Denton Horror 2

Denton Horror 2 - 266 KIRK A DENTON Figure 11.8 Entranceway courtyard and exhibition hall of the Unit 731 Museum i‘é‘faflfi’il’fiv

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Unformatted text preview: 266 KIRK A. DENTON Figure 11.8. Entranceway, courtyard, and exhibition hall of the Unit 731 Museum i‘é‘faflfi’il’fiv Inside the exhibition building, which housed the administrative offices of Unit 731, this mood is maintained by dark hallways and exposed—bricked rooms. As you enter the building, there is a prefatory hallway that sets the theme for the entire museum and memorial site. On either side of the hall—- way are bronze reliefs, in which are carved large characters: to the left, qz’cm shi bu wang; and to the right, hon shi zhz‘ 5111' (to not forget the past is to be master of the future). As discussed above, the recurring emphasis on recalling the past in Chinese museums is all about moving beyond the past so as to make China a “master” of the future; recalling the horrors of the past is a step toward leaving behind the “century of humiliation” and marching toward a more glorious future when that remembering will longer be necessary. Implicitly, then, remembering humiliation is connected to the emergence of China as a global economic and political power. The “Preface” to the exhibits proper says that the experiments carried out by members of Unit 73] make them “the cruelest fascist war criminals 267 Horror and Atrocity: Memory of Japanese Imperialism n the history of humankind.” It gives the figure of 3,000 killed by Unit 731 riments, and another 300,000 killed as a result of germ warfare tech— 36 CD 0 )—l O 09 he evil history of Unit 731 is to use facts to warn later people,-to allow his- ory to call for human peace, civilization, and progress, and not let historical .‘agedies repeat themselves.” ' . . The exhibits themselves are presented with a dark aesthetic, that creates {somber and serious mood. The thrusth the exhibits is to present authen— c artifacts so as to “let history, give testimony.” The museum generally ar of Resistance or the september'18 History Museum. Instead, it favors graphs and material objects—things that authenticate what happened tthe site—such as hangers for human viscera, laboratory test tubes, saws, calpels, and clamps, as well as prisoner identity cards. Mileh attention is aid to the testimony of former members of Unit 731. One room is devoted “Confessions” (qianhui) of various Japanese military figures, who in the 9808 began to reveal the truth of Unit 731’s aCtivities in China. There are graphic photographs in the museum to be sure, but for the most art the horror has to be imagined from the artifacts. This may be a con— eious choiCe on the part of the curators, but it may also be because photo- graphs and film footage do not exist. As the exhibits recount repeatedly, the Japanese destroyed much of the Pingfang site at the end of the war in order to destroy evidence of their crimes. The ruins, we are told in one museum CT" 0 c—r O evidence of the Japanese army’s destruction of evidence.” Graphic dioramas are few in the museum. One shows Japanese doctors performing medical experiments; another, called the Erdaogou Plague Scene (:iE?’Q E), depicts a bubonic plague attack on the village of Erdaogou. The nearly life— size diorama is in two parts, with the spectator walkway running between them: To the left is a dead figure with two mourners by its side, an older woman mourns from the door of their hovel of a home; to the right a corpse is being carried away on a stretcher, The horror is rather muted. The diorama ends with a list of the names of those known to have died in the attack. In comparison with many other new museums in China, multimedia is also used sparingly. There is, however, .a small film auditorium, which continuously projects a documentary about Unit 731. On the wall of the auditorium is written “Do not forget national humiliation.” The film uses fictionalized scenes as well as documentary photos and is not easy viewing. When I visited the museum in the summer of 200.4, a young woman, a y developed at the site. “Our purpose,” says the preface, “in exposing, akes less use of dioramas and multimedia than, say, the Museum of the catalogue, are “evidence of the J apanese'army’s germ warfare crimes, and. 268 KIRK A. DENTON Korean I believe, suddenly ran out of the viewing room and vomited in the hallway. Like some of the other museums discussed here, the Unit 73] Museum has several exhibits devoted to memoriali’zation. One room is called “Re_. member Us” (iEErfiil‘l), a kind of memorial hall consisting of a plaster ‘ structure made to look like stone with a flame cutting through it; below is "a wreath and a plaque, which tells us that the victims are mostly nameless. To the left and right of the'room‘ are the names of four known victims. The final exhibit is a long hallway, on the left side of which is the “List of the Victims” (W X’E’E‘g i). There are plaques (in stone, with black characters) for those nameable victims, extending down the length of the hall, some one hundred in total. The exhibit-ends by echoing the preface, saying that some 3,000 died as a result of Unit 731 experiments and another 300,000 were hurt (shanghai 155%) in germ warfare produced from these experiments. The museum not only serves to help the spectator remember the past but also emphasizes the need to remember and the remembering itself. Behind the exhibition building are “ruins”~—the foundations of buildings that were part of the larger Unit731 complex (figure 11.9). There are, for example, the ruins of the building used for germ research. The museum has plans to develop these ruins into a more integral part of the site. At present, - some of the ruins surrounding the exhibition hall have plaques informing the spectator about the site, but many still do not. As suggested above, this museum