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" (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. Contemporary Japanese documents referred to the policy as "The Burn to Ash Strategy"(燼滅作戦Jinmetsu Sakusen).
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.The Showa Emperor gave his approval of the "annihilation campaign" in an order he signed on 2 December 1938. 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. 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 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".
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.
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.
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.The approval of the policy was given by Imperial General Headquarters Order Number 575 on 3 December 1941. 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. 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".
Ryūkichi Tanaka was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
North China is a geographical region of China, lying North of the Qinling Huaihe Line.
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".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.
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 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.
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. 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 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 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.
Prince Fumimaro Konoe was a Japanese politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. He was Prime Minister in the lead-up to Japan entering World War II.
Nobusuke Kishi was a Japanese politician and the 56th and 57th Prime Minister of Japan from 25 February 1957 to 12 June 1958, and from then to 19 July 1960. He is the maternal grandfather of Shinzō Abe, twice prime minister in 2006–2007 and 2012–present.
Inukai Tsuyoshi was a Japanese politician, cabinet minister, and Prime Minister of Japan from 13 December 1931 to 15 May 1932.
The Shōwa period, or Shōwa era, refers to the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor, Hirohito, from December 25, 1926 until his death on January 7, 1989.
Herbert P. Bix is an American historian. He wrote Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, an account of the Japanese Emperor and the events which shaped modern Japanese imperialism, which won the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction in 2001.
The Tanggu Truce, sometimes called the Tangku Truce, was a cease-fire signed between Republic of China and Empire of Japan in Tanggu District, Tianjin on May 31, 1933, formally ending the Japanese invasion of Manchuria which had begun two years earlier.
Lieutenant General Prince Imperial Yeong, the Yi Un, Crown Prince Uimin, also known as Yi Un, Yi Eun, Lee Eun, and Un Yi, was the 28th Head of the Korean Imperial House, an Imperial Japanese Army general and the last crown prince of Korea.
Imperial Conference was an extraconstitutional conference on foreign matters of grave national importance that was convened by the government of the Empire of Japan in the presence of the Emperor.
Hajime Sugiyama was a Japanese field marshal who served successively as chief of the Army General Staff, and minister of war in the Imperial Japanese Army between 1937 and 1944. As War Minister in 1937, he was one of the principal architects of the China Incident or Second Sino-Japanese War. Later, as Army Chief of Staff in 1940 and 1941, he was a leading advocate of expansion into Southeast Asia and later preventive war against the United States.
Hakkō ichiu(八紘一宇, "eight crown cords, one roof" i.e. "all the world under one roof") was a Japanese political slogan that became popular from the Second Sino-Japanese War to World War II, and was popularized in a speech by Prime Minister of Japan Fumimaro Konoe on January 8, 1940.
BaronTakeji Nara was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army.
Rikken Minseitō was one of the main political parties in pre-war Empire of Japan. It was commonly known as the 'Minseitō'.
The Toranomon incident was an assassination attempt on the Prince Regent Hirohito of Japan on 27 December 1923 by communist agitator Daisuke Nanba.
The Tientsin incident (天津事件) was an international incident created by a blockade by the Imperial Japanese Army's Japanese Northern China Area Army of the British settlements in the north China treaty port of Tientsin in June 1939. Originating as a minor administrative dispute, it escalated into a major diplomatic incident.
Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan is a book by Herbert P. Bix covering the reign of Emperor Hirohito of Japan from 1926 until his death in 1989. It won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.
The Sakuradamon Incident or Patriotic Deed of Lee Bong-chang was an assassination attempt against Emperor Hirohito of the Empire of Japan by a Korean independence activist, Lee Bong-chang, in Tokyo on 9 January 1932.
Emperor Taishō was the 123rd Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912 until his death on 25 December 1926.
Hideki Tojo was a Japanese statesman and general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA), the leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, and the 27th Prime Minister of Japan during much of World War II, from October 17, 1941, to July 22, 1944. He is best known for his actions as Prime Minister during the war, such as being responsible for ordering the attack on Pearl Harbor and many war actions, which initiated war between Japan and the United States, although planning for it had begun in April 1941, before he entered office. After the end of the war, Tojo was arrested, condemned and sentenced to death for war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, and hanged on December 23, 1948.