Nanjing! Nanjing! (City of Life and Death) (2009)




Director:     Chuan Lu.

Starring:     Ye Liu (Lu Jianxiong), Yuanyuan Gao (Miss Jiang), Hideo Nakaizumi (Kadokawa), Wei Fan (Mr. Tang), Yiyan Jiang (Xiao Jiang), Ryu Kohata (Ida), Bin Liu (Xiaodouzi), Yuko Miyamoto, John Paisley (John Rabe), Beverly Peckous (Minnie Vautrin), Lan Qin (Mrs. Tang), Sam Voutas (Durdin), Di Yao (Tang Xiaomei), Yisui Zhao (Shunzi).

the rape and murder of Nanking by the war criminal Japanese


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

"In memory of the 300,000 victims of the Nanking Massacre."

The Japanese army has besieged Nanking. A soldier lays on the ground taking in the warmth of the sun. Someone cries out for Kadokawa. Kadokawa wakes up. He and his buddies are in the trenches. Airplanes are attacking the city while tanks are opening big holes in the city walls.

A postcard from December 12, 1937 states: "The escape of the Chinese Chief Commander has left Nanking in chaos. Most of the divisions are trying to flee but some remain at their posts. "

Yijiang Gate, North of Nanking City. Song Xilian's troop, the 3rd Division of the KMT. The division's men are holding firm not to let anyone out of Nanking.

Some troops and civilians tell the soldiers to let them out. "The commander has fled. Let us out." The troops and civilians run at the line and try to push their way through them and then the gates. Many people start to get crushed when they are so many people in the the gateway at one time.

Postcard, December 13th 1937. "Nanking is falling. The Japanese are taking over the city."

The Japanese shout Banzai! in celebration of their victory. There is a long line of refugees trying to get out of the city. Many parts of the city are devastated.

The Japanese stop a limousine car heading down the road. There is a German man that gets out of the car to try to speak English to the Japanese. Kadokawa serves as the translator. The German says he wants to speak to their commanding officer. The German shows the swastika armband he is wearing. With him is a Chinese man named Mr. Tang. The Japanese laugh at the idea of the man getting to see the general. The German says that this is a safety zone in here. "We only have refugees in here." The Japanese leave the German alone.

The Japanese unit goes to a cathedral because they saw someone go inside. The entire cathedral is packed with refugees and a few soldiers. The officer in charges has one of the men run outside and find them some reinforcements. The reinforcement come running.

The Japanese tie the Chinese soldiers together and then then take them out of the cathedral. The Japanese fire into a confessional booth and about six women fall out of it dead, while there are many others still coming out of the booth.

Mr. Tang reaches his new home where his family had taken up residence. Tang tells his wife that since they work for the Germans, they will be safe.

The Japanese pull a Chinese statue down.

The Japanese walk past a Chinese tank. A soldier is going to drop a grenade inside, but he is told to save the tank as a souvenir for other Japanese coming up. When they all pass by the tank, the tank starts shooting the Japanese soldiers with its machine guns. There are also some Chinese up in the buildings firing down on the Japs.

The Chinese are taking a lot of casualties, but they are killing a great many more Japanese soldiers. They defeat the small unit, but now a Japanese tank is headed straight for them along with lots of reinforcements. The tank starts blowing up the buildings where the Chinese soldiers are staying.

Most of the Chinese soldiers are killed. The soldiers in charge survived along with a few other Chinese prisoners. Kadokawa is bothered by what the Japanese are doing with their wholesale killing of civilians. There are dead naked women on the streets. Moreover, there are a lot of severed heads hanging from various places.

The Japanese have captured over 500 Chinese soldiers. The Chinese prisoners are gathered in a large area. Then they are marched int6 an abandoned building that has been doused with gasoline. The doors are nailed shut and the building is set afire. Other Chinese prisoners are buried alive in dirt. Thousands of men are machine gunned. The Japanese with bayonets kill the ones that are still alive.

The savage Japanese tell more prisoners to get up to meet their fates, but in this one group they don't get up. So the Japanese are forced to shoot into their midst. The Chinese leader finally gets up and looks around. All the other men are just sitting down. The leaders walks toward the soldiers. The little boy with him follows him. Now the other prisoners get up and start walking to the exit.

When they get up to the Japanese and the entrance/exit gate, the Chinese men see their fellow countrymen massacred. The Chinese leader puts his hand over the boy's eyes so that he doesn't see what has happened. The Chinese POWs shout:  "Long live China! China shall not perish!" Then the mass killings start up again with machine guns firing away.

A Japanese officer looks out over the sea of dead Chinese bodies before him.