derives its power from the site and its ruins. Because of the power - of the site, the museum does not have to recreate an atmosphere, like the Ho— locaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which seeks to recreate the feel of experiencing life in the concentration camps.54 This museum seems to self—consciously avoid a Disneyfication of horror and play up the authentic aura of its site-The exhibits are simple, the lighting is dim, and the display is mundane, and all lack the technological sophistication now often found in Chinese museums. Although these aspects may also be partly due to a lack of funds or of curatorial training, I think the curators are self—consciously avoiding the aestheticization of objects that were used to inflict unimagi— nable suffering. The September 18 History Museum: Spectacles and Memory The September 18 History Museum in Shenyang was established in 1991 on the sixtieth anniversary of September 18, 1931, when the Japanese Kwan- tung Army blew up a railway bridge, accused the Chinese of doing it, and then used the incident as pretext for occupying Shenyang and southern Man— churia. The date is conventionally seen in the PRC as the beginning of the Japanese occupation of China and of resistance to it. In its early phase, the museum consisted of a single monument: the broken calendar monument,_ which I discuss below. In 1997, the City of Shenyang approved funding for an expanded museum, and the present museum was completed two years later and opened on September 18, 1999. As the catalogue puts it, the mu— seum seeks to be a place for “patriotic and national defense education”- and to teach people “not to forget national humiliation and to invigorate China” (wu wang gnochi, zhenxing Zhong/ma a] EH11, Like other museums in China, this museum is active in educational outreach, organiz— ing, for instance, a mobile exhibition that travels around to schools.55 The museum building, also designed by Qi Kang, is among the more interesting architectural designs of new museums in the PRC (figure 11.10). It is situated outside the central core of the city on the site of the explosion 270 KIRK A. DENTON Figure 11.10. Main exhibition hall of the September 18 History Museum that was used by the Japanese as a pretext for attacking Shenyang and even— tually occupying all of Manchuria. Unlike the Unit 731 Museum, however, the museum’s symbolic power does not derive particularly from the histori— cal site. Instead, the building’s design and the use of external space imme— diate-1y around the museum give it power. What first catches one’s eye as one enters the main gate is the giant stone calendar (figure 11.11), riddled with bullet and bomb holes and opened to the date September 18, 1931. The text on the calendar reads: “Around ten o’clock at night, the Japanese army blew up the Liutiao Lake section of the Southern Manchurian Railway. Under the pretext of blaming the Chinese army for committing this act, they attacked and occupied the army’s north headquarters. Under orders not to resist, our northeast army retreated in pain, disaster befell the nation, and the people, rose up angrily in resistance.” Although it is intended to stress the historical importance of this date in Chinese history, the calendar also suggests that time has stopped and that China is somehow stuck in the memory of this national insult. However, by commemorating this tragic event, the museum ‘arrouspieces of sculpture appear around the plazain front of the mu- se building. As at the Nanjing Massacre memorial, thereis large bell ca led the “Jingshi zhong” 'lfii'fli‘fill (Awaken the world bell); on one side of ell are the words “do not forget national humiliation,” and a descrip- , of the September 18 Incident appears on the other.56 A bomb stele dam bei) shows what looks like a cement support, an original piece of iutiao Lake Bridge. On the facade of the museum building itself is a h g‘e relief in bronze called “Guonan” (National disaster), created by the 'sc pture Department of the Shenyang Lu Xun Fine Arts Academy. The placard informs one that the relief, which stretches along the white facade o the wall of the museum, is inspired by traditional Chinese calligraphy. I ndeed, from a distance, the movement of the relief along the wall does ' "suggest sweeping dark brush strokes on white paper. Only close to the relief 272 KIRK A. DENTON can one notice figures of suffering victims of the Japanese attack embedded in the bronze (figure 11.12). The relief thus suggests, perhaps recalling Mao’s phrase about the people being a blank slate, that the “people” emerge from writing itself; the people are the object/subject 'of history/historiography. As in many such representations in history museums in China, bronze rep- resents the earth and the peOple are shown to be part of the earth, tied to "the motherland; territory and the body politic are inextricably joined. On the facade of the street side of the building is another similar bronze relief called “Fen qi”. (Anger rising), meant to represent the spirit of resistance. It depicts. soldiers heroically fighting the enemy. Taken together, the two reliefs that coVer the museum’s outer walls rep— resent the victim and victory narratives discussed at the beginning of this chapter. The last important artwork outside the museum is the “Memorial Stele of the Victory of the War of Resistance,” which in its shape hearkens back'to the “bomb Stele” near the entrance to the site; it restores to an upright . position the bridge support blown dewn by Japanese bombs on September 18, 1931. Like the two reliefs, these two steles (bei) convey the intertwined narratives of victimization and victory. The major trOpes of the external design of the museum and its outdoor memorials and sculptures are presented in more narrative form in the- mu- seum exhibitions. First, the Prefatory Hall (Xu Ting) echoes the two modes of