Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking

I finally went to watch this movie tonight. I’m very glad that I went! I wouldn’t have known the details of Iris’ story otherwise…
I asked a few friends to go previously, they decided not to go primarily thinking the scenes would be too graphic and that it’s all too sad. That is true to a certain extent, after all it’s about the brutality of Japanese soldiers, how they tortured so many innocent Chinese people. One thing that I didn’t expect from the movie is the power of Iris. Her determination to be the voice of those voiceless people is VERY touching and inspiring. She said more than once that she had no choice NOT to tell those stories after learning about them. No matter how hard it was for her (while researching for the book, she already suffered from hair loss and sleep deprivation), she was determined to finish the book. She felt a sense of urgency to tell the stories as quickly as she could since the survivors would be extinguished because of old age.
The Rape of Nanking was not her first book. She was just researching for a topic to write a book on, after she was done writing her first book Thread of the Silkworm. She was trying to find out more about WWII – she heard many stories about her grandparents during the war. She sometimes even dreamed about those. She went to a photo exhibition in Cupertino, California about how Asians were treated during WWII. The pictures looked horrifying… she became determined to write the book after seeing one particular picture – a picture showing a man just being decapitated, with his head still attaching to his neck…. No one would have imagined this is what a small-scaled photo exhibition would do – to trigger one of the most revealing books on WWII history to be written.
Towards the end of the movie, we heard Iris saying in a speech, it’s very inspiring:
(typing it out from the complementary book that each movie goer was given)
"One person can make an enormous difference in the world. One person actually, one idea can start a war, or end one, or subvert an entire power structure. One discovery can cure a disease or spawn new technology to benefit or annihilate the human race. You as one individual can save millions of lives. Think big. Do not limit your vision and do not ever compromise your dreams or ideals. You may find, in the end, that you are your own worst enemy."
I find the 2nd last sentence extremely similar to what our beloved Pope John Paul II said:
"It is the nature of human beings, and especially youth, to seek the Absolute, the meaning and fullness of life. Dear young people, do not be content with anything less than the highest ideals! Do not let yourselves be dispirited by those who are disillusioned with life and have grown deaf to the deepest and most authentic desires of their heart. You are right to be disappointed with hollow entertainment and passing fads, and with aiming at too little in life. If you have an ardent desire for the Lord you will steer clear of the mediocrity and conformism so widespread in our society."
– Pope John Paul II, from Message to the Youth on the occasion of the XVII World Youth Day (Toronto 2002), 25 July 2001

There will be a "Comfort Women" Witnessing Forum held on the coming Sunday from 4pm-7:30pm at U of T convocation hall (31 King’s College Circle, 4 ‘comfort women’ survivors from Korea, China, the Philippines, and the Netherlands will be sharing their testimonies in an attempt to urge the Canadian Parliament to pass a motion, to bring upon justice that is way overdue.
Please attend if you can. They deserve your support.
Facebook event invitation:


Another side note, I was surprised to find out one of the foreigners who helped save many Chinese people at that time was a Nazi. His name is John Rabe. He risked his own life to help shelter 200,000 Chinese people from slaughter. Iris managed to find his diaries from his grand daughter.

Those who want to see the movie can still see it on TV.
"The producers are pleased to announce that History Television in Canada is going to broadcast "Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking" UNCUT and with NO
Air date: Dec 13, 2007 at 8:00 PM
The film will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by Lloyd Robertson. More information on this special TWO HOUR television event will follow with an announcement of panel members."
Thanks Pat for sending this to ECCCLC

One thought on “Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking

  1. Wilson says:

    thanks for the sharing~ i love that blurb from Iris!

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