"Within the week following the fall of Nanking, all the prisoners of war were executed."

"John Rabe, the local Nazi representative, along with other foreigners in Nanking, have established an international safety zone to give shelter to the refugees."

More and more Chinese people are flocking into the safety zone. It creates a real problem of crowd control for the organizers of the zone. One of the workers is Miss Jiang. She sees the Japanese scare away the crowd outside the gates of the safety zone by random shooting into the Chinese crowd.

The Chinese have to clear out the dead bodies. One Chinese soldier is shocked to find his Chinese leader dead among the bodies. The little boy with the leader survived along with another man. They played dead for many, many hours.

Miss Jiang asks the two survivors of the mass execution, how many were killed? The answers is: "All of them." Where the dead bodies had lain, the Japanese soldiers now use as their camping area. Some soldiers are having a high jump contest. A Japanese soldier known as Ueno dances the girl's part for some soldiers.

The Japanese woman Yuriko works as a prostitute for the Japanese soldiers. One of the soldiers decides to use a condom. It's his first time and he comes almost instantly when the women touches him. He keeps saying he's sorry, he's sorry. The woman is very gentle with him. She has him take off his clothes. Our soldier is none other than Sgt. Kadokawa.

A soldier asks Kadokawa what he thought about his experience? Kadokawa says about Yuriko that that's the type of gal he'd like to marry. The other soldier thinks Kadokawa has gone mad.

Mr. Tang tries to teach the people in his household enough Japanese phrases to help them stay alive when dealing with the Japanese. He hears a shot and goes to see what's happening. A Japanese soldier is raping a Chinese woman. The women are being raped and then shot and killed. There are dead Chinese women all over the floor.

A couple of women see what's happening and try to stop the inhumane monsters. John Rabe and Mr. Tong also try to stop it. The highest ranking soldier asks the two men who they are?  They flash the swastika and the soldier changes his tune. He pretends to slap the faces of two of the rapists and then he and the other rapists leave the room.

Six of the rape victims are children.

Mr. Tang tells Jiang and May that they must wear men's clothes. He also cuts their hair very short. Most of the women have their hair cut and wear men's clothing. But some of the women refuse to comply, even though they know that the Japanese are raping Chinese women in massive numbers. 

A soldier asks Kadokawa what he thought about his experience? Kadokawa says about Yuriko that that's the type of gal he'd like to marry. The other soldier thinks Kadokawa has gone mad. The woman is a prostitute and she says she will need her hair when she goes back to work. So Jiang and a tough woman force the prostitute to get her hair cut or else.

Some of the woman's hair gets cut, but  one woman runs off from the barber.

Some of the Chinese children play with the Japanese soldiers. The soldiers go into the safety zone and steal one of the flags. This gets Jiang, Mr. Tang and others to chase after the soldiers. When Jiang runs passed the gate, the Japanese grab her and it looks like hundreds of these bastards want to rape the woman.

The Japanese starts grabbing young girls to rape. The Japanese take one of the women away and start raping her mercilessly. When they are done with her, they throw her dead body into the safety zone. Many other women have been raped.

Kadokawa brings Yuriko some gifts. She is very grateful for the gifts, but it doesn't seem like she remembers him. And she looks a bit worn out. She goes through the motions of sex somewhat lifelessly.

Mr. Rabe tells Mr. Tang that he wrote Hitler for help with the Chinese and international refugees in the safety zone. He got his reply today. He says: "I've been ordered to return to Germany at once." The people back home say that Rabe's actions endanger the relationship between Germany and Japan.

Mr. Tang is scared. He says that everyone in the safety zone is relying on him. He asks what will happen to him, and his wife and child, if Rabe goes?

Mr. Tang has to go see the Japanese. A Japanese unit of soldiers marches past him. Tang stops and bows to them. When Tang finally gets into see the key military men, he hears that the Japanese are going to drive the refugees out of the Safety Zone and then they will reestablish order. Comfort stations for prostitution will be set up.

The translator Mr. Tomita introduces Mr. Tang to the head officer. He says Tang is Mr. Rabe's secretary.

Jiang has befriended the prostitute who refused to have her hair cut.

Mr. Tang tells the Japanese that there are Chinese soldiers (most of them wounded) in the safety zone. They thank Mr. Tang for his help. Tang receives a permit to walk openly among the Japanese. One of the Japanese that knows Tang says now they really are true friends. They clap for him.

