2009年4月25日 星期六

The Nanjing Massacre (南京大屠殺)(四)

In 1999 Timothy Brook edited the book Documents on the Rape of Nanking. In the preface Brook pointed out that the stimulus for the Nanjing Massacre to come under attention was Japan's attempt to play down the atrocity of the Massacre in Japanese textbooks. Brook's book is a collection of major English primary source documents on the Rape of Nanjing. It has two parts. Part one is based on two sources: reproducing the details in the book Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone published in 1939, and reprinting the personal letters written by Dr. Robert Wilson. Part two consists of some judgements handed down by the International Military Tribunal of the Far East (IMTFE). Brook pointed out that one of the judges of the IMTFE, Radhabinod Pal, had held a dissenting view on some of the Tribunal's judgements.

Pal's major disagreement was on count number 55 of the charges against the Japanese war criminals and his argument was about the Charter that was used to press charge. Pal noted the Charter had merely stipulated that 'violations of the laws or custom of wars' was a crime, and therefore such a statement should not be understood to mean that it was also a crime if the defendants had failed to discharge 'legal duty to take adequate steps to secure the observance of and to prevent the breaches of the laws of war'. To charge the defendants for 'deliberate and reckless disregard of legal duty' was a matter outside the purview of the Tribunal.

Pal felt that there was insufficient evident to prove the sixteen Japanese defendants, including Araki, Hirota and Minami had ever ordered, authorized or permitted the crime that had taken place in Nanjing. And in his opinion these defendants, in the capacity of government officials, had no direct duty or power to control the troops in the field. (to be continued)

1. Timothy Brook ed., Documents on the Rape of Nanking (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999)

2009年4月24日 星期五

The Nanjing Massacre (南京大屠殺)(三)

In 1999 a Japanese journalist Honda Katsuichi wrote The Nanjing Massacre: a Japanese Journalist Confronts Japan's National Shame. Originally written in Japanese, it was translated into English by Karen Sandness and edited by Frank Gibney. In the Editor's Introduction, Gibney, on several occasions pointed out the inadequacy of the book by Iris Chang. He noted that Chang had given revisionists in Japan a chance to discredit their opponents, many of them were Japanese left-wing writers.

Previously Honda had wrote briefly about the Nanjing Massacre in his book Journey to China published in 1971. Later, as a journalist, he reported about the Vietnam War. This wartime experience drew his attention to the cruelty suffered by the Vietnamese, thus motivated him to write more on atrocity committed by Japanese soldiers during WWII. Honda started his book of 1999 by describing the landing of Japanese troops at Hanzhou Bay in China on November 5, 1937. Thereafter he reports on the atrocity committed by these soldiers along the way before reaching Nanjing a month later on December 13. Honda interviewed victims who had suffered atrocity in the hands of these soldiers: those who survived after being bayoneted, or escaped death from the machine gun firing squad. Honda also interviewed those who had physically involved in the burial work in Nanjing in early 1938. In the end of the book Honda pointed out that for him the most difficult part in writing the atrocity was how to draw the boundaries where atrocity was committed. Should it be started at the Hanzhou Bay or the city wall of Nanjing. Also, there was the question on the start time of the atrocity. Should it be from November 5, 1937 instead of from December 13, 1937. These considerations would have a bearing on how we should gauge the magnitude of the atrocity in general, and the total number of death in particular. (to be continued)

2009年4月23日 星期四


在幾日之內, 我會坐飛機回港一行數星期. 我要放下手頭的工作, 暫時離開我的工作間(約一丈平方大小). 這個工作間是我多年用來陪伴女兒閱讀和做功課, 也是我用來進修,思考和 寫網誌 (它是我的新興趣). 在香港除了省親外, 亦會探訪一些多年不見的朋友. 如果我的中學舊生會可以安排好的話, 我又可以拜會一些我中學時的老師. 其中我最喜歡的, 是中國歷史科啟蒙的郭老師. 他在我腦海留下深刻印象. 我猶記起第一次上中史課時, 我覺得我的眼界被推前二千多年. 我的感覺是震驚. '北京猿人', '化石' 和 '周口店' 等名詞第一次進入我的歷史知識庫中. 在往後五年中學生活中裡, 我陸續瞭解中國二千年來的發展. 當學到清末歷史的時候, 有一種無名的衝動. 歷史從此便成為我畢生的興趣. 每次看名人日記和自傳, 使我感覺到人生的有常與無常. 讀國家和世界史, 令我明白到歷史的必然性和偶然性. 在未來幾星期, 當我在港感受它的生活氣色, 或者參觀博物館和逛書局期間, 這裡家中的一切事務, 要勞煩賢內助打點. 而網誌亦會於我回來後繼續.

