More and more Japanese tourists are visiting the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, said its director Zhu Chengshan. According to Mr Zhu, more than 150,000 Japanese visitors have been to the hall since it opened 11 years ago. The positive response from the Japanese was 'beyond our expectation', Mr Zhu said. 'Many Japanese had never heard of the massacre before they came here.' The memorial hall was opened to the public in 1985 to commemorate the 1937 holocaust in which Chinese historians estimate more than 300,000 Chinese were massacred by the Japanese army in a six-week period. The one-storey building in western Nanjing is filled with hundreds of pictures documenting the tragedy, as well such items as replicas of Japanese swords used by the Imperial Army to execute Chinese civilians. It also houses testimonies given by those who survived the massacre. Opposite the main entrance is a 'crying wall' which bears the names of more than 1,000 victims who lost their lives in the Nanjing terror. The Nanjing facility, however, is not the only memorial hall in China to mark the Sino-Japanese war. The Taierzhuang Battle Museum in Zhau Zhuang, Shandong province, was opened in 1993 to commemorate a victory by Chinese nationalist troops over the Japanese in 1938. The authorities have begun to organise student tours of the memorial hall as part of their patriotic education, said Mr Zhu. The director, who has been nicknamed 'protector for 300,000 spirits', feels deeply about the tragedy. In his mind, the brutality of the Nanjing massacre even surpasses that of the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz. 'In the Nanjing massacre there was all kinds of cruelty: people were burned, raped and stabbed to death, buried alive and drowned. 'We Chinese should never forget about it,' he said. But Mr Zhu said many Japanese visitors were obviously moved when they visited the memorial hall. 'They came here to learn about the truth of history. 'Sometimes, Japanese visitors were even more touched by the exhibits than Chinese,' he said, adding that some who were shocked by the brutality could not speak after they left the hall. 'The Japanese attitude towards the war was not monolithic, some were sympathetic about the Nanjing massacre,' said Mr Zhu. He added: 'When I visited Japan to tell them about the massacre, some senators were willing to meet me to learn more.'