese Army

What happened in Nanking after the Japanese Army occupied it? There exist official documents, consisting of 61 letters sent to the Japanese Consulate by the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, which report every kind of incident, including those based on hearsay, rumor, and even speculation, happening from Dec 13, 1937 to Feb 9, 1938.

H.J.Timperley(He was an Agent of the Chinese Information Bureau.)
(He was an Agent of the
Chinese Information Bureau.)

These letters are quoted in H.J. Timperley’s book “What war means: Japanese terror in China: ” (Compiled and edited by H.J.Timperley / Victor Gollancz, July 1938).

Four factors need to be kept in mind concerning the background of these official documents that are in effect accusations of ill deeds of the Japanese Army:

As has been already mentioned, the 15 members of this committee were foreign nationals, coming from countries with hostile and angry feelings towards Japan’s advancement into China, and which provided China with both military and other forms of aid and emotional sympathy.
2) Much of the documents prepared by the committee members were based on hearsay and rumor.
3) Monitoring of the crimes of the Japanese Army reported in the documents covered not only the Safety Zone but all areas of Nanking city.
With the 15 members of the International Committee at the core, the Red Swastika Society, YMCA, and Chinese young men belonging to the Public Agitation Force of the 2nd Agency of the Politburo of Military Committee all conducted their own activities. (Note 1)

The International Committee gathered all information brought in by these networks, about every kind of misdeed by the Japanese Army, at an office located at No.5 Ninghai Road.

Headquarters of the International Committee for the Nanking Safty Zone at No.5 Ninghai Road.
Headquaters of the International Committee for the Nanking Safty Zone at
No.5 Ninghai Road.

The committee typed out such information immediately after listening to them, and sent someone to hand-driver the papers to the Japanese Consulate.
Such documents were submitted every day or even twice a day.

Requests for foods and security support were also included in the reports to in addition to the crime accusations of criminal behavior.  Some of the members lived together under the same roof, to collaborate on gathering of information and to discuss about requests which were to be added to the reports.

They recorded the reported Japanese Army’s crimes as facts without any validation.

Tokuyasu Fukuda, the diplomat aide, was the contact person for such requests and accusations from the committee.

Fukuda later became a politician, started his career from the secretary to Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida and held prominent positions such as Defense Agency chief, Administrative Management chief and Minister of Posts and Telecommunications.

Fukuda wrote in an article of Mainichi Shinbun titled “History of Showa era for 100 million people – Warfare [3] Sino-Japanese war 1” as follows:

“At that time, I visited the office of the International Committee everyday.
I saw many Chinese ran in the office saying ‘A ten-year-old girl is being raped by five Japanese soldiers right now!’ or ‘An eighty-year-old woman was raped’ or ‘Japanese Army is robbing in Tai Ping Road’ and so on. Rev. John G. Magee and George Fitch and other members had typed all those report in front of me.
So I said ‘Stop it! You people are preparing the reports of their claims without validation to report us for protest. We can’t have that.’ I had to make such cautions so many times to them.

14th Dec,1937, in Nanking.  The Japanese Embassy, which opened for a half-year.  Photo by Asahi Newspaper photographer Kawamura.
14th Dec,1937, in Nanking. The Japanese Embassy
, which opened for a half-year. Photo by Asahi
Newspaper photographer Kawamura.

Sometime, we went to see the site of the claimed crime, but we found nothing there. Nobody was there. No evidence of rape or robbery. We often experienced such a thing.

One morning, American Vice-Consul protested me saying ‘we got information that Japanese Army is stealing and carrying out our timbers in Xiaguan by trucks. Take any actions!’  Because I was asked to attend, I contacted to the Command Center to ask Tadao Hongo, the staff officer to accompany.  Hongo, Vice-Consul and me hurried to Xiaguan in falling snow.  It was 9:00 in the morning.  In Xiaguan, we found nobody and the timber warehouse was locked. No evidence of robbery was found.

‘This is unbearable’ I said strongly, but we received such sort of claims a lot everyday. I believe that the base of Timperley’s book (What war means: Japanese terror in China) must be the reports to Shanghai (refer the attached 61 letters to Japanese Consulate) prepared by Fitch or Magee without investigation.” (Note 2)

Dr. Lewis S.C. Smythe, the Secretary of the International Committee for Naking Safety Zone also testified, “these incidents (Japanese Army’s 425 crimes) are not investigated” in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo Trial). In the 61 letters, 425 of ill deeds by Japanese Army are recorded

As already mentioned, the 425 crimes of Japanese Army were recorded in the 61 letters, and this text is separately recorded in Timperley’s ‘What war means: Japanese terror in china’ published in July 1938 and Hsu Shuhsi’s ‘Documents of Nanking Safety Zone published in 1938.

