Three Alls Policy

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The Three Alls Policy (Chinese :三光政策; pinyin :Sānguāng Zhèngcè, Japanese : 三光作戦 Sankō Sakusen) was a Japanese scorched earth policy adopted in China during World War II, the three "alls" being "kill all, burn all, loot all" [1] (Chinese:殺光、燒光、搶光). This policy was designed as retaliation against the Chinese for the Communist-led Hundred Regiments Offensive in December 1940. [2] Contemporary Japanese documents referred to the policy as "The Burn to Ash Strategy"(燼滅作戦,Jinmetsu Sakusen). [2]

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

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The Chinese expression "Three Alls" was first popularized in Japan in 1957 when former Japanese soldiers released from the Fushun war crime internment center wrote a book called The Three Alls: Japanese Confessions of War Crimes in China (Japanese : 三光、日本人の中国における戦争犯罪の告白, Sankō, Nihonjin no Chūgoku ni okeru sensō hanzai no kokuhaku) (new edition: Kanki Haruo, 1979), in which Japanese veterans confessed to war crimes committed under the leadership of General Yasuji Okamura. The publishers were forced to stop the publication of the book after receiving death threats from Japanese militarists and ultranationalists. [3]

The Association of Returnees from China, often abbreviated to Chukiren, was an organization formed on 24 September 1957 following the repatriation to Japan of soldiers from the former Imperial Japanese Army who were interned as war criminals in China's Fushun War Criminals Management Centre, where interns were subjected to intensive indoctrination by the Chinese Communist Party. While the Chinese government chose to prosecute the top Japanese leadership, it repatriated accused lower-ranking soldiers to Japan. Once in Japan, they gave testimony about their experience with crimes such as Unit 731, comfort women, and the Nanking Massacre, but often received stringent opposition from Japanese nationalists and militarists, who proclaimed them to be communists or "brainwashed" by the Chinese communist government. Its members included Yoshio Shinozuka, Yasuji Kaneko, Tadayuki Furumi, and Ken Yuasa; the association was disbanded in 2002.

Fushun Prefecture-level city in Liaoning, Peoples Republic of China

Fushun is a prefecture level city in Liaoning province, China, about 45 km (28 mi) east of Shenyang, with a population of 2,138,090 inhabitants and a total area of 11,272 km2 (4,352 sq mi), 714 km2 (276 sq mi) of which is the city proper. Situated on the Hun River, it is one of the industrial and economic development hubs in Liaoning.

War crime Serious violation of the laws of war

A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, performing a perfidy, raping, using child soldiers, pillaging, declaring that no quarter will be given, and seriously violating the principles of distinction and proportionality, such as strategic bombing of civilian populations.

Description

General Tanaka Ryukichi died 1972. Tanaka Ryukichi.jpg
General Tanaka Ryukichi died 1972.
General Yasuji Okamura died 1966. Yasuji Okamura.jpg
General Yasuji Okamura died 1966.

The prototype of the Sankō Sakusen policy were the "annihilation campaigns" launched in late 1938 by the North China Area Army to "pacify" the Hepei province, which was a hotbed of guerrilla resistance. [4] The Showa Emperor gave his approval of the "annihilation campaign" in an order he signed on 2 December 1938. [5] The Imperial Japanese Army always saw the National Revolutionary Army and other forces loyal to the Kuomintang regime as their main enemy in China and tended to ignore the Chinese Communist forces, and by mid-1940, the Communists controlled vast tracts of the Chinese countryside, ruling over millions of people. [6] In August 1940, the Eighth Route Army (created from the Chinese Red Army) launched the "100 Regiments Campaign", an offensive targeting bridge, railroads, mines, blockade houses and telephone lines in northern China that caused extensive damage [7] In response to the "100 Regiments" offensive, General Ryūkichi Tanaka, commanding North China Area Army devised a plan for the "total annihilation" of the Communist base areas so that "the enemy could never use them again". [8]

National Revolutionary Army Nationalist Army of the Republic of China

The National Revolutionary Army (NRA), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army (革命軍) before 1928, and as National Army (國軍) after 1928, was the military arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947 in the Republic of China. It also became the regular army of the ROC during the KMT's period of party rule beginning in 1928. It was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces after the 1947 Constitution, which instituted civilian control of the military.

Kuomintang political party in the Republic of China

The Kuomintang of China is a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan, based in Taipei and is currently an opposition political party in the Legislative Yuan.

Eighth Route Army

The Eighth Route Army, officially known as the 18th Army Group of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China, was a group army under the command of the Chinese Communist Party, nominally within the structure of the Chinese military headed by the Chinese Nationalist Party during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Initiated in 1940 by Major General Ryūkichi Tanaka, the Sankō Sakusen was implemented in full scale in 1942 in north China by General Yasuji Okamura who divided the territory of five provinces (Hebei, Shandong, Shensi, Shanhsi, Chahaer) into "pacified", "semi-pacified" and "unpacified" areas. [9] The approval of the policy was given by Imperial General Headquarters Order Number 575 on 3 December 1941. [10] Okamura's strategy involved burning down villages, confiscating grain and mobilizing peasants to construct collective hamlets. It also centered on the digging of vast trench lines and the building of thousands of miles of containment walls and moats, watchtowers and roads to prevent guerrillas from moving around. [11] These operations targeted for destruction "enemies pretending to be local people" and "all males between the ages of fifteen and sixty whom we suspect to be enemies". [12]

Ryūkichi Tanaka Japanese general

Ryūkichi Tanaka was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

North China Place

North China is a geographical region of China, lying North of the Qinling Huaihe Line.