2009年4月22日 星期三

The Nanjing Massacre (南京大屠殺)(二)

In 1997 Iris Chang wrote The Rape of Nanjing: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. Chang in the introduction of her book put the death toll of the Nanjing Massacre at the range from 260,000 to over 350,000. She claimed that because of the magnitude of the Nanjing Massacre, it represented a mass extermination that was comparable to the Nazi atrocity that killed 6 million Jews. Another claim made by Chang was that 20,000 - 80,000 Chinese women were raped. Chang asked why the Nanjing Massacre victims had not been given due justice, asserting that the authorities in Mainland China, Taiwan and the United States were responsible for their silence on the subject. Chang claimed that the passive attitude of the international community in dealing with the Massacre was the "second Japanese rape", bearing in mind that Japan refused to apologize for atrocity.

She further alleged that in Japan, there was "an atmosphere of intimidation [that] stifled open and scholarly discussion of the Rape of Nanjing". Chang also suggested that there was an academic cover-up in Japan about the Nanjing Massacre because some scholars classified victims as "guerrilla soldiers" instead of non-combating civilian. Chang claimed that in Japan serious research on the Massacre were only done by people "outside the traditional academic communities" such as freelance writers, journalists and even a factory worker.

Chang's book attracted attention from some scholars on the subject. Joshua Fogel, for example, wrote a book review in 1998 in response to Chang. While noting that the dual aim "as passionate polemic and dispassionate history" of the book, Fogel pointed out that it was full of misinformation and reckless explanation, telling the massacre "in X-rated detail" about the horror in Nanjing in 1937. (to be continued)

1. Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. New York: BasicBook, 1997.
2. Fogel, Joshua. Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 57, no. 3 Book Review: "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II; Japan's War Memories: Amnesia or Concealment?", 1998.
3. Fogel, Joshua ed. The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

2009年4月21日 星期二


台灣的鼎文書店於一九七六年出版了 <鴉片戰爭文獻彙編> 一套共六冊. 我認為是研究鴉片戰爭不可多得的一套書籍. 裏面介紹了各種不同有關鴉片戰爭歷史的原材料. 例如 第一冊是關於鴉片戰爭前英國對中國的經濟侵略和中國禁煙運動. 第二冊是關於林則徐領導下的抗英戰爭. 第三冊和第四冊是關於中國人眼裏看到英國人的軍事活動. 第五冊是和約締結的經過. 第六冊是一般敘述. 全書是由二百多種有關鴉片戰爭原材料中選出一百五十種, 包括三十種原稿本或傳鈔本. 第六冊的附錄中有 "鴉片戰爭書目解題"一節. 它幫助讀者迅速地知道在六冊中所有曾提及的書籍或文章的主題. 難得的是, 它還列出一些待訪的書. 聲稱這是重要書籍, 編者雖然見到書名, 但經努力搜求, 終未見到原書. 並要求讀者如果有這些書籍的話, 即通知出版者, 希望補入再版中. 這些書籍總計有八本. 其中一本的名字是 <壬寅乍甫殉難錄>由清沈筠撰, 清道光間刊本. 巧合的是, 在我最近所閱讀的一書中, 竟然看到這書的名字. 我正在看的書是"江戶時代中國典籍流播日本之研究". 日文原著是於一九八四年出版 <江戶時代における中國文化受容の研究>. 它於一九九八年被翻譯成為中文. 在其第三章有以下的描述:

"'乍浦集咏'. . . 在弘化三年 . . . 攜來日本 . . . 此書是當地人士的詩集, 由鄉人沈筠(實甫) 編纂, 共十六卷四冊. 由於乍浦是杭州附近的海港 . . . 此地在鴉片戰爭中受到英軍的攻擊, 戰禍慘烈. 雍正七年以來一直駐紮此地的杭州江寧滿兵兩營陷落. 乍浦水師副都統長喜, 署乍浦海防同知韋逢申以下多數守軍戰死 . . . "乍浦集咏"收集了悼念壬寅乍浦殉難之人和聲討英吉利夷船暴行的歌."

