Chinese tourists are boycotting APA hotels in droves, one of Japan’s largest hotel chains, after people discovered it had placed books denying the Nanjing massacre throughout its rooms.
The book, titled “Theoretical Modern History II The Real History of Japan,” was written by the CEO of the APA Group, Toshio Motoya, who wrote under the pen name Seiji Fuji.
The Nanjing massacre refers to the Japanese military invasion of the city of Nanjing in China in 1937, in which around 300,000 Chinese citizens were believed to be murdered and over 20,000 women were sexually assaulted by the Japanese troops.
While most mainstream accounts accept that the mass killing happened, there are vocal groups within Japan which deny it.
The discovery was recently made when two New York University students noticed the book while staying at an APA hotel.
“It is clear that the Nanjing massacre was fabricated by the Chinese side and did not actually happen,” reads an excerpt from the book.
Motoya adds that the population of Nanjing at the time was 200,000, making it impossible for 300,000 people to be massacred.
The chain has refused to withdraw the book, with Motoya saying that he “wrote what I believe is the truth,” in an official statement.
The chain has 415 hotels across Japan, and is reportedly popular amongst Chinese tourists, with 40 percent of its hotel rooms occupied by Chinese and South Korean visitors during peak season, according to China’s The Global Times.
The hotel chain however, denied that, noting that Chinese nationals made up some 5 percent of its guests.
Mass boycott and outrage on social media
Reaction to the book on Chinese social media has been swift, with many condemning the book and pledging to boycott the hotel.
“I cannot stay in a place like this. The APA has crossed the line,” said one netizen on Weibo.
“My parents are going to Japan next month, I have told them not to stay at this hotel,” another user said.
Chinese tourism company Hua Wang International, which previously sent nearly 1,000 Chinese tourists to APA hotels, has also declared that it will cut ties with APA.
100 million views and counting
The book was first discovered by two NYU students, Kat from the U.S. and Sid from China, who circulated a video on Weibo describing its contents.
The book is in Japanese and English, and might not be understood by some Chinese tourists.
“The fact that he [Motoya] is taking the money of Chinese tourists staying in this hotel without them being aware of his political views and where their money is going just strikes me as disrespectful,” said Kat in the video.
The video has been shared over 700,000 times and viewed over 100 million times.