TOKYO, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- "I will never stop the steps of conveying the historical truth about Nanjing Massacre," said Tamaki Matsuoka, a former primary school teacher in Japan who has spent the past 30 years recording and passing on the memories about the 1937 massacre, in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Eighty-one years ago, the invading Japanese military brutally killed some 300,000 Chinese citizens and unarmed soldiers following its capture of Nanjing, the then Chinese capital, on Dec. 13, 1937.
The massacre, one of the most outrageous crimes Japan committed during its war of aggression against China, inflicted tremendous suffering upon the Chinese people.
Matsuoka was previously teaching history in a primary school in Osaka. She found history textbooks vague and ambiguous about the invasive war against China and decided to visit Nanjing, China in August 1988 to find out more about the truth.
When seeing for the first time in her life at an exhibition in Nanjing the evidences of the atrocities committed by the Japanese army, including photos of the heads cut down and the women raped, Matsuoka could not help shedding tears of pain and shame.
"I made up my mind at that time that I have to tell my students in Japan what had really happened, and what pain and sorrow were associated with the historical truth," Matsuoka said.
In the following 30 years, Matsuoka interviewed hundreds of survivors and World War II veterans, and based on their testimonies, wrote books and produced documentaries to convey the historic truth.
Since the war ended, Japan has been trying to deny and whitewash the war history, and some historical revisionists even claimed that Nanjing Massacre never happened, said Matsuoka.
"We have to convey the historical truth about Nanjing Massacre to our people and our future generations so as to let people understand the preciousness of the hard-earned peace and prevent war tragedies from happening again," she said.
But as survivors and witnesses of the war are passing away, Matsuoka felt that she was now racing with time. An important and effective way of preserving the historical memories is to record the testimonies of the victims and victimizers and turn them into books and films, she said.
In recent years, Matsuoka and a civil group called Meishinkai founded by her, have also been cooperating with other civil groups in Japan to hold testimony meetings and seminars to convey the truth about the war.
"More than 70 years have passed since the war ended, and the Japanese society is still reluctant to acknowledge the historical truth about the war. Under such circumstances, we need to explore all possible ways to convey the truth," said Matsuoka.
She has also been organizing Japanese citizens to visit Nanjing and to talk to survivors of the 1937 massacre as well as Chinese scholars and citizens. More than 800 Japanese citizens attended such activities, according to her.
"Only by fully recognizing and reflecting upon the history, could Japan regain respect from its neighbors and the people who have been victimized by Japan's invasion," said Matsuoka.