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CPC100 - Five Facts about Sihang Warehouse


13 May 2021 | By Jiang Jiyi | Copyedited by Xu Shijie

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

  • Sihang Warehouse

    Year 2021 Calander designed by SISUers

T

he Eight Hundred is a 2020 Chinese historical war film directed by Guan Hu. The film is about the Defense of Sihang Warehouse in 1937 Shanghai during the Battle of Shanghai and the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Located along the Suzhou Creek, the Sihang Warehouse, used by four banks as a warehouse, was across from the foreign concessions in Shanghai. Defenders of the warehouse held out against numerous waves of Japanese forces and covered Chinese forces retreating west during the Battle of Shanghai.

Were there really eight hundred soldiers as the title of the movie suggests?

“Eight hundred” is NOT an exact number. The number of soldiers in the warehouse was always changing because soldiers were scattered in different army positions, which caused difficulty to trace the exact number. In fact, nobody at that moment paid special attention to the number because the most urgent task they were faced with was defending the city.

According to Xie Jinyuan, the relative definite number of soldiers was 420. Another evidence was from Yang Ruifu, who wrote a memoir of the war, in which he mentioned that injured soldiers leaving Sihang Warehouse for treatment were told to keep their real troop strength in secret, but pretend to have “eight hundred” soldiers, the number in fact a white lie, aiming at boosting morale.

Owing to the lack of first-hand materials, there’s no way to get number down to single digits.

How many names of soldiers have been collected to put on the wall?

So far 323 names have been collected, while the collecting and checking process is still underway. There are many more to be found, and we thought of two ways to show this, one by using the unit's number, and another by leaving it blank.

At the time we were hesitant to put the names of the four rebels on the wall, but as we are recording their fighting in the Sihang Warehouse, we felt it was better to respect history here, as they were after all fighting against the Japanese imperialists in four days and four nights, so we kept their names, but in a deliberate design, putting them at the lowest position.

Did the sewer in the film exist?

There are actually some municipal pipes leading to the Suzhou River, which are sewers, but they are NOT as exaggerated as the film portrays, and there are no sewers of that size, to the extent that they can reveal an opening of that size.

Were the bullet holes on the west wall of Sihang Warehouse newly-made?

The west wall of the Sihang Warehouse is authentic. The whole building was never completely destroyed, as the Japanese were not able to bombard it with heavy artillery because of the International Settlement to its east and opposite it, but mainly with flat-firing guns on the west side of the warehouse, which made these bullet holes and were restored after the war.

During the restoration in 2015, our designers found, during the survey, that there were different materials on the same wall, and then after a small cracking of the outside paint, they discovered that there was a different filling of green and red bricks inside. Eight relatively large bullet holes were recovered and we treated these holes, moved the green bricks out and did a little contouring.

During the combat, were there any journalists who managed to enter the warehouse and record the fight?

The most valuable images we have are a short footage of the evacuation from the Sihang Warehouse and an even shorter one of the window where they returned fire on the Japanese. The videos are kept to today mainly with the support of the Shanghai Audio-Visual Archive. There were also some images shot by other journalists from the other side of the Suzhou Creek. But we have not seen any images inside the warehouse so far, as no real war correspondent had actually gone inside and taken real images.

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Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading