Memorial Day: Set to Honor Victims and Remember History

Hope for the Future

The national memorial day aims to show the international community China’s resolve for remembrance and safeguarding peace and also serves as a reminder to people to cherish peace.

The fear is that ignoring history could give rise to a similar historical tragedy in the future. Mei Ru’ao, a judge who represented China at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East that tried class-A war criminals like Iwane Matsui, a key offender in the Nanjing Massacre, warned that “forgetting history could spell future disaster.” Of course, reflecting on history does not mean waging revenge, but is rather a warning; as Li Xiuying, a Nanjing Massacre survivor, said before she passed away, “We’re to remember history, not hatred.” Li was stabbed 37 times by Japanese invaders during the Massacre. She was 19 years old and pregnant at the time.

After visiting the Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, Yasunori Takazane, a professor emeritus from the University of Nagasaki, remarked, “I’m shocked by what I have seen and learned about that spell of history. I feel overwhelmed. Until now, I thought the Japanese were the only victims. People need to know about the crimes that Japanese soldiers committed and more importantly the Japanese people should acknowledge them, too.” But as the guilty party, some people in Japan have displayed neither introspection nor remorse. What’s more, right-wing forces represented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have been trying to distort history and cast doubt over the world-recognized verdict of the massacre. The likes of Naoki Hyakuta, senior executive of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), have even tried to deny Japan’s atrocities in the Nanjing Massacre. Against this backdrop, designating the memorial day is of practical and historical significance for upholding the truth, refuting shameless speeches and promoting peace.

To remember history and pursue peace is the true goal of China’s legal recognition of a national memorial day.


ZHU CHENGSHAN is curator of the Memorial Hall of the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders and a researcher with Nanjing Normal University.


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