I had an hour or two spare this morning before another shoot and decided to check out the annual commemoration of the start of the Nanjing Massacre at the huge and breathtaking Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum. Not nearly as big a news event this year as last (a small edit of my previous photos), the event today was well-attended and somber.
Today was the 71st anniversary of the beginning of the Rape of Nanking (or the Nanjing Massacre), in which Japanese troops took over the then-capital and went on a 6 week rampage. Japan and China present different histories of the time. Tensions run high on the day and there’s a strong anti-Japanese sentiment in China. I’ve read some reports saying that anti-Japanese sentiment, especially among the youth, has been stronger recently than say 5, 10, or 20 years ago. The Chinese government has been trying to quell public displays of the sentiment and not fan the flames too much themselves; everybody wants peace and everybody wants the valuable economic ties between the two countries. I believe Japan hasn’t apologized for the deaths–the Chinese claim 300,000 dead many of whom were women and children–and China keeps trotting out more evidence and emotionally charged reminders of the event (the Nanjing Massacre Museum itself is pretty over the top in displaying how brutal the Japanese troops were); just this week the Chinese government unveiled another 800 pieces of what it calls evidence of war crimes committed by the Japanese troops. A few months ago it was a Japanese diplomat saying that the Massacre Museum lays the blame and hate on too thickly, officially asking the government to tone down the museum.