The story of Iris Chang

I was going to comment on the whole hissy fit between China and Japan lately, but I think there’s enough commentary on that going on already. Here’s a good one. suffice to say Japan’s revisions of history are as wrong as China’s revisions of history both of them need to own up but the stoking of this flame by the Chinese authorities, and their hand over fist diplomatic blunders lately give me an eerie… waitaminute I said I wasn’t going to talk about that.

I was going to talk about this article from today’s San Francisco Chronicle:

Historian Iris Chang won many battles / The war she lost raged within

Iris Chang was the author of The Rape of Nanking, a book she researched passionately, and passionately wrote, to tell the story of what happened when the Japanese pillaged this city during WWII, a key point of the tensions that are happening right now. The book was an enormous success, and at the same time it stirred enormous controversy and earned her some enemies.

Iris’ life ended in tragedy late last year when, overcome with bipolar disorder, she wound up taking her own life. I remember reading the initial news breaks on the investigation, talking about how she might have been murdered by Japanese ultranationalists or even just randomly. When it was discovered that it was a suicide, I remember feeling an odd connection (since she was about the same age as me, lived in the Bay Area, and spoke about issues I find very interesting), and thinking about how powerful psychological disorders can be and how they can affect anyone, no matter how successful, smart, or talented they might be.

This story in the Chronicle is a deep look at Iris Chang’s story, and it is really well worth a read. I couldn’t help but find it a fascinating read, and a worthy and relevant story that has a connection to current global events and history, and at the same time a close and personal look at Iris Chang’s life, successes, and ultimate tragedy.