Spring Festival 2015 – Day 3
Nanjing, Jiangsu 03.02.2015
A City of Graves
Pretty dour of a name for the day, but it is fitting; I went to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall today to commemorate the 300000 victims
, I gazed upon the mass grave of 10000 victims and saw their grisly skeletal remains. I went to the House of John Rabe a light in the storm and then I returned to Purple Mountain and passed the gate into the mausoleum of Sun Yat-Sen and went to Linggu Scenic Area named for the Linggu Temple but what none of the tourists sites tell you is it is just another cemetery. And just like all the others it is just as important.( Collapse )
Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall is right near the YunJinLu (云锦路
) Exit 2. Once you get out of the station there is a sign and you just need to cross the little road and walk along the main road. The museum opens at 08:30 and according to tourist information online there can be long lines and you should plan accordingly.
I left my hotel at 08:10 and got there at 09:00. The morning threatened rain the sort of drizzle where you didn’t need an umbrella but you should probably have one on you. When I went to the Dachau Concentration Camp on a class trip that was exactly how the day looked and when we left the camp and went into the town for dinner the sky had become a clear blue and the sun was bright and orange as it set. And my classmates, some of which had visited Dachau previously had said it had been overcast and rainy on those visits before and we had decided that the site was just always morose. The day, the weather and the path leading into the complex reminded me of that, as it should be, gloomy weather for a horrifying event.
There was a lot of bronze statue and a mural work they were all done in a rough clay-esque
looking fashion which made them appear all the more horrible as you gazed upon them. There is a series of them as you walk along the wall of the complex heading towards the main gate. I didn’t take any pictures of these, but most of them were of people fleeing one was entitled: 13-year-old fleeing while carrying dead grandmother and there was a statue to go with it. A lot of them referred to the Japanese as ‘Devils’ and after going there and seeing that you would probably have to agree, but before I got inside and saw the museum it made me worried.
China hates Japan with a vitriol that is almost shocking. When faced with things like the Rape of Nanjing it is almost understandable but this hate goes beyond that. The first year I was in China there had been a fight over who owned these stupid little islands between Japan and China. The story for the international community was oil. The truth was whoever owned the islands would have their waters that much closer to the other country and neither China nor Japan wanted that. There were ‘demonstrations’ in China over this, some poor Chinese person driving a Japanese brand car stopped at a red light got their windows smashed in (in my city). A popular troupe in Chinese films is shooting Japanese people in the head and the Chinese viewers cheer when it happens.
Every time a student is going to leave China and needs to have an interview to go to school outside of China I tell them they cannot say that they hate Japan. To be honest, a lot of countries hate: America; America makes fun of Canada; England and France; Scotland and England, Australia and New Zealand and there is probably hundreds more of these types of rivalries and hatred between countries in the world but in a professional interview if you are asked: What is something you dislike? You would not name a country, a lot of my Chinese students would say Japan if asked that question and in follow up most of them cannot give an actual reason for this beyond vague WWII. One student told me it was because Japan occupied China for 200 years. Not really true (and they forget that China occupied Japan first, but that was 1000s of years ago not 67). The best answer I have heard was the current leader of Japan showed reverence to the WWII Japanese War Criminals who were in jail, which yeah not the best thing to do in front of a bunch of Chinese people especially when you know how they feel.
So I had a brief flash of panic that this museum was going to let the sadness and horror of the events be overshadowed by non-factual vitriol and slurs. I instead found some of the best English translations at a museum in China, thorough and well put together information on the events leading up to, during and after the Nanjing Massacre. And tucked away in some of the comments I found that the reason for this is that one of the Japanese Committees charged with finding the truth about the Nanjing Massacre, funded and put together a good portion of the museum. In my mind nothing says ‘I’m Sorry’ like building the most thorough and collective archive of your guilt for the world to visit and see so everyone forever after knows your crimes. But that could just be me, a lot of Chinese people I know don’t see it like that (and if I remember right, Japanese people aren’t taught this in history class, which while international claiming fault means nationally it never happened).