壬寅年是一八四二年. 這本 "乍浦集咏" 是於一八四六年 (道光二十六年)出版, 一八四九年被中國商人用船運到日本. 當地學者買進後, 於同年出版了抄本. 如果我有機會到日本看到這本書的話, 我會嘗試買入一副本. 如果能把它送回在乍甫的學者手中, 亦未嘗不是一件有意義的事.

2009年4月20日 星期一

Nationalism and Nation

The meaning of nationalism can vary temporally and spatially. In Europe in early 19th century nationalism was associated with democracy, liberalism, and demand for civil and constitutional liberties. Later in the century, nationalism assumed a more aggressive role which was tied to military rivalries and national expansion at the expenses of other people. In a general term, nationalism can be "the feeling of belonging to a group united by common racial, linguistic, and historical ties, and usually identified with a particular territory".1

In 1983 Benedict Anderson in his book Imagined Community theorized that a nation is an imagined political community.2 According to Anderson it is imagined because members will never know most of their fellow-members. Second, the nation is imagined as limited because beyond the imagined boundaries lie other nations. Thirdly, nation is imagined as a sovereign because the concept of nation was born in an age which Enlightenment and revolutions were undermining the legitimacy of the divine-ordained, hierarchical dynastic realm. Lastly, nation is imagined as a community which has a deep, horizontal comradeship. It is this comradeship that many people were willingly to die for such an imagined community. In Western Europe, the 18th century marked not only the dawn of age of nationalism but also the dusk of the traditional religious mode of thinking. The doubt on paradise and the uncertainty of salvation had created a void that helped a secular transformation of mortality into continuity, and contingency into meaning. New nations of the 18th century always loom out of an immortal past and move towards a limitless future, it is eternal.3 It is by historical chance that nationalism in Europe came into being following a changing perception on religion.

According to Henrietta Harrison, China was an imagined community long before the 19th century. It was a centralized state, beneath the emperor there was a bureaucracy run by elites who were forming the cultural community that was shared by the majority of the people. With the arrival of the Western powers in 1840s, China was forced to change from culturalism to nationalism.4 So, next time when someone asks you about patriotism, you may think deeper before answering.

1. Alan Bullock et al edit, The Harper Dictionary of Modern Thought (New York, Hagerstown, San Francisco, London: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1977), page 409.
2. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Community: Reflection on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London[England]: Verso Editions, 1983), page 15.
3. Ibid., page 19.
4. Henrietta Harrison, The Making of the Republican Citizen: Political Ceremonies and Symbols in China 1911-1929 (Oxford University Press, 1999), page 7.

2009年4月19日 星期日

The Nanjing Massacre (南京大屠殺)(一)

Scholarly historical writings on the Nanjing Massacre are many, and some are involved in a debate that has come to light since the last decade. The subject was written from different, if not opposite perspectives: the perspective of the Chinese, the Japanese, the victims, or the perpetrators. Some focus on the calculation of the death toll of the Massacre, some on the implication of the Massacre. In 1990 there were several books in Japan that alleged the Nanking Massacre was factitious, for example the book The Japan That Can Say No. In response, a Chinese scholar Xu Zhigeng wrote the book Lest We Forget: Nanjing Massacre, 1937. One of the many official titles of Xu was the deputy director of the Department of Creative Writing of the Nanjing Military Zone of the People's Liberation Army. Xu refuted the statement made by Shigeto Nagao, the Japanese Minister of Justice who in 1994 claimed that the Massacre was a fabrication. Xu put the number of death in the Massacre at over 300,000 as mentioned in the verdict handed down in 1947 by the China's Military Tribunal of the Ministry of National Defense for the Trial of War Criminals. In 1996, another Chinese scholar James Yin published The Rape of Nanking: an Undeniable History in Photographs. In this photo book Yin says that the denial of the Nanjing Massacre first came to light in the early 1980s when Japan's Education Ministry tried to whitewash aggression and atrocity committed in China by altering history textbooks. Yin pointed out that one person who denied the Rape of Nanking was Masaaki Tanaka, a lecturer at Takushoku University. The latter wrote the book Fiction of the Nanking Massacre to claim that the death toll could not exceed 200,000 because the population in Nanking at that time was less than 200,000. James Yin, quoting statistics, points out that the popuation was in the region of 500,000 to 600,000. (to be continued)

