|發表於: 十二月 星期日 17, 2006 9:58 pm 文章主題: Nanking Massacre Remembered in SF ' s Japantown
Please feel free to forward this article published in today’s Nichi Bei Times Weekly of San Francisco to your friends, especially those of Japanese descent. The sections on “Apology” Debate and Japanese American Involvement may be of particular interest to them. I hope after reading this article more Japanese will be encouraged to be involved in this redress movement so as to achieve peace and reconciliation between Japan and its perpetrated nations.
Nanking Massacre Remembered in SF ' s Japantown
From the Nichi Bei Times Weekly December 14, 2006
By KENJI G. TAGUMA
Nichi Bei Times
An annual memorial service to remember the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Chinese by the Japanese Imperial Army in one city during the Sino-Japanese War was held in San Francisco ’s Japantown on Dec. 9.
The Nanjing Ji, which honors the victims of rape and murder in the then-city of Nanking , China , was held in the Issei Memorial Hall of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California . In attendance among the nearly 300-person standing room-only crowd were more than two dozen students from local high schools.
During an eight-week period beginning in December of 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army committed numerous atrocities, such as rape, looting, arson and the brutal execution of prisoners of war and civilians.
Chinese historians say that 300,000 Chinese were killed in Nanking, now known as Nanjing , while Japanese researchers place the figure between 100,000 and 200,000.
“We all want to work together towards a peaceful world for our children,” said San Francisco Superior Court Judge Lillian Sing, the founding co-chair of the Rape of Nanking Redress Coalition, one of the event’s three sponsoring organizations in addition to the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia and the Alliance for preserving the Truth of the Sino-Japanese War. “But Japan must admit Japan was wrong. If Japan publicly apologized, and paid reparations, we welcome (it) and we would work with Japan to allow Japan to get into the United Nations Security Council even.”
Japan has coveted the UN Security Council seat, but was met with resistance from advocates of victims of its wartime atrocities, who last year circulated an online petition against Japan ’s bid that garnered millions of signatures worldwide.
“In court, when someone commits a crime, a murder, that person is punished, that person is tried…and sentenced accordingly,” said the long-time judge. “ Japan …still refuses to apologize.”
Among those speaking were the Rev. Amos Brown of San Francisco ’s Third Baptist Church , a former member of the city’s Board of Supervisors.
The 69th anniversary of the Rape of Nanking was also dedicated to other atrocities around the world.
“We are here today to say we will not forget Nanjing ,” said Rev. Brown. “We will not forget the middle passage that brought my forebears here as slaves in America . We shall not forget the Holocaust. And we shall not forget…a form of massacre against people who happen to be women, who happen to be gay, who happen to be just different.”
Those sentiments were echoed by California State Controller Steve Westly, who disclosed that his father was in China in the late 1930s and personally saw what had happened in Nanjing .
“I’m here as the chief financial officer of California …to formally call upon the government of the state of Japan to formally recognize the atrocities committed by that government against the people of China ,” said Westly, whose wife Anita Yu Westly is a Chinese immigrant from Hong Kong . “If we do not remember the history of our elders, we are not only doomed to repeat it, but we disrespect those who lost their lives.”
A proclamation by Mayor Gavin Newsom, whose grandfather is said to have died as a result of the Japanese atrocities in the Philippines , was read that declared it “Nanking Remembrance Day in San Francisco .”
Newly-elected District 4 Supervisor Ed Jew, the only Asian American on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, expressed the need to educate younger generations so that they don’t forget history. “Teach them the importance of what happened,” he urged. He committed himself to introduce a resolution on the atrocities at the Board of Supervisors.
Peter Stanek, the chair of the Rape of Nanking Redress Coalition, laid out the organization’s two principle objectives: secure a formal governmental apology from the government of Japan for the atrocities committed by the Imperial Army in World War II, and to affect a “meaningful program of repayments” to the victims.
But according to Japanese government officials, an apology was made in a 1995 statement by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.
The statement read, in part: “During a certain period in the not too distant past, Japan, following a mistaken national policy, advanced along the road to war, only to ensnare the Japanese people in a fateful crisis, and, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations.”
Murayama’s statement continued, “In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology.”
On Aug. 15, 2005, then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a similar statement, saying, “I once again express my feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology, and also express the feelings of mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, in the war.”
But redress advocates say that the statements do not fully represent the people of Japan , since it did not have the backing of the Japanese Diet.
“Our position is that the Japanese government has not apologized because the government has not passed a resolution through the Diet to apologize,” said Sing. “The prime minister’s apology is a personal apology, and it’s not sufficient for the crimes that Japan committed during World War II.”
At the celebration of the U.S.-Japan Peace Treaty in 2001, the consul general of Japan in San Francisco at the time addressed that issue.
“The prime minister represents the cabinet, the cabinet represents the parliament (Diet), the parliament represents the people,” said then-Consul General Nobuaki Tanaka. “So this is how Japan works, which is different from the United States .”
The current consul general could not be reached in time for comment.