Everything is made of dark stones the buildings are angular and uneven, even if the sky had been sunny the darkness and the angles made me think of a jagged pain. There was three buildings/areas on the signs: the 10000 body mass grave
, the Relics hall and an exhibition hall. Although one building that I thought was the exhibition hall was a sculpture instead and I never found the exhibition hall. I started with the mass grave, though the suggested route is through the Relics hall first and then out through the mass grave which ends with a door to the parking lot. I walked up and around to a square that had memorial rocks for certain battles and then I walked into the first building that had the top layer of the graves exposed, I contented myself that all the skulls I could see belonged to adults.
The next building was bigger and the graves
were more separate instead of just a pile of bones. Certain bodies were highlighted and along the sides were placards that describe how the individual died. The ones that stood out in memory were the child that had three nails in him (A popular way of torture/killing was driving nails into a person), another person whose head was laying on their stomach (dismemberment another popular death) and an old woman who was choked to death and her jaw horribly dislocated. I didn’t take close up shots of any bodies and those were the last pictures I took of the horrors in any sort of detail.
After the graves there were a few memorial halls with clever artistic rendering to bring forth and stick in one’s mind the 300000 victims. At the end there was a pool and a statue
for peace. I had to turn around (with three other visitors) and walk back through to get to the relics hall.
The Relics hall is a compilation of information from documents and the survivors from all sides. There was more information on this event then I had thought possible. There were a lot of photographs mostly grainy and black and white and they were brutally honest and made me sick to my stomach. One such photo depicted the severe head of a man placed on a road block the caption stated that the Japanese soldiers for amusement placed a chopped up man on the road block and placed half a cigarette in the corpse’s mouth. And that would be why I didn’t take pictures of the pictures; that image is seared into my brain. Strangely enough the least horrifying image that still shows the horror of the massacre is an oil painting Nanjing Massacre- Slaughter. Life. Buddhism
by Chinese-American Li Zijian. A painting that depicts a pile of bodies and body parts being watched by Japanese soldiers as a Monk pulls away (or adds) a man. There was also a lot of models of battles or ruins, there was also models of life and death in homes
in Nanjing and a display on the ‘Comfort Woman’ because the soldiers didn’t just rape the women in the street they also forced some to work as ‘Comfort Woman’ for the Japanese Soldiers.
It talked about the foreigners in Nanjing that tried to help the Chinese people and stop the Japanese. There was the Nanjing Safety Zone International Committee (This tells you the country of origin of each person but only in Chinese so I included that in this list), which was headed by John Rabe (German), and also included Lewis S. C. Smythe (American), George Fitch (American), John Magee (American), P. H. Munro-Faure (British), J. M. Hanson (Danish), P. R. Shields (British), G. Schultze-Pantin (German), Ivor Mackay (British), J. V. Pickering (American), Eduard Sperling (German), M. S. Bates (American), W. P. Mills (American), J. Lean (British), C. S. Trimmer (American), Charles Riggs (American), and Christian Kroeger (German). There was also the International Committee of the Nanjing Red Cross which included: John Magee, Li Chuin-nan, W. Lowe, Ernest H. Forster, Christian Kroeger, Paul de Witt Twinem, Minnie Vautrin, P. H. Munro-Faure, James Mccallum, John Rabe, W. P. Mills, Shen Yu-shu, Robert O. Wilson, C. S. Trimmer, M. S. Bates, Lewis S. C. Smythe, and Nicolai Podshivoloff.
I had read John Rabe’s book The Good German/Man from Nanking (Der gute Deutsche von Nanking)
for a Chinese History class in college. I could only get an English translation at the time but it was good. So I knew that he had built a bunker in his yard and due to the fact that he wasn’t Chinese that somehow made his house ‘not China’ so his house, bunker and yard were eventually filled with refugees. He had to join the Nazi party to get the funding to open a German School in Nanjing for the children of all the German Workers in the city. So he wrote a letter to Hitler with photos telling him about the atrocities that the Japanese were committing in Nanjing and asking Hitler to help put a stop to it. He was arrested for treason when he returned home but his boss helped get his release.
So a bit later in the museum I was surprised to see a certificate
that were presented to a Karl Günther by the German Red Cross for running the refugee camp at Jiangnan Cement Factory
. The surprising thing is the certificate states that it was being given with Hitler’s blessing. I’m happy that he got the recognition but at the same time I find it interesting how the same thing got John Rabe arrested (though I do not know if Karl Günther sent photos back to the Nazi Party or not).
It also showed the Japanese army in other cities in China. When you go to some of those cities people will tell you that everyone forgets that the Japanese were there too not just in Nanjing. But obviously Nanjing hadn’t forgotten. The most interesting picture was Qingdao. All the other pictures showed desolation. Qingdao was just the Japanese soldiers marching down the street. This might be because (and I double checked dates, I originally thought it was still German) Qingdao belonged to Germany until it was taken by Japan in 1914 and returned to China in 1922, but Japan kept economic dominance over the area, so Qingdao and Japan were already used to each other by WWII.
After all of that it talked about trying those involved as war criminals and restoring China. Right before you leave the building, in a nitch was this display with the photographs of those who died in the massacre and for 12 seconds the photo was lit up and then when a drop of water fell the photo would blink out to symbolise how fast people were dying in the massacre.
The gift shop had Chinese translations of all the books written by the people talked about in the museum. It had the Good German from Nanking
and the Rape of Nanking
and many more. My next stop was John Rabe’s house so I was hoping that they had a German copy of his book that I could get there.
When you leave the building if you turn right you can get out of Exit 2 which will get you to that little road that the metro station was on. Just turn right out of the exit and the station is on the left side of the road. So if you want to get back to the metro when you are done, it might be worth it to see the mass grave first, even if you have to back track. I left there at 10:45 and it was beginning to fill up with tourist; so I think weekday mornings are the best time to go, except Monday, it is closed on Mondays.
I took the metro to line 1 ZhuJiangLu (珠江路
) station. I’m pretty sure I left out of door 2 (on the sign in the station you want the exit for XiaoFenQiao) I got out right on Guangzhou lu(广州路
) and if you turn to the right you will see a large sign for XiaoFenQiao(小粉桥
). John Rabe’s house is number 1
(the internet says it is 1 XiaoFenQiao, but the sign at the house said the street address is 1 Guangzhou lu) so it is right there on the corner.
It says on the door that a ticket was 10 RMB, but I couldn’t find anyone to buy a ticket from. So I entered the house
, still couldn’t find anyone so I moved through the first floor that no longer looked like a home but was just walls of information about his life. I moved through pretty quickly because it was all things from his book. I did get a picture of a copy of the letter he had sent to Hitler
, the Court announcement for Rabe’s de-Natzification
, and I learned that he established the first telegraph station in Beijing and built another one later in Shanghai.
I walked around outside the fenced in area was small and this was the only thing that looked like it could have been part of his shelter
, I also got a picture of the small building next to his house that was an office which may have also been the building for the German School
. I found the ticket office right by the gate and tried to give the lady 10 RMB but she refused but had me write my name in a visitor’s book.
I went back to the metro station and right by the entrance was an Express Sushi. The way it worked you sat down and selected what you wanted off of a conveyer belt. Everything was in 6 RMB portions and when you’re finished they counted up your empty plates and you pay. They had this great one that was topped with lemon sauce and caramelised sugar, this other fish I didn’t know, I had a jumbo shrimp and some octopus as well. For dessert I had this rich and thick creamed cannoli-thing. Everything was very good. Since it wasn’t even noon I headed back to the Purple Mountain.
