Murakami novel acknowledges Nanjing Massacre, sets off online frenzy

Global Times Published: 2017-03-04 20:23:17
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Japanese contemporary best-selling author Haruki Murakami has earned plaudits from many Chinese citizens after releasing his latest novel, "Killing Commendatore," which acknowledges the large-scale loss of civilian life during the Nanjing Massacre.

During the massacre, Japanese troops committed mass murder and rape in Nanjing, then the capital of the Republic of China, in December 1937. To the fury of many in China and around the world, some conservative Japanese politicians and historians now deny that the massacre took place, or they put the death toll at a much lower number than most believe to be true.

In the novel, which was published in Japan on Feb. 24, Murakami writes: "...for the exact number of civilian victims [of the Nanjing Massacre], debates existed among historians. But generally, it is not in dispute that the majority of residents were embroiled and killed in the war."

He adds that some put the Chinese death toll at 400,000, while others say it was 100,000. "But what is the difference?" he wonders in the book.

The remarks have electrified Chinese netizens, leading some web users to hail Murakami as a "conscientious and upright writer of integrity."

Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, the official hall memorializing those killed in the massacre, posted a comment on the site's official Weibo account: "As Murakami said, there's no difference between 400,000 and 100,000 ... According to the verdict of the Tribunal for Tani in 1947, there were more than 300,000 victims in total. Eighty years have passed, yet many Japanese still eschew the appropriate reflection on and repentance of the country's militarism."

During a 2015 interview with Kyodo News, Murakami said Japan should repeatedly apologize for the atrocity to China, the Korean Peninsula and other countries involved in the conflict.

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