representing the war and sets the context for appreciating the chrono- logical exhibits that follow (figure 11.13). The not—quite-rectangular hall is subtly lit with ceiling floodlights; it has a black marble floor and white plaster reliefs cover the four walls. There is a strong contrast between the dark floor and lighted white reliefs. The reliefs, we are told in the catalogue, represent the mountains of China, while the black marble floor represents its rivers, referring visually to the phrase baishan heishui El Lhflm (white mountains, black rivers), a surrogate term for Dongbei (i.e., the Changbai Mountains and the Heilong River). Although the room thus has a local flavor, mountains and rivers are commonly used to stand for China as a whole.57 On the floor near the middle of the hall is a four—foot—high black marble pyramid capped by a red “eternal flame” (not real fire, but some sort of electric light), representing the martyrs of the Northeast, with their spirit of unyielding resistance and their national heroic spirit (Ejbxfix Emil-$5FEW iflfifi/fififlllfigfifi). On the four sides of the pyramid is text in Chinese, Japanese, English, and Russian. We are told in the text that September 18 is “etched” (ningke iii 31]) in the hearts of the Chinese people and that it marks the beginning of fourteen years of Japanese occupation 1' wall of the September 18 gure 11.12. Detail of relief on the front exterio History Museum 1 274 KIRK A. DENTON Figure 11.13. Prefatory Hall of the September 18 History Museum during which many people sacrificed their lives. Above the pyramid are fourteen blue lights (one for each year of occupation), which cast a blue pal‘l on the red “flame” below. The visual contrast between the somber blue of occupation and the heroic red of resistance embOdies the tension between victimization and heroic resistance narratives. After the memorial hall, the spectator proceeds down a long walkway to the beginning of the exhibition proper. The exhibition opens with an overtly internationalist perspective: Japanese imperialism is portrayed as part of a larger global fascism and China’s resistance as part of global resistance to it.58 This internationalizing of the struggle can perhaps be seen as part of China’s present efforts to “join with the world,” but it also serves to link Ja— pan’s evil with the globally recognized evil of the Nazis. However, it strikes me that this is a rather token internationalism and that both the thrust and the details of the exhibition are solidly within the nationalist paradigm. The exhibition is structured in six display halls; (1) Historical Background; (2) Outbreak of the Incident and the Loss of the Northeast; (3) Japan’s Bloody Rule in the Northeast; (4) The Resistance Struggle of the Northeast Army and People; (5) The Whole Nation Resists, the Northeast is Restored, and the Final Chapter of Japanese Imperialism; and (6) Let History Be a 275 Horror and Atrocity: Memory of Japanese Imperialism .; _,_ >15 V . l‘ "Mirror, Hope for Peace, and Be on Guard Against the Return of Japanese Militarism. As is almost universal in Chinese history museums, the mate- "-a1"‘k\"s presented chronologically. The exhibits make conventional use of . 1 “liphotographs, texts, and maps; but more than the other museums discussed ' his chapter, they employ innovative exhibition techniques that reveal influences of pOpular and visual culture. What stand out in the museum .5 numerous models, dioramas, and multimedia displays. History and Sat ocity are Offered. as visual and dramatic spectacles for. the visitor/For Xa ple, through cracks in a wall, the spectator can peer, rather voyeuristi— ,:into a life—size scene recreating a gruesome, though somewhat campy, \ors may be shielding it from younger. visitors, but'it also draws atten- i tothe very notion of spectatorship. A “demonstration, scene” (yanshi ging ‘igfififiifigfi, a framed scene with lights and recorded narration s .Pingdingshan MasSacre of 1932, is also typical of the spectacle-like Visual quality of exhibits in this museum. ' ' usic often combines with three—dimensional visuals to give many dis— 3 a highly theatrical quality. For instance, in the second exhibit there is a play of bronze statues of refugees titled “Sorrow of Exile” (Liuwang hen fit'l‘E), which shows an array of citizens fleeing the Japanese occupation "f the Northeast (figure 11.14). The “citizens” include peasants, but also stu- nts, who appear to be doing anti—Japanese propaganda work. The sculpture clearly drawing on conventional historical memories of the Japanese oc— pation in which the image of refugees from the Northeast figured promi— 'jently. On the wall behind the bronze sculptures are the music and lyrics to «the Songhua River” (Songhua jiang shang WIRE]: J1), a morose song :out September 18 and the loss of homeland. References to songs—gener— ‘ and songs are often played on speakers in its various halls. In the section on national resistance to Japanese occupation, there is an pressive large—scale diorama called “Camp Song” (Laying ge Eta—at) *gure 11.15). The song referred to in the title of the diorama was writ— by Li Zhaolin, a general whowrote it during a particularly difficult iod in his troop’s struggle against the enemy. The song played an im— . (e.g., Northeast Martyrs Memorial Hall). The diorama, designed by 11g J ihou Eéflg of the Shenyang HuaXia Exhibition Arts Engineering ,ompany, recreates the scene described in the lyrics of the song.59 The 1 31 operating room; By hiding the display behind a partial wall, the » consists of the bones of corpses murdered by the Japanese in the infa- ~ standard revolutionary songs—appear throughout the museum’s exhib: , ortant role in Maoist narratives and earlier museum representations of the , 276 KIRK A. DENTON Figure 1.1.14. “Sorrow of Exile” sculpture depicting refugees three—dimensional scene brings a highly theatrical element into the