For centuries, all the biggest events of the world had one thing in common- atrocities against women. Be it the German holocaust during the Second World war or the partition of India in 1947, it was the women who faced abomination first hand. They were raped, murdered, and tortured to an extent that their significance over the periods hit rock bottom and the result is in front of us. Even today, it is the woman who bears repercussions in the fight of men. Recounting the tales of history’s most brutal genocide, let’s take a look inside survivors’ testimony of the Nanjing massacre or better known as the Rape of Nanjing.
The Nanjing massacre
The Nanjing massacre or the Rape of Nanjing was the mass murder of Chinese civilians in Nanjing during the invasion of Nanjing by the Imperial Japanese Army. The massacre started on December 13, 1937, and is believed to continue for the next six weeks. The Japanese massacred the city’s peaceful residents. Many wartime crimes include murders, arson, looting, and especially the rape of women. Almost 40,000 to over 300,000 were brutally murdered and about 20,000 to over 80,000 women were raped or gang-raped.
Although the massacre is generally described as having occurred over a six-week period after the fall of Nanjing, the crimes committed by the Japanese army were not limited to that period. Many atrocities were reported to have been committed as the Japanese army advanced from Shanghai to Nanjing. Chinese civilians who were suspected to be soldiers were dragged down and executed at gunpoint. Women were gang-raped in front of their families and killed later to avoid chaos, children were slaughtered casually and men were looted and killed mercilessly. In essence, the Japanese terrorized the people of Nanjing.
The world was shocked by Japan’s brutal execution of the Chinese, even the Nazis set up safety zones for the Chinese. Yet despite the widespread coverage, the people of Japan were quite happy with the capture of Nanjing and celebrated by holding lantern parades throughout the cities. Even the Japanese school textbooks glorified the events of Nanjing in favor and whitewashed the history accordingly.
Women suffered the most. The accounts of the rape were so brutal that even the Japanese women were left shocked. Chinese women were dragged out of their homes and Japanese troops forced families to commit incest. Fathers were forced to rape their daughters; sons, their mothers. It was chaos everywhere, by the end of December, around 20,000 rape cases were reported. One woman had her infant baby smothered by the soldier who raped her. Another girl was raped almost 37 times.
Japanese soldiers even raped pregnant women, murder them, and cut the fetuses out of their bodies. Such women were killed after being raped with their bodies being mutilated with either bayonets, sticks, or bottles that were shoved into their vaginas. The city of Nanjing became a brothel for the Japanese! Some young Chinese women disguised themselves as elderly women to escape being raped.
As if this torture wasn’t enough, according to several accounts and reports, on their way to Nanjing two Japanese officers named Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda held a killing contest to determine who could kill 100 men faster using a sword! Horrific as it sounds, the contest was widely published in Japanese newspapers as some sort of sporting event by keeping a tally of people each officer killed. Eyewitnesses confessed that there was continuous noise of machine squads for hours non-stop executing people.
It was one of the most brutal events that happened during World War 2 but diminished or fabricated in history to remove the stains of a bloody massacre of Chinese by the Japanese.