In a surprising turn of events, former New York Times bureau chief Henry Scott Stokes denied that he had accused translators of his best-selling book of right-wing sabotage, and said his viewpoint on the “Nanjing Massacre” remains unchanged on paper.
Stokes was entangled in the literary mess after a Kyodo News report emerged claiming he was unaware that the conclusion of the book, Eikokujin kisha ga mita rengokoku sensho shikan no kyomo (Falsehoods of the Allied Nations’ Victorious View of History, as Seen by a British Journalist), did not reflect his opinion.
The Kyodo report said Henry Stokes was “shocked and horrified” after learning that his translators added “rogue passages” into his work without permission to make it seem he denied that the Nanjing Massacre ever happened.
But on Friday, Stokes shot down the report, saying it was “wrong” and “far from the truth.”
In a statement released to Japanese publisher Shodensha, he described the event as a “propaganda tool of the KMT government.”
“The so-called ‘Nanjing Massacre’ never took place,” the former journalist said in a statement. “The word ‘massacre’ is not right to indicate what happened.”
Kyodo News in turn released a statement saying it was “confident in the accuracy of the article” which “drew on its interview with the former Tokyo bureau chief.” The agency said the interview was recorded.
Translator Hiroyuki Fujita, in an interview with The Japan Times, said the Kyodo report was “simply wrong” and was based on “Henry’s misunderstanding about what was written in Japanese in his book.”
Fujita said that he simply “put together” Henry’s comments on the Nanjing Massacre during their 170-hour interview. He also “added” Stokes’s examples of historical facts.
“There was no original written in English,” Fujita said. “So I guess that’s the initial cause of confusion.”
“But the truth is that what I wrote in the Japanese book doesn’t deviate at all from [Stokes’s] actual opinion.”
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: “Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall” by Kevin Dooley/Flickr
Nanjing Massacre, Henry Scott Stokes, Japan News