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Kagoshima Shinbun: Illustration of the Battle of Yamagaguchi

 

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kagoshima Shinbun: Illustration of the

Battle of Yamagaguchi

by Adachi Ginkō, 1877

Jitsugetsusei kyōwa seidan


IHL Cat. #1974

About This Print

At least a dozen woodblock triptychs depicting various battles during the Satsuma Rebellion, issued by various publishers using the drawings of various artists, carry a cartouche reading "Kagoshima shinbun" (Kagoshinma Newspaper) accompanied by the title of the battle being depicted and a descriptive scroll.  While an actual newspaper called the Kagoshima shinbun would come into existence in the late 1880s, it had no relationship to these earlier prints and their publishers.

In this print by Adachi, one of several prints of the rebellion he designed, the battle of Yamagaguchi is depicted. The engagement being referenced is most likely the March 12 battle in the Nabeta-Yamaga area, about 30km due north of Kagoshima Castle, as summarized below:

[On March 12] Satsuma troops were defeated by [General] Miura's 3rd Brigade in the Nabeta-Yamaga area [about 30km due north of Kumamoto Castle] and withdrew to the right flank of Saigo's main force. The defensive position was thus extended by an additional five miles to include the district from Torisu to Takaba. The casualties, both killed and wounded, were approximately equal on both sides, each army losing about 4,000 men.1

Identified in the print in the red rectangular cartouches are the following soldiers of the Imperial Army and rebel brigades:
Right sheet: 大元帥 西郷隆盛 [Commander in Chief Saigō Takamori -upper right]・永山矢一郎 [ Nagayama Yachirō, commander of the rebels 2nd battalion]・淵辺高照 [Takateru Fuchibe rebel commander;]・別府新助 [Beppu Shinsuke - close confederate of Saigō]
Center sheet: 辺見十郎太 [Henmi Jūrōta - rebel commander]・逆将前原一格 [Maehara Ikkaku「前原一格 rebel commander」
Left sheet: 野津陸軍少将 [Army Major General Nozu - The Marquis Nozu Michitsura (野津 道貫, 17 December 1840 – 18 October 1908)

1"The Satsuma Rebellion of 1877: From Kagoshima through the Siege of Kumamoto Castle", James H. Buck appearing in Monumenta Nipponica, XXVIII, 4 (Winter 1973)

Transcription of the Print's Scroll

click on image to enlarge

Note: characters in () are the transcriber's clarifications.

西國に叛賊の名を得て一時逆威を振ひ官軍に抗ずる勢ひあり屡(しばしば)天下を動乱なせし猛将ハ國賊の巨魁なる前原一誠ならん彼一誠が末の弟に前原一格ありて萩の敗走には身を潜み居て時來りぬと鹿兒嶋暴徒に與し(くみし)肩(せ)より脇へ白布を以て我姓名を書記し先鋒となりて山鹿口へ進撃し賊の運命盡ざるか(つきざるか)無事にありて官軍の渦巻中へ只一人馳入り弾丸雨注の下を往来し奮戦ありしか実に(げに)一格ハ一方の強徒といふべし 

大夛鏛 編輯 (おおたじょう)


This installation features more than 30 loans from two remarkably rich local resources, the Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints, and the Lee & Mary Jean Michels Collection. It was co-curated by Professors Akiko Walley (History of Art and Architecture) and Glynne Walley (East Asian Languages and Literatures) and JSMA Chief Curator Anne Rose Kitagawa. QR codes on selected labels allow visitors to access translations and explanations of the complex wordplay, imagery, and cultural context of these fascinating objects.

https://jsma.uoregon.edu/FittoPrint


ADACHI Ginkō (安達吟光, active 1873-1902)

Japanese; Meiji period, March 26, 1877

Illustration of the Battle of Yamagaguchi from the Kagoshima News (Kagoshima Shinbun Yamagaguchi sensō no zu)

Ukiyo-e woodblock-printed “brocade newspaper” (shinbun nishiki-e) vertical ōban triptych; ink and color on paper

The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints, IHL.1974


Translation of text on print:

As the Western insurgents made a name for themselves they stood momentarily poised to make good on their rebellion by resisting the Government forces. One of their fiercest commanders was no doubt Maehara Issei, a brigand chieftain and traitor to the nation who brought many a disturbance to the realm. This Issei’s youngest brother was Maehara Ikkaku. In the retreat from Hagi, he hid himself, and when the time came he joined the Kagoshima rioters. Wearing a white cloth over one shoulder with his name written on it, he rode at their head, attacking at Yamagaguchi. Perhaps the brigands’ luck had yet to run out, for he was unharmed even as he galloped around alone amid the vortex of Government soldiers, going back and forth under a rain of bullets. It was a ferocious battle – truly Ikkaku may be called a mighty warrior.

Ōta Jō, editor

Note:

Maehara Ikkaku is the figure on horseback in the center of the composition. Hagi, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, was the site of a failed samurai rebellion in late 1876, a precursor to the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, of which the fighting at Yamagaguchi described here was a minor part. Despite the rebel heroics depicted in this print, the Government forces prevailed here as elsewhere.

(Glynne Walley, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Literatures)


Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #1974
 Title or Description  Kagoshima Shinbun: Illustration of the Battle of Yamagaguchi
 鹿兒嶋新聞 山鹿口戰之圖 Kagoshima Shinbun: Yamagaguchi sensō no zu
 Artist  Adachi Ginkō (active 1874 – 1897)
 Signature
依頼随 眞匠銀光 画
irai shitagai Shinshō Ginkō ga
 Seal  unread artist's seal as shown above
 Publication Date
March 26, 1877 (Meiji 11)
明治十年三月廿六日御届
 Publisher
Kobayashi Tsunekichi 小林常吉 [Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 259]
Left side of cartouche:
    left column - 出板人 publisher 小林常吉 Kobayashi               Tsunekichi;
    right column - 水谷町四番地 publisher's address reading        Hatchōbori Mizutanichō 4-banchi
Right side of cartouche:
    left column - 画工 artist 安達平七 Adachi Heishichi;
    right column - 堀江町二丁目二番地 artist's address
   
 Carver 
 not given
 Printer 
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  fair - numerous wormholes throughout
 Genre  nishiki-e; sensō-e
 Miscellaneous
價六銭 price 6 sen
 Format  vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 R: 14 5/16 x 9 3/4 in. (34.9 x 23.5 cm) 
 C: 14 3/8 x 9 5/8 in. (36.5 x 24.4 cm)
 L: 14 1/8 x 9 5/8 in. (35.9 x 24.4)
 H x W Image R: 14 1/8 x 9 1/8 in. (34.9 x 23.5 cm) 
 C: 14 1/8 x 9 7/16 in. (34.9 x 24 cm)
 L: 14 1/16 x 9 3/8 in. (35.7 x 23.8 cm)
 Reference Literature 

 Collections This Print

last revision:
8/23/2021
2/9/2019
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