Japanese soldiers pour into the safety zone. They start shooting the men in the hospital who are suspected of being Chinese soldiers. Mr. Tang tries to protect a group of women, but the so-called doctor for the Japanese says the Imperial army needs to borrow a few women from Mr. Tang to "entertain" the soldiers.  Tang says that women cannot be "borrowed"? The Japanese don't give a damn. They push Tang out of the way and grab his wife and sister. Tang continues to protest. Tang's daughter tries to fight the Japanese off, but one of the Japanese in charge grabs the daughter and tosses her out the window on the second floor. Mr. Tang cries and cries.

Rabe and Tang with other members of the Safety Committee go to speak with the Japanese. The liars says that they only grabbed the women with curly hair and lip stick because they knew these women were prostitutes.

The Jap in charge says if the Safety Committee doesn't cooperate, their soldiers will destroy the entire safety zone. He adds that China lost the war, so they have no choice but to obey the victorious Japanese.

So a large group of young women are marched out of the safety zone to serve as prostitutes for the Japanese. The woman who refused to cut her hair is one of the women chose for prostitution. The women file into a church. Rabe has to tell them that today 100 of them will be leaving them. If the women don't go, the safety zone will be destroyed. If they do go, the Japanese will provide the zone with food, clothes and coal for the winter. Mr. Rabe breaks down crying and says that he's so sorry.

All of a sudden the prostitute with the long hair volunteers to go. She is asked to come to the front. Another woman comes up front. Slowly they get more and more volunteers. The Japanese war criminals get their 100 women.

The women are mixed with some Japanese and Korean women. The price for the men is $5 dollars to have sex with a Japanese woman and $2 dollars to have sex with a Chinese or Korean woman. Each man will have only 15 minutes.

Some of the Japanese gentlemen slap the women to get their cooperation. Kadokawa does not have sex with Yuriko, but one of his buddies has no reservations about having sex with her.

Mr. Rabe and Mr. Tang talk with the translator to try to get Tang's two women back from the Japanese prostitution set-up. They killed Tang's daughter yesterday. The translator says that he's very sorry for Tan's loss.

The dead naked prostitutes are carried out and thrown onto a cart with other dead prostitutes. Kodakawa sees that one of the dead is his Yuriko. One of Tang's women, his sister-in law- May, seems like she has gone crazy. A soldier shoots the woman in the head. Kodakawa walks next to the murderer, who only says that the woman is better off dead than living like this.

Kodakawa sees a small group of worn-out prostitutes being escorted by Japanese soldiers somewhere. One of the guards shouts that he wants to go back home. For this he is struck by one of the officers.

The dead prostitutes' bodies are burned in a large fire. The Chinese women weep and wail at the sight and at the sight of the still living but much worn out women.

Feb. 22nd , 1938. "Mr. Rabe is leaving for Shanghai . He is taking Mr. Tang, his wife and a Chinese officer who has disguised himself as Mr. Rabe's assistant. " The people cry as they ask Mr. Rabe to stay. Jiang hugs him and cries over him along with the others.

Rabe's car cannot go beyond a certain point. They let Mr. and Mrs. Tang through, but they keep the Chinese officer behind. Tang tells his wife a little later that he is going to stay in Nanking. He says he will look for her sister May. He returns and the Japanese let the Chinese officer go in his place..

Tang watches as three people are executed by firing squad. Now it's Tang's turn to be executed. He refuses to wear a blind-fold. After the firing, an officer shoots Tang in the head to make sure he is dead.

The Japanese lie and say that if the Chinese soldiers will give themselves up voluntarily, their lives will be saved.

Three westerners are allowed to speak to the Japanese commander. He gives permission for the women to take with them one of their family members. Miss Jiang goes back for one more person. The Japanese know her well and they have her taken away. In a surprise move, Kodokawa shoots Jiang in the head.

Kodokawa now wants to make a grave for Yuriko.

Celebration of the Japanese conquest of Nanking.

An officer and Kadokawa escort the young soldier boy and his guardian onto a path and let them go. The two Chinese expect to be shot in the back. Kadokawa turns back to leave. The officer shoots himself in the head with his pistol. The two survivors are happy to be alive.


This is still another film on the Nanking Massacre.  This one shows in great detail how brutal and merciless the Japanese were to the Chinese women.  They treated the Chinese women as if they were all prostitutes there to service the superior race of the Japanese.   What was even more terrible is that the rapists would often kill the prostitutes after they had sex with them.  The makers of the movie could have used even worse scenes of even worst pain inflicted on the Chinese women, but how many terrible scenes can be showed in one movie without making most of the audience physically ill? 

The director of the film talked of the film making as watching the devil dancing.  And the racist Japanese were certainly devils. Thank goodness we had war trials and have today a World Court to stand in judgment of those people responsible for crimes against humanity. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 



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