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Monday, March 30, 2009

Thoughts on "Nanking" and thanks to everyone, By Arc

In the Peace Philosophy Centre Salon of Saturday, 28th March 2009, we talked about the issues of Nanjing Massacre. We watched movie “Nanking”, which recorded the efforts of several foreigners to protect civilians from raping and killing in Nanjing 1937. After the movie, we had a meaningful and serious discussion. Topics related to the Massacre, such as “incident” vs. “massacre”, and the debates over the number of the victims, were discussed.
I’m surprised that we had so many people yesterday, and the discussion group was so balanced composed by people with different background. And more surprisingly, we all come to a same conclusion that wars and the violation to humanity should not happen again. Personally, I’m really impressed by the consensus. It gives me a strong hope for the future.



About the issue of the number of victims, my comments are: almost all attendants of the salon agree this is a meaningless issue, because one life is equally precious as 300,000 lives. I agree. This issue has been excessively politicized. This is more like a humanitarian issue, instead of political issue. No matter how many people died, this issue should not be purposefully manipulated by politicians. We should care more about “why this happened” instead of spending too much energy on debating about the number of casualties.
From my understanding of Chinese people, I think our emphasis on the number issue definitely does not mean we want humiliate Japanese people. From a Chinese cultural perspective, the dead should be respected, and to forget him/her is a humiliation to him/her and might hurt your karma. And there are some other reasons to cause this complex issue too, and some more discussion will be helpful.

About the issue of the working “accident/incident” vs. “massacre”, my comments are: the word “incident/accident” has meanings of “being and just being factual”, “independent” (in statistic term, one incident doesn’t make another incident more likely or less likely to happen. These are independent incident.) These two meanings make the word wrong in this case. We need think about the cause and how to prevent such a violation to humanity to happen again. For this purpose, the word “incident” is not helpful.
Personally, I’m open to the use of the word “incident”, providing that the user of this word understands the cause and the suffering of those victims. Again, I want to emphasize that I don’t think Chinese people want to humiliate Japanese people by emphasizing the word “massacre”. On the contrary, we emphasize the cause and the suffering of the incident, only because we want to make sure everyone understand it, and make sure this will not happen again.

At last, I want to send my serious appreciation to the students from Ritsumeikan University and friends from Japan. I admire your courage and your open-minded attitude. I can understand your feeling and your pressure. It’s not an easy thing, but what you did are just making changes to the relationship between these two countries. If there was an iceberg in the relationship, your enthusiasm are melting it down little by little. Please keep on doing so; don’t stop, and we will be with you; let us labour together towards a peaceful future.


  1. Shoko8:59 am

    As I said during the discussion, I knew nothing about
    Nanjing Massacre before seeing the film. The words and tears from
    survivors of the massacre made me feel stifled...Everything that "Japanese
    evils" did to Chinese people was just "unbelievable". It is unbelievable,
    but we,Japanese, must learn and confront the truth- what Japanese did in

    What I felt strongly was, what I saw in the film was not just a history. and
    we should not make it "just a history" or stuff that does not matter at all
    now. It's not "their"(people in the past) history, but it's "our" (both
    people in the past and the present) issue. I believe that people at the
    salon last night share the same/similar feelings and I felt hope in us
    during the discussion....we are the future.

    It was such a wonderful meeting.
    Thank you Satoko san and all people there last night.


  2. I have things I want in my life; those are not
    like rule-the-entire-world kind of stuffs, but they are having-a-good-family-and-friends
    kind of stuffs. So I make plans. In my life, however, there are billions of
    things that I don’t know but still am involved
    anyways. And the moment of making a decision among things I have no idea always
    comes no matter how hard I try to avoid it. Frankly, I don’t like it but understand it because I know that’s something I have to live with. Speaking of my stupidity, I am also
    greedy and not very generous as Buddha or Jesus who would willingly share their
    flesh and lives with others. Therefore, I do research not to make mistakes so
    my dreams come true.

    I learn a lot from written or spoken
    language, however, I learn even more from people’s face, tones of speaking, and body language. And from my life experience
    (that is still not so long to say of), I also learned those information from
    out of language itself sometimes teaches me even more important things, their inner
    thoughts. I found those inner thoughts are hard to hide unless they are very
    well trained to do so, and give a brief idea of what they really are looking

    What I learned from the night from watching
    the movie and listening discussion after it, make the long story short, was a
    huge gap between those Chinese and Japanese people who lived in Nanjing when the massacre
    happened. I also was sad to know that there are still lots of people trying to
    make other people’s grief to their old good
    times and make the good times back. I wish I was wrong about all that I felt
    that night. I just remembered from out of nowhere that Shoko-san told me “you can’t bring happiness alone, you
    need to work together.” I believe in what she said
    and hope we work together to make the future happy.

    I read what you, Arc, wrote. It makes me
    bit more optimistic about the feelings of the night.

    Thanks, Arc.

  3. 南京大虐殺がすごくひどいものだったということは知っていましたが、実際にどんなことが起きたのか詳細は知らなかったので、今回の映画を見てショックを受けました。今まで、テレビなどで中国での反日運動を見て、ちょっとやりすぎじゃないかなぁと思ってましたが映画を見てちょっと納得しました。


  4. 南京大虐殺について私が知っていたのは、教科書でならったことのみで、南京事件が起こったこと、

    また、ディスカッションの中で出てきた、incidentとmassacreについてですが、今まで南京大虐殺がどう訳されているか知らなかったけれど、最初に「Nanjing incident」という言葉を聞いた時に、少し変な感じがしました。