The Japan Times wrote yesterday:
Journalist now stands by Nanjing book
Former New York Times Tokyo bureau chief Henry S. Stokes is standing by a claim made in his new book that the Nanjing Massacre never took place, describing the event as a “propaganda tool of the KMT government.”
Kyodo News reported Thursday that Stokes’ book, titled “Eikokujin Kisha ga Mita Rengokoku Sensho Shikan no Kyomo (“Falsehoods of the Allied Nations’ Victorious View of History, as Seen by a British Journalist”), contained “rogue passages” that didn’t reflect the author’s view of the event.
The news agency accused translator Hiroyuki Fujita of adding lines to “fabricate” Stokes’ denial of Japan’s wartime responsibility for the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.
The headline is slightly misleading in that Henry Stokes did not talk to the Japan Times for the article–the person accused of tampering with the contents did. I have spoke with Henry about the book as it is and what he thought it was and he expressed that he troubled by inaccuracy and things taken out context. However, I can understand the circumstances in which Henry feels compelled to follow the party line of his “translator”. After one man-to-man conversation about the book this month, the next time I approached Henry to discuss the contents he whispered, “Fujita is here.” I’m not sure what to make of that. I also find it hard to believe that Mr. Stokes’s would deny the existence of the Nanjing Massacre after stating that China’s War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival by Rana Mitter was a “trustworthy” account of the incident. He has also said as much in an interview with VOICE magazine.
After reading the Kyodo News story, I sent Mr. Fujita and the publisher a number of questions.
Here is Mr. Fujita’s reply at 9:53 pm on May 8th. It raises more questions. Dear readers, what do you think?
Dear Mr. Adelstein,
Thank you for your e-mail in Japanese.
Let me briefly comment.
1. Henry and I sat for recording over 200 hours, of which I recorded over 160 hours or so. 1 entire IC recorder and 1 another. I wasn’t just listening to his talking. We debated various issues and points. We agreed a lot of points. We did not agree on some points.
Out of 252 pages, 250 pages are exactly what Henry said, I am sure. 2 pages equivalent may have some additional filler of mine to link bits and pieces of ideas together as one topic or for the flow for the reader. I am sure that is acceptable and Henry permit my so doing.
2. You seem to think that Henry’s ideas are distorted to “right-wing” tone, but I do not think it is correct. The reason is because, as I said, 250 pages are all Henry’s idea, NOT MINE, There are points in the book I do not agree or my ideas are slightly different. If I were expressing my own idea, the contents would have been different.
3. Kyodo News questions about the last 2 lines of Chapter 5. Henry said his idea is different. I insisted that is my understanding of what he said. After Kyodo interview we discussed the difference and came up with the below statement:
(About 3 lines prior to the last 2 lines) From this, it is clear that the so-called “Nanking Massacre” never took place. “Massacre” is not the right word to refer to what happened. Moreover, it was originally a propaganda for the KMT government.
The original Japanese was: “From this, it is clear that “Nanking Massacre” never took place. It was a propaganda KMT government fabricated.”
Henry pointed out very subtle difference between what he really wanted to say and how I translated (or interpreted) his message. When it comes to writing, he is that specific.
4. There may be some misinterpretations of mine regarding what he said. Nonetheless, Henry will have responsibility for whatever written in his book in Japanese as the author of the book.
All the best,
This email, which remarkably resembles the publisher’s statement issued under Henry Stokes’s name, was sent to me one day before Mr. Stokes seems to have changed his mind. When Mr. Fujita and Mr. Stokes “came up ” with a statement—I wonder what that means? The publisher sent me the following statement, informing me on 6:15 pm May 9th, that Stokes had written his view and they had been uploaded onto the website with a translation of the English statement that evening.
It seems that Mr. Stokes’s statement resembles Mr. Fujita’s email somewhat. It is also unusual in that Mr. Stokes’s refers to himself in the third person as “the author” several times while only in one sentence does the word “my” appear. So who really wrote it? Is it Henry? Is it a collaboration? Who is “my” opinion?
The Note from the Author
- Various reports based on Kyodo News are wrong and they do not reflect the author’s opinion.
- The cross-head of Kyodo News which says “Best-seller translator added lines to deny Nanking Massacre without author’s consultation” is not true.
- The report which says the author and the translator, Hiroyuki Fujita, lacked communication regarding book contents is wrong and far from the truth.
- It was reported by Kyodo News that the last 2 lines of the Japanese translation of Chapter 5 regarding what happened in Nanking on December 1937 did not reflect the author’s view. The Kyodo News made a big deal out of it.
The author’s opinion is: The so-called “Nanking Massacre” never took place. The word “Massacre” is not right to indicate what happened. It was orginally a propaganda tool of the KMT government.
- The above statements are all based on my opinion.
The publisher, Shodensha, and the author agreed that we have no need to make any corrections for the 2 lines in question at this stage.
May 9, 2014
Henry Scott Stokes (Signature)
Note. It should be noted that Henry cannot read Japanese, although he can read some basic words. It is not clear that an English translation of the book was given to him to fact-check or read before the book was published. In other words, while the book is in his name, he does not seem to know the contents verbatim.