The Journal of Japanese Studies



Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi
The Nanking 100-Man Killing Contest Debate:
War Guilt Amid Fabricated Illusions, 1971-75

In December 1937 two Japanese officer-swordsmen allegedly vied to see who could first kill 100 Chinese in a "murder race" outside Nanking.  In 1946-47 they suffered execution as war criminals, and in 1971-75 a debate over the incident's factuality erupted in Japan.  I conclude that the killing contest itself was a fabrication, but the debate over it provoked a full-blown controversy as to the historicity of the Nanking Atrocity as a whole.  This larger controversy increased the Japanese people's knowledge of the Atrocity and raised their awareness of being victimizers in a war of imperialist aggression despite efforts to the contrary by conservative revisionists.

Volume 26, Number 2 (Summer 2000)
2000 Society for Japanese Studies


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