Dedication to Iris Chang
The souls of the people of Nanking hopefully speak from these pages. But another American spoke loudly for them long before this fictionalized account was ever conceived, Iris Chang. She wrote outside academia during the 1990’s and, as a result, wrote the bestselling book on the subject ever written; The Rape of Nanking: The For-gotten Holocaust of World War II.
Iris Chang committed suicide on November 9th, 2004. I was in the middle of writing this book. Iris left behind a two-year-old son and a husband. She was only thirty-six, a brave and heroic soul. She should have been in the prime of her life, but she had been clinically depressed for some time. Like Minnie, the miracles of modern science could not heal her.
Her family made a statement about a note Iris left before she committed suicide. She asked, "to be remembered as the person she was before she became ill, engaged with life, committed to her causes, her writing and her family."
In most Asian cultures, it is shameful to have a mentally ill person in your family. But mental illness is a disease, oftentimes a chemical imbalance in the brain. It needs to be treated as a disease like high blood pressure or diabetes. A foundation in Iris’s memory has been set up, called the Culture to Culture Foundation. It is based in Alamo, California, and is raising money to help train Chinese-speaking students for careers in mental health care. I dedicate this book to Iris, Minnie, and to the innocents of Nanking who lost their lives before their time.
Kevin A. Kent