Chinese relics are labeled as 'Japanese national treasures' in Tokyo museum

By Xu Jing ( ) Updated: 2015-08-28 15:26:04

Chinese relics are labeled as 'Japanese national treasures' in Tokyo museum

The standing Buddha triad from Eastern Wei Dynasty (534-550) is labeled as "important cultural property" in Tokyo National Museum. [File photo]

The Tokyo National Museum in Japan is exhibiting some 10,000 traditional Chinese cultural relics looted from China by invading Japanese forces during WWII, some of which have been labeled "Japan's national treasures".

According to a recent report by Guangzhou Daily, Japanese aggressors looted some 100,000 precious cultural relics as well as 3 million precious books and manuscripts during World War II. According to statistics by the Japanese government after the Japanese War of Aggression Against China (1931-1945), 3.6 million Chinese cultural relics were transported to Japan.

In addition, Sterling Seagrave, an American historian and writer, told Chinese media that at least 6,000 tons of gold were taken away from China by Japanese forces during the Nanjing Massacre period. During the same period, another 10, 000 tons of gold were plundered from other Southeast Asian countries.

Yuu Sato, a history professor in Kyoto University, added that Japan's looting of Asian countries involved both economic and cultural property, as well as taking people as prisoners, with the number of forced laborers from China hitting 1 million during each year of WWII.

Now, about 10,000 Chinese cultural relics are on display at Tokyo National Museum, with 11 labeled as "Japan's national treasures" and 147 items as "important cultural property". Tourists are prohibited from taking photos of them.

The treasures include a lion sculpture and a big iron pot, dating as far back as the 5th century BC; a bronze mirror with fine decoration from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and three paintings from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). There is no label indicating the source of the Chinese treasures, only a few are labeled as donations from benefactors.

There are more than 1,000 museums in Japan that have collected almost 2 million Chinese cultural relics, mostly sacked from China from 1900 to 1945. In Kyoto, several relics from China are also the key highlights of all the collections in museums and temple complexes. In Daitoku-ji Temple Complex, three paintings of Bodhisattva, a monkey and a crane by a monk in the Southern Song Dynasty are also labeled as "national treasures" and photo taking is prohibited.

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