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Encyclopedia > Sanko sakusen

Sankō sakusen (Japanese: 三光作戦, sankō sakusen; Chinese: 三光政策, Sānguāng Zhèngcè; literally "The Three Nothings Strategy/Policy") was a Japanese scorched earth policy adopted in China during World War II. Although it literally means "three nothings", in this case the word "nothing" means "nothing left". Thus, the term is more accurately translated as "The Three Alls Policy", the three alls being: "Kill All", "Burn All" and "Loot All". In Japanese documents, the policy was originally referred to as "Jinmetsu Sakusen" (燼滅作戦, "The Burn to Ash Strategy"). The name "Sankō Sakusen" was popularized in 1957 when a Japanese war criminal released from the Fushun war crime internment center published a controversial book called "Sankō". A Scorched Earth policy is a military tactic which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. ... Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead:17 million Civilian dead:33 million Total dead:50 million Military dead:8 million Civilian dead:4 million Total dead:12 million World War II... Location within China Fushun (Simplified Chinese: 抚顺; Traditional Chinese: 撫順; pinyin: ) is a city in Liaoning, China, about 45 km from Shenyang, with population about 1. ...

Because the now well-known name for this strategy is Chinese, right-wing Japanese historians claim that Sankō is Chinese propaganda, that using this term merely promulgates this left-wing disinformation, and they have even argued whether or not this policy actually existed. They further claim that this kind of scorched-earth policy was a part of Chinese, not Japanese history, saying that the Chinese also maintained a scorched-earth policy during World War II—known in Japan as "Seiya Sakusen" (清野作戦, "The Clean Field Strategy")—under which, Chinese soldiers would destroy the homes of their own civilians in order to wipe out any hiding places that could be utilised by the Japanese troops. [1].

In his Pulitzer-winning book, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, Herbert Bix claims that Sankō Sakusen was responsible for the deaths of millions of Chinese civilians, far surpassing The Rape of Nanking not only in terms of numbers, but perhaps in brutality as well. Herbert P. Bix is the author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, an acclaimed account of the Japanese Emperor and the events which shaped modern Japanese imperialism. ... The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II is a 1997 book by Iris Chang (張純如) and William C. Kirby, which presents a history of the 1937-1938 Nanjing Massacre. ...


  • Bix, Herbert P. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN 006019314X

Most of the content of this article comes from the equivalent Japanese-language article (accessed on April 7, 2006).



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