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The Humane Ambulance Corps of the Japanese Red Cross

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

The Humane Ambulance Corps of the Japanese Red Cross. Picture of Relieving Wounded Soldiers

in the Russo-Japanese War

by Gakyō, 1904

IHL Cat. #104

About This Print

Source: A Much Recorded War: The Russo-Japanese War in History and Imagery, Fredrick A. Sharf, Anne Nishimura Morse, Sebastian Dobson, MFA Publications, 2005, p. 44
As part of Japan's efforts to emulate Western institutions, the Japanese Red Cross was established in 1877, during the Seinan War (a.k.a. Satsuma Rebellion).  By the time of the Sino-Japanese War [1894-1895], images of the Red Cross tending to fallen soldiers had become part of the standard iconography of the battlefield; the Japanese were to be seen as not only mighty but also magnanimous, as befitted an "enlightened" nation.  Such descriptions would only proliferate during the Russo-Japanese War, with the Japanese Red Cross shown selflessly caring for Japanese and Russian wounded alike.

The Japanese Red Cross

Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Red_Cross
From the beginning, the Japanese royal family, especially Empress Shōken, provided active support for Red Cross activities. (See this collection's prints Picture of a Visit by the Empress to the General Staff Headquarters and Illustration of the Japanese Red Cross Society General Meeting.)  During the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the Japanese Red Cross played an outstanding role rescuing many Russian prisoners of war, gaining Japan a considerable amount of good public relations in the western press.

Source: Michael Duffy's First World War website http://www.firstworldwar.com/poetsandprose/ambulance.htm
The Japanese ambulance plan in the Russo-Japanese War specifically used Jonathan Letterman's ambulance corps plan for the Army of the Potomac in the American Civil War.

Source: Official History of the Russian-Japanese War: A Vivid Panorama of Land and Naval Battles, J. Martin Miller, 1905

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #104
 Title or Description The Humane Ambulance Corps of the Japanese Red Cross. Picture of Relieving Wounded Soldiers in the Russo-Japanese War
(Hakuai naru Dai Nippon Sekijūji Eisei-tai Nichi-ro Sentō-chū Fushōsha Kyūgo no zu 博愛ナル大日本赤十字衛生隊 日露戦闘中負傷者救護之図)
 Artist Gakyō (active 1904)
 Signature
画狂仁 (画狂人) Gakyō-jin (meaning "Crazy Artist") 
 Seal Mount Fuji, Yamazumai 山住 (Living in the mountains)
 Publication Date March 20, 1904 (Meiji 37)
 Printing Date
 March 16, 1904 (Meiji 37)
 Publisher
Naraha Sannosuke (楢葉三之助) followed by address Tokyo Nihonbashi Sakaichō 9-banchi (東京日本橋区堺町九番地)
[Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 378]

 Carver
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - full size, untrimmed sheets; pencil note on left margin of center sheet
 Genre ukiyo-esenso-e (Russo-Japanese War)
 Miscellaneous 
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 14 1/4 x  9 7/8 in. (36.2 x 25.1 cm) each sheet 
 Literature 
 
 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2000.541a-c
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