Tamaki Matsuoka, a Japanese elementary school history teacher who during the last 28 years has tried to find out just exactly what happened in Nanking during the Nanking Massacre (December 1937 – January 1938). During this process, she has become a journalist, researcher, and activist. She interviewed more than 250 former Japanese soldiers who fought in Nanking during that period, and over 300 Nanking Massacre Chinese survivors. She has traveled between Japan and China more than 90 times during this period.
She has written numerous articles and several documentary films, including the award-winning documentary film Torn Memories of Nanjing. She has also published several books, in Japanese, Chinese, and most recently in English. Her most recent book, published by ALPHA Education in March 2016, the English book Torn Memories of Nanking, summarizes the fruits of her research during these past 28 years.
The awards she has won include:
- Japan Congress of Journalist Prize (2003)
- The Nanking Massacre Contribution Award (2004)
- The documentary film Torn Memories of Nanjing was nominated for Documentary Film Section at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2010
Below are excerpts from the description of this book by ALPHA Education on why this book is important:
“It is the first time that testimonies of Japanese veterans are extensively researched and published in English. The evidence contained in the testimonies of the Chinese survivors and Japanese veterans included in this book make it impossible for anyone to maintain the argument that the Nanjing Massacre did not take place.
Matsuoka’s personal story, which is included in this English publication, is one of transformation: from “carefree” little girl to “worry-free” college student, and finally to fearless activist. What were the forces pushing her to stand up against all odds? What were the factors helping her evolve into a woman with tremendous compassion and a passion for justice and humanity? The story of her courage and tenacity is one that can serve as a source of inspiration to many young people.
Torn Memories of Nanking is a book that not only enhances the reader’s knowledge about a significant historical episode that has been largely unknown to the world, it also provokes a deep reflection on humanity which is much needed for racial harmony and reconciliation in the contemporary world.
Matsuoka’s commitment to giving a voice to the silenced victims of the Nanking Massacre and a final chance to the perpetrators to come to terms with their own past – a very dark and unspeakable past – is admirable. She deserves our unreserved support and appreciation for her courage and determination to fight for truth and justice in the face of threats and harassments by the ultra-nationalists in her own country.
Torn Memories of Nanking also includes chapters on the historical and geographical contexts, maps, photos, timeline, and other references related to the Nanking Massacre.”