ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print
Life

History and propaganda clash in China's war museums

A wave of war-related exhibitions sets out to bolster the CCP view of the past

NANJING, China -- One of the more striking exhibits at the Nanjing Museum of the Site of Lijixiang Comfort Station is the story of Akiko, a married Japanese woman conscripted to be a "comfort woman" in a military brothel in China during World War II. Greeting a visiting soldier one day, Akiko realizes that he is her husband, drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army. Despairing at their situation the pair commit suicide together.

Newspapers in wartime China trumpeted this calamity to demonstrate the depths to which Japan had demeaned its own people. A popular dramatic production of the tragedy followed, reproduced on stage in China in 2014 and later. But the story is of dubious veracity: According to Chinese history enthusiast Zhu Delin and others, it initially appeared in an anti-war literary arts magazine in 1938. It is a pastiche of real events and a fictional story that served as excellent propaganda during the war, but should not be presented in a museum as fact.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Discover the all new Nikkei Asia app

  • Take your reading anywhere with offline reading functions
  • Never miss a story with breaking news alerts
  • Customize your reading experience

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more