exhibi— tion space. Musical and theatrical spectacle combine to form an impressive display, one that serves little to propel the chronological narrative of the exhibition but that seeks to evoke emotional resonances of the lost homeland .and the heroic struggle, to recover it. As a museum brochure puts it: “With the ‘Camp Song’ . . . as its theme and the vast expanse of white snow and dense white birch forest as its background, the scene describes the unyield— ing struggling spirit and high revolutionary optimism of soldiers of the United Army.” Among the more powerful dioramas in the museum is one of life—size wax figures of Japanese war criminals being tried in a Shenyang court in 1956. The twenty-eight wax figures are dressed in black, and their heads are bowed in recognition of their guilt; behind them is a collage of photographic images of Chinese victims of the war with soaring planes, exploding bombs, and huge plumes of smoke in the background. The diorama captures guilt Horror and Atrocity: Mentor I of Japanese Imperialism 277 Figure 11.15. “Camp Song,” a large-scale diorama at the September 18 History _ Museum and contrition in a highly emotional visual language. Corning near the end of the exhibition, it offers powerful testimony to the Chinese nationalist take on the fair judgment of history. The exhibition ends with the bronze sculpture “The Monument to Chinese Foster Parents” (13Fl $fifififi), a memorial donated by Japanese to the Chinese parents who raised Japanese children orphaned by the war (figure 11.16). It shows a Chinese peasant couple with a Japanese child standing between them and looking up lov— ingly at his “mother.” Obviously, the sculpture echoes the many images of Chinese mothers torn from their own children that are to be found in the museums discussed above. The sculpture portrays the Chinese in an unmistakably positive moral light; even after the Chinese were horribly vic— timized by brutal occupiers, the sculpture suggests, they still had compas— sion for the children of their oppressors and raised them, with presumably superior Chinese moral standards. r\ Figure 11.16. “Monument to Chinese Foster Parents,” a sculpture near the end of the basic exhibition in the September 18 History Museum Horror and Atrocity: Memory of Japanese Imperialism 279 The Concluding Remarks to the exhibition are rather revealing. The text _ eads: As we. are about to leave the exhibition room, everyone’s heart is dripping blood, and every drop of blood seems to congeal into a question mark: How could Japanese imperialism ,darerto lift a butcher’s knife against facts, .but how can there be people'who still refuse to‘confront them, or who eVeii distort those facts, or rewritethem? [It is said that] “if you’re 1 the deceased presented here are all crying out [nahcm 11W Elli]. What do their cries tell-us? Do they tell us: “A people/nation that forgets its heroes .fering may once again knock on the-nation’s doors”?Do they tell us: ‘flt begins with me, with the present”? Or do they tell us; .“To revive China, everyone bears responsibility”? ' ' The interrogative mode here'seems a rather empty nod to a more postmod— ern sensibility, and the museum concludes with a bald assertion of the facts of Japanese aggression in China. Of all the museums discussed here, the September 18 History Museum bends the most to the demands of popular nationalism, popular culture, and the spectacle. , Conclusion Threatened as they are by popular culture and caught between official rheto- ric and the demands of the cultural marketplace, museums try desperately to be relevant in contemporary Chinese society. One way they can do this is through the nationalist representation of horror and atrocity. In their atten- tion to victimization, atrocity, and suffering, these museums are primarily motivated by a desire to evoke nationalist sentiments; they both appeal to a latent nationalism and help to shape it. In this chapter, I have looked at four museums devoted to Japanese imperialism and atrocities committed dur- ing Japan’s fourteen-year occupation of China. They differ in their modes of representation: the minimalist humanism of the Nanjing Massacre Me— morial, the “authenticity” of the Unit 731 Museum, and the spectacle of the September 18 History Museum. Despite their differences, they share a 'Qurgreatvand vast China? Every photo. here forms a chain of ironclad - backward, you will be beaten,” but why arewe backward? The faces of . is a degenerate one”? Do they also tell us: “If you forget suffering, suf- ' I 280 KIRK A. DENTON tension between emphasis on suffering and victimization, on the one hand, and heroic resistance and victory, on the other. Together, these two modes of representing the War of Resistance Against Japan areat odds, but they also work hand in hand and need each other. AL . though there is plenty of attention in these museums to the role of the CCP in leading resistance to Japan, this is not their primary message. Rather, they seek to involve the visitor in a shared history of national suffering ' and of overcoming that suffering. It goes without saying that museums are not the only mode of remembering this national suffering (the popular his— . tories di3cussed by Gries and historical Web sites are two other important modes), but they are, with their impOsing architecture, “authentic” physical artifacts, and close association with the'state, a particularly important and powerful one, Notes 1. Lin Biao, Long Live the Victory oft/2e People’s War (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1965). V i . 