Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact

This Article

The Tongzhou Massacre: Testimony of an Eyewitness

By Fujioka Nobukatsu,

The Tongzhou Massacre:
Testimony of an Eyewitness
Edited & written by Fujioka Nobukatsu
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact©
Copyright ©2016 by Fujioka Nobukatsu
Originally published as Tsusujiken mokugekisha no shogen
by Jiyuusha, Tokyo, Japan 2016.
English language copyright ©2017 by Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact.
All rights reserved, including the rights of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
Japanese personal names have been rendered surname first, in accordance
with Japanese custom.
The testimony of a Japanese woman who saw the Tongzhou Massacre
The Tongzhou Massacre was long concealed in postwar Japan and gradually disappeared from the collective Japanese memory.
In sharp contrast, stories of alleged atrocities committed by the Japanese military during its “invasion” of Asia, especially the “Nanking Massacre,” are endlessly repeated.
And yet, in recent years, the truth has gradually come to light. In fact, it was China that perpetrated cruelties against Japanese people, and the “Nanking Massacre” turned out to be nothing more than a fabrication used for wartime propaganda.
Eventually, the Tongzhou Massacre appeared in Japanese school textbooks.
“In the town of Tongzhou east of Beijing, a pro-Japanese government was founded, but on July 29, 1937, when its Japanese garrison was absent, the government’s Chinese military units attacked Tongzhou’s Japanese residential zone. Out of a total of 385 Japanese residents, 223 were slaughtered (The Tongzhou Massacre).” (From New History Textbook [Atarashii Rekishi Kyokasho] published by Jiyusha.)
Nonetheless, many of the details of the “slaughter” itself were not really known. Most of the Japanese did not live to tell the tale, and those who did escape never saw the atrocities being carried out.
Amazingly, there was one Japanese woman present at the scene of the crime. After marrying a Chinese man, she settled down in Tongzhou and lived as a Chinese.
On the day of the massacre, she mixed into the crowds of Chinese and, over the shoulder of her husband, witnessed the whole atrocity as it unfolded from the Chinese perspective.
One elderly Japanese woman asked her to avenge her death, and then uttered the prayer “Praise be to Amida Buddha” just moments before passing away.
The elderly lady’s dying words never left this Japanese woman’s mind, and after she returned to Japan, she started going regularly to the Nishi Honganji branch Buddhist Temple in Beppu, which is where she happened to meet the late Shirabe Kanga, Head Priest at Intsuji Temple in Saga Prefecture. She eventually related to Mr. Shirabe what she had kept to herself for fifty years.
This booklet contains the full text of her eyewitness testimony.
She was brought into Buddha’s arms by the dying prayer of an elderly lady in Tongzhou, which led in turn to her encounter with Shirabe Kanga, and I, being so moved from reading her story, want the rest of the world to know it.
And you, the reader who has come across this booklet, are now also a part of this chain of unusual twists of fate.
Perhaps that elderly lady’s prayer has been answered.
-Fujioka Nobukatsu, Editor, July 2016
Table of Contents
(1) A Gift to Future Generations in Search of the Truth about the Tongzhou Massacre: The Significance of Shirabe Kanga’s Tears of the Emperor and the Testimony of Sasaki Ten – By Fujioka Nobukatsu
-My encounter with a certain book
-The reason behind the title Tears of the Emperor
-The tragedies suffered by the Japanese people in the war
-The circumstances of Tongzhou Massacre survivor Sasaki Ten
-The cruel slaying of a girl and her father
-The significance of Sasaki Ten’s testimony
-Barefoot Gen’s perversion of the truth
-The tactic of sowing unwarranted doubt
-A gift to future generations of Japanese people
-Intsuji Temple’s curious name
(2) The Tragedy of the Tongzhou Massacre – The Hellish Slaughter of Japanese Citizens – By Shirabe Kanga
-Japan’s misguided guilt complex
-Promotion of the “Tokyo Trial view of history” by the media and education system
-The truth about the Marco Polo Bridge Incident
-No act of aggression on the part of Japan
-One hundred years of Japanese history and two hundred years of Asian history
-The history of Korean aggression against Japan
-The two causes of the Tongzhou Massacre
-The planned rebellion of the Peace Preservation Corps
-The massacre of the Japanese begins
-The cruelty of meat-eating peoples
-The innate cruelty of the Chinese people
-The blood confession of a survivor
(3) The Testimony of Ms. Sasaki Ten
-Marrying a Chinese man and moving to China
-The joy of chatting with Japanese soldiers in Tongzhou
-Evil Korean slander of Japan
-The untrustworthy Peace Preservation Corps
-A futile message of warning
-Voices saying “Death to all the Japanese” and “The Japanese are devils”
-The Japanese people’s contempt for the Chinese
-A squadron of students with bayonets and Chinese broadswords
-The start of shooting at dawn on July 29
-The smell of blood from the Japanese residential zone
-The murder of a father protecting his daughter
-And then they raped the girl
-The reason I was not suspected of being Japanese
-A “human chain” even Satan could not have conceived
-Murder and rape at Asahiken
-An old lady’s dying prayer to Buddha
-Manhandling a pregnant woman
-The glorious final moments of a resisting Japanese man
-His head was scalped, his eyes gouged out, and his intestines chopped up
-An unforgivable act towards a pregnant woman and her baby
-My husband was Chinese and I was Japanese
-A final cry of “Long Live the Japanese Empire!”
-The blood red pond of Kinsuiro
-My divorce and return home impelled by hatred of the Chinese
(4) Postscript
(1) A Gift to Future Generations in Search of the Truth about the Tongzhou Massacre: The Significance of Shirabe Kanga’s Tears of the Emperor and the Testimony of Sasaki Ten
By Fujioka Nobukatsu
My encounter with a certain book
It happened about five years ago.
On the recommendation of someone who I met at a conference, I decided to purchase a certain small paperback book. Its purple cover was adorned with the Emperor’s chrysanthemum crest and the unusual title Tears of the Emperor [Tenno-sama ga Naite Gozatta]. The name of the author, “Shirabe Kanga,” was written in Japanese kana characters instead of the standard kanji. It was a strange-sounding name that had a somewhat mysterious air to it.
I checked the imprint on the back of the book and found the author’s name written in kanji, but I wondered if “Mr. Shirabe” was a pseudonym. I learned later that “Shirabe” was a family name that originated in Saga Prefecture.
The date of publication was November, 1997. The publisher appeared to have been a Tokyo-based company called “Kyoikusha,” but there was no distributor. For all intents and purposes, it was a self-published work. Still, it was a beautifully bound, 342-page book with a highly dignified appearance.
What’s more, the preface was written by former Grand Chamberlain Irie Sukemasa and former Chief Ritualist Nagazumi Torahiko, who served under Emperor Hirohito. Therefore, Hirohito was surely the emperor referred to in the book’s title.
The book’s author, who had passed away in 2007, was Head Priest at Intsuji Temple, which is located in the town of Kiyama in Saga Prefecture.
Pages 105 to 157 of the book were entitled “The Tragedy of the Tongzhou Massacre – The Hellish Slaughter of Japanese Citizens,” and it was these fifty-three pages that have been reprinted in full within this booklet.
The reason behind the title Tears of the Emperor
I would like to write in detail later about what the Tongzhou Massacre was and why this booklet was released as part of a series published by Jiyusha, but before that, I want to explain the reason behind the title of the original book, Tears of the Emperor.
After the end of the war, Emperor Hirohito toured every part of Japan to raise the spirits of the Japanese people. In May 1949, at the time of his tour of Kyushu, Hirohito personally
expressed his desire to make Intsuji Temple in Saga Prefecture his first stop. Intsuji Temple
had a strong connection to the Imperial Family. For instance, during the war, the priests of Intsuji Temple were so touched by a poem that Hirohito’s consort Empress Kojun had written in honor of the families of conscript soldiers killed in action that they began a campaign to have a cotton banner sewn with a million stitches by as many women as possible. Furthermore, Intsuji Temple was the site of Senshinryo, a support center for war orphans that Hirohito wanted to visit.
