Research on Nanking Massacre hindered by state ideology: scholar

Taipei--A Chinese-born modern Japanese historian on Monday called for a broader approach to academic research into the Nanjing Massacre and related cases involving the killing of civilians and prisoners of war (POW) by the Imperial Japanese Army. He also said that historical research should not be influenced by state ideology or national sentiment in China.

In a post on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website, Jiang Keshi (???) suggested that scholars should focus on why so many civilians and POWs were killed by the Japanese army during the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937-1945.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) claims the invading Japanese army slaughtered about 300,000 people during the Rape of Nanking from December 1937 to February 1938, a contention that has become a point of controversy between Japan and China in recent years.

The word "massacre" and number "300,000" are loaded words, which should not serve as starting points for academic research but should rather be points of discovery or conclusion to research, said Jiang.

In 2014, December 13 was designated a national day of mourning and remembrance for the Nanking Massacre by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, a legislative body that serves as a rubber-stamp for decisions made by the CPC-led state.

Jiang, a professor at Japan's Okayama University, suggested that academics should seek to record the killing of civilians and POWs during the Second World War by the Japanese Army in China and Southeast Asia, as such actions are crimes against international law, specifically the Geneva Conventions.

Shifting the focus of research to fact-finding can help to uncover the details of wartime operations, with responsibility attributable to the invading military force, patriotic education of the modern state and strategy and tactics adopted by the military establishment, but not individuals, said Jiang.

Jiang suggested smaller scale empirical research into killings by the Japanese army, like the incident in Shanxi Province's Yanggao County on September 8, 1937, in which several hundred were slaughtered or the one in Shangdong Province's Teng County from March 15-18, in which more than 80 were killed.

Empirical research to determine historical facts can allow people in different countries (including Japan) to work together on scientific studies and thereby secure the support of international public opinion, said Jiang.

Jiang is an expert on Tanzan Ishibashi (1884-1973), a journalist, politician and former prime minister of Japan from 1956-57.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel