Iris Chang obstructs the Japanese publication of her own book, The Rape of Nanking

Word seems to be going around in the English language media that the publication of Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking has been postponed indefinitely, because of right-wing extremist threats against the publisher.

Such an article is known to have appeared first in Asahi Evening News on Feb. 19, and this  news  is repeated as  fact  in the editorial, of the Los Angeles Times on March 1,  Japan's Historical Amnesia .

This is simply not true. It is the author herself who obstructed the publication.

Here is a sequence of events of what happened:

The Rape of Nanking was to be available to the public in Japanese on Feb.25 through publisher Kashiwa Shobo. To mark this event, a press conference had been set the day before at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

However, about two weeks earlier, retail bookstores that had made orders of Iris Chang's book were surprised to find their order slips returned, and a letter from the publisher expressing regret that the book's publication had been postponed indefinitely. Later, the planned press conference was also cancelled.

Such a development is most unusual, especially when one realizes that printing would have already begun at this late date, and much money spent on the preparations.

Kashiwa Shobo says that it was Iris Chang herself who stood in the way of the publication of her book, after finding out that another book, which points out some of the mistakes in The Rape of Nanking , was to be published simultaneously.

In the April issue of monthly magazine Tsukuru, Kashiwa Shobo's chief editor Kei Hoga states clearly that it was Iris Chang who obstructed the publication, and not any threats from right-wing extremists.

Contrary to the belief of many, the  research  done in The Rape of Nanking is incredibly sloppy, and contains numerous mistakes. Historian Shudo Higashinakano has counted over 90 in one chapter alone, and the list is increasing.

To give one example, she writes,  In 1868 the rebels...ignited a revolution and transformed a patchwork of warring fiefdoms into a modern, powerful Japan.  Even a twelve-year-old kid here would wonder what she meant by  warring fiefdoms  when there had been over 250 years of peace. Would an American believe a  story-teller   of American  history   by someone who says the Civil War lasted 250 years?

Similarly, Chang talks about a  Taisa Isamo  in the Japanese army. There was no  Taisa Isamo  in the Japanese army. However, there was a guy by the name of Isamu Cho, who became a Taisa (commander) later in life.

Such a mix-up may seem minor, but would an American readily believe the sermon of a Chinese about the American  character  when that Chinese person believes that  General  is Douglas McArthur's first name?

Then there are the fake photos, proven by research to be given captions different from the original.

These were the kind of dilemma that Kashiwa Shobo faced, the question of how to boost her credibility in Japan despite all the glaring mistakes, in the face of Chang's refusal to change anything save for 10 minor errors and one photo.

Apparently, their answer was the  other book , edited by Akira Fujiwara, who is a known supporter of Iris Chang, but again, apparently, they did not inform her about it. The simultaneous publication of  the other book  must have annoyed her greatly, and she demanded its publication to be stopped.


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