Vom Teufel zum Menschen: Die Geschichte der Chinaheimkehrer in Selbstzeugnissen

TitleVom Teufel zum Menschen: Die Geschichte der Chinaheimkehrer in Selbstzeugnissen
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsBuchholz, Petra
Number of Pages434

China returnees – this term does not refer to all soldiers and civilians returning to Japan from China after the end of the war, but to a special group of about a thousand people who joined together in the 'China Returnees Association'. These 'special' China returnees had spent five years in Siberian POW camps and had been extradited to the newly founded People's Republic of China in 1950 as war criminals together with Puyi, the 'last emperor of China'. There, these former Japanese military and administrative personnel were subjected to re-education and all confessed to their war crimes over the next six years. In 1956, the vast majority of them were released to Japan; only 45 were tried, sentenced to prison terms, and also released home a few years later. All but one of the returnees adhered to the confession they had made in China even after they returned home, and many of them remained involved in the Japanese peace movement and committed to Japanese-Chinese friendship well into their old age. For this book, sixteen documents were selected from the large number of self-testimonies they wrote, in which they recount their re-education, their war crimes committed in China, and their activities after returning home. The course of events as well as motives and contradictions of the Chinese re-education are illuminated in a detailed introduction; the epilogue takes up some special aspects of these self-testimonies and explains their significance within the Japanese culture of remembrance.

Translated TitleFrom Devil to Man: The Story of the China Returnees in Self-Testimonies
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