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Men to Devils, Devils to Men

Men to Devils, Devils to Men: Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice

Barak Kushner
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: Harvard University Press
Pages: 390
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  • Book Info
    Men to Devils, Devils to Men
    Book Description:

    The Japanese Army committed numerous atrocities during its pitiless campaigns in China from 1931 to 1945. Focusing on the trials of Japanese war criminals, Barak Kushner analyzes the political maneuvering and propagandizing in both China and Japan that would roil East Asian relations throughout the Cold War, with repercussions still felt today.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-73589-7
    Subjects: History, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. [Map]
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-28)

    On august 15, 1945, shuddering in the wake of the imperial broadcast announcing Japan’s defeat, the Japanese empire crumbled. While the imperial Japanese surrendered militarily, in actuality empires do not disappear overnight, and Japan’s military, technological, and legal networks remained long after power had supposedly changed hands. To be sure, some high-ranking Japanese officers stationed in China had advance warning and were able to put themselves and loved ones on quickly departing trains headed for the ports. These lucky few were all whisked to safety before negotiations for the actual process of surrender had even taken place. In contrast, the...

  6. 1 Defeat in Denial: The Regional Impact of Japan’s Surrender
    (pp. 29-68)

    The sudden and calamitous decline of the Japanese empire in East Asia created a cascade of postwar problems in the fallout from the sudden withdrawal of Japanese power. While the Allies might have foreseen imperial Japan’s eventual downfall, there was little that could be done in advance for the mighty takeover tasks that lay ahead, especially in China, where there was scant western military presence, and in Taiwan, where there was none.¹ As much as the Japanese imperial forces had succumbed to the awesome destructive power of the American military machine, the Japanese still had under their con trol more...

  7. 2 Devil in the Details: Chinese Policies on Japan’s War Crimes
    (pp. 69-107)

    In somewhat the reverse manner in which Japanese struggled to save face after defeat, discourse about the Chinese victory over Japan is exceedingly important to con temporary mainland Chinese identity and national pride.¹ These potent discussions continue to provide a significant counterweight to history and a proud sense of national political purpose. Beijing University professor Xu Yong wrote in an online discussion in 2002 on thePeople’s Dailywebsite, “Victory in the war of resistance against Japan is the greatest and most important site of victory against an aggressive war in the 19th and 20th centuries.”² A Chinese academy of...

  8. 3 Flexible Imperial Identity: Administering Postwar Legal Guilt
    (pp. 108-136)

    Lai mugen’s ordeal might be fairly typical of how an outlying member of the Japanese empire experienced the end of the war. Born in Taiwan in the early 1920s, Lai worked in several factories on the island before he seized the opportunity to move to the Chinese mainland and take a position in Nanjing as a mechanical repairman for the military in the early 1940s. Life in China was fairly relaxed, and Lai recalled overhearing platoon mates discuss going to the “comfort stations” where they often had to wait in line for hours. Lai says that such “comforts” were not...

  9. 4 Chinese Nationalist Justice: The KMT Trials
    (pp. 137-184)

    If the complexity of the Taiwanese issue within Chinese war crimes trials was a harbinger of the difficulty in bringing Japanese to justice, the KMT’s actual trials were no less burdened by the practicality of implementation. The KMT used trials to register its international presence in the eyes of the Chinese population, but these methods also ended up becoming embroiled in civil war politics and the larger KMT–CCP conflict. Justice was pursued, but it was not always the sort based on the idea of international law alone. Chasing after war criminals, collaborators, or suspected traitors offered a means to...

  10. 5 Taiwan: Political Expediency and Japanese Imperial Assistance
    (pp. 185-209)

    The u.s. government often cozied up to its former enemies and found them crucial employment when technological exigencies of the Cold War demanded.¹ The story of American recruitment of Nazi scientists is well known, so it should come as no surprise that the Chinese Nationalists (KMT) were equally culpable of patriotic duplicity when it came to the former Japanese enemy.² The Americans marshaled a special military program, Operation Paperclip, to recruit former Nazi scientists to the United States not only to improve American technology but also to keep it from leaking into the USSR and the United Kingdom.³ While the...

  11. 6 An Unsatisfying Peace: Shifting Attitudes on War Crimes
    (pp. 210-247)

    A barometer of Japan’s reaction to the end of empire and involvement with postwar peace initiatives can be directly linked to an analysis of war and the prosecution of war crimes trials. In investigating the processes through which the Japanese pursued war crimes, both aggressively to collect data and with less zeal in mediating actual justice, we can measure how intent postwar Japanese were in implementing peace in East Asia—but a certain kind of peace. In looking at the same events from the Chinese side, we can see how disparate views of the trials (both KMT and CCP) helped...

  12. 7 Socialist Magnanimity: The CCP Trials
    (pp. 248-299)

    Unlike the kmt’s goal of merely seek ing justice, Communist China’s aim for its Japanese prisoners—in the words of the prisoners, Chinese guards, and Beijing bureaucrats—was to make war criminals reflect on their crimes and to turn them from “devils back into men.” Very rarely in KMT special military tribunals or BC class trials in other venues did Japanese soldiers admit their crimes, but in the 1956 CCP trials amazingly every single Japanese prisoner did. Suzuki Hiraku had never been an ideal prisoner of the Chinese Communists, but he had studied and pondered his crimes over many years...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 300-322)

    In the spring of 1964, nineteen years after Japan’s military aggression in China ended, the Chinese Com munist gov ern ment released the last three official Japanese war criminals and repatriated them to Japan.¹ The year 1964 was pivotal in East Asia. For Japan the moment marked the country’s full reemergence on the world stage as the first host of an Olympics in East Asia, and the year also witnessed the open ing of Japan’s hallmark rail system, theshinkansenor bullet train. Dur ing the 1960s Japanese per capita income rose 7.2 percent and actual growth was more than...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 323-388)
  15. Glossary
    (pp. 389-394)
  16. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 395-398)
  17. Index
    (pp. 399-403)