Background research for NanjingJude Christian is the writer of…


Jude’s great grandpa, making clocks left-handed after his right hand was shot off.


.The sea at the Isle of Man where one of Jude’s set of grandparents live.


The sea at the island of Penang, Malaysia where the other set of Jude’s grandparents live.


A wall in Penang’s Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion that reminds Jude of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse where Nanjing will be performed.


A Buddhist Shrine with swastika, Penang Hill. The swastika is a Buddhist symbol widely used in Penang. Western European visitors likely associate it with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.


View from Khoo Kongsi the clan house in Penang where Jude’s mother lived as a child

Background research for Nanjing

Jude Christian is the writer of and sole performer in Nanjing.

In 1937 the Japanese army invaded China and took control of the then capital city, Nanjing. The Massacre of Nanjing, frequently referred to as the Rape of Nanking, resulted in the murder of thousands of Chinese citizens.
Jude is British-Chinese, born and raised in England. She was motivated to share her personal feelings on the massacre, and through this to make the audience reflect on atrocities of the past, how they resonate today and also reflect on current conflict in the world.

This highly personal performance has involved a lot of research and conversations with Jude’s family. Here are a selection of images taken by Jude on her research trips to Malaysia and the Isle of Man where her two sets of grandparents live.

This week Jude read this article which made her want to rewrite the play to incorporate it! She said “ I think it makes a good point that it’s important to call out hypocrisy and ugliness in the people we want to hold up as paragons of virtue.”

Further Reading:

Here is a list of books and films that formed part of Jude’s research for Nanjing.

The Undaunted Women of Nanking: The Wartime Diaries of Minnie Vautrin and Tsen Shui-fang (2010, Hua-ling Hu, Zhang Lian-hong)

American Goddess at the Rape of Nanking: The Courage of Minnie Vautrin (2000, Hua-ling Hu)

The Rape of Nanking (1991, Iris Chang)

The Diary of Azuma Shiro (2006, Kimberly Hughes)

The Making of the Rape of Nanking (2006, Takashi Yoshida)

Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia 1941-1945 (2005, Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper)

The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe (1998, John E. Woods)

Documents on the Rape of Nanking (1999, Timothy Brook)

The Gift of Rain (2007, Tan Twan Eng)

Nanking (2007 documentary, Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman)

John Rabe (2010 film, Florian Gallenberger)

Nanjing will run from 22-24 June, part of Refugee Week.