Iwane Matsui

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Japan will not abandon the fight for the Philippines even if Tokyo should be reduced to ashes!

Iwane Matsui (July 27, 1878December 23, 1948) was a general of the Japanese Imperial Army and the commander of the expeditionary forces sent to China in World War II. He was sentenced to death by hanging by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for being responsible for the Nanking Massacre.


  • There's no solution except to break the power of Chiang Kai-shek by capturing Nanking. That is what I must do.
    • Quoted in "Tennou no guntai to Nankin jiken" by Yoshida Hiroshi - 1998 Aoki shoten, page 71.
  • The China Incident [of 1937 onwards] has resulted in massive loss of life through the mutual killing of neighboring friends. This is the greatest tragedy of the last one thousand years. Nevertheless this is a holy war to save the peoples of East Asia.... Invoking the power of Avalokitesvara, I pray for the bright future of East Asia.
    • Quoted in "Zen War Stories" - Page 186 - by Daizen Victoria - History - 2003.
  • Prince Asaka had joined the army only about ten days before its entry into Nanking and in view of the short time he was connected with this army I do not think he can be held responsible. I would say that the Division Commanders are the responsible parties.
    • Quoted in "Nanking: Anatomy of an Atrocity" - Page 232 - by Masahiro Yamamoto - History - 2000.
  • Orderly discipline and morale within an army was the responsibility of the Division Commander.
    • Quoted in "Nanking: Anatomy of an Atrocity" - Page 232 - by Masahiro Yamamoto - History - 2000.
  • The Japanese army is now prepared to use every means within its power to subdue its opponents. The objectives of the Japanese Expeditionary Forces are, as clearly set forth in statements issued by the Japanese Government, not only to protect the vested interests of Japan and the lives and property of the Japanese residents in the affected area, but also to scourge the Chinese Government and army who have een pursuing anti-foreign and anti-Japanese policies in collaboration with Communist influences.
    • Quoted in "Shanghai's Undeclared War" - by George C. Bruce - 1937 - Page 54.
  • I am confident that the day is not far distant when the light of peace shine again.
    • Quoted in "Scourge of China is Matsui's Aim" - New York Times article - October 9, 1937.
  • Japan will not abandon the fight for the Philippines even if Tokyo should be reduced to ashes!
    • Quoted in "Nips to Keep Philippines Even if Tokyo Falls" - Los Angeles Times - February 4, 1945.
  • Now I am master of Shanghai.
    • Quoted in "America Views China: American Images of China Then and Now" - Page 19 - by Jonathan Goldstein, Jerry Israel, Hilary Conroy - 1991.

About Matsui

  • The Tribunal is satisfied that Matsui knew what was happening. He did nothing, or nothing effective to abate these horrors. He did issue orders before the capture of the city enjoining propriety of conduct upon his troops and later he issued further orders to the same purport. These orders were of no effect as is now known, and as he must have known. It was pleaded in his behalf that at this time he was ill. His illness was not sufficient to prevent his conducting the military operations of his command nor to prevent his visiting the City for days while these atrocities were occurring. He was in command of the Army responsible for these happenings. He knew of them. He had the power, as he had the duty, to control his troops and to protect the unfortunate citizens of Nanking. He must be held criminally responsible for his failure to discharge this duty.
    • Tribunal decision.
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