When Emperor Hirohito arrived on May 22, Senshinryo accommodated forty orphans from Japan’s former colonies. He noticed that one young girl was clutching two memorial tablets against her chest and he asked her about them. As he had feared, the tablets honored her
deceased parents, but the girl explained to the
Tears of the Emperor published by
Kyoikusha in November 1997.
Emperor in a clear voice, “My father died honorably in battle on Manchuria’s northern border, and my mother died of disease on her way to Japan, but I am never lonely because I am a child of Buddha.”
The Emperor patted the girl on the head several times, but at that moment, the tears welling in his eyes dripped onto his glasses and fell onto the carpet. The title of the book was taken from this incident.
The second half of the book Tears of the Emperor is largely devoted to elaborating connections between Intsuji Temple and Emperor Hirohito.
The tragedies suffered by the Japanese people in the war
The first half of Tears of the Emperor is a collection of stories about the unspeakable horrors suffered by the Japanese people during the war and the horrible deaths to which so many were subjected. The book deals with the Great Tokyo Air Raid, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the massacres perpetrated by the Soviet Red Army in Manchuria, and the lamentations of orphaned children, among other topics.
Shirabe Kanga perfectly related the heroism and bravery of the Japanese who endured tragedy and overcame it, all with the tender words of spoken Japanese. Reading through the book was like listening to a compelling lecture.
Mr. Shirabe felt great anger and apprehension over how the Japanese people had been indoctrinated after the war to believe that they were the ones who had launched a savage invasion of Asia and committed the worst atrocities the world had ever seen. Mr. Shirabe argued with great passion and earnestness that the most pressing task facing future generations of Japanese people would be overcoming this guilt complex over their own history. His words were so powerful that I felt as if I was listening to the sermon of an old sage who had achieved enlightenment.
Emperor Hirohito speaking to war orphans at Senshinryo on May 22, 1949. (From The Story of Intsuji Temple [Intsuji Monogatari] by Kuboyama Masakazu (2013), page 13.)
Within that sermon was the shocking testimony of an eyewitness of the Tongzhou Massacre, which forms the contents of this booklet. In introducing her account, Mr. Shirabe first discussed the context and background of the massacre, including the following passage:
“An examination of the barbaric deeds perpetrated in Tongzhou can leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about the fundamentally cruel nature of the Chinese people. They show no mercy or empathy for those who they kill, and they take an abnormally strong interest in both the killing of their victims and the mutilation of their bodies. To commit such barbaric acts towards the dead is completely alien to Japanese tradition. The ‘Nanking Massacre’, said to be the murder of 300,000 Chinese people by Japanese soldiers, is brought up again and again, but it is a total fabrication without any basis in fact. Tokyo University Professor Fujioka has explained this point with great clarity.” (page 121)
I was very honored to have been mentioned by name. Mr. Shirabe’s book was published in November 1997, and it was in January of the same year that the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform was founded. Mr. Shirabe never referred to this directly, but I wonder if he might have been closely following my campaign to reform Japan’s history textbooks.
I may be indulging in a little self-flattery here, but I would also like to think that the campaign of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform to reevaluate our history could have been what inspired Mr. Shirabe to finally publish the manuscript he had recorded long before in the form of a book. I regret that I was unable to meet Mr. Shirabe while he was alive.
But I digress. Going back to the passage quoted above, it is noteworthy that Mr. Shirabe discusses the Tongzhou Massacre and the Nanking Massacre together and contrasts them with reference to the differences between the national characteristics of the Japanese and Chinese people. I believe that this perfectly represents the perspective we must share in common if we hope to continue to fight the battle for history. Mr. Shirabe had already adopted that perspective at the time he wrote his book.
The circumstances of Tongzhou Massacre survivor Sasaki Ten
Shirabe Kanga was the sixteenth Head Priest of Intsuji Temple, which is affiliated with the Jodo Shinshu Honganji School of Pure Land Buddhism. When he was given the opportunity to lecture at the Nishi Honganji branch temple in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, he encountered a devout, regular visitor to the temple, Sasaki Ten, a woman who experienced the Tongzhou Massacre firsthand. As Mr. Shirabe wrote, “One day, she looked at me as if she couldn’t hold back any longer, and then, she began to relate the following story about the whole horrible truth of the Tongzhou Massacre.” From that line, Mr. Shirabe’s book immediately followed with the complete transcript of her lengthy, first-person confession.
Sasaki Ten was born in Oita Prefecture near Mount Sobo. As one can see on a map, Mount Sobo, 1,756 meters high, is situated on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu where Oita Prefecture meets Miyazaki and Kumamoto Prefectures.
Her family was very poor, so before she had graduated from elementary school she left to work in Osaka on someone’s recommendation. She described it as “the hardest and most degrading sort of work for a woman”. When she was in her mid-20s, she met a Chinese man named Mr. Shen, who came to Osaka on business, and she agreed to marry him. That was in February 1932, and the very next month she moved with him to China.
In China, they initially lived in Tianjin, but near the start of the year 1934, they relocated to Tongzhou. Many Japanese people lived in the town of Tongzhou, and its Chinese residents treated them very kindly. Nonetheless, Ms. Sasaki noted that, “I had difficulty understanding what those Chinese people were really thinking. Though they would say very nice things one day, the next day they would completely change and spout one obscenity after another.”
It seems that Ms. Sasaki recognized the two-faced nature of the Chinese people early on. She lived in Tongzhou while retaining pride in her Japanese heritage.
Tongzhou was the headquarters of the East Hebei Anti-Communist Autonomous Government. Yin Rugeng, a pro-Japanese collaborator, had broken away from the Nationalist Party-controlled Republic of China and founded this regional government in 1935. The government had a 10,000-man armed force called the “Peace Preservation Corps” for the purpose of maintaining security.
However, near the end of the spring of 1936, her husband told her that, because China and Japan would go to war, she must not associate with Japanese people any longer to ensure that, from that point on, no one else would know that she was Japanese. Eventually, the atmosphere in Tongzhou, which had once been very pro-Japanese, began to change completely. In particular, Koreans started to sow hatred of Japanese people among the Chinese residents. Ms. Sasaki, living as a Chinese woman and hiding her Japanese background as ordered by her husband, was forced to listen to anti-Japanese slander uttered by the Koreans, but the Japanese soldiers and civilians in Tongzhou were blissfully unaware of what was going on.
By 1937, the situation became even more frightful. Around June, “students wearing very unusual clothes” began congregating in Tongzhou. They held marches while shouting slogans like “Death to all the Japanese!” Most of them wielded bayonets and Chinese broadswords, but some had guns. I note here that these students to which Ms. Sasaki was referring were the Training Brigade, an elite unit of student soldiers endorsed by Chiang Kai-shek.
On the evening of July 8, the whole town of Tongzhou was in ferment over what was said to be a crushing defeat suffered by the Japanese Army at the Marco Polo Bridge. The uproar was so bad that Ms. Sasaki couldn’t even leave her house.
It was in this context that she was to witness the terrible tragedy that unfolded on July 29.
The cruel slaying of a girl and her father
On the morning of July 29, when it was still half-dark, Ms. Sasaki was suddenly and violently awakened by her husband, Mr. Shen. After snatching up two bundles of her possessions and rushing outside, she found that the town was crowded with people, and she heard the sound of intense gunfire coming from the direction of the Japanese Army barracks. A little after 8:00, she heard people boisterously yelling, “The Japanese soldiers were defeated! They were all killed!” She felt the sudden urge to run off in order to fight and die alongside the Japanese soldiers, but Mr. Shen stopped her. By restraining her, Mr. Shen saved her life.
