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Blockhead from the series Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs

 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Blockhead

from the series Long Live Japan:

One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs

by Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1895

Hubbub in the Dragon King's Palace from the series Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs

IHL Cat. #1218

About This Print

This print is one of fifty prints from the first part of the three part series One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs. (Hyakusen hyakushô) created by the artist Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915), the writer Nishimori Takeki (1861-1923), alias Koppi Dōjin, and the publisher Matsuki Heikichi (1870-1931).  

About The Series One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs

This series One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs was issued in three parts and presented parodies of the enemy, the Chinese in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 and ten years later the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. The first part of the series titled Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs, consisting of fifty prints, was issued between September 1894 and August 1895.  The second part of the series titled Magic Lantern Society: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs, consisting of twelve prints, was issued between November 1895 and December 1896.  Both of these parts parodied (often in a racist manner) the Chinese people, leadership and war effort. The third and last part of the series, consisting of eight-six prints, used the same title as the first part Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs.  Issued between April 1904 and April 1905, the prints parodied the Russian war effort. For more information about the series see the article One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs on this site.

Inscription - Transcribed Japanese

Kaenkō da no Ryojunkō da no to ōkina kuchi o ikutsu mo motte / inagara gun to mo shu to mo iu koto ga dekinai to wa / ikani deku no bō to wa ie anmari ikuji ga nasasugiru. / Kore ga yo ni iu shabafusagi da. Konna kakashi ni mo / otoru yōna mono o kono mama uchisutete oite wa bunmeijin / no tsūkō suru samatage da. Oya ima made koko ni tonbinin/soku ga ōzei ita yō dakke, ore no sugata o miru to / minna doko ka e nigete shimatta zo. Yoshi yoshi kō narya / mō kotchi no mono da. omō zonbun ni katappashi kara bu/ttsubushite yaru kara sō omoe. Hatena doko kara / torikakarō, zentai koyatsu wa nōmiso mo nai kuse ni / iya ni atama o mochiagetagaru kara mazu tehajime ni / atamagonashi to itte, sore kara koyatsu wa mata yohodo tetsumenpi / da kara zuru zuru zuru to tsura no kawa o hinmuite kondo wa kō / kono Ryojunkō o mirimirimiri.” to shikiri ni isei yoku buchikowa/shite iru to, sasuga ni mushinkei no deku no bō mo / Ryojunkō o ubaitorareta no ni wa heikō shita to miete, / teppōdama no yōna namida o porori porori to koboshi nagara, / “Ä kuchioshī.”

Inscription - English Translation (of above Transcribed Japanese)

Pinhead [by] Koppi Dōnin

Japanese soldier: “You have so many mouths like Lushunkō (Port Arthur) and Kaenkō (Zhuanghe), but still you're not capable of saying gun (military) or shu (protector). You idiot, we know that you're a pinhead but still we expected more than this. You have too little courage and intelligence. You simply take up room in our world, everyone says that you're a great room waster on our earth. Many workers with bald heads and pigtails have run away at the mere sight of my form. If that's so, victory is as good as mine, so I can do everything. Now, I'm really getting started, you will see. Now I start destroying everything, nobody will stop me. Where should I start? You run into us again and again, even though you lack intelligence. We will destroy your head and even though you have an iron skin, we will strip it off. Now we will begin to destroy Port Arthur.”

Because Port Arthur was destroyed and conquered, the pinhead says, even though he had been unsympathetic and with little sentiment up until then, shedding tears and ammunition: “What a shame about the mouth” (“I want to have my mouth/port back”).

Image Description

A Japanese soldier is standing in front of a Chinese-style desk. On the desk is a Chinese-looking wooden doll, whose mouth-and-jaw-area of the head is being bashed in with a stick.  [On his face is written the characters 旅順口 (Port Arthur mouth.)]

Interpretation

This print was published in December and at the time the Japanese army had already conquered Port Arthur (Lushunkō) and Dairen on the peninsula Liaodong.

This print with the title “pinhead” shows a wooden doll, which looks like a Chinese official. It is modeled on the military commander-in-chief of the Chinese Empire, Li Honzhang. Next to the doll with the destroyed mouth, a Japanese soldier is also depicted. In the last line, it says “it's a shame about the mouth”, thus, the doll with the destroyed mouth points at the unfortunate loss of Port Arthur. Instead of the port of Port Arthur, the mouth of Port Arthur is mentioned again and again, this is a play with homonyms.


Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #1218
 Title or Description Blockhead (Dekunobō 木偶の坊) [Note: the word dekunobō is sometimes translated as "pinhead."
 Series Long Live Japan: One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs. (Nihon banzai: Hyakusen hyakushô 本萬歳 百撰百笑 )
 Artist Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915)
 Signature
清親 Kiyochika
 Seal Kiyochika
 Publication Date December 1894 (Meiji 27)
 Publisher Matsuki Heikichi (松木平吉) proprietor of Daikokuya
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre ukiyo-esenso-e (Sino-Japanese War); giga
 Miscellaneous 
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper 
 14 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. (36.8 x 24.8 cm) 
 H x W Image
 14 x 9 1/4 in. (35.6 x 23.5 cm)
 Literature 
 
 Collections This Print
 British Library 16126.d.2(27); The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University Digital Archives Collection 012-1068 and 012-1061; Östasiatiska musee OM-2010-0007
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