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Kuni ga Moeru (国が燃える?, lit. The Country is Burning) is a Japanese manga series by Hiroshi Motomiya. It has been serialized by Shueisha in Weekly Young Jump. The series depicts a fictional Japanese bureaucrat in the Showa period (1926-1989).

Controversy

The manga became controversial in 2004 due to its depiction of the Nanjing Massacre. In particular, Motomiya drew criticism for a picture based on a famous photograph that allegedly shows a Japanese soldier posing for a souvenir shot with a woman he has raped. He altered the picture slightly, so that the soldier was shown to be wearing the official uniform of the Imperial Japanese Army. This angered many, who accused the author, as well as Young Jump, of falsification and misrepresentation.

Criticisms of the comic include the following:

  1. In the comic, the soldier was given epaulettes, which he was not wearing in the original photo. In the original photo, it was unclear if he was wearing a regulation military cap or not. In the illustration, the cap is clearly recognizable as that of a Japanese soldier.
  2. The garment the woman wears around her legs was redrawn to be more realistic than in the original, where she appeared to be wearing it upside-down.
  3. The original photo was cropped to exclude a third man in a black suit, who is alleged to be Chinese because of his manner of dress. It is claimed that the photo is therefore clearly not a rape souvenir, but a souvenir from a brothel. Only the "Chinese man's" shoulder is visible in the cropped version, and in the comic, his shoulder was also removed.[1]
  4. According to Iris Chang, the original photo was furnished to her by "the Fitch family", however, Ikuhiko Hata claims to have also found it in Taiwan, in a collection of photographs called "An Abundance of Ironclad Evidence". There is no proof that the photo was taken in Nanjing, and no indication that the woman was a victim of rape.[2]
  5. The narration in the comic was based on a story told by Kōzō Tadokoro, which was already known to have been a fabrication when the comic was published. [3]

On October 13, 2004, after pressure was exerted by Japanese civilians and politicians, Shueisha announced that it would suspend the series: "It has come to our attention that the photograph used is a falsification."[4] The series stopped for several weeks, though Motomiya and Shueisha later apologized for the incident and the series was restarted.

References

Much of the content of this article was copied from the original Japanese-language article, accessed on April 6.

External links

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