Yasuji Okamura Japanese general

Yasuji Okamura was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army, and commander-in-chief of the China Expeditionary Army from November 1944 to the end of World War II. He was found not guilty of any war crime by the Shanghai War Crimes Tribunal after the war.

In a study published in 1996, historian Mitsuyoshi Himeta claims that the Three Alls Policy, sanctioned by Emperor Hirohito himself, was both directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of "more than 2.7 million" Chinese civilians. His works and those of Akira Fujiwara about the details of the operation were commented by Herbert P. Bix in his Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, who wrote that the Sankō Sakusen far surpassed the Rape of Nanking not only in terms of numbers, but in brutality as well as "These military operations caused death and suffering on a scale incomparably greater than the totally unplanned orgy of killing in Nanking, which later came to symbolize the war". [13] The effects of the Japanese strategy were further exacerbated by Chinese military tactics, which included the masking of military forces as civilians, or the use of civilians as deterrents against Japanese attacks. In some places, the Japanese also used chemical warfare against civilian populations in contravention of international agreements they refused to sign at the time.

Emperor of Japan Monarch in Japan

The Emperor of Japan is the head of the Imperial Family and the head of state of Japan. Under the 1947 constitution, he is defined as "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people." Historically, he was also the highest authority of the Shinto religion. In Japanese, the Emperor is called Tennō (天皇), literally "heavenly sovereign". In English, the use of the term Mikado for the Emperor was once common, but is now considered obsolete.

Hirohito Emperor of Japan from 1926 until 1989

Hirohito was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 25 December 1926, until his death on 7 January 1989. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Akihito. In Japan, reigning emperors are known simply as "the Emperor" and he is now referred to primarily by his posthumous name, Emperor Shōwa (昭和天皇). The word Shōwa (昭和) is the name of the era coinciding with the Emperor's reign, after which he is known according to a tradition dating to 1912. The name Hirohito means "abundant benevolence".

A civilian is "a person who is not a member of the military or of a police or firefighting force". The term "civilian" is slightly different from a non-combatant under the law of war, as some non-combatants are not civilians. Under international law, civilians in the territories of a party to an armed conflict are entitled to certain privileges under the customary laws of war and international treaties such as the Fourth Geneva Convention. The privileges that they enjoy under international law depends on whether the conflict is an internal one or an international one.

Controversy and dispute

As with many aspects of Japan's World War II history, the nature and extent of Three Alls Policy is still a controversial issue. Because the now most well-known name for this strategy is in Chinese, some nationalist groups in Japan have even denied its veracity. The issue is partly confused by the fact that scorched-earth tactics were also used by the Kuomintang government forces in numerous areas of central and northern China, against both the invading Japanese, as well as against the Chinese civilian populations in rural areas where there was strong support for the Chinese Communist Party. Known in Japan as "The Clean Field Strategy"(清野作戦,Seiya Sakusen), Chinese soldiers would destroy the homes and fields of their own civilians in order to wipe out any possible supplies or places of shelter that could be utilised by the over-extended Japanese troops. [14] This similar military policy used in contested areas by the NRA affecting their own civilians greatly confuses matters. Nevertheless, as far as Japan is concerned, almost all historians agree that Imperial Japanese troops widely and indiscriminately committed war crimes against the Chinese people, citing a vast amount of material evidence and literary documentation.

Uyoku dantai are Japanese ultranationalist far-right groups. In 1996 and 2013, the National Police Agency estimated that there are over 1,000 right-wing groups in Japan with about 100,000 members in total.

Central China Geographic and cultural region

Central China is a geographical and a loosely defined cultural region that covers the central area of China. This region includes the provinces of Henan, Hubei and Hunan, as Jiangxi is sometimes also regarded to be part of this region. Central China is now officially part of South Central China governed by the People's Republic of China. In the context of the Rise of Central China Plan by the State Council of the People's Republic of China in 2004, surrounding provinces including Shanxi, Anhui, are also defined as regions of Central China development zones.

Northern and southern China

Northern China and southern China are two approximate mega-regions within China. The exact boundary between these two regions is not precisely defined. Nevertheless, the self-perception of Chinese nation, especially regional stereotypes, has often been dominated by these two concepts, given that regional differences in culture and language have historically fostered strong regional identities of the Chinese people.

The movie The Children of Huang Shi , which covers the Japanese invasion from 1938 to 1945, is set in part along the sankō sakusen. [15]

Notes

  1. Fairbank, J. K.; Goldman, M. (2006). China: A New History (2nd ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 320. ISBN   9780674018280.
  2. 1 2 Grasso, June; Corrin, Jay; Kort, Michael. Modernization And Revolution In China: From the Opium Wars to World Power, pg. 129
  3. Herbert P. Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan , HarperCollins, 2001, p. 657.
  4. Bix, Herbert Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, New York, Perennial, 2001 page 365
  5. Bix, Herbert Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, New York, Perennial, 2001 page 365
  6. Bix, Herbert Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, New York, Perennial, 2001 page 365
  7. Bix, Herbert Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, New York, Perennial, 2001 pages 365-366.
  8. Bix, Herbert Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, New York, Perennial, 2001 page 366
  9. Bix, Herbert Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, New York, Perennial, 2001 page 366
  10. Bix, Herbert Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, New York, Perennial, 2001 page 366
  11. Bix, Herbert Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, New York, Perennial, 2001 page 366
  12. Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan , 2001, p. 365, citing an order drafted by Ryūkichi Tanaka.
  13. Bix, Herbert Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, New York, Perennial, 2001 page 365
  14. Harries. Soldiers of the Sun. page 235.
  15. "The Long March of a forgotten English Hero". The Times (London).

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