Date of letter:1993-03-18
Address of author:Changsha City, Hunan Province
Date of event:1939-1944
Location of event:Changsha City, Hunan Province
Name of author:Zhou Zhenqiu
Name(s) of victim(s):Zhou Zhenqiu’s parents and townsmen
Type of atrocity:Others, Rapes, Slave Laborers, Murders(OT, RA, SL, MU）
Other details:In 1939 the Japanese Army for the first time attacked Changsha. We 100 people were asked by the Japanese to kneel and shout “Long live our lord”. The Japanese Army searched us, and they would not beat you if they found money. Mmy father had no money with him, so he was beated. Young girls were raped by the Japanese, and some jumped into river to commit suicide. Anyone disobedient will be stripped and be shown to us. Anyone refusing to look would receive beating. In 1941 the Japanese Army for the second time attacked Changsha. My father was forced to work as porter, due to accumulated fatigue, he lived on the brink of death, he died due to illness in 1943. In 1944 when the Japanese Army attacked Changsha for the third time, my mother and a widow were stripped and killed.
Compensate for my 49 years of suffering
Demanding the Japanese government to compensate the victims
The Japanese army soldiers are the most ferocious, most barbaric, and most brutal beasts in the world.
Japanese army soldiers invaded Changsha three times and committed all kinds of crimes, including burning, killing, raping and looting. Before leaving Changsha after their first defeat, the Japanese army revealed their barbaric nature in a poster which said “In Changsha, we ate delicious cow and chicken, raped young women, burned down losers’ houses and killed morons,“ posted by Military Propaganda Team of Japan.”
My family used to live by Xiang River. During Japan’s invasion of Changsha, many corpses flowed from the south to north along Xiang River, which filled with the smell of blood.
The atrocities committed by the Japanese army are too much to describe. I will only talk about the suffering of my family.
1. First gift from the Imperial Japanese Army: a slap on the face and a kick with leather boots.
During the first invasion of Changsha (around 1939) by the Japanese army, the poor people had no place to escape. When they entered my house, over 100 people, including neighbors who didn’t escape, all kneeled down and shouted, “Your highness! Your highness” Then, the Japanese soldiers began to search us. Those who had money with them weren’t beaten, but my father and I had no money on us, so I was slapped on the face and my father was kicked by their leather boots with nails. The young women were dragged away to be raped. Some women committed suicide by drowning themselves in the river. There were two women who knelt down and pleaded not to be raped, saying they had valuables. The Japanese soldiers stripped off their clothes, forced us to watch, and beat us if we didn’t.
When the Japanese army invaded Changsha for the second time (around 1941), my father was arrested and forced to carry supplies for them. My father got sick due to exhaustion, managed to escape back home, but died of disease in 1943.
2. The Japanese army killed innocent people, tore my family apart and made me an orphan.
In June 1944, the Japanese army invaded Changsha for the third time. On the afternoon of lunar July 13, when my mother, along with a group of women, was returning home from the countryside, they were captured by the Japanese army, stripped off their clothes and their hands were tied behind their backs. They were then bayoneted to death. My mother was bayoneted eight times and thrown into Xiang River. An old widow was also thrown into the river after being bayoneted to death. Since nobody came to collect her corpse, the corpse was pushed to the river bank by waves and then eaten by crows bit by bit in the hot weather, and the bones were dragged away by dogs.
One of my older female cousins, only 13, was found by the Japanese soldiers even though she was disguised as a boy with her head being shaved. Three Japanese soldiers dragged her away and raped her and cut open her vagina because she was too young.
In short, I’ve witnessed and heard of so many atrocities committed by the Japanese army.
The Japanese army stationed in my hometown was Changdi 6113 Troop led by officer KANBARA and officer KIYOKAWA. Several cruel Japanese soldiers included Seizan SAITO, Saburo N ISHIYAMA and a merciless soldier known as “Tortoise NISHIYAMA” by the local people.
After my mother was killed by the Japanese army, my younger brother and I became homeless and drifted around. My younger brother died in the winter of 1944 due to cold and starvation.
After that, I lived on my own without food or clothes. Luckily, I was fostered by the Communist Party after the Liberation.
3. I strongly demand the Japanese government to apologize to the Chinese people and compensate the victims.
“A blood debt must be repaid.” This is an established rule. How could the Chinese people be cruelly killed by the Japanese army for nothing? It just doesn’t make any sense!
For 49 years, I curse the Japanese army every day. I often cry in the daytime and also in my dreams. I miss my mother and younger brother and I want to avenge for their deaths. When I think about Japanese people, it incites hatred in me, everytime. This hate could only be vented by killing a few Japanese people. If I were not educated by the Communist Party to separate the Japanese imperialists from Japanese people, I surely would go to kill some Japanese people.
I am telling the Japanese government squarely that if you take proper action, the kind, generous Chinese people will set aside their old hatreds to maintain the friendship between Chinese and Japanese people. If you don’t apologize to the Chinese people or compensate the Chinese victims, the future generations of millions of Chinese people will make you pay for your debt.
Victim Zhou Zhenqiu
March 18, 1993
Address: No. 50, Dugong Street, Dong District, Changsha, Hunan