What you need to know
Readers in Japan are saying Murakami is 'fabricating facts to win the Nobel Prize in Literature,” and the Nanking Massacre 'never took place.'
International-bestselling Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami on Feb. 24 released his latest novel in Japan, but the book’s description of the Nanking Massacre has led to heated discussions.
“Kishidancho Goroshi,” or “Killing Commendatore,” is Murakami’s first multivolume novel in seven years and sold over 1.3 million copies on the day it was released in Japan. But readers are now criticizing the novelist for writing about the Nanking Massacre in his latest work.
During the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, the Japanese took over Nanking on Dec. 13 and started a six-week massacre that led to an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000 deaths. The exact death toll remains unknown since most Japanese military records on the killings were confidential or destroyed after Japan surrendered in 1945. China claims about 300,000 Chinese were slaughtered, while some Japanese historians estimate 40,000 to 200,000.The massacre remains controversial as some Japanese claim the event was exaggerated or fabricated for propaganda purposes and it remains an issue in current Sino-Japan relations.
But to this day, public opinion of the Nanking Massacre still varies and Murakami bringing up the event in his latest novel has led to readers reaffirming “there wasn’t a Nanking Massacre.” Readers have also been “disgusted” with the author saying there were 400,000 victims when China claims there were 300,000, reports Apple Daily.
“I feel heartbroken as a Murakami fan and want to throw away his book,” reads a comment on Yahoo! JAPAN news. Others are saying that the novelist “fabricated facts to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.”
Murakami’s books include “Norwegian Wood,” “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” “Kafka on the Shore,” “1Q84” and so on. His work has been translated into 50 languages and the writer has received awards such as the World Fantasy Award (2006), the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009).