Shortly after 9:00, someone shouted that interesting things were starting to happen in the Japanese residential zone. It was said that women and children were being killed. She tugged on Mr. Shen’s hand, and as she ran towards the Japanese residential zone, she began to smell human blood. Amidst a crowd of Chinese residents, students dressed in black were
standing together with members of the Peace Preservation Corps. For what came next, I will quote directly from her recorded testimony.
“Soon enough, a girl was dragged out of one of the Japanese houses. She was a light-skinned girl who looked to be fifteen or sixteen years of age. A student had pulled her out of the house, and then announced that he had found her hiding and dragged her out here. The girl’s face was frozen with fear, but her body was shaking uncontrollably. The student who was holding the girl looked elated as if he were a cat that had just caught a mouse… He abruptly shoved the girl down onto the side of the road and took off her underwear. The girl screamed, ‘Help me!’
“At that moment, a Japanese man burst onto the scene. He threw himself atop the girl in order to shield her with his own body. It was probably the girl’s father. A Peace Preservation Corps soldier quickly used the butt of his rifle to deliver a brutal blow to the man’s head. I think that I heard the sound of something being crushed. Though he had cracked the man’s head, the man would still not separate from the girl’s body.” (pages 136-137)
After repeatedly stabbing him and kicking his corpse away, the soldiers and students returned to the girl, who appeared to have lost consciousness.
“The girl had already been stripped naked. She was frozen with fear as the soldiers walked up to her. They spread her legs wide apart and were about to rape her, to commit the most despicable act a human can commit in front of a crowd of onlookers. Although they were Chinese men, what they were doing were not the acts of human beings. However, their rape of the girl did not proceed easily, perhaps because she had never had any such experience before. Three students spread out her legs as much as they could, and then one of them took a gun from a Peace Preservation Corps soldier and thrust its barrel into her vagina… Then, I heard a terrible cry that was not quite a scream or a shriek. Instinctively, I opened my eyes in shock. What was it? While grinning happily, a soldier of the Peace Preservation Corps was cutting out the girl’s genitals… While shaking violently, I saw the soldiers slash her belly open lengthwise, then cut off her head with a sword. They tossed her head flippantly in the direction of the abandoned corpse of the man they had killed earlier. Her head rolled on the ground for a while before stopping at the side of the man’s corpse.” (pages 138-139)
One cannot help but feel enraged to read such ghastly cruelties. This was really what the Chinese did to the Japanese in Tongzhou.
These attacks by the student unit and the Peace Preservation Corps on the homes of Japanese people were not spontaneous. Prior to the day of the massacre, soldiers of the Peace Preservation Corps had conducted a survey of every Japanese household in the Japanese residential zone and they knew everything down to the makeup of each family.
Furthermore, Tongzhou’s Japanese residential zone was not a segregated neighborhood set up for the Japanese only. The homes of Japanese and Chinese families coexisted side-by-side. It was for this reason that the Peace Preservation Corps marked the Japanese homes with chalk beforehand so that they would be easily recognizable. “Death to all the Japanese” was indeed their objective. We can see from these facts that the crimes perpetrated by the Chinese in Tongzhou were pre-planned acts of political violence directed at the Japanese.
The significance of Sasaki Ten’s testimony
Sasaki Ten’s account can be divided into a series of acts, which I will attempt to enumerate as follows.
(1.) A girl about fifteen or sixteen years of age and her father who was attempting to protect her were humiliated and murdered. (As quoted above.)
(2.) Over ten Japanese men were strung together as a human chain and later massacred.
(3.) Two women were seized, raped, and murdered.
(4.) An old woman perished on the roadside while uttering a prayer to Buddha.
(5.) The husband of a pregnant woman resisted with a wooden sword, but he was scalped, his eyes were gouged out, and his intestines were cut up.
(6.) A woman in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy was cut open at the belly and her unborn child was extracted and trampled.
(7.) Over fifty Japanese people were rounded up and shot en masse as they shouted “Long Live the Japanese Empire!”
(8.) Forty or fifty Japanese people were massacred at Kinsuiro Pond, which turned bright red with their blood.
Sasaki Ten saw all these events as she peered over her Chinese husband’s shoulder while shaking with fear that they might discover that she, too, was Japanese.
Testimonies about the Tongzhou Massacre fall into two categories. There are the stories of people who escaped Tongzhou and lived to tell the tale, and there are the reports of soldiers who came to relieve Tongzhou and recounted what they saw. The latter were presented as evidence at the postwar Tokyo Trials.
And yet, eyewitness accounts of the actual atrocities perpetrated by the Chinese are disappointingly elusive. For instance, those who were lucky enough to get out alive had no way of knowing what happened in Tongzhou following their escape. Likewise, the people who arrived on the scene after the fact could only surmise the nature of the atrocities based on the condition of the corpses. By contrast, Sasaki Ten directly witnessed the atrocities unfold before her eyes and recounted them all in great detail. Therefore, her testimony is of the highest possible historical value.
Barefoot Gen’s perversion of the truth
I would now like to present to the reader four panels from Nakazawa Keiji’s comic book Barefoot Gen, which is available at schools across Japan.
This comic book shows atrocities being committed by Japanese soldiers on Chinese women. The main character of the comic, a middle school student, cries out, “No man could forgive the Emperor who allowed tens of millions of people to die without a second thought!”
This is pure nonsense. The fiendish acts depicted here, particularly the bottom two panels, showing a pregnant
1998 Chuko Bunko Edition, Volume 7, Page 152.
woman’s unborn child being ripped from her lacerated belly and a woman’s vagina being pierced with a bayonet and violated with a foreign object, are in fact acts that were committed by Chinese mobs in Tongzhou. The same things took place at Jinan in 1928, one of the more famous sites of grotesque atrocities committed by the Chinese people, clearly demonstrating their perverse predilections.
Barefoot Gen thus condemned acts that were falsely attributed to the Japanese. Nakazawa Keiji ought to state whether he clearly understood what he was writing or whether he was ignorant and simply allowed himself to be deceived—the publisher and others who were involved should also take responsibility. It should be apparent that a book peddling such outrageous and fantastic nonsense should be removed from Japanese schools.
No Japanese person could have committed such atrocities. Rather, such atrocities are distinguishing characteristics of the Chinese culture of cruelty that has no bearing whatsoever on Japanese people. The Chinese tendency to attribute atrocities that they themselves committed on numerous occasions to the Japanese, completely blameless in this respect, is quintessentially Orwellian doublethink.
The tactic of sowing unwarranted doubt
The full text of Sasaki Ten’s testimony was also posted on the Internet by someone or other, and there are probably people who have only read her account online without knowing about the book Tears of the Emperor. However, the version posted on the Internet contains a number of typos, misspellings, and transcription errors.
Still, what concerned me more was the online commentary calling into question the reliability of her testimony that cropped up on the Internet immediately after it was released online. Perhaps partly motivated by this, some historical researchers subsequently argued that the testimony was useless as a historical source. In fact, I cannot recall having ever read an essay that cited her account as a source. The campaign to exclude Sasaki Ten’s testimony as a primary source appears to have completely succeeded.
I am somewhat hesitant to directly discuss online commentary here, but I feel that if the commentary has exerted influence on others, then it is worthy of being mentioned.
As an example, I will examine an article that I read on the Internet on the morning of May 14, 2016, entitled, “Are Japanese Testimonies of the Tongzhou Massacre Accurate? (Ms. S’s Account).”
