For the six weeks of Japanese occupation following December 13, 1937, the then-capital city of Nanjing in China was the forefront of one of most devastating and overlooked genocides of the 20th century. Despite the unhinged grotesquerie of rape, lawlessness and murder of over 300,000 Chinese, Japan refuses to formally apologize.
75 years later, this intransigence is a constant rallying cry for Chinese nationalists and an ongoing point of friction between two wary powers. This work documents the historic significance that the massacre still commands, and the pain of the less than 200 remaining survivors that experienced it firsthand.
This is an effort to spread awareness of the Nanjing Massacre, a time when humankind succumbed to a new nadir, and to show that even as time moves on, memory endures. (2012)
On 13 December 1937, Japanese forces enter the city at Zhongshan Gate, the strongest point of defense in the old city walls of the then-capital, beginning the occupation and 'Rape of Nanjing'.
A man views the vast wall of files in the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, each for a victim of the massacre.
Survivor Cao Zhikun in his Nanjing home. Cao was shot in the leg by Japanese troops with a dum-dum bullet. Too poor for medical care, it took three years for the wound to heal, and 52 years before he had bone fragments removed by a doctor.
Cao Khikun’s wound from a dum dum bullet, 75 years later. The bone fragments that were removed recently are displayed at the Nanjing Memorial Museum.
Life carries on as citizens ride a ferry from the Zhongshan Wharf across the Yangtze River. This stretch of river and embankment claims an estimated 150,000 bodies from the six week Nanjing Massacre in 1937-38. These bodies, like tens of thousands of others across the city, have not been exhumed. Japanese soldiers committed mass executions along the Yangtze's banks, and used the river as a disposal method.
Images displayed at survivor Li Jun’s home proudly document peace meetings at the John Rabe House Museum with Rabe's grandson, Thomas Rabe.. During the Nanjing Massacre, Li Jun, his family, and 600 others took refuge in the yard of John Rabe, a German businessman and Nazi party member, whom established the International Safety Zone in Nanjing, which saved the lives of over 250,000 Chinese.
92 year old Cheng Yun, one of the three remaining military troops that were in occupied Nanjing, sits in his one-room home, where he keeps reminders of his past hung at the foot of his bed. His refusal to pledge allegiance to the Communist party after the occupation resulted in the revocation of his military merit and pension, leaving him to reside in a slum.
The portrait of survivor Cao Zhikun’s family, taken two weeks before the massacre began. The members shown miraculously survived, but his friends and extended family were not so lucky.
A statue of the late Iris Chang, author of The Forgotten Holocaust: The Rape of Nanjing, researcher and advocate for peace and justice, stands at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall.
Approximately 15,100 Chinese civilians and soliders were buried under this section of Xiuqui Park, outside of the old city walls.
A police officer stands on guard along a wall of victims' names as thousands gathered at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the 'Rape of Nanjing'.
Survivor Li Gaoshan is one of the three remaining military troops that were in Nanjing during Japanese occupation. An orphan, he joined the military at 13 under a deserter's identity. He miraculously survived multiple murder attempts by the Japanese. After the war, he married another survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, and lived a quiet life in the city.
Chinese Imperial Army and Naval troops stand with youth and thousands of others at the Memorial Hall in Nanjing to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre.
A visitor at the Nanjing Memorial Hall views recovered remains.
A Japanese choir attends the commemoration ceremony of the 75th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, offering songs of peace.
92 year old Cheng Yun stands outside his home. His refusal to pledge allegiance to the Communist party after the occupation resulted in the revocation of his military merit and pension, leaving him to reside in a slum.
A wall illuminates the photos of hundreds of Chinese survivors at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall.
A rabbit sits outside of a house in a slum beside the Zhonghua Gate in Nanjing. Once a neighborhood for the rich before World War II, this area is now a series of cramped slums outside of the southwestern gate of the old city wall.
Doves are released at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the 'Rape of Nanjing'.