2009年4月18日 星期六

Guofu (國父)

After the death of Sun Yat-sen on March 12th in 1925, there were voices that request to call him as Guofu(國父). Among the first popular open request was from an article on March 15th, 1925 in the Shenbao (申報). This marked a major shift in the attitudes during the lifetime when Sun was often addressed as Sun Wen (孫文), or by referring to his office title of zongli (總理), or dayuanshuai (大元帥). The title of Guofu was commonly used as a standard epithet. Soon it became an adopted phrase. This new title was used in telegrams about the funeral of Sun, and also in propaganda sheets. But for the moment this was a new title on top of Sun's name, rather then replacing it. Sun's funeral party in Beijing was a huge gathering, we could see slogans such as "Long live Sun Zhongshan's thought!", "Long live the people's revolution!", "Down with imperialism!", and "Down with the warlords!". The popular acceptance of Sun as a national hero was part of a new and radical way to look at society and politics of the time when there were warlords, imperialism and factional competition inside the contemporary National Party. Later this party used the imperialism-warlord analysis of society as a framework to legitimize itself and gather support. Sun's death had attracted public enthusiasm and recognition that he was unable to gather earlier. His death, often attributed to overwork, and his final testament, which put emphasis on the revolution, had added to public enthusiasm. It was against such a background that Nationalist Party continued to build up its popular support. Sun's death hastened thousands to join the Party, in particular during the period of the May Thirtieth Movement that would soon take place and push popular nationalism to a new high. For various reasons Sun's spirit lived on. Any connection with him as a relative or a former comrade would become an invaluable asset for a political figure. Sun also became central to the Nationalist's Party's claims to political legitimacy.

1.Henrietta Harrison. The Making of the Republican Citizen: Political Ceremonies and Symbols in China 1911-1929 .NY:Oxford University Press, 2000

2009年4月13日 星期一

The Soong Dynasty

The book The Soong Dynasty written by Sterling Seagrave was published in 1985. S. Seagrave grew up on the China-Burma border in the 1940s. He was a reporter with the Washington Post and a freelance journalist. This book has 20 chapters and the first few are about the family background of Charlie Soong (宋嘉樹 1864? - 1918) and his activities in the United States in early 1880s. I think these few chapters are the best part of the book in that they are well researched. The author in the Acknowledgements pages says that he is indebted to Edward Leslie who do the research on the initial parts of the book that covers the period from 1880 to 1911. Among other things, these pages explain how Charlie Soong could work in an American ship in 1879 at the age of 14. Later he arrived at the US, received education there and had some romance with a few local girls before returning to Shanghai in 1886. The primary source materials on this part mainly come from the US National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the collections of many famous institutions in the States such as libraries at Stanford, at Wellesley, and at Harvard. This book has a Chinese translation entitled "宋家皇朝", also published in 1985 (publisher: (澳門) 星光書店). The translation is of high standard. In 1986 I was impressed by this translation version because it starts with a large black & white photo of Charlie Soong taken when he was a student at Trinity and Vanderbilt. He had cut his Chinese pigtail and dressed in a suit for Methodist ministry. The caption of this photo in Chinese reads "在聖三一學院和范德比爾特大學求學時的宋查理, 一心希望成為衛理公會傳教士. 剪去了辮子, 身著西服革履的宋查理此時正是風度翩翩的美少年". I totally agree with this description. Charlie Soong was such a handsome youth as a college student. According to Seagrave, there are only two such original prints now, one has a slightly charred edge and the other has not. The charred edge has something to do with the romance of Charlie Soong in mid-1880s.