The person who posted the article criticized Ms. Sasaki’s account on a number of grounds. For instance, he found it suspicious that the original book, which was published in 1997, would have been prefaced by Irie Sukemasa, who died in the year 1985. Actually, there is nothing suspicious about that at all. Painstaking effort was put into compiling this masterpiece, and it is not hard to imagine a scenario in which the author arranged to have Mr. Irie write the preface, but then was unable to find a publisher for the book or encountered some other sort of problem that postponed its release date. Thus, the book was ultimately published twelve years after the preface was composed. The author himself apologized for the delayed publication, but he obviously still wanted to utilize Mr. Irie’s preface in order to emphasize his connection to Emperor Hirohito. Anyone with the least knowledge of how the publication process works should have been able to surmise the details of what happened. The very fact that the writer of the article would make such quibbles exposes his ulterior motive to try to tarnish the work, by hook or crook.
The writer also criticized Sasaki Ten’s testimony for what he described as her unusual failure to mention the major events that were unfolding in Tongzhou at that time, such as the establishment of the East Hebei Anti-Communist Autonomous Government. However, this criticism misses the mark. Sasaki Ten had never even completed elementary school, and furthermore, she was living in an unfamiliar country. Though she may have been able to handle day-to-day conversation, it is not at all likely that she was able to accurately read Chinese books and newspapers.
Given the status and daily activities of an undereducated, foreign person living under such limitations, it isn’t unusual at all that she would not have mentioned the broader picture, nor was there any need in the first place for her to mention such things, given the context in which she told her story and her reasons for doing so. She had not come to Tongzhou as a writer or a newspaper reporter. Such criticism thus completely misunderstands the circumstances on which it was predicated.
The writer of the article did make one valid criticism in pointing out the flaws in the following passage:
“By the year 1937, the atmosphere had become even more extreme. The Chinese were openly talking as if the Chinese Army would win a decisive victory, saying that the Japanese Army had been defeated in Shanghai, Jinan, and even Dezhou.” (page 130)
The writer noted the confused chronology of events. I won’t deny that he is correct, as I myself noticed this problem the first time I read it. Nevertheless, we must treat the daily events that one experiences directly on a separate level from the “facts” that one hears second-hand. Second-hand information is bound to contain contextual errors unless it comes from a professional reporter or researcher, though even that exception does not always apply. The existence of a few contextual errors within second-hand information is no reason to doubt the events that she experienced personally.
A gift to future generations of Japanese people
My thoughts completely contrast with those of the Internet skeptics. Naturally, verification is important, but in this case, I object to those who say that Sasaki Ten’s testimony is worthless just because her background and family history are unclear. It seems to me that there are few witnesses who can give as consistent a record of their life story as Sasaki Ten has.
As a result of her experiences in Tongzhou, Sasaki Ten realized what a dreadful place China was, so she divorced her Chinese husband and returned to Japan in 1940. After wandering from place to place, towards the end of her life she finally settled in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, where she became a regular visitor to the local branch temple of Nishi Honganji.
A motivating factor behind that was her encounter with an old lady in Tongzhou, enumerated as (4.) in the list above. According to Sasaki Ten, “Those final words she spoke to me, ‘Praise be to Amida Buddha,’ lingered on in my ears and may indeed have been the reason that I ended up coming to the Nishi Honganji branch temple in Beppu.”
For fifty years, Ms. Sasaki did not say anything about what she had seen in Tongzhou to another living soul. She never even acknowledged the fact that she had lived in Tongzhou. That should not come as a surprise. When people undergo something so traumatizing, they do not wish to reveal it to others. The same was true of other similar events such as the Great Tokyo Air Raid. An acquaintance of mine who survived the raid admitted to me that he only became able to speak about it decades after having experienced it. Moreover, as Japan wallowed in masochistic remorse after the end of the war, there was always a risk that survivors would be ignored even if they did speak up with the truth.
Then, Ms. Sasaki heard a lecture delivered by Mr. Shirabe Kanga. His lecture probably dealt, as his book does, with the terrible tragedies suffered by the Japanese people during
the war. One can certainly imagine that hearing such a lecture convinced Ms. Sasaki that a man like Mr. Shirabe would be willing to listen to her without doubting her sincerity. At that point, she looked at Mr. Shirabe “as if she couldn’t hold back any longer,” and began to tell him her story.
I have read Ms. Sasaki’s testimony many times, but each time I do, I make a new discovery, and I always feel attracted to the richness of her character. I find that, even though she had little education and lived at the bottom of the social scale, she was a woman of remarkably keen perception and good judgment.
As I noted already, she was quick to grasp the two-faced and unreliable character of the Chinese people, but on the other hand, she also cast a critical look at the condescending manner in which the Japanese treated the Chinese. Ms. Sasaki was patriotic, spirited, and pious, and in other words, an ideal Japanese woman.
On the Internet, some individuals have rendered her anonymous, using pseudonyms like “Ms. S” as if to respect her privacy. However, Ms. Sasaki Ten was not guilty of any crime, nor was she connected to any scandal. She lived her life as a proud Japanese woman, and to call her just “Ms. S” is an act of disrespect.
Indeed, I am awestruck with admiration for her. The fact that she was able to speak in eloquent detail about such a traumatic ordeal is proof of her innate and exceptional powers of self-expression. Still, I must also praise Mr. Shirabe Kanga, who demonstrated a skill for writing, transcribing her testimony and neatly organizing it into a written account. This account was produced from the meeting of these two talents to be passed on to us and to future generations of Japanese people as a true historical record of the Tongzhou Massacre.
If one other person deserves due credit, it would be the old woman who said “It’s regrettable” and “Avenge my death” to Sasaki Ten moments before passing away. It was her dying prayer to Buddha that brought Ms. Sasaki to the Nishi Honganji branch temple in Beppu after the end of the war, leading directly to her fateful encounter with Shirabe Kanga. That old woman’s prayer was answered.
Through a chain of people and events, that old woman’s sentiments were transmitted to the present day. The publication of this booklet was part of the chain, as are you, the reader. That is why I have called this historical record a gift. It is a precious gift that was bequeathed from these people for the benefit of all future generations.
Intsuji Temple’s curious name
On December 15, 2015, I visited Intsuji Temple in Kiyama, Saga Prefecture, for the first time. As I was guided about the historic site, I came to understand that the temple possessed a far richer history than the one incident I was already familiar with. I met with Shirabe Junsei, the current head priest, and asked him about the achievements of his predecessor. He readily agreed that the book’s testimonies should be treated as historical sources.
Then, on the plane back to Tokyo, I looked at a book he gave me. Though I felt somewhat fatigued from the trip, my eyes happened to gaze at the curious-sounding word “Intsuji,” and in a flash, I realized something amazing.
Intsuji Temple (in Kiyama, Saga Prefecture), affiliated with the Jodo Shinshu Honganji School of Pure Land Buddhism.
The in of Intsu comes from the word “karma” [inga]. The spiritual principle of karma, summed up in the phrase “What comes around goes around,” is a central tenet of Buddhist philosophy.
What’s more, the tsu of Intsu is pronounced tong in Chinese, as in the town of Tongzhou.
I would like to think that perhaps Intsuji was a temple imbued with the purpose of revealing to the world the truth about the Tongzhou Massacre, and its “destiny,” if we can call it that, was finally fulfilled by the author of Tears of the Emperor. Yet again, I find myself struck with wonder at the mysterious bonds of fate that tie human beings together.
(2) The Tragedy of the Tongzhou Massacre – The Hellish Slaughter of Japanese Citizens
By Shirabe Kanga
Japan’s misguided guilt complex
Though the horrible disasters that have befallen the Japanese people in times of war are many, one which we must absolutely remember is the Tongzhou Massacre, which marked the starting point of the Greater East Asia War. It would be fair to call it an atrocity of truly unparalleled cruelty in the annals of world history, and yet, today the incident has become so forgotten that it seems that most Japanese people have never even heard of it. Of course, there was also the Nikolayevsk Incident of 1920, the tragic massacre perpetrated by Bolshevik forces in Siberia, involving numerous spine-chilling acts of savagery against Japanese people, but the Tongzhou Massacre was an even greater tragedy than that.
