A project collecting oral histories from survivors of the Nanjing Massacre has been completed, and the resulting recordings are currently being sorted, according to Nanjing University.
The project was co-sponsored by Nanjing University and the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders. A total of 51 survivors were surveyed, and their stories recorded.
According to Zhang Xianwen, a professor at Nanjing University, the focus of Nanjing Massacre studies has switched from archiving to oral history.
"Academia used to pay attention to archives and references. Today, the accounts of survivors are viewed as especially valuable," Zhang said.
According to a survivors' association, there are only 104 living survivors of the Nanjing Massacre left. Twenty-one died in 2016.
Zhang believes that the core of oral history is authenticity, which means an objective account of history separate from personal likes and dislikes.
"Collecting the oral histories of survivors is a professional task; it ought to be done systematically,” said Wu Lisong, an instructor with the oral history association.