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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NANJING MASSACRE WAR MEMORIAL : For the 300,000 who perished in WWII

People ask me, "Why Nanjing?". The place is unheard of for many Filipinos primarily because there are no direct flights here from the Philippines. I say, why not? Nanjing holds a lot of history being considered as the Southern Capital of China. Nanjing, Beijing. Rings a bell? Beijing means Northern Capital, Nanjing means Southern Capital. That gave sense to our decision to visit the city.


Nanjing has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture having been the capital of China for several period including before World War II swept Asia Pacific. It was therefore the seat of government when the Japanese invaded China. Having said that, Nanjing suffered the brunt of Japanese brutality.


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NANJING MASSACRE WAR MEMORIAL
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I am sure you have heard of the Rape of Nanking. This is a dark historical event wherein some historians claim that approximately 300,000 inhabitants in Nanjing died during the Japanese invasion and the occupation that ensued. There is a war memorial in Nanjing that documents such atrocities of war,
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If you want to understand the anti-Japanese sentiment in China which is still strong until now with their love-and-hate relationship, this is where you can go to have a deep understanding of the scar.

Some people in China mistake me for being Japanese in some occasions so I was careful not to catch attention during our entire visit because I was afraid people might attack me or something. It never happened.^^
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Nanjing Memorial Hall
Built in 1985 in memory of the 300,000 victims who lost their lives during the Nanjing Massacre.
It occupies a total area of approximately 28,000 square meters, including about 3,000 square meters of building floor space.

The memorial consists of three major parts: outdoor exhibits, sheltered skeletal remains of victims, and an exhibition hall of historical documents.
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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The massacre occurred during a six-week period starting December 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanking, which was then the Chinese capital. During this period, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants were murdered by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese. Widespread rape and looting also occurred.

An accurate estimation of the death toll in the massacre has not been achieved because most of the Japanese military records on the killings were deliberately destroyed or kept secret shortly after the surrender of Japan in 1945. The International Military Tribunal of the Far East estimated in 1948 over 200,000 Chinese were killed in the incident.Source
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China's official estimate is more than 300,000 dead based on the evaluation of the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal in 1947. The death toll has been actively contested among scholars since the 1980s, with typical estimates ranging from 40,000 to over 300,000.

The event remains a contentious political issue, as various aspects of it have been disputed by some historical revisionists and Japanese Nationalists. Source
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It was in the exhibition hall where we spent a lot of time. So many historical accounts to read and digest---historical records and objects and uses architecture, sculptures, and videos to illustrate what happened during the Nanjing Massacre.

Many historical items were donated by Japanese members of a Japanese–Chinese friendship group, which also donated a garden located on the museum grounds.

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There are English and Japanese translations to make sure people get a grasp of what the descriptions say. The mood inside is rather serious and depressing given the moving photos of the brutalities on display.
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    NANJING MASSACRE WAR MEMORIAL
    Admission Fee: FREE
    Location: 418, Jiangdongmen Street, Nanjing 
    How to get there: 
    Bus No7, 37, 61, 63, and get off at Cha Nan (Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall) 
    Subway:  Take subway to Yunjinlu Station and walk a few meters from there.

    Opening Time: 8:30-16:30, Closed on Mondays
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HOW TO GET TO NANJING
Nanjing is a good 3.5 hours away from Shanghai via ordinary train and 1.5 hours via speed train.
Shanghai was our entry point. From here, we took the sleeper train to Beijing and it took us 9 hours.


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