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Writing about Atrocity: Wartime Accounts and their Contemporary Uses*

  • PARKS M. COBLE (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

In today's China, public memory of the War of Resistance against Japan, 1937–1945, is more visible than ever. Museums, movies, television programmes, and commemorations focus heavily on the victimization of the Chinese people at the hands of the Japanese invaders. Japanese atrocities, particularly the Nanjing Massacre, are at the centre of much of this remembering. But what of the wartime period? How did journalists and writers discuss Japanese atrocities? This paper finds that most wartime writing stressed the theme of ‘heroic resistance’ by the Chinese rather than China's victimization at the hands of Japanese. Exceptions to this approach included efforts to publicize Japan's action to Western audiences in the hope of gaining support for China's cause, and a related focus on the bombing of the civilian population by the Japanese. This paper suggests major differences between the current approach to remembering the war and to writing during the war itself.

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Modern Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0026-749X
  • EISSN: 1469-8099
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-asian-studies
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