Sing noted that in contrast to Germany , which has paid billions of dollars to its Holocaust victims in the state of Israel , Japan “has not paid one cent, one yen” to its Chinese victims.
On its Website , Japan ’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) argues that both Japan and Germany have dealt with their historical issues “in good faith.”
“ Germany took the approach of personal compensation as it could not deal collectively with countries concerning various issues including reparations as Japan did, since Germany was divided into East and West following the war,” the MOFA Website stated. “In this way, Japan and Germany have dealt with postwar settlement by different approaches.”
Japan argues it is bound by the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. While allowing for reparations to several countries that were victim to its military aggression, the treaty did not officially recognize the People’s Republic of China as a party to reparations.
That was settled, the Japanese government says, with a “Joint Communiqu?#8221; of the governments of both China and Japan in 1972. It stated, among other things, that the “Government of the People’s Republic of China declares that in the interest of the friendship between the Chinese and the Japanese people, it renounces its demand for war reparation from Japan.”
The Chinese government “sold us out,” Sing said, calling the communiqu?“very unfortunate.”
“ China was very weak in those days,” she explained. “(But) it never signed away the rights of the citizens, that’s how a lot of us feel.”
In regards to Nanking , the Japanese government said it believes “it cannot be denied” that “the killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other acts” occurred there.
Japanese American Involvement
The movement for redress for victims of Japanese military atrocities was supported by some of the Japanese American community’s civil rights icons, who have since passed on.
“We are actually invoking the founding father and mother of the Rape of Nanking Redress Coalition,” said Sing, naming founding RNRC co-chair Dr. Clifford Uyeda, a human and civil rights activist, and Japanese American redress activist Tsuyako “Sox” Kitashima, a past RNRC board member.
Sing also mentioned the support of honorary RNRC Co-Chair Fred Korematsu, who refused to be forcibly relocated during World War II and whose legal case is studied by law students across the country.
While in the state Assembly, now-Congressman Mike Honda introduced a resolution that eventually passed, which condemned the Japanese military atrocities.
The Northern California-Western Nevada-Pacific District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League also passed a resolution supporting the calls for a “clear apology” and reparations.
Speaking at the Dec. 9 event was Daro Inouye, a deputy public defender and supporter of redress efforts.
“The cause of this atrocity, genocide that is occurring right now, is a disease that lies dormant in all of us,” said Inouye. “It is a disease that passes from human being to human being, from country to country. And it’s always there unless we reveal it, we combat it, and we fight it. For you young people, that disease is racism.
“Racism on a human level is what causes individuals to do atrocities, to kill people, be it in Darfur, be it Pol Pot (in Cambodia ), be it in Nanjing ,” Inouye added. “Fight racism on all fronts, at all times. Because if you don’t, human atrocities will continue.”
“The Japanese American community has always worked hand in hand with us to fight for civil rights issues,” declared Sing, to applause from the audience.
Sing recognized the sensitive nature of the issue in the Japanese American community, but argued that there’s a clear distinction.
“The Japanese Americans are American first,” she argued. “They have nothing to do with the atrocities that were committed by the Imperial Government of Japan during World War II.”
The event also included the voices of victims of the Japanese military atrocities. “I was arrested by MP in Shanghai when I was in junior high,” said Helen Song through a translator, fighting back tears. “My parents were tortured.”
Song, who currently lives in San Jose , urged an economic boycott of Japanese goods. “Sixty-nine years have passed…we can no longer wait,” she added. “Stop buying Japanese merchandise and tell your friends of Japanese descent what happened in the past.”
In a video testimony, Jean Chan recalled her own experience in China .
“We hid behind the bushes, and when I looked through the bushes I saw two Japanese soldiers, they were holding bayonets and pointing at the bushes,” recalled Chan. “They shouted ‘where are you hiding? I was so scared and I had nightmares for years and years after,” said an emotional Chan.
“The Rape of Nanking,” as it came to be known, was brought to international attention by the best-selling book of the same name by Iris Chang. The parents of the late author attended the Nanjing Ji event to present three scholarships in the name of their daughter. Nearly 300 essays from 43 states were submitted in the contest addressing the impact of Chang’s book on the contestant’s life.
With the 70th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre set for next year, there are currently three films about the dark period of history planned, including a film based on Chang’s book.
Sing hopes to get more Japanese Americans involved in support the call for redress.
“Personally, I would like to come and speak to different organizations in the Japanese American community to talk about working together for peace, to put behind this very sensitive issue,” Sing told the Nichi Bei Times.
Sing is concerned with the rising anti-Japanese sentiment in China stemming from unresolved war issues, saying it has the potential “to get out of hand.”
While recognizing individual payments may be merely symbolic, since most of the actual victims have perished, Sing thinks that reparations can mean anything from a monument to an institution to educate.
“The most important thing to me is an apology and to educate the citizens of Japan so they know what had happened,” she said.
Such efforts can have benefits for Japan , Sing explained.
“In order for Japan to lead, she has to have the respect of the Asian neighbors,” Sing said. “Unless she apologizes, her Asian neighbors will not respect her.”