I paid the 10 RMB at the station and went up to the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum. By 12:30 I was at the gate, and it was open. I got a better picture of the stela
and then I walked up the long staircase
to the mausoleum
itself. Along the staircase there were a pair of bronze tripods
gifted from the Shanghai Special Municipal Government of the Republic of China. There are two holes in one tripod left over from the Japanese bombardment in December 1937. There were also stone lions
that actually looked like lions instead of the typical dog-like lions that in English are called Fu Dogs; like this one from in front of the gate that was locked the previous day. At the top, you could go inside and walk around the statue (which I believe is on top of his casket) but you couldn’t take pictures inside, though there was a spot outside that seemed to be set up so you could take pictures inside
I walked around a bit to make sure I hadn’t missed anything and then I headed back down. I got a 10 RMB ride over to Linggu Scenic area. I had no problem using the ticket from the previous day to get in. I walked down the long pathway to the first gate, which was partially covered by trees. The sign at the base of the steps said that the characters on the gate mean “Benevolence and righteousness” and “Salvaging the nation and the people” which were written by Zhang Jingjiang one of the senior members of the Kuomintang. According to the English translation on either side before the gate are “a pair of stone Pixiu (a kind of fabulous wild beast recorded in ancient books)” I know the pixiu it is the ninth offspring of the Dragon (it is a baby dragon) here is the picture of one from wikipedia
So I was a bit surprised when I saw them as they didn’t look like Pixiu but like a large cat instead. I sent a picture to Dean and asked him what he thought they were (without mentioning Pixiu) he thought they were Lionesses. When I was looking at the picture of the sign later I realised the characters for Pixiu (貔貅
) were not included in the Chinese description so I asked Dean and he said that it said they were stone tigers
). The Pixiu Wikipedia page includes a picture of the tigers stating they are Pixiu I’m going to see if I can get that fixed.
After the gate was a large Stone tortoise
to the side that one would typically see with a stela on its back, there is a flat bit for a stela but no stela and the description says that scholars don’t know what it was made for. My guess is to carry a stela.
There was a beamless hall
which was a vaulted brick
building that used to be a sacrifice hall but now was filled with wax figurines in historical scenes.
I went to the Linggu Temple
where inside of most of the buildings there were places to pray, but those seemed to be crowded by the stuff they were selling. The temple was big on animals and outline this whole program they had with the cats that walk around the scenic area. There were three words in English: Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR)
and then one of the pictures by the TNR showed a cat with one ear cut down, so I think that is how they know which cats have already been captured.
I walked down to pass the stela
to the first gate
of the Tomb of Tan Yankai who was a chairman of the Nationalist Government who died in 1930. According to the map by the gate the tomb was way up in the mountains beyond the pagoda and everything else but there was a closer tomb of Deng Yanda
a leftist leader of the Koumintang which was closer, so I went there first.
Deng Yanda founded the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party (CPWDP) and was killed secretly outside of Qilin Gate in Nanjing in 1931 and was buried there in a hasty grave. The CPWDP was able to move his remains to the tomb or the original site of the second cemetery for the National Revolutionary Army Memorial Cemetery in the winter of 1957. The tomb
was round with a dome ceiling which seems to be the contemporary tomb style (I saw a tomb from the 2000s in Guilin that was the same shape but it was just plain and painted red).
The walk way going to the Tomb of Tan Yankai was this crap brick stone stuff that hurt my feet and by that point my feet were killing me so I decided to skip the tomb way up in the mountain and went to the cemetery of the Fifth and Nineteenth Army battalions that died in the Anti-Japanese War. I could only see one monument
I don’t know if I was walking on their graves or if the graves were beyond the wall, behind the monument.
On my way out I noticed a sign that I missed in front of the gate to go into the Linggu Scenic area, which said the area was a cemetery. Mainly for those who fought and died in the Northern Expedition or the Anti-Japanese Battle in Shanghai. Reflecting on it later it makes sense that it is a cemetery Linggu (灵谷
named for the Linggu Temple灵谷寺
) means Spirit Gorge/Valley.
There was a bus stop for the 202 bus in front of the gate but the list of stops didn’t have the XiaMaFang stop listed so I didn’t get on the first bus. I asked a worker where the bus to the metro was and he said the 202. I still couldn’t find the metro in the list of stops (I just scanned for the characters of XiaMaFang) but when the next bus got there at about 14:30 he said that it did go to the metro.
Where I sat down was right across from the map of the stops and right where my eye was, was the stop梅花村
(MeiHuaCun) which is the stop right in front of the gate to the hostel complex and the other stops around that one were ones I recognised. So since I only paid 2 RMB I stayed on the bus. I wanted to get off at the station for the subway so I could by dinner there was one stop that had the ZhongHuaMen in it but that ended up being the actual gate and then the YuHuaLu stop was on YuHua Rd and not at the corner of YingTian Rd so I got off at MeiHuaCun at about 16:00 and decided I didn’t want to walk more and I would just eat the food I had in my room. But it is good to know if you had the time you could take a bus to Linggu Scenic Area instead of walking from or catching the 10 RMB bus from the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum.