"It's important to tell people what happened in Nanjing and to pass on the historical truth to younger generations so as to prevent war tragedies from happening again," said Toshio Yamamoto, son of a Japanese veteran who had participated in Japan's invasive war against China in the 1930s.
Yamamoto made the remarks on Saturday as he told Hiroshima citizens about his father's war experiences at the "Sealed Memories: No More Nanjing" exhibition held in Hiroshima through Sunday.
Yamamoto's father Takeshi Yamamoto was sent to China in November 1937 as a soldier of the invading Imperial Japanese Army.
Takeshi Yamamoto kept a diary of his experiences during the war, in which he depicted the atrocities committed by the Japanese troops and how himself was turned from an ordinary man being to a killing machine by the war.
"(We) brought the eight people we captured ... we kept stabbing them, and they were soon turned to eight bodies. I felt great. Back in Japan, I dared not even killing a snake. But these were human beings, just like us, living human beings ..." he wrote.
He also wrote in details in the diary what he had heard about the massacre in Nanjing, including how the Japanese troops brutally killed tens of thousands of Chinese civilians and captives, burned their bodies and dumped a large amount of bodies into the Yangtze River.
Takeshi Yamamoto returned to Japan as a farmer after the war, but the war-time atrocities kept haunting him. To pass on the memories to future generations, he wrote a memoir based on his diary and showed it to his children and grandchildren.
Toshio Yamamoto and his brothers published their father's diary. "It was also my father's wish to publish the diary and it's necessary to pass on the true history to the younger generations so as to prevent the war tragdies from happening again," he said.
He also said that it's particularly significant to tell the truth about Nanjing Massacre in Hiroshima, a city that also suffered the bombing of an atomic bomb in 1945 because of Japan's invasive war against its neighbors.
"The Japanese government should reflect on the war and let the younger generations know about the truth about war," he said, adding that he was opposed to the Abe administration's attempts to revise the pacifist Constitution and other moves that could bring Japan to war again.
Eiji Yoshiki, member of the Hiroshima Japan-China Friendship Association and one of the organizers of the exhibition, said Hiroshima had served as a base for the Japanese army during Japan's invasion of China and the city would not have suffered atomic-bombing if Japan did not start invasive wars.
He said the Japanese people shall not forget that this year marks the 80th anniversary of Nanjing Massacre, and Japan shall pass on the historical truth to younger generations and promote friendship with China while reflecting on the war.
"Sealed Memories: No More Nanjing" exhibition was held in Hiroshima on July 15-23. The exhibition, jointly organized by groups from Nanjing, China and Hiroshima, Japan, displays photos and evidences that show the various atrocities that Japanese invaders committed in China.
The invading Japanese military brutally killed some 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers following the capture of Nanjing in 1937. Japan has been trying to downplay its atrocities by claiming that the number of killed was not as many as 300,000.