2. War films were numerous in the Maoist- era. Two obvious examples are Dz'dao zhan i‘lflfidfi (Tunnel warfare; directed by Ren Xudong, 1965;) and Xin Bing Zhang Ga IJ\-,E‘E§i’:flE (Little soldier, Zhang Ga; directed by Cui Wei and Ouyang Hongying, 1963), the latter of which is currently being remade. ' - 3. “The March of the Volunteers” (Yiyongjun jinxingqu SLEEJ‘EGE), with lyr— ics by the playwright Tian Han EElil and music by Nie Er EH, became the “official” national anthem only in 1982, before which it was used unofficially in that capacity, During the Cultural Revolution, of course, since Tian Han was denounced, “The March of the Volunteers” was replaced by “The East Is Red” (Dong fang hang $7352). For a diSCussion of “The March” and other songs from the war period, see Chang-Tai Hung, “The Politics of Songs: Myths and Symbols in the Chinese Communist War Music, 1937—1949,” Modern Asian Studies 30, no. 4 (October 1996): 901—29. ' ‘4. Although my concern here is the discursive use of the war in postrevolutionary political rhetoric, I should point out that some Western scholars also see the war period as critical. As David Apter and Tony Saich argue, the war period made possible Mao’s “Re— public” and the “revolutionary discourse” upon which it was founded. See David E. Apter and Tony Saich, Revolutionary Discourse in Mao’s Republic (Cambridge, Mass: Har- vard University Press, 1994). Of'course, the war was always only a chapter in the larger narrative of liberation. However, I take issue with Rana Mitter and Andrew Waldron, who argue that the war was not an important part of Maoist constructions of the past. Waldron cites as evidence the absence of a central war memorial in the Beijing cityscape, and Mitter suggests that before the 19803 the war occupied only a minor place in histori— cal narratives, such as that found in the Military Museum. Although their intention is to shed light on the new significance of memory of the war in the post—Mao era, Mitter and Waldron give the false impression that memory of the war was a blank in the Maoist era. See Rana Mitter, “Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Nationalism, History and Memory Horror and Atrocity: Memory of Japanese Imperialism 281 n the Beijing War of Resistance Museum, 1987—1997,” China Qaarterl ’ 161 (2000): “ 278—93; and Andrew Waldron, “China’s New Remembering of World War II: The Case V’of Zhang Zizhong,” Modern Asian S tadies 30, no. 4 (1996): 869—99. ‘ 5. See Ken Sekine, “Verbose Silence in 1939 Chongqing: Why Ah Long’s Nanjing ‘ Could Not Be Published.” MCLC Resource Center, 2004; http://niclc.osu.edu/rc/pubs/ sekinehtm. The novel was first published as Nanjing xaeji E'fifilfll%—¥(The bloody sacrifice of Nanjing) (Beijing: Renmin Wenxue, 1987). j , . 6. The online China News Digest Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall has published an English translation of a 1962 work called Japanese Imperialism and the Massacre (in Nanjing (http://museums.cnd.org/njmassacre/njm—tran/index.html)I The translator, Robert Gray, writes in the introduction that “In 1962, scholars at Nanjing University’s Department of History (Japanese history section) wrote the book Japanese Imperialism and the Massacrein Nanjing (Riben (liguozhayi zai Nanjing de datasha B .Xi‘ffififil‘li 12%?) based on extensive materials they uncovered during a two-year investigation into the Nanjing Massacre. After it was written, the book was labeled a classified document (neiba ziliao W‘E‘llfrfiiliil) and could not be published openly.” 7. Mark Eykholt, “Aggression, Victimization, and Chinese Historiography of the Nanjing Massacre,” in The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography, ed. Joshua Fogel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 11—69. ' 8. Ian Buruma, “The Joys and Perils of Victimhood,” New York Review ofBooks, April 8, 1999, 4—9. 9. Iris Chang’s Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (New York: Basic Books, 1997), translated into Chinesc in 1998, is but one example. The real impetus for remembering the Nanjing Massacre occurred in 1982, with the Chi— nese response to the textbook controversy in Japan. See Daqing Yang, “The Malleable and the Contested: The Nanjing Massacre in Postwar China and Japan,” in Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s), ed. T. Fujitana, Geoffrey White, and Lisa Yo— -neyama (Durham, NC: DukeUniversity Press, 2001), 50—86.‘ For an overview of new research on the Nanjing Massacre, see David Askew, “New Research on the Nanjing In- cident,” JapanFocas.org (2004), http://www.japanfocus.org/109.html. General studies of the Nanjing Massacre include The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography, ed. Joshua Fogel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000); and Nanjing 1937: Memory and Healing, ed. Feifei Li, Robert Sabella, and David Liu (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2002). 10. E.g., see Sheldon H. Harris, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932—1945, and the American Cover— Up (New York: Routledge, 2002). ' 11. Mitter suggests that as the Maoist ideology and its pivotal historical moments lost resonance for the Chinese people in the post—Mao era, “In looking for a theme to inspire unity, the leadership was forced to turn to the cataclysmic event of the century, War of Resistance to Japan.” See Mitter, “Behind the Scenes at the Museum,” 280. To highlight the point, Mitter compares the War of Resistance museum representation With that of the older Chinese Military Museum (Zhongguo Junshi Bowuguan), which stresses in its treatment of the war the struggle between “Communist virtue and Na— tionalist evil” (p. 282). Mitter implies that prior to the Deng era, the War of Resistance did not play an important role in myth making and political legitimization, which is not the case. However, there certainly was a renewed attention to the war and new forms of remembering it in the post—Mao era, which I take to be Mitter’s principal point. 12. I have in mind Dai Qing’s work on the Wang Shiwei and Chu Anping incidents 282 KIRK A. DENTON in Yan’an. See Dai Qing, Wang Shiwei and “Wild Lilies”: Rectification and Purges in ‘ the Chinese Communist Party, 1942—]944 (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1994). 