2009年4月11日 星期六


這是我家門前馬路兩旁的風景, 一片櫻花盛開, 可是顏色較淡. 美中不足. 由於是一年一度, 故可令我駐足欣賞 (註:相片是由我的女兒於兩小時前在百忙中抽空幫我拍攝)

2009年4月9日 星期四


Yesterday I continued learning about the many things that Sei Shonagon 清少納言 (966 - 1017) hated. One of them was the manner displayed by the Japanese men in a drinking party. They shouted while drinking, they poke fingers into their mouths. Those who had beards, stroked them with hands. They kept on asking others to drink. When they were drunk, they still asked one and other to continue. They trembled their bodies, shook their heads, wore funny faces, and together they sang some childish songs. They were supposed to be well-bred people yet they had such bad manners. Sei Shonagon felt it resentful when she saw the scene. Another thing that she hated was while one was in bed thinking of sleeping, a small mosquito appeared. It showed its presence by flying near one's face. It was so close that one's body could feel the wind generated by the flapping wings. It was extremely hateful, according to Sei Shonagon. Both stories give us a glimpse of the daily life of some Japanese one thousand years ago.

2009年4月5日 星期日


"Fallacy" 在中文可以被翻譯成: 誤信, 欺瞞, 謬見等. 我們可以從以下小故事對話中見到它一次又一次被運用.

在某屋苑商場玩具店裏一個小孩對母親說: "媽咪, 呢個玩具住隔離的同學陳小明也有一個, 所以我都要買一個." 媽咪通常的反應是: "買你個頭. . . 人買你又買, 隔離既陳小明年年考試都係第一, 又唔見你考第一比我睇. . ." 那個小孩即時語塞.

我從一本辭典中找到 "Fallacy" 的解釋如下 : [It comes] from Latin fallacia . . . fallacies are instances of reasoning which violate the requirement of validity, and since there exist an indefinitely great number of possible ways of reasoning improperly, there can be no comprehensive list of fallacies. A list of most often cited . . . [can] be divided into three sections: (A) Fallacies of diction and shifting sense. . . (B) Fallacies of relevance . . . (C) Fallacies of structure.

以上的買玩具故事, 我相信是屬於第二類. 那個小朋友相信他和小明是同學, 同學有的, 他都可以要求擁有. 他的媽咪則利用同類的論點回應. 這個故事所見到的邏輯, 亦可見於最近討論立法會議員講粗話事件中. 例如有人說, 既然某某之前都曾講粗話, 因此別人亦可以做出同樣的行為. 因為是某某帶頭作出壞榜樣, 這是他的錯, 所以我們亦有權做同樣的事.

有關更多邏輯誤用法, 可以參考: W.L. Reese, Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion- Eastern and Western Thought (New Jersey, London: Humanities Press, 1993)

2009年4月4日 星期六


Yesterday my teacher talked about the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (枕草子) written by a Japanese lady 清少納言 one thousand years ago. In Louis Frideric's Japan Encyclopedia, the entry on her is : 'Writer (Kiyohara Akiko, b. ca 965), lady-in-waiting to Empress Fujiwara no Sadako (977-1000?) . . . [She] is the author of the unforgettable Makura no soshi (The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon) . . . Her "pillow book" inaugurated a new literary form called zuihitsu; in it, she used remarkably pure language to give innumerable details on life in the Heian court, court customs, and events that took place while she was in the empress's service. She became a Buddhist nun when Fujiwara no Sadako died.'

枕草子 has many sections, the section taught yesterday was called "The Hateful Things" (にくきもの). In a single sentence or in one paragraph, it records different things that Sei Shonagon herself finds hateful. One thing under this category is when shamans pray in such a low voice that it becomes drowsy. This paragraph shows us one kind of treatment that a Japanese might expect to receive when he fell sick, and shows that exorcising was a common practice in those days, before the Japanese are known internationally for their brand name products such as Toyota cars and Sony home electronics.