Henry Scott Stokes, former Tokyo bureau chief of three major English-language newspapers, found himself in a tight spot after learning that his words were taken out of context in the Japanese translation of his latest literary success, Falsehoods of the Allied Nations’ Victorious View of History, as Seen by a British Journalist (Eikokujin kisha ga mita rengokoku sensho shikan no kyomou).
Stokes said he is “shocked and horrified” by the book’s conclusion that the Chinese government fabricated the Nanjing Massacre.
The former reporter accused his translator, Hiroyuki Fujita, of “smuggling” the passages into the work, which sold 100,000 copies in the five months since its December release. Fujita denied the allegation, arguing he closely based his interpretation on Stokes’ own views.
Stokes, who speaks and understands little Japanese, had entrusted the book’s production to Fujita and Hideaki Kase, both of whom were associated with the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, a nonprofit educational group that advocates “revisionist” views on Japanese history.
Only until recently did he learn what was written in his own book: during an interview with Kyodo News, he was asked whether the book represented his views or the views of Fujita and Kase.
According to Stokes, who is suffering from the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, said Fujita assured him that “90 to 95 percent” of the book was based on their 170-hour interview sessions.
“As I’m being interviewed by these people, I would trust them to stick by the record,” Stokes said. “And if they haven’t done that, they have let me down and let themselves down.”
But Stokes, self-described as having “right of center” political views, had on several occasions expressed contradictory opinions on the issue.
Statements that echo quotes from the book appeared under Stokes’ name in an article on the March 2014 issue of WiLL, a hard right-wing Japanese magazine. Similar comments appeared in a series of interviews in Yukan Fuji, a popular evening tabloid.
However, in a translated response to a question about the Nanjing Massacre by reporter Taka Daimaru for Voice magazine, Stokes reportedly said he “can’t support” right-wing claims that the massacre never happened, because they “aren’t realistic.”
Stokes stands firm that he never made such revisionist comments and called claims that the Nanjing Massacre never happened as “ludicrous.” One transcriptionist who worked on the project resigned after seeing considerable differences between what Stokes said and what appeared in the book.
“The stance I take is that ghastly events occurred in Nanjing,” Stokes said. However, he added that China estimate that 300,000 people died during the Imperial Japanese Army’s six-day assault may be an exaggeration.
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Nanjing Massacre, Japan news, Henry Scott Stokes