13. For a discussion of the culture of “bobos” (bourgeois bohemians) and “neo- tribes’.’ in China, see ling Wang, “BourgeoisBohemians in China? Neo—Tribes and the Urban Imaginary,” China Quarterly 183 (September 2005): 532—48. 14. Arif Dirlik, “‘Trapped in History’ on the Way to Utopia: East Asia’s Great War Fifty Years Later,” in Perilous Memories, ed. Fujitani, White, and Yoneyama, 3] 1. 15. Peter Gries, China ’s Ne w National ism : Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy (Berke- ley: University of California Press, 2004), 43—52. - 16. Eric Johnston, “Political, Economic Rivalries Blamed: History Not Key Issue,” Japan Times, April 19, 2005. _ 17. There are other museums in China that deal with Japanese atrocities, e.g., the Pingdingshan Massacre Museum (in Fushun, Liaoning), the Northeast Occupation Exhibit Hall at the Manchukuo Palace (Changchun, Jilin), and the Northeast Martyrs Memorial Hall (Harbin). The former, established in 1972, promotes itself as the museum that represents the history of Japan’s “first” massacre on Chinese soil. In September 1932, Japanese soldiers slaughtered 3,000 villagers at the foot of Pingding Mountain. More recently, a private War of Resistance Museum opened outside Chengdu. Initiated and financed by a local entrepreneur, Fan Jianchuan, the museum, which is part of a complex of museums that includes exhibition halls devote to the Cultural Revolution, is billed as the largest private museum in China. Interestingly, this private museum does not seem to construct clear historical narratives in the way most state museums do. 18. A slew of scholarly books published in recent years focuses on the topic of neonationalism in the PRC. In addition to Gries, China’s New Nationalism, see Lowell Dittmer and samuel S. Kim, eds, China’s Questfor National Identity (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1993); Yingjie Guo, Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary China: The Search for National Identity underReform (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004); and Jonathan Unger, ed., Chinese Nationalism (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1996). 19. From “ZhongRi liangguo renmin yinggai shishi daidai youhao xiaqu” FF El Eli Afiflfiifl'lfl'fifififiltfi (The people of China and Japan should be friends generation after generation), a speech given on September 15, 1972, during the Visit of the Japanese prime minister to China. The phrase originates from the Zhanguo Ge 55?, % (Chronicle of the Warring States). _ 20. See Paul A. Cohen, “Remembering and Forgetting: National Humiliation in Twentieth—Century China,” T wentieth- Century China 27, no. 2 (April 2002): 1—39. Karl Garth’s study of the relative failure of the “national products” movement in Republican China would suggest that average urban Chinese were indeed forgetting about national humiliation and were more concerned with daily survival or with enjoying foreign consumer products. See Karl Gerth, China Made: Consumer Culture and the Creation of the Nation (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Asia Center, 2003). 21. Citing a 19903 survey of a group of fourth graders, Waldron points out that Only 30 percent could identify Mao Zedong and only one could sing the entire national anthem, but all knew the Hong Kong pop singer Liu Dehua (Andy Lau). See Waldron, “China’s New Remembering of World War II,” 976. I should add that the state in the PRC has aggressively developed Web sites promoting patriotic education, many with a recurring theme of not forgetting. One such site is called Wuwangguochi QJIEZHII: (http://www.wwgc.cc). * 22. Cohen, “Remembering and Forgetting,” 2. l 2 Horror and Atrocity: Memory of Japanese Imperialism 283 23. Haiyan Lee has suggested that “sentiment”.is a key element in forging a sense of shared history and national community. See Haiyan Lee, “Sympathy, Hypocrisy, and the Trauma of Chineseness,” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 16, no. 2 (Fall 2004): 76—122. ' 24. James Edward Young, The Texture ofMemor I: Holocaust'Memoz-ials and Mean~ ing (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 1993), 6. For a discussion of memory sites, see also The Realms of Mentor I: TheConstruction of the French Past, 3 vols., ed. Pierre Nora (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998). . 25. For a discussion of this dowuplaying of class in Chinese museums, see Kirk A. Denton, “Museums, Memorial Sites and Exhibitionary Culture in the People’s Republic of China,” China Quarterly 183 (2005): 565—86. 26. Perhaps influenced by these trends on the mainland and/or motivated by a newfound sense of Chinese nationalism since 1997, Hong Kong museums and memo— rial sites, such as the Museum of Coastal Defence, have recently emphasized in their exhibits Hong Kong’s heroic resistance against the Japanese, particularly that-of the Hong Kong—Kowloon Independent Company (aka. Dongjiang Guerrilla Force) and the Hong Kong Volunteersln Taiwan, the question of resistance is closely intertwined with identity politics. Exhibitions that take a Kuomintang Sinocentric approach (e.g., the National Military Museum in Taipei) tend to emphasize resistance activities; those that lean toward the DPP and its notions of Taiwanese identity (e.g., the February 28 Museum in Taipei) tend to have a much more favorable view of Japanese occupation and therefore place less stress on resistance. 