Fukuda knew what Chinese and the International Committee claimed were not based on the fact by investigating each claim, but the East Asia Bureau of Japanese Foreign Ministry had surprised so much on the Japanese Army’s violence reported by the International Committee.

Itarou Ishii, the East Asia Bureau Chief, wrote in his memoir “life of a diplomat” (published by Yomiuri Shinbun Publishing) as below.

It is written in his diary of Jan 6, 1938.

“Received message from Shanghai. Our army’s violence in Nanking was reported in detail. Robberies, rapes, too terrible to look at. Oh, is it really the Imperial Army? What a deterioration of Japanese public. It is a huge social problem. --- Snip --- This was a reality of what was called the holy war and what was called the Imperial Army. I named the incident as ‘Nanking atrocities’ since then. (Page 305-306 of the book)

This text is often quoted by yea-sayers of the massacure.

There is a cause that Ishii believed such irresponsible claims and had antipathy to the military.

In the meeting between the Imperial General Headquarters and the Foreign Ministry held on Dec 14, 1937 (the day after the Japanese Army captured Nanking), the military and he were in fierce conflict and he was inflamed by anger against the military.

He wrote, “I didn’t care about the draft in that situation. I gave up Japan as hopeless. They never understand until Japan goes to the end and collapsed. I rather felt refreshed and even a rebellious pleasure.” (Page 300-303)

For Ishii who felt such a ‘rebellious pleasure’, the Japanese Army’s fault in Nanking was a chance of countercharge and he must have felt “that’ll show you.”

The ‘Nanking Atrocities’ was good ammunition for him to blame the Army. It seems his hatred to the Army turns into Anti-Japanese feeling inside him.

He used the word “China-Japan” instead of “Japan-China” to describe the relationship between Japan and China all through his memoir. This means China is master and Japan is servant in his mind.

He also wrote that he was “disgusted” at the order awarded by Japanese Emperor (Page 459) but felt “honor and pleasure” to the order awarded by China (Page 460) shamelessly.

This was the Chief of East Asia Bureau of Foreign Ministry of Japan at that time. (Note 3)

Recently, Akira Fujisawa, processor of Hitotsubashi University, published a book titled “Nanking massacure” (published by Iwanami Booklet).  In his book, he refers the Ishii’s memoir as the most decisive evidence. Thus I introduced the ideological background of Ishii.

Within the 425 crimes committed by Japanese Army claimed by the International Committee for Nanking Safety Zone, many incidents cannot be recognized as crime are included and the most of them are based on hearsays, rumors and speculations without investigation. But reckoning all those claims as fact, the crimes can be summarized as follows: (Note 4)

 49   murders 
 44   injuries
 361   rapes (including 3 incidents of many victims and 6 incidents of several victims) 
 390  abductions (including 1 incident of many victims and 2 incidents of several victims) 
 170  robberies and others

Only 49 murders were reported.

Cannot find any massacre in the reports.

Above is the total number of crimes that Japanese Army committed during the 2 months period from Dec 13, 1937 (the day of capturing Nanking) through Feb 9, 1938, recorded by the International Committee.

I don’t know how one can recognize the Japanese Army committed the massacre of 300,000 from this report. Can anybody?

(Note 1) According to Guo Moruo’s memoir of China war of Resistance Against Japan, Chinese Nationalist Part’s Politburo of military committee designated Chen Cheng as Minister of Politburo of military committee and Zhou Enlai as Deputy Minister. Then it organized three Agencies under the committee to conduct propaganda efforts and intelligence activities.  It is recorded that the detachment force of the 2nd Agency was deploying activities in Nanking and gathered bunch of information.
(Note 2) See “The mass media in the United States and Britain wrote little” for Timperley’s “What war means: Japanese terror in china”.
(Note 3) For the descriptions relate to Itarou Ishii, Iwao Taniguchi’s article titled “Learn how the yea-sayer of the massacre made fictions from Akira Fujiwara’s ‘The rape of Nanking’” (‘Zembo’ 1986.2) was quoted.
(Note 4) It was summarized by Yoshiaki Itakura.

back to "Chapter 2: 19 Reasons to Deny the Massacre."