Canadians of Chinese and Japanese descent jointly held a round-table discussion here on Sunday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre.
The event, attended by some 70 people, was one of several such activities seen across Canada this week, and the participants held candlelight vigil for the victims of the massacre after they watched part of a documentary, in which some former Japanese wartime soldiers and Chinese survivors told what they saw and experienced during the atrocity.
Thekla Lit, founder of the British Columbia Association for the Learning and Preservation of the History of Asia (BC ALPHA), a group that works to draw awareness to Japanese wartime atrocities, told Xinhua this meeting of Japanese and Chinese Canadians was important.
If the participants had a learning of the Nanjing massacre, such a roundtable, in turn, can influence people back in East Asia, said the Hong Kong immigrant who founded the group aimed at raising awareness of the massacre that left some 300,000 Chinese dead when the Japanese occupied Nanjing on Dec. 13, 1937 and began a six-week carnage.
The group is also asking the current Japanese government to apologize for the massacre.
Tatsuo Kage, a historian of Japanese descent who has lived in Canada for 35 years, said Japanese are largely unaware of what went on in Nanjing in 1937 because there was no proper reporting of the massacre in the country.
Even after World War II when the Nanjing Massacre became one of the topics of the international war criminals trial, there were little reports in Japan about the war criminals and trial, Kage said.
"So that is one of the problems," said Kage, who helped do research on a BC ALPHA book on the massacre.
Even today there are some people in Japan who want to deny the war crimes and minimize what happened, Kage said.
"It's more like whitewashing the history of Japan, I think," Kage said,"So I think there are some trends and it is some historians and some journalists who are denying all sorts of things that the Japanese army did during the war."
Satoko Norimatsu, director of the Vancouver-based Peace Philosophy Center, said that the historical things like the Nanjing Massacre are inseparable from the history of Japanese militarism and colonialism.
"But most in Japan, they don't get it. They don't even know the history...the Japanese military aggression, " she added.
The Japanese troops occupied Nanjing, then the capital of China, on Dec. 13, 1937 and began a six-week massacre. Records show more than 300,000 people - not only disarmed soldiers, but also civilians - were killed during the time.