Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

squalid room for teachers in Korea at KNUE

squalid room for teachers in Korea at KNUE

Nanjing, Presidential mansion

Nanjing, Presidential mansion

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced. 2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. 3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge. Other great photos:

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

Go ahead! Use me to create something marvelous!

Here’s how it works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use a “postaday2012″ or “postaweek2012″ tag.

3. Subscribe to The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.

Chinese Cigarette Ads

At the Nanjing Art Museum they had an exhibit of cigarette ads from the 1920s and earlier. I wanted to take photos, but the guard stopped me. So I’ve found a few online.

I was struck by how innocent the ads are and how small the image of the actual advertised product is. Cigarette brands had curious English names including: White Horse, Baby, Goldbar, Double Crane, Pleasure, The Globe, Golden Dragon, Blue Dragon, The Golden Horse, Golden Ax, Pearl, Ruby Queen, Fancy Isle, The Three Castles, Berlin, Original Pinhead, Honey Bee, Richness, The Beauty, The Raven, Great Wall, and The Rat.

The museum had a number of ad posters with middle aged men dressed in Imperial era robes and sweet young things entralled with them. I wish I could have taken some photos (without flash, of course).

Nanjing’s Massacre Memorial Hall

I knew I wanted to see, or felt I had to see Nanjing‘s Massacre Memorial Hall. It seems that everyone knows about the horrors of the Japanese massacre of Nanjing, everyone except the Japanese deniers. Here’s a summary from Newsweek’s Isaac Stone Fish:

In the winter of 1937, the Japanese army stormed Nanjing, then China‘s capital, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people in what is now known as the Nanjing Massacre. The incident remains the most emotionally wrenching chapter in the history of Sino-Japanese relations. But unlike the Holocaust and other acts of mass violence during World War II, creative attempts to represent the massacrehave been few and far between.

Over the past few years, however, there has been an outpouring of dramatizations of Nanjing in literature and film, as a new generation of Chinese auteurs attempt to grapple with the tragedy, and juggle the demands of their audience, their censors, and their own artistic conscience. Last fall, for instance, National Book Award–winning author Ha Jin published the English-language novel, Nanjing Requiem, which explores the role foreigners played in trying to save the Chinese. And last month brought Zhang Yimou‘s The Flowers of War, the most expensive film ever made in China, which tells the story of a priest, played by Christian Bale, who tries to shelter schoolchildren and prostitutes from the Japanese.

Such reflection on tragedy wasn’t always common. For years, after the Communists came to power, the state wanted to bury the massacre entirely and maintain good relations with the new Japanese government, which could help support China’s struggling economy. Nanjing was the capital of the hated nationalist regime, and the Communists played no role in defending the Chinese from brutality. The massacre did not fit into the Communist Party’s history, and since the state did not tolerate dissenting views, very little was published about it.

Fish I. Remembering Nanjing. Newsweek (Pacific Edition) [serial online]. January 9, 2012;159(2/3):6. Available from: MasterFILE Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 5, 2012.

I admit I went with some trepidation as I’m so sensitive to seeing or hearing about atrocities. Yet I feel my discomfort is a small price to play for living in an unjust world.

Staggering

I needn’t have feared though as this memorial, which is reminiscent of the Vietnam War Memorial in D.C., emphasizes peace. Also, the atrocities are depicted through the buffer of art, so the point of the horror is made through sculpture and and landscape rather than through raw photos. While the memorial is somber, as one progresses through it a message of hope for peace grows.

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Origami cranes from Japanese school children

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