To talk about the Tongzhou Massacre, I have to start with the circumstances of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. It was the Marco Polo Bridge Incident that motivated a Japanese delegation to visit Beijing on what was actually an apology tour. They humbly apologized to Chinese politicians for the Japanese military having provoked the war and having brought China and Japan into a state of hostilities, but the Chinese people received the apology in haughty manner, treating it as the very least the Japanese should have done given the magnitude of the crimes they obviously committed. Japanese people who didn’t know the truth, or rather who were never told the truth, likewise blithely assumed that it was all too natural for representatives of Japan to apologize to China given the evil things that Japan did abroad, and when Japanese newspapers reported on the event, they further reinforced this perception.
That is how severely Japan’s postwar education system has alienated the Japanese people from historical reality. This trend is especially strong among university and college graduates and appears to have been the work of their professors, who identified themselves as so-called “progressive intellectuals”. A surprisingly large number of these unabashedly left-wing intellectuals had been brainwashed by the propaganda of the Comintern, an arm of the Soviet government founded in 1919 to spread communism. The Comintern-influenced “progressive intellectuals” were terrified at the prospect of the Japanese people discovering the truth about their own history. To avert this danger, they wrote school textbooks embracing the “Tokyo Trial view of history” and began to brainwash the Japanese people. Because their interests coincided with those of the United States, which at the time occupied Japan by force of arms, their campaign was amazingly successful. Thus, lies were built upon lies, and Japanese people wrote countless terrible slanders about their own country and taught them in classes. Consequently, many Japanese were indoctrinated with historical falsehoods, and most came to believe that Japan had done evil things, made terrible mistakes, and would have to apologize and make amends. In this
manner, the Japanese people came to hold a deep-rooted guilt complex over their own history. Once instilled with this historical guilt complex, they abandoned their faith in their own country, became mistrustful of their countrymen, and lost all hope for the future. In other words, they had absorbed a worldview based on a cynical, bleak outlook on Japanese history.
Promotion of the “Tokyo Trial view of history” by the media and education system
Thus, some may want to know who bears responsibility for making Japan this way. Perhaps they will point the finger at their Japanese forefathers who fought the war, but that would be a serious error. Ultimately, the ones who forced this way of thinking upon the Japanese people are the occupation forces that dominated Japan after the end of the war and undertook the Tokyo Trials to prosecute Japanese “war criminals”. Using the Tokyo Trials, they concocted the “Tokyo Trial view of history” that continues to pervade Japanese society to this day. As is common knowledge, the order to go ahead with the Tokyo Trials was laid down by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.
And yet, in 1951 MacArthur himself appeared before the US Senate and told the Joint Committee on Armed Services and Foreign Relations that Japan’s attack on the United States was not an act of aggression, but rather “was largely dictated by security.” Such being the case, one would imagine that Japan’s mass media and educators ought to have promoted the fact that the “war of aggression” that most Japanese people seem to believe that their country waged was expressly denied by General MacArthur from his authoritative position as the supreme commander who prosecuted the war with Japan and oversaw the occupation. In fact, they never even brought it up. As I have said already, this was because most of Japan’s most influential journalists and educators had been brainwashed by the Comintern. Thus, their principles were to conceal the truth about Japan’s history, to erase the national consciousness of the Japanese people, and to only teach and report lies, and on the basis of these principles, they remodeled Japan in their own image. Then, whenever a brave man or woman spoke even a word of criticism against their deluded outlook on Japan’s history, the media and educators clamored in dissention. However, when even their power failed them and their deception seemed on the verge of being exposed, they had China and South Korea fly to their rescue. Chinese and Korean politicians and journalists have embarked on a wave of Japan-bashing, especially on the school textbook problem and similar issues.
Some believe that if Japan were to utter anything resembling criticism against the textbooks used in China and Korea, it would be silenced by force of arms. Thanks to the influence of Japan’s own “progressive intellectuals,” who were brainwashed by the Comintern and control the media and education system, Japan is completely forbidden from criticizing China or Korea in any way, even as they aggressively meddle in Japan’s internal affairs, including Japanese textbooks and public opinion. It pains me to think that the many Japanese people who were prevented by the corrupted education system from learning the reality still believe, and might carry on believing for the rest of their lives, that these lies are true.
The truth about the Marco Polo Bridge Incident
Therefore, I want the Japanese people to know the truth for what it is, including the truth about the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, the clash between Japanese and Chinese forces that occurred at the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Currently, most Japanese people seem to believe that the Marco Polo Bridge Incident was planned and provoked by Japan, but this is yet another product of our distorted education system. It is proof that the Japanese people have confused lies with truth, and eventually, the Japanese people will have to learn the truth. Though the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the various events leading up to it are explained in detail in the book The Road to the Greater Asian War [Daitoa Senso e no Michi] by Nakamura Akira, those who are familiar with what was going on at the time are likely aware that Japan suffered numerous, outrageous provocation at the hands of the Chinese.
On July 7, 1937, the soldiers of the 8th Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment of the Japanese China Garrison Army undertook nighttime military exercises on the left bank of the Yongding River. They were on the north side of Marco Polo Bridge, at a site located twelve kilometers west of Beijing. Shortly after 10:00 PM, their military exercises ended and they prepared to return to their unit. Just at the moment, that they were about to march out, they suddenly came under a hail of gunfire, originating from Chinese soldiers at Longwangmiao, a position atop an embankment along the shore of the Yongding River. Shimizu Setsuro, the company commander, ordered Noji, the commander of the 1st Platoon, to have all his men fall to the ground. Then, as they stared in the direction of the source of the firing, Shimizu, the men of the 1st Platoon, and several other soldiers witnessed flashlight signals being exchanged between the Chinese soldiers on Marco Polo Bridge and those stationed on the embankment. As soon as they had finished exchanging signals, they fired several dozen more shots at the Japanese side. This leaves little doubt that the Chinese had planned the operation in advance and were signaling to each other the order to launch the attack. Even so, the Japanese soldiers did not fire any shots back at that time. Shimizu ordered all his men to assemble on the spot, and then had Sergeant Iwatani and another soldier race on horseback to Fengtai in order to report to Ichiki Kiyonao, the battalion commander. Ichiki in turn phoned Mutaguchi Renya, the regimental commander who was in Beijing. Mutaguchi told Ichiki to wait until dawn and then attempt to negotiate with the Chinese battalion commander stationed on Marco Polo Bridge. At the same time, he also got in contact with the Japanese Army’s Special Service Agency and arranged for the Japanese Army to have military envoys from both sides meet up and discuss a peaceful resolution of the matter. The military envoys representing the Chinese side were Wang Lengzhai, Magistrate of Wanping County, and Lin Gengyu, a member of the Hebei-Chahar Political Council, whereas those from the Japanese side were Major Sakurai Tokutaro, an advisor to the 29th Army, Teradaira Tadasuke, an intelligence aide, Major Akahuji Soji, and Lieutenant Colonel Morita Tetsu.
Meanwhile, Shimizu and his men moved two kilometers east to West Wulidian where they joined the 3rd Battalion, which had departed from Fengtai. The 3rd Battalion occupied Ichimonji-yama, but at 3:25 AM they were again subjected to fire from the direction of
Longwangmiao. Ichiki immediately reported to Mutaguchi by phone, and he was told, “At 3:25, you can see the area clearly. If you receive one more attack of this nature after that, I give you permission to fight back in self-defense.” The call ended at 4:20 AM. By this time, Beijing Mayor Qin Dechun had spoken to Sakurai Tokutaro and even given him the green light to attack. The Mayor told Sakurai, “There is not one Chinese soldier stationed outside the ramparts of Marco Polo Bridge. The ones who fired on those Japanese soldiers were probably just bandits, so it would be fine for the Japanese Army to attack them.”
