Sword of Compassion?

Two new books unveil the complicity of Zen and the Japanese military in one of the bloodiest chapters of WWII

Josh Baran

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Zen at War
Brian Victoria
Weatherhill: New York, 1997
228 pp. $19.95 (paper)

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II
Iris Chang
Basic Books: New York, 1997
290 pp., $25.00 (cloth)


New China News Agency

“If ordered to march: tramp, tramp or shoot: bang, bang. This is the manifestation of the highest wisdom of enlightenment. The unity of Zen and war . . . extends to the farthest reaches of the holy war now under way.”—Zen Master Harada Daiun Sogaku, 1939

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