Rape of Nanking. 1937. "Rape of Nanking," Iris Chang's book: Nankin Massacre victims on the shore of the Yangtze River with a Japanese soldier standing nearby. The Nanjing Massacre was a mass murder and war rape that occurred during the 6-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanking (Nanjing), the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Historians have estimated that 250,000 to 300,000 people were killed.