An exhibition of photographs taken by a former Japanese solider has opened in Tokyo from Friday, in which the Imperial Japanese military's atrocities during their occupation of Nanking were clearly revealed.
Murase Moriyasu, a former soldier who saw Japan's atrocities in Nanking, took more than 3,000 pieces of photos when he was in China from 1937 to 1940. Those rare historical photos, though speechless, show people that there really were a Nanking massacre and the direct involvement of Japanese army in coercing "comfort women."
A photo named "bodies piled on the shore of Yangtze River" reveals that corpses of Nanking citizens were dragged to the banks of Yangtze and thrown into the river.
Some historical deniers in Japan argued that those corpses were Chinese soldiers, who died in battle. They even said that "It is painful to look at them, but death is inevitable in war."
However, it totally contradicts the historical truth shown by the photos.
Tsuharu Yazakimi, head of secretariat of Japan-China friendship association, the exhibition's sponsor, told Xinhua that some of the dead people in the photo were tied up with hands. "You could see clearly after magnifying this photo. No soldiers died in normal battle would be seen like that. They were obviously killed by the Japanese army with maltreatment in some way."
In the other photo, a truck carrys a Japanese soldier and about 10 Korean "comfort women," who were forced into sexual slavery during the war. The soldier could be clearly recognized as he wears a military cap, though sitting in the corner. According to Yazakimi, the truck was the same with trucks used by the supply and transport regiment Murase served at that time, "It can be judged according to those elements that those women were under control of the Japanese army."
In fact, Japanese army recruited at least 200,000 women from Korea Peninsula, China, the Philippines and other occupied countries, forcing them as prostitutes to the Japanese military during WWII. They built up "comfort station," stipulating specific provisions about how to "use" those women, which were clearly shown in Murase's photos.
Despite plenty of solid photographic evidence as well as testimony of former comfort women, some right-wing forces in Japan said that the government and army had no role in coercing women into working as prostitutes. They even want to revise the landmark Kono Statement issued in 1993 by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono that acknowledged and apologized for the Japanese military's involvement of the comfort women system.
"History cannot be denied or distorted and friendships with other countries which have suffered Japan's wartime aggression and invasion such as China could not be developed without Japan's sincere recognition of past history," said Yazakimi.
He further pointed out that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe' s historical denialism and revisionism will cause enormous danger to the country.
"What is worrying is that the prime minister continues all kinds of war preparations despite strong opposition from citizens, " Yazakimi said, adding Japan may be dragged into war again.
In order to prevent the tragedy, "we will hold Murase exhibitions around Japan in the future to let more people know the past invasion history of Japan."
Though Murase has passed away, what he said when his photo book was firstly published in 1987 is still thought-provoking.
He has said: "Those brutal soldiers used to be ordinary people. It is war that turned them to wild beasts without humanity. In order to prevent the reoccurrence of war, we must stop the revival of pre-war militarism and maintain peace, that's every Japanese people's duty and obligation."