Iris Chang charges in her book [The Nanking
Massacre] that Japanese soldiers in Nanking in 1938 murdered Chinese in
barbaric and gruesome ways.
Some historians say that such charges stem from
wartime hostile propaganda, possibly easily believed by the Chinese public even if such
scenes were never actually witnessed, because they were precisely the ways in which
Chinese often killed each other throughout their history, including this period. Many
Chinese had suffered such fates at the hands of fellow Chinese, and the average man or
woman knew next-to-nothing about Japanese culture. Such people make easy prey to Chinese
Historian Nakamura Akira cites the "60 major
methods of execution" of the Chinese Communist Party, implemented against opponents,
as a modern example of the historic tradition of brutal violence.
Nakamura says the list includes killing opponents by 1) frying them alive, 2) driving
nails into their bodies, 3) cutting off ears and gouging out eyes, 4) skinning the faces
of live persons, 5) cutting the bodies open while alive and pulling out the internal
organs, 6) piercing a rope through the nose and pull the victims around, and the list goes
Of these, methods 3), 4),5),6) were actually implemented against Japanese civilians and
soldiers in Chinan in May of 1928 and in Tongzhou in July of 1937.
Japanese execute people too, but the kind of
methods as described above, which echo the many gruesome descriptions in Iris Chang's
book, are historically alien to Japanese culture and imagination.