In This Review

The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography
The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography
Edited by Joshua A. Fogel
University of California Press, 2000, 264 pp.

A debate rages among historians over the casualties of the Nanjing massacre in 1937, in which Japanese troops may have slaughtered up to 300,000 Chinese civilians. But this volume shows that the even bigger story is how the "Rape of Nanjing" shaped the national identities of China and Japan. After World War II, the massacre's commemoration among the Chinese public easily triggered anti-Japanese sentiments. Today Beijing still manipulates the memory at times to shame the Japanese government, but it increasingly holds in check the public passions that might damage economic relations with a rich Japan. Mark Eykholt describes the issue's politicization in China, and Takashi Yoshida illuminates the continuous battle over the massacre in Japan -- where some have sought to publicize the horror and force Japan to admit its national guilt while others seek to put the past behind them and regain a "normal" sense of national pride. All the while, Japanese actions are scrutinized by the sensitive Chinese and often made into an international issue -- such as the debate over how Japanese textbooks should handle the tragedy.