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The Flowers of War

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Gerlinde Goschi
Topic replies: 109
Topic Posts: 12
The Flowers of War

The Flowers of War


I wanted to see a film about the Nanking Massacre/Nanking Rapes.  This movie, directed by Zhang Yimou, is based on a novella by Gelling Yan, and it takes place during this tragic genocide.  The Nanking Massacre occurred over a period of six weeks starting December 13, 1937, when the Japanese captured the Chinese city of Nanjing at the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War.  The Imperial Japanese Army murdered Chinese civilians and raped any female in sight as they secured the perimeter of the city of Nanking.  The number of deaths caused by the Japanese is still contested today.  The number fluctuates between 40,000-300,00 people.  The controversy remains a very sensitive issue today in Asia-Pacific relations.  The Japanese destroyed all records of the atrocities and kept them secret until after their surrender in 1945.  


I found this movie very somber.  It was not easy to watch, and I would never be able to (or would want to ) show it in any classroom.  In my opinion, it is a very important historical movie.  It depicts an atrocity that should always remain a topic of historical discussion. It shows humanity, sacrifice, and salvation. I tried to find some interview with the director Zhang Yimou. Most of these were in the Chinese language as the director only speaks Chinese.  I found a few in English and learned some interesting facts about the talented, artistic, cinematic genius, Mr. Zhang Yimou.  The director stated in an interview that he liked the story because it was told from two perspectives; the one of a 13-year-old schoolgirl and the one of a prostitute.  I found it very interesting that three languages were spoken in this movie:  English, Mandarin Chinese (as I found out from reading the interview, specifically, the Nanjing dialect), and Japanese.  This is a very hard movie to watch, but it shows the triumph of humanity during a dark period in Chinese history.

Lin Kuang
Topic replies: 79
Topic Posts: 10
Beautiful Story

From the history book, we read about the crimes Japanese committed to Chinese at that time. They will never be forgiven for the crimes they commited. I wtached the movies with my tears and pride of the 13 Chinese prostitudes with their beautiful souls and heart s to give lives to the innoncent female students captrued by Japanese soilders protected by an American Priest. The novel is Gelling Yan's best piece who was haunted by the crimes for her entire life in this world.

I'd like to show part of the movies to my 10th graders when we move to our last unit theme, " The Human Connection" to help our students understand different human connections- between an American missionary who ran a collebge in Najing and the female students and some prostitudes who sacrifcised themselves to save the girl students during the Nanjing massarce, which is a great opportunity for our students to study the historical event The Rape of Nanjing. The story will prompt our students to consider the cruelty of the war, and the human kindness of an American Missionary, and the herioc actions of those protitudes who gave their lives to save those students captured by Japanes.

Percy Ortiz
Topic replies: 37
Topic Posts: 5
Imperial Japan's invasion of China

To build on what you mentioned in your post related to Japanese occupation of China. Another good film to watch which touches on that subject is Red Sorghum. I saw a few years back, but it gives an example of how the Imperial Army ran through the country side. In addition, there is a Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, who talks about similar incidents that happened in Northeast China' (Manchuria) during Japanese occupation. In his Wind-Up Bird Chronicle you have a bandit who performs a similar act as done in the film. In addition, thought a Wild Sheep Chase is about finding a rare sheep it also tells you how Japan systematically prepared for the invasion of China by raising sheep. I never really came across it in history books, but when you put them together they begin to cast a light on something that is not talked about in History. The question that this rises is, how can the Red Sorghum help explain the trauma that people experienced when Imperial Japan invaded China? Another question to ponder on is, how does Japanese literary fiction shed light into the violence that was experienced in China by all the varying participants of its invasion during that early 20th centry?