In the city’s southwestern suburbs, the disturbing exhibits in the Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre document the atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers against the civilian population during the occupation of Nanjing in 1937. They include pictures of actual executions – many taken by Japanese army photographers – and a gruesome viewing hall built over a mass grave of massacre victims. At times it feels overwhelming but visitors will begin to fathom the link between the massacre and the identity of the city.
The museum also helps explain how strong anti-Japanese feeling percolates within today's China. Detailed captions are in English, Japanese and Chinese, but the photographs, skeletons and displays tell their own haunting stories without words. Arrive early to beat the surge.