Japanese ultras fight 'lie' of Rape of Nanking

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TOKYO -- To one furious Japanese politician it is “a matter of national pride and honour”. Another urged an “information war against the rest of the world”. Other MPs in Tokyo described an “atmosphere of crisis” between Japan and China.

It is not the usual kind of dispute over underwater oil-fields or military spending, but a battle over a series of forthcoming films about an atrocity a lifetime ago.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the notorious Rape of Nanking, when troops of the Japanese Imperial Army embarked on a rampage of looting, rape and murder in the former Chinese capital. Film-makers from Hollywood to Hong Kong are producing at least six different films on the subject.

All accept the view of most Western and many Japanese historians that in three weeks in 1937 the Imperial forces killed tens of thousands of civilians in the city of Nanking.

But now Japanese nationalists are uniting to insist on the opposite — that the massacre was a vicious lie cooked up by Chinese communists to smear a proud and noble army. A revisionist documentary plans to prove Nanking to be a hoax. And 18 young members of the Japanese parliament have formed a “Group to Study the Truth of the Nanking Incident”.

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