[Article "Nanking Massacre"]
The central issues surrounding the historical verification of the Nanking Incident are as follows.
As a preface, there are very few images that have been definitively linked to the Nanking Massacre, but there are very many false or fabricated images distributed for the purposes of propaganda. Japanese revisionists are often objecting to the use of incendiary images, similar to fabricated Holocaust photos, which pollute legitimate historical discourse.
In Japanese, the phrase "Nanking Massacre" is literally translated using the kanji characters "Great Slaughter in Nanking" (?????). The use of the "Great Slaughter" propaganda phrase is associated with the Communist Party and support for the Chinese government claim of 300,000 killed. But it is a well known fact, acknowledged by accredited scholars from many countries, that historical documentation cannot justify the enormous number of 300,000 deaths. The scholarly consensus is between 13,000 and 42,000 total people killed. (source) Therefore, many Japanese politicians avoid the term "Great Slaughter". Biased Western media report on this as "denying the massacre", even if they are in fact acknowledging that tens of thousands of people were murdered; see, for example, the reporting on Shintaro Ishihara (source).
If those killed were civilians, we would expect to see many women and children among them. But in fact, only 0.3% of victims are recorded as having been women and children. The vast majority of recorded deaths were adult men.
Western observers in Nanking witnessed Chinese soldiers changing into plain clothes, Chinese soldiers killing civilians, and Chinese soldiers killing other soldiers. The Chinese army in Nanking was in a state of chaos. This Japanese nationalist website provides many primary sources attesting to this. An army in a state of chaos can easily rack up enormous casualties, as was seen on the Eastern Front in World War II.
All of this context is public knowledge in Japan, but it is censored in China. The Chinese Communist Party officially promotes the following myths, which can be seen at the museum about the incident in Nanjing: (1) that most photos purporting to be of the incident are real, (2) that no fewer than 300,000 people were killed, (3) that the vast majority of them were civilians, and (4) that all killings were done by bloodthirsty Japanese and none came at the hands of China's own soldiers.
There are a wide variety of opinions about the Nanking Incident in Japan, including some who endorse the Chinese narrative, but the general historical consensus remains unknown to the West.