Japanese Soldier Stayed In China To Atone For Japan’s Crimes

Yamasaki Hiroshi, a Japanese Imperial Army defector who stayed in China and practiced medicine.

Yamasaki Hiroshi, a Japanese Imperial Army defector who stayed in China and practiced medicine.

From Tiexue:

A conscientious Japanese veteran who remained in China has passed away, let us pay our respects

The Chinese ID card of Yamasaki Hiroshi, a Japanese Imperial Army defector.

Yamasaki, following the 1937 Lugou Bridge Incident [aka “Marco Polo Bridge Incident“], landed in Tianjin with the Japanese invading army. Owing to the Japanese army killing and destroying everything in its path, accompanying medical officer Yamasaki could no longer watch any further and soon fled. He headed towards the tip of the Shandong peninsula because there it was closest to Japan, and he hoped to flee the war of aggression against China.

Yamasaki Hiroshi recently passed away at the age of 103.

Due to continuous warfare and war disasters, Yamasaki continuously hid amongst the people in Shandong practicing medicine, all the way until the founding of the New China.

After the liberation, Yamasaki remained with the Jinan City medical center and community hospital serving the Chinese people. He said to me: “The Japanese army committed heinous crimes in China and I must stay in China my entire life to atone for them.”

Members of a clinic where Yamasaki Hiroshi worked, hiding amongst the Chinese people.
All of the members of the clinic
Former Japanese Imperial Army medical officer Yamasaki Hiroshi seeing Chinese patients.
Examining Chinese patients.
Yamasaki Hiroshi.
Laying roots in China
Yamasaki Hiroshi writes what part of the Japanese Imperial Army he once belonged to.
His original army/regiment----Following the 1937 Lugou Bridge Incident, the Japanese invading army landed in Tianjin
Yamasaki Hiroshi writes about his hope to make amends for what the Japanese did to the Chinese in World War II.
In his own handwriting: "As the moon has light, the people have friendship/kindness" expressing his wish to stay in China until his death to make amends
A photographer takes a photo of Yamasaki Hiroshi.
Yesterday, at 103-years-old, elderly Mister Yamazaki passed away. He died a natural death and passed away peacefully.
Yamasaki Hiroshi in a picture with several Chinese people.
The Chinese people are a people who distinguish gratitude and resentment. The Chinese people will always remember kind-hearted people, no matter what nationality...

Comments from Tiexue:


A Japanese veteran with a conscience…


I am touched by him keeping the faith for over half a century! An old man who has kept his Japanese personality and added the feelings of the Chinese is worthy of everyone’s admiration!


Beasts will always be beasts.

[This comment was later deleted, maybe by Tiexue moderators]

不算老的老兵: (in response to above)

You can’t say things like that, even a pack of wolves has wolf mothers who can raise little sheep, much less people. Extreme thinking will not gain the approval of others. It wasn’t easy for the old man, and he has already passed away, so mind what you say.


To the old man I salute/pay my respects! He is a true hero!


May he rest in peace. I hope there will never be war in this world…


The eyes of the masses are bright! Making mistakes is not to be feared.

What is to be feared is to do something wrong without knowing to repent.


[He has] moved China, moved us all~


Japan’s invasion of China was a crime of a nationality [the Japanese]. That this old man used his entire life to atone for that crime can be described as righteous.

Rest in peace.


A good “foreign devil”, worthy of respect.


Human nature is fundamentally good. I hope even more Japanese people can see the evils of war, otherwise there will be greater destruction and ruin in the future!


There are too few Japanese people who are like this conscientious old man! With Japanese society being so right-wing these days, China-Japan friendship will likewise be forever impossible! Sooner or later, war will still be used to resolve national conflicts!

中国空军元帅: (in response to 毛主席万万歳)

Right, because you cannot see his conscientiousness, cannot tell the difference between good and bad, and therefore you can only be a beast.


Just looking at his practicing medicine, I very much admire this ex-soldier. At the very least, he is able to admit that he had committed crimes!


There are good people everywhere, including Japan.


This guy was a Japanese soldier! He probably [stayed] here to enjoy a comfortable life, not atoning for his crimes! God knows how many of our compatriots he killed.


Even if he was a Japanese soldier, as long as he has a conscience, then he is a good person.


In a war between countries, sometimes you cannot entirely blame the soldiers. The soldiers are just a tool of politics…[I] sympathize with this deceased old man.


He was a medical officer, he didn’t kill people. He was atoning on behalf of the Japanese people, not for himself.

langh3531: (in response to 此号注定被贱人封)

Do you know that the thinking of today’s Chinese fenqing [nationalistic youth] and the pre-WW2 Japanese fenqing are exactly the same?


Or maybe a simple apology is enough to make soft-hearted Chinese people forgive.
But, those in power would rather pay their respects to the dead and falsify textbooks rather than say such an obvious thing.


It is difficult to persevere continuously. That you have served the people for half your life is worth us learning from! Old man, may you rest in peace!


Old man, the Chinese are a kind-hearted people. The moment you put down the butcher’s knife and began practicing medicine, the Chinese people already forgave you.


If even a person like this cannot get forgiveness, then we as a people/nation truly are hopeless! Salute [to the Yamasaki]!


Rest in peace. Why are there always some people who are indiscriminately hostile to and attack foreign friends? Do you guys believe this is how you show your patriotism???? May I ask which country doesn’t have good people and evil people? All day saying “so and so country once invaded us, so we have a grudge against them. As long it is anything of that country’s, it is all bad”. But, have you ever considered, that our Yuan Dynasty also invaded many country, killed many people? So, we should recognize one thing: A country’s strength is the most important. Only when a country is strong will it not endure bullying by others. The people of one country should not have any any hatred for the people of another country. We should only hate certain things/incidents between the two countries. [I] really admire a foreign quote: “Politicians only know how to provoke war, whereas those who end wars are always the young soldiers.” In reality, the people are always the victims of politics, everyone just representing their country. Our hero might be their enemy, whereas our enemy may be their hero.

Is Yamasaki Hiroshi’s actions and life admirable?


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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