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When Ha Menghe came home, everyone was dead. On a little television screen hung above a reconstruction of his house in Nanjing, the bearded old man recalls how as a young boy in 1937 he found the bodies of several relatives and a tenant family shot, raped or stabbed by invading Japanese soldiers during their occupation of what was then the Chinese capital.
The exhibit at the city's memorial to those killed in the Nanjing massacre by Japanese forces vividly illustrates the sore at the heart of relations between China and Japan.
Memories of the Japanese invasion and the cruelty of Japanese troops, kept alive by decades of nationalist propaganda by China's ruling Communist party, have fostered deep-rooted antipathy towards Japan among Chinese people.
The latest escalation in the dispute between the two countries over the Senkaku Islands, a tiny archipelago controlled by Japan but also claimed by China, which calls it Diaoyu Islands, risks sparking another outbreak of anti-Japanese sentiment.
In August, thousands took to the streets in more than a dozen Chinese cities to vent their anger, with some protesters vandalising Japanese-made cars.
Anger at Japan has flared on Chinese internet forums and social media. "Finish the little Japanese off!!!" demanded a commentator on the Strong Nation Forum, a nationalist site run by the People's Daily, the Communist party's mouthpiece.
And yet a growing number of young Chinese appear increasingly open to normal or even friendly relations with their neighbour.
Most of the visitors at the Nanjing massacre memorial are young people, often groups of university students or young families. They appear curious about history and shaken by testimony of atrocities, but also ready to embrace the message of peace and friendship the museum tries to convey.
"I don't have any hard feelings towards Japan," says Han Zhong, a 31-year-old man from the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi who was visiting the Nanjing massacre memorial with his wife and in-laws. "We are visiting because this is part of our history. Something like this will never happen again because China is rising now."
To some extent, Chinese scholars say the more thoughtful attitude is a result of efforts by the two countries' governments to build a more constructive relationship. China's Communist party government, which draws some of its legitimacy to rule from the fact that it helped defeat Japan and liberate China, has supported initiatives for cultural exchanges and visits. But the shift is also down to a more international perspective among young Chinese.
"Anti-Japanese sentiment is not very strong, especially among young people in China compared with 20 years ago when memories from the war were still pretty fresh," says Zhou Weihong, a professor on Japanese studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University. "The reason is that more people in China get higher education and they get in touch with foreign countries, thus they understand more of international affairs. People are more rational now."
Scholars also say that although Chinese textbooks still vilify Japan, such descriptions have little resonance with ordinary people. Japanese is the second-most learned foreign language in China.
Kelly He, a student from Shanghai, fell silent at the sight of the memorial's display of human bones taken from mass graves after the city's fall. "This is truly terrible," she says. "But the terrible thing about it is not that Japanese killed Chinese but that human beings killed human beings."