No act of aggression on the part of Japan
In consideration of these circumstances, Ichiki was about to hand down an order to attack the Chinese soldiers around Longwangmiao, but at that moment, the team of military envoys reached Ichimonji-yama. Lieutenant Colonel Morita, the Japanese military envoy representing the regimental commander, ordered that his men not load their guns. When other officers protested on the grounds that they had been given permission to attack from the regimental commander and were preparing to launch an offensive, Morita stood before them and told them firmly, “If you are going to attack the Chinese, shoot me first.” Therefore, the Japanese units were unable to launch an offensive. Having received such a strict directive from Morita, Ichiki abandoned his planned attack and instead decided to let his men have breakfast. Apparently, the Chinese noted that the Japanese Army had never fired a single shot back at them and took it as a sign that the Japanese were weak and afraid. While eating breakfast, the Japanese soldiers were attacked with withering bursts of gunfire. The Chinese and Japanese military envoys were meeting on Marco Polo Bridge, and it seems that this latest attack took place just as Jin Zhenzhong, the battalion commander, insisted that there were no Chinese soldiers anywhere outside the ramparts of Marco Polo Bridge. This time, after having had their breakfast interrupted by intense gunfire, the Japanese immediately readied a counterattack. This occurred at 5:30 AM. Once on the offensive, the Japanese Army promptly drove the enemy from Longwangmiao before advancing as far as the right bank of the Yongding River, repulsing the Chinese soldiers there.
When the Japanese Army examined the bodies of the Chinese soldiers abandoned after the battle, they discovered that they were regular soldiers of China’s 29th Army subordinate to the army commander. Indeed, they appeared to be the unit’s elite forces. The line that the Chinese side had maintained so adamantly before the attack, that the shooters on Longwangmiao were bandits and not soldiers, was thus exposed as the blatant lie that it was. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident, a series of planned attacks on soldiers of the Japanese Army, including an attack while they were eating breakfast, proved to be a highly characteristic example of Chinese treachery. Obviously, no act of aggression was undertaken by Japan. The Japanese Army, which had demonstrated a remarkable degree of restraint, only to be attacked by the Chinese who mistook its restraint for weakness, cannot possibly be labeled as an aggressor. And yet, why was the Japanese Army in China at all? Some seem to believe that this alone constitutes a sort of aggression, but this is an argument that completely ignores history.
One hundred years of Japanese history and two hundred years of Asian history
The very fact that the war was fought on foreign soil fifty years ago is taken by some in Japan today as proof that it was a war of aggression. Why, they ask, was the Japanese military in a foreign country at all? However, these people are looking only at the past fifty years of history and are closing their eyes to what came before. Anyone who wants to clearly understand why the Japanese Army was in China needs to know the past one hundred years of Japanese history. Criticizing the Japanese Army for being in China without the full context of one hundred years of Japanese history is simple ignorance. Furthermore, knowing one hundred years of Japanese history requires one to know two hundred years of Asian history. Such senseless condemnation of Japan as an aggressor by people who haven’t attempted to learn any of this can only be described as foolish and despicable.
What becomes clear through examination of one hundred years of Japanese history is that, since the Meiji Restoration of the nineteenth century, the people of Japan have been continuously shedding their precious blood and sweat for the benefit of the people of Korea. The Korean people have become indoctrinated so thoroughly with anti-Japanese education that they obliviously assume that Japan historically behaved aggressively towards Korea. This is fundamentally incorrect. Japan has made great sacrifices for the sake of Korea and the Korean people. I will refrain from providing a detailed historical background, suffice it to say that, on closer consideration, the reason why Japan fought both the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War was to protect Korea. However, the Japanese public was incensed when Prince Ito Hirobumi, whose utmost desire was to maintain Korea’s independence, was shot dead by the Korean An Chung-gun at Harbin Railway Station. A troubling chorus of voices calling for Korea to be punished rose up throughout Japan. Fearing that Korea would be destroyed, the Koreans voluntarily sought annexation by Japan, and with that, Korea became a part of Japan. Nevertheless, Korea developed by leaps and bounds during its thirty-five years of union with Japan. One can’t help but be dumbfounded by the fundamental historical illiteracy of the Korean people who continue, even now fifty years later, to hate Japan and insist that it was an aggressor nation.
The history of Korean aggression against Japan
Even though Korea continues to claim that it was the victim of Japanese aggression, in fact, it is Japan that has been repeatedly subject to brutal invasions from Korea. The best historical examples are the First and Second Mongol Invasions of 1274 and 1281. These are said to have been invasions of Japan by the Mongol armies of Kublai Khan, but that was not actually the case. Whenever Kublai Khan’s armies occupied another nation, they had the soldiers of the occupied nation attack its neighbors. The “Mongol” Invasions were actually Korean invasions of Japan that took place after Korea was occupied by the Mongols. The First “Mongol” Invasion, though intended partly as reconnaissance, had devastating consequences for Japan. Korean forces first landed on Tsushima Island and massacred all its inhabitants. Then, they landed in North Kyushu where they laid waste to everything between Hakata and Kokura. Some have calculated that the number of Japanese people who were killed, including on Tsushima Island and Iki Island, surpassed one million.
Even if they were the pawns of Kublai Khan, it was still the Koreans who invaded Japan, a truly ruthless act of aggression. In order to denounce Japan, Koreans have characterized their own country’s long history as a series of one-sided aggressions by Japan, but by doing so, they only expose their own ignorance of history. They do this in spite of the fact that Japanese people have given their lives to defend Korea. As I mentioned earlier, this includes both the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War. These are facts that no Japanese person can afford to forget. And so, Japanese blood was spilled time and again for the people of Korea, who repaid the favor by betraying Japan.
The two causes of the Tongzhou Massacre
It appears that the Tongzhou Massacre had had two major root causes. The first was the violent conflict between the Communist Party and the Nationalist Party, led by Chiang Kai-shek, which engulfed China at that time following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. The Comintern was founded in 1919 and turned its attention to China as a stepping stone in its plan to achieve global domination. Under Comintern guidance, the Red Army of the Chinese Communist Party began to resist the government throughout China, but Chiang Kai-shek responded by forming the Nationalist Party to wipe out the communists. Any examination of real history will show that these are obvious historical facts, and not the warped conception of history espoused by a communist-inspired educational system. One comment that I must add here is that because the Comintern, or Third International, advocated violent revolution and a dictatorship of the proletariat, its ideology and activities were extremely dangerous. Any communist idea that adheres to the line of the Comintern, no matter how lovely it appears to be in theory, can be proven in the light of history to be, in practice, the epitome of pure evil and inhumanity. Chiang Kai-shek was committed to fighting this evil, and for that reason, there were no means he was not willing to pursue and no sacrifice too great. Though he was speaking from his own standpoint when he asserted that he would make any sacrifice, he also forced sacrifices upon other people, and the Tongzhou Massacre was one instance of such a sacrifice.
