Oka Yoshiro

Based on: Iris Chang. The Nazi Leader Who, in 1937, Became the Oskar Schindler of China. In: The Atlantic 1/18/2021. 

Last updated: 31/05/2023

A cartoon of Major Oka by the popular cartoonist Georgii Avksentiievich Sapojnikoff with the pseudonym “Sapajou”, Shanghai 1937. Collected by John Rabe in his diary.

On 28 December 1938, Major Oka Yoshiro offered Rabe and the members of the International Committee special protection during the Japanese occupation of Nanjing. Rabe rejected this proposal stating that he will not accept any different treatment from those of the Chinese refugees.

On a different occasion in 1938, Oka asked Rabe: “Why in the devil did you stay? Why do you want to involve yourself in our military affairs?” Rabe, according to the historian Iris Chang, replied: “I have been living here in China for over 30 years, my kids and grandchildren were born here, and I am happy and successful here. I have always been treated well by the Chinese people, even during the war. If I had spent 30 years in Japan and were treated just as well by the Japanese people, you can be assured that, in a time of emergency, such as the situation China faces now, I would not leave the side of the people in Japan.”

The explicit wording could not be verified in the diaries.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search