27. Susan Sontag makes this argument in On Photography (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 1977). In her more recent Regarding the Pain of Others (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003), she questions her original argument and asks skepti- cally: “What is the evidence that photographs have a diminishing impact, that our culture of spectatorship neutralizes the moral force of photographs of atrocities?” (p. 105). v 28. For a discussion of globalization and its effects on Chinese museums, see Li Wenru “iii? ed., Quanqiuhua xia de Zhongguo bowuguan {IE (Chinese museums under the condition of globalization) (Beijing: Wenbo, 2002). .29. There are hundreds of museums worldwide devoted to the Holocaust. In-the United States alone, there are at least four major Holocaust museums (in New York City, Washington, Los Angeles, and Houston). For a general discussion of memorializa— tion with regard to Holocaust museums, see Young, Texture of Memory, the opening sentence of which reads: “The further events of World War II recede in time, the more prominent its memorials become” (p. l). 30. For discussions of the new remembering of the World War II in Asia, see Wal— dron, “China’s New Remembering”; Sheila M. J ager, Narratives of Nation—Building in Korea: A Genealogy of Patriotism (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2003); the spe— cial “Asia—Pacific War: History and Memory” issue of the IIAS Newsletter (September 2005); and Jui—te Chang, “The Politics of Commemoration: A Comparative Analysis of the fiftieth—Anniversary Commemoration in Mainland China and Taiwan of the Victory in the Anti—Japanese War,” in The Scars of War: The Impact of Warfare on Modern China, ed. Diana Lary and Stephen MacKinnon (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2001), 136—61. 31. Qi Kang itfi, Qin Hua Ri jun Nanjing datusha yunan tongbao jinianguan 31,“? E] $Efi§ii§§fii§ifilfil Hfiléfifitfi' (Memorial to the victims of the massacre by Japanese invaders of China) (Shenyang: Liaoning Kexue J ishu, 1999). 284 KIRK A. DENTON 32. Wang Yiting E—fl', Baiyi e’mo EIZ‘ZE‘EJE (Evil in white coats) (Pingfang; Hua Ri Jun Di Qisanyi Budui Zuizheng Chenlieguan, n.d.), 2. 33. lris Chang famously made this link in the subtitle to her book (The Rape of Nan/ting: The Forloffen Holocaust of World War II) on- the Nanjing Massacre, but Buruma suggests that this linking goes all the way back to the 1946 Tokyo Trials, See Ian Buruma, “The Nanjing Massacre as a Historical Symbol,” in Nan/ting 1937: Memory and Healing, ed. Feifei Li, Robert Sabella, and David Lin (Ar-monk, N .Y; M. E. Sharpe, 2002), ‘l—9; the citation here is on 7. In the United States, a group of Chinese Americans has formed a-museum devoted to Japanese imperialism in China and is calling it the Chinese Holocaust Museum. See http://www.chineseholocaust. org/two.html. . 34. Buruma, ‘fJoys and Perils of Victimhood,” from online version (http://www_ nybooks.com/articles/525l). 35. Museums officials told me at the time that funding Was scarce and they did not know when the renovation would begin, let alone be completed. It was finally completed in 2006. 36. More recently, in the summer of 2005, the museum put on an exhibit in com-- memoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the victory of the Anti-Japanese War called ,. “The Ruins and Crimes of the Harbin Police Headquarters of the Manchukuo Puppet Regime” (taranaaiaeameaeeee. _ 37. For a discussion of this museum, see Mitter, “Behind the Scenes at the Mn- seum.” For an excellent discussion of the historical resonances of the site of the Lugou Bridge, see James A. Plath, “Setting Moon and Rising Nationalism: Lugou Bridge as Monument and Memory,” International Journal of Heritage Studies 10, no. 2 (2004): 175—92. 1 also used the following museum publication: Zhonggno renmz'n kangri zhan- z/ieng jinianguan FF! ARK E Efifi-éEfi-gfi’fifi (Memorial of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against the Japanese) (Beijing: Zhongguo Heping, 1998). 38. The 2005 renovation substantially transformed the museum’s exhibitions. Con- trary to what I would have expected, the new exhibitions, which I visited in August 2006, place less emphasison horror and suffering than the exhibits in the previous stage. Three special exhibits—Japanese Army Atrocities, People’s War, and Martyrs Hall—have been eliminated, though elements of each have been integrated into a single comprehensive exhibit, now titled Great Victory (Weida shengli 1% j: Hi fl). Great Vic- tory is characterized by a new emphasis on the war as a key part of the larger global antifascist struggle; The war is still represented as a critical period in Chinese history, but rather than a chapter in the larger narrative of revolution and liberation, it is now a pivotal period in China’s emergence as a global power. As exhibition placards put it, the war marks “the great renaissance of the Chinese people,” in its transition from “weak~ ness” (Slmaz'bai $9150 to “flourishing” (zhenxing $E)—‘é). Clearly, the ideological impe- tus behind the exhibition’srepresentation of the war is connected to China’s new status in the global economy and its pretensions to global greatness. That the emotionality of the second stage exhibition has been muted marks perhaps a more rational approach , to the war that is consistent with China’s maturation as a member of the community of nations. 39. See Mitter, “Behind the Scenes in the Museum.” In a September 2005 speech commemorating the sixteith anniversary of the victory of the war, Hu J intao made this recognition of Nationalist war efforts part of official party rhetoric. Moreover, the war is now commonly framed as a dimension of the larger antifascist struggle in World War Horror and Atrocity: Memory of Japanese Imperialism 285 II, which I believe is connected to the larger discursive project in the contemporary PRC of connecting China with the world (zoa xiang shijie Efilfl‘fii or ya sliijie tong gai Elia“? la Eli). ' 40. Mitter, “Behind the Scenes at the Museum,” 286. 