The second cause was the outrageously treasonous activities undertaken by Koreans against the Japanese. It is true that their treason was inspired by the bitterness and anger some Koreans felt following the 1910 union of Japan and Korea, but, if the tragedy of the Tongzhou Massacre resulted from their hatred of the Japanese and desire for vengeance, that is absolutely no justification for it. When the pro-Japanese Yin Rugeng established the East Hebei Anti-Communist Autonomous Government in 1935, the Republic of China resorted to various means to undermine him, including slandering him to as many people as possible. More than any other group, it was the Koreans that the Republic of China utilized to spread such propaganda. However, the Koreans entrusted with this task did not limit the smear campaign to pro-Japanese Yin Rugeng. Instead, they extended it against all Japanese. As Sasaki Ten’s testimony makes clear, the Koreans were truly skillful in spreading slander against Japanese people and accelerated the upsurge in anti-Japanese sentiment, but while doing so, they were oblivious to the risk that they themselves would become targets of the hatred they were inciting. It seems that most Chinese people became passionately
convinced that Japan should be crushed and the Japanese people massacred. To reiterate, the Koreans played a major role in fomenting a toxic atmosphere among the Chinese.
The planned rebellion of the Peace Preservation Corps
The Tongzhou Massacre broke out once these conditions were in place, but the actual trigger of the incident was Yin Rugeng. Yin founded the East Hebei Anti-Communist Autonomous Government and set up the 10,000-man Peace Preservation Corps as its army. In response, China’s 29th Army deployed soldiers to Baotong Temple, situated a short distance from Tongzhou. At the same time as the anti-Japanese passions of the people were being inflamed and denunciation of Japan was on the rise, some of the soldiers stationed at Baotong Temple began undertaking noticeably suspicious maneuvers. Therefore, because units of the Peace Preservation Corps were in the same area, Japan requested that the 29th Army temporarily withdraw from Baotong Temple. In spite of this, not only did the Chinese units there show no sign that they would respond to the request, they even assumed threatening positions towards the Japanese units and civilians in Tongzhou. It appears that the 29th Army was heavily influenced by misinformation disseminated by the Chinese side, including daily radio broadcasts from Nanking proclaiming that “The Chinese Army has won a great victory! Japanese forces have been crushed and the Japanese have been wiped out.” Clearly, these constant broadcasts and the anti-Japanese slander spread by the Koreans were having the desired effect. In addition, Chinese soldiers were, to varying degrees, coming under the influence of communist ideology. The ultimate objective of the Comintern’s central leadership was to dominate Japan by force and install a communist revolutionary government based on their key principle of “dictatorship of the proletariat.” However, an urgent prerequisite to achieving this goal was the elimination of all Japanese forces deployed in China. In pursuit of this aim, the communists infiltrated moles into Chiang Kai-shek’s armies and plotted to use them to fight the Japanese. The annihilation of the Japanese in Tongzhou was just one step in a bigger plan. Yin Rugeng was pro-Japanese, and one would have expected his Peace Preservation Corps to be pro-Japanese as well, but in fact, its ranks were riddled with numerous Comintern infiltrators eager to spark a red revolution. Moreover, these infiltrators were always in close contact with their counterparts in the 29th Army, who were communist revolutionaries supporting a “popular front” against Japan. All these developments set the stage for the terrible massacre that was about to unfold in Tongzhou.
The events directly preceding the massacre were as follows. In order to avert a clash with hostile units of the 29th Army stationed at Baotong Temple, the Japanese Army requested that they withdraw temporarily to Beijing, but instead they attacked the Japanese Army. On July 27, the Japanese Army launched a counterattack. No sooner had the Japanese Army made up its mind to switch to the offensive than the Chinese soldiers lost their nerve and scattered. However, when a bomber from Japan’s Kwantung Army joined the attack on Baotong Temple, it accidentally hit a nearby unit of the Peace Preservation Corps. Hosoki, the Chief of the Special Service Agency, lost no time in hurrying to Yin Rugeng’s residence and offering an official apology from the Japanese side. He also personally delivered his condolences to the families of the deceased. Nonetheless, the Nationalist Government in
Nanking did everything possible to exploit the incident to foment an uprising against Yin Rugeng and trigger the plan to slaughter the Japanese.
The massacre of the Japanese begins
The Peace Preservation Corps began their rebellion in the early hours of July 29, starting by kidnapping Yin Rugeng. The kidnapping of Yin, their own founding father and godfather who had built the Peace Preservation Corps up from scratch, was an act absolutely abhorrent to Chinese morality, and yet, such deeds were in fact committed time and time again. Though the minds of the individuals who committed the crime were tainted even further with communist ideology, this was the moment heralding the demise of the Chinese notion of morality. After kidnapping Yin, the Peace Preservation Corps launched a determined attack on the Japanese soldiers left in Tongzhou on guard duty, who were eventually all killed. At the same time, they started to systematically massacre the Japanese residents of Tongzhou. Tragedies as heartbreaking as the one that occurred in Tongzhou are rarely seen in the world’s history of cruelty. The words of Sasaki Ten fully expose what really happened on the day of the calamity, but first, I will present a few of the surviving official records of the massacre.
Kayajima Takashi, who in 1937 was commander of the Tianjin Infantry Unit, which was the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the Japanese China Garrison Army, delivered the following testimony at the time of the postwar Tokyo Trials:
“I saw a restaurant called Asahi-ken. There 7 or 8 women aged between 17 or 18 and 40 had all been stripped of their clothing, raped, and shot to death. The private parts of 4 or 5 of them had been thrust through with bayonets… The corpses of Japanese men who had been shot or stabbed to death remained in the buildings which had housed business firms and public offices. Almost all of them seemed to have been pulled about with ropes around their necks. Blood was splattered on the walls. Those scenes were beyond description.”
Kayajima’s testimony was proof that the Japanese were subject to truly sadistic tortures before being killed.
Katsura Shizuo, acting unit commander in the 2nd Infantry Regiment that relieved Tongzhou, gave the following testimony about the horrific atrocity at Kinsuiro Inn:
“At the entrance, I found a corpse of a woman who seemed to have been the hostess of the Kinsuiro Hotel. Nearly naked, she was lying on her back along the passage near the entrance, with her feet stretched toward the door and with a sheet of newspaper placed over her face. She seemed to have made a strong resistance, for she was lying on the floor, stripped off her clothes. I remember that both the upper and lower halves of her body were exposed, revealing four or five bayonet wounds, which I thought to have been fatal to her. Her private parts seemed to have been scooped out with a sharp instrument, for there were scattered marks of blood. The counter and kitchen were so ransacked that there was no room for me to step in, showing unmistakable signs of looting. I saw four corpses of Japanese women who
appeared to be maid servants lying in the maid servants’ room on the right side of the passage. It seemed that they had died in an extreme agony, but they were lying one upon another, in comparative order perhaps on account of shooting, except one lying dead on her back with her private parts exposed… When we entered the counting room and the kitchen, where a man and two women were found lying dead on their face or back. I didn’t know whether they had outraged or not, but were evidences of struggles having been made; the man had his eyes gouged out and the upper half of his body honeycombed with bayonet thrusts and two women had on their backs marks of bayonet stabs. Next we stepped into the passage. In a room downstairs two corpses of women were seen lying nearly naked, with marks of bayonets thrusts on their private and other parts… I went to the café where I had been a year before… But stepping into the room, I found in a box a women’s corpse, nearly naked and strangled with a rope. At the back of the café was a Japanese house, where a child and its parent had been cruelly murdered and the former had all its fingers cut off… There was a Japanese shop near the southern castle gate. A corpse of a man who seemed to be the master of the shop was lying on the road, having been dragged out and killed. He had his bones exposed on the breast and belly, and his entrails scattered about.”
