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Historiography of the Asia-Pacific War in Japan

Last modified: 3 June 2008
Takashi Yoshida

June 2008

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Takashi Yoshida, Historiography of the Asia-Pacific War in Japan, Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, [online], published on 3 June 2008, accessed 1 February 2015, URL : http://www.massviolence.org/Historiography-of-the-Asia-Pacific-War-in-Japan, ISSN 1961-9898


Bower, J., 1999, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Masaaki, T., 1984, “Nankin gyakusatsu” no kyokō (The Illusion of the “Nanjing Massacre”), Tokyo: Nihon kyōbunsha.

Saburō, I., 1985, Sensō sekinin (War Responsibility), Tokyo: Iwanami.

Seraphim, F., 2006, War Memory and Social Politics in Japan, 1945-2005, Harvard University Press.

Yoshiaki, Y., 2000, Comfort Women, New York: Columbia University Press.

Yoshida, T., 2006, The Making of the “Rape of Nanking”: History and Memory in Japan, China, and the United States. New York: Oxford University Press.

Yoshida, T., 2000, “A Battle Over History,” in The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography, ed. Joshua Fogel, Berkeley: University of California Press.


Newspaper correspondents accompanying the army that captured Nanjing were more or less aware of the atrocities by the army. They witnessed innumerable atrocities during the so-called “sacred war,” which was in fact a war of aggression. Yet they dared not remonstrate to the military, deeming it wiser to shut their eyes and to excuse the brutality as an unavoidable wartime evil. The irresponsibility of war correspondents, ourselves included, is reprehensible in its disregard of humanity.

Despite the fact that the military committed unspeakable brutalities, the government issued a statement declaring that Japan would consider Chinese people its friends. Such contradictory actions were characteristic of all Japanese policies on China, resulting in spreading hostility toward Japanese among Chinese people. This hostility remains the bitterest in the more than one-thousand-year history of relations between China and Japan. We must acknowledge the crimes committed by the militarists, epitomized by the Nanjing Massacre, as an ineradicable blot in our history (Takashi Yoshida, The Making of the “Rape of Nanking”: History and Memory in Japan, China, and the United States (Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 49.

Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence® - ISSN 1961-9898