41. Mitter, ibid., also notes the innovate use, perhaps influenced by Western me- morials, of an “unknown” soldier for the central statue in the hall. Although it may be true that “unknown” soldiers are not generally used in Chinese war memorials, they ‘ do appear frequently in revolutionary oil painting. For a discussion of images of mar— tyrs in Chinese revolutionary mythology, see Kirk A. Denton, “Visual Memory and the Construction of a Revolutionary Past: Paintings from the Museum of the Chinese Revolution,” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 12, no. 2 (Fall 2000): 203—35. 42. Buruma suggests that the idea for the memorial was Deng Xiaoping’s. See Bu- ruma, “Nanjing Massacre as Historical Symbol,” 8. Daqing Yang asserts that the me— morial was a direct response to the textbook debates of 1982 in Japan. See his “Mirror fOr the Future or the History Card? Understanding the ‘History Problem,”’ in Chinese- Japanese Relations in the Twentieth-First Centar I: Complementarity and Conflict, ed. ' Marie So‘derberg (London: Routledge), 15—16. ‘ 43. Qi Kang, Qin Hua Rijan Nanjing clams/1a, 7. 44. Ibid., 7—8. 45. Ibid., 8. The memorial won the Liang Sicheng prize for design in 2000. This was the first year of the prize, and it was presented to several architects for work done as far back as 1960. 46. Qi Kang shows awareness of the difference of doing a memorial for Yuhuatai and the Nanjing Massacre memorial. See ibid. 47. The sculpture is apparently based on a shot in the American missionary John Magee’s documentary film footage of the atrocities. 48. Buruma, “Nanjing Massacre as Historical Symbol,” 9. 49. I do not mean to suggest here that this and other memorial sites are not some— times used by people for the expression of local and personal concerns that are some— times at odds with official state policy, only that these uses are ultimately circumscribed by the state. 50. Although not exclusively responsible by any means, Ishii Shiro is considered the father of Japanese medical and germ warfare experiments in Manchuria. In 1932, shortly after arriving in Manchuria, Maj or Ishii established a factory for immune exper— iments in the warehouse district of Harbin, but for human experimentation he needed a more remote spot that could not be seen by the foreign community. He soon came upon the town of Beiyinhe TEE—55L about 100 kilometers south of Harbin, where he established the Zhong'Ma Camp (FF 31$). This was used as a base for experimentation until 1937, when the camp was disbanded and destroyed after a prisoner insurrection. In 1936, Ishii was appointed head of the Water Purification Bureau, in reality a front ' for his experiments. In 1936, Pingfang was selected as the new location for Unit 731. It was completed in 1939, having some seventy—two structures. Untilthe end of the war, experiments in germ warfare were conducted on thousands of Chinese. For general information of Unit 731, see Unit 73] Testimony, ed. Hal Gold (Tokyo: Yen Books, 1996). 51. Although Benjamin’s notion of “aura” concerns works of art, I think it can apply to a ineniorial site as well. See Walter Benjamin, Illuminations: Essays and Reflections (New York: Schoeken Books, 1968), 222—23. Holding an exhibition about horror at the 286 KIRK A. DENTON site where the horror took place gives it an “authenticity” it would lose in a different setting. And although museums would generally be considered a form through which aura is lost, the “site museum” is an exception. “Site museums” are one classification of museums in China,.and there are even volumes devoted to their study. See, e.g., Yiz/u‘ bowuguan xue gal/um fiijflfiWi’Eélfl/Eifi‘ (General discussions of the study of site museums) (Xian: Shanxi Renmin, 1999). ' 52. Young,.Texrure ofMemory, 1'19. 53. The term “mood of memory” comes from Edward T. Linenthal, Preserving Memory: The Struggle to Create America ’s Holocaust Museum (New York: Penguin Books, 1995), 168. 54. Entering the museum, the spectator is given an identification card upon which is the name and life story of areal Holocaust victim. The exhibits, especially those on the second level of the building, give a sensation of the Holocaust. Philip Gourevitch has written that “violence and the grotesque are central to the American aesthetic, and the Holocaust Museum provides both amply. It is impossible to take in the exhibition without becoming somewhat inured to the sheer graphic horror on display; indeed, it would be unbearable to be defenseless in such a‘place. A flat response, however, is less unsettling than is the potential for excitement, for titillation, and even seduction by the overwhelmingly powerful imagery. The museum courts the viewer’s fascina- tion, encouraging familiarity with the incomprehensible and the unacceptable; one is repeatedly forced into the role of a voyeur of the prurient.” See Philip Gourevitch, “Behold Now Behemoth: The Holocaust Memorial Museum—One More American Theme Park,” Harper’s Magazine (July 1993), online version (http://wwwhighbeam. com/doc/l Gl :l3979094/Behold+now+behemoth~C~+the+Holocaust+Memorial+ Museum~C~+one+more+American+theme+park.html). 55. See http://www.9l8museum.org.cn/news/ReadNews.asp?Newle=793. 56. Bells in Chinese culture represent atonement of sins and enlightenment. Both significances are at play here. 57. E.g., two large photographs, one of mountains, one of a river, begin the Com— prehensive Exhibit of the War of Resistance Museum discussed above. 58. This position on the international nature of the War of Resistance was made “official” in September 2005 in statements by Hu Jintao commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the victory of the war. 59. Wang’s work has been primarily in stage design, but his company (77.: [35112515. EEfiIEEBE/Afil) has also been involved in wax di'splays'for Beijing’s China Wax Figures Museum and Dalian’s Gold Wax Figures Museum. The former is a temporary exhibit in the National Museum of China. . ...
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Denton Horror 2 - 266 KIRK A DENTON Figure 11.8 Entranceway courtyard and exhibition hall of the Unit 731 Museum i‘é‘faflfi’il’fiv

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