There was also Sakurai Fumio, a platoon commander in the 2nd Infantry Regiment who arrived to relieve Tongzhou on July 30 and later gave the following statement about what he saw:
“As we moved out the east gate of the garrison camp, we witnesses bodies of men and women of our residents laying scattered, every few KEN [TN: 2 yards). Our indignation reached its climax but as we would not find any enemy soldiers about, we exclusively engaged ourselves the accommodation of those who we still alive until midnight. As we examined each house crying loudly, ‘Are there any Japanese?’, from here and there, crawling out one after another from garbage-bins, trenches, or from behind a wall, a child whose nose was pierced crosswise with wire as an ox, an old woman whose one arm was cut off, or a pregnant woman whose abdomen was stabbed with bayonets etc. came forth. Inside a certain restaurant, I witnessed the remains of an entire family massacred, with each of the individuals with the heads and arms cut off. All and any women more than 14 or 15 years of age were all raped. It was indeed unbearable sight. When we entered an eating-house called the ‘ASAHIKEN’, we found the corpse of seven or eight women completely stripped, raped, and shot or bayoneted. Among them, there were those whose private parts had a broom inserted, those whose mouth were stuffed with sand, those whose abdomen were cut open lengthwise, etc., it was indeed unbearable to see. There was a pond near a shop kept by a certain Korean in the neighborhood of the east gate. In this pond, whose water was dyed red with blood, were found the six corpse of an entire family; their necks were tied together with rope and their two hands tied together and pierced with no. 8-iron-wire as beads in a rosary. Evidence was quite clear that they had been dragged about.”
This was the scene of a truly cold-blooded crime, one that perhaps even Satan himself could not have borne to watch. These testimonies give vivid depictions of vile deeds that we ought to call utterly demonic, but which even demons themselves might not have been
capable of. (The above information on the Tongzhou Massacre comes largely from the book The Road to the Greater Asian War [Daitoa Senso e no Michi] by Nakamura Akira.)
The cruelty of meat-eating peoples
The Japanese people have no capacity to engage in the sort of cruel acts seen in Tongzhou. By contrast, cruelty is a fundamental characteristic of other races, including the Chinese, Koreans, Americans, and Europeans. The reason for this is that they are meat-eating peoples, whereas the Japanese are a rice-eating, and therefore herbivorous, people. If we were to compare it to the animal world, we would note that carnivores are naturally savage, cruel, and combative, whereas herbivores are peaceful, cooperative, and compassionate. In the animal world, lions, tigers, and wolfs behave in an extremely aggressive and cruel manner towards other animals and never show a shred of compassion towards them. When they subdue an opponent in a fierce fight, they view that opponent as their property, and as such, they are free to do anything they wish with it. Indeed, the fact that they will torture and mistreat others as much as they can is something like the instinctive behavior or the fundamental nature of carnivorous animals, without which they would cease to be what they are.
On the other hand, herbivores such as rabbits, sheep, and goats show no such predilection towards cruelty. Herbivores need not overpower any other creatures, for they live off of plant life, a blessing of nature. They acquire sustenance from plants, and thus are happy to live together with one another in peace. In this manner, one can say that humans are the same way. Unsurprisingly, most people who regularly eat meat are aggressive, and they feel that their right to commit any cruelty imaginable to the people they subdue through violence is ordained by God.
The innate cruelty of the Chinese people
An examination of the barbaric deeds perpetrated in Tongzhou can leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about the fundamentally cruel nature of the Chinese people. They show no mercy or empathy for those who they kill, and they take an abnormally strong interest in both the killing of their victims and the mutilation of their bodies. To commit such barbaric acts towards the dead is completely alien to Japanese tradition. The “Nanking Massacre,” said to be the murder of 300,000 Chinese people by Japanese soldiers, is brought up again and again, but it is a total fabrication without any factual basis. Tokyo University Professor Fujioka has explained this point with great clarity. Moreover, the fact that the massacre of 300,000 people in Nanking is a lie is evident from two other angles.
Firstly, the soldiers and civilians of Japan held dear the poem composed by Emperor Meiji that goes, “Even if you break your enemies for your country, do not forget also to love them.” In other words, even though we must fight our opponents with all our might, after the war is over, we also have an obligation to treat those who are mourning the casualties of war with kindness and help them back onto their feet. The soldiers and civilians of Japan strongly sympathized with this idea. How could Japanese soldiers who upheld such ideals
have possibly killed innocent people? From this perspective, the “Nanking Massacre” could not possibly have occurred.
Secondly, one must consider the Chinese people’s deeply engrained penchant for distorting facts. In literature, this penchant is epitomized in the famous expression “an old man with 20,000 feet of gray hair” [baifa sanqian zhang] that comes from a poem by Li Bai, but such hyperbole is commonplace in Chinese discourse. If a person’s hair is two feet long, the standard practice of the Chinese is to express that as 20,000 feet. Taking such exaggeration into account, the true death toll of the Nanking Massacre falls to only thirty people. I find it astonishing how far the people of Japan have been duped by the misinformation of the Tokyo Trials and news reports based on just these sorts of fabrications and lies.
The blood confession of a survivor
I will now present the story of Sasaki Ten, a woman who experienced the massacre firsthand and lived to tell the tale. She was born in Oita Prefecture near Mount Sobo, but due to various circumstances, she married a Chinese man named Mr. Shen in 1932 and moved to China. Eventually, she settled down in Tongzhou around the year 1934. After experiencing the Tongzhou Massacre, she came to recognize China as the frightful place it was, and in the end, she got a divorce and returned to Japan in 1940. After moving from place to place, late in her life she came to Beppu, and she ultimately passed away in Minamiamabe District, Oita Prefecture. What Sasaki Ten had seen in Tongzhou was so harrowing that she kept silent about it even after returning to Japan, refusing to admit to anyone that she had even been to Tongzhou.
When she lived in Beppu, she came regularly to the Nishi Honganji branch Temple. One day, she looked at me as if she couldn’t hold back any longer, and then, she began to tell me the following story about the whole horrible truth of the Tongzhou Massacre.
(4) Postscript
The bulk of this booklet’s contents were reprinted from a work composed by Shirabe Kanga. Properly speaking, Mr. Shirabe ought to have been credited as the author of this booklet, but due to various circumstances, it ended up being released as an edited work with myself as the editor. The following is a profile of the life of the late Shirabe Kanga.
Shirabe Kanga was born on October 7, 1920. He was the sixteenth Head Priest of Mount Senshin Intsuji Temple, which is affiliated with the Jodo Shinshu Honganji School of Pure Land Buddhism and is located in the town of Kiyama in Saga Prefecture. While studying at Ryukoku University, he was conscripted into the army and was sent to the frontlines alongside his fellow students. After being demobilized, he worked with his father, Shirabe Ryuei, to found and manage “War Orphan Aid and Education Center Senshinryo”, which was visited by Emperor Hirohito in May, 1949.
In 1989, while travelling in Asia on refugee relief work, Shirabe Kanga met an elderly Thai monk who lamented that, “Not a single man has come to pray for the Japanese soldiers who perished here.” As a result, he founded the Memorial Committee for War Dead of the Thai-Burma Front in order to gather the remains of deceased soldiers and support local schools. Its work was later carried on by the Eto Foundation. In 1997, he published Tears of the Emperor. Shirabe Kanga passed away on January 30, 2007.
The basic process of compiling this booklet was the following.
I took pages 105 to 157 of Shirabe Kanga’s original 342-page work Tears of the Emperor (Tokyo: Kyoikusha, 1997) that dealt with the subject of the Tongzhou Massacre, and I reprinted them as Parts 2 and 3 of this booklet.
Because Part 2 was Mr. Shirabe’s personal analysis of the Tongzhou Massacre, I made no alterations or corrections to either the text or the paragraph structure. However, I did insert subheadings in appropriate places to improve readability.
The testimony of Sasaki Ten became Part 3. I again inserted subheadings for reader convenience, and I also added more paragraph breaks while preserving the paragraph breaks of the original. I made the font size of some of the letters larger than that of Part 2.
In a very small number of cases, I did make my own alterations to the original text in order to remove obvious typos.
Finally, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to Intsuji Temple and all the others who helped me to have this booklet published.
-Editor Fujioka Nobukatsu, July 2016