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Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 5

Japanese Color Woodblock Printed Book

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 5

by Kubota Beisen, 1894

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7
IHL Cat. #548

About This Book

Volume 5 of a total of eleven bound volumes1 forming a pictorial account of the first Sino-Japanese War, from its outbreak in the summer of 1894 to Japan's sea-victories at Weihaiwei, Japan's advance into Manchuria and finally the peace treaty ending the war in April 1895. The eleven volumes were published at irregular intervals between October 21st 1894 and June 6th 1895.  Each volume has an introduction written by a well-known figure of the time.  The books were produced from carved woodblocks and are bound in the usual method of "bound-pocket books" (Fukuro toji 袋綴じ). Volumes 5 through 11 have English captions above the illustrations.

The illustrations in these books were widely dispersed overseas to an audience closely following the war, as can be seen from the below illustrations from Volume 6 that appeared in the 1895 French publication Revue Encyclopédique: Recueil Documentaire Universel et Illustré, published by Georges Moreau in Paris.

Images as they appear in Volume 6 of Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War

Kubota and Sons on the Front
Japan at the Dawn of the Modern Age – Woodblock Prints from the Meiji Era, Louise E. Virgin, Donald Keene, et. al., MFA Publications, 2001, p. 68.

"A unique and important source of inspiration for the Sino-Japanese War print artists was the journalistic reports written and illustrated by the Kyoto painter Kubota Beisen (1852-1906).  Accompanied by his two sons, Beisai and Kinsen, Beisen actually followed the troops [the First Army division] and recorded their battles in words and sketches.  And Beisen himself was depicted almost as a war hero in a small number of triptych designs." (See the print Ban-Banzai for the Great Japanese Empire! Illustration of the Assault on Songhwan: A Great Victory for Our Troops.)

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. 40-41.
"In their ten-volume2 Illustrated Record of the Battles of the Sino-Japanese War, from 1894-95, Beisen and his two sons describe the events of the war against a landscape this is beholden to East Asian literati painting and prints, with fibrous texture strokes used to define mountainsides and riverbanks and stippling to suggest the foliage on the trees.  Yet the artists have consistently modeled the figures of the Japanese soldiers with light and darks to heighten the solidity of their forms.  This modeling contrasts with the time-honored use of simple hooked outlines to define the figures of the Chinese combatants."

Ad appearing in A Concise History of the War Between Japan and China,
compiled by Jikichi Inouye, Osaka: Z. Mayekawa, Tokyo: Y. Okura, 1895.3

1 Ten volumes were originally planned, but an eleventh was added at a later date.
2 See note 1 above.
3 See note 1 above.

Volume 5 covers events around the area of Fenghuancheng and contains a map of the area and an interpretation of events.  The artist pictures himself speaking with a soldier in the illustration titled "General Ōseko shooting the enemy from the hill Kozan."  No injured or dead Japanese troops can be seen in any of the illustrations.

See the print Picture of the Hard Fight at Fenghuangcheng by Ogata Gekkô (1859-1920) for a brief report by the journalist Beisen of the fighting at Fenghuangcheng.  


Nisshin Sentō Gahō, Volume 5
back cover

-intentionally left blank-

L: Preface
R: Preface (cont.)
L: "Convocation of the Diet in special Session in Hiroshima."

R: "Colonel Satō disguised as a Korean, spying on the bank of the Ōryokukō (Yalu)."
L: "The military council at Gishū Castle."

"Colonel Satō wading the Ōryokukō defeats the Manchoorian cavalry."

R: "Constructing a bridge over the Ōryokukō at dark night."

L: "General Ōseko shooting the enemy from the hill Kozan."

"The assault by Lft. General Katsura on the hill of Kozan."

"Maj. General Tatsumi defeats the enemy on their returning attack."

R: "Maj. General Kuroda cannonading the enemy's entrench ments from Gishu."

L: "General Yamagata enter to Kyūrenjō." - unread seal

R: "The Japanese troops defeat the enemy at the vicinity of Daitōkō."
L: "The seizure of several guns at Antōken."

R: "The establishment of the Board of Administration at Antōken."
L: "The march of Lt. Colonel Fukushima for Taikozan."

"The assemblage of war-vessels & transports on mouth of the Daitōkō (Tai-tong-kang)."

"Landing of the 2nd corps d'armée at Kwayenkō."


"Establishing lines of telegraph by the Telegraph band."





summary of the first four volumes

Note:  All misspellings and grammatical errors in the captions have been carried forward.

Book Details

 IHL Catalog  #548
 Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 59
 日清戦闘畫報* 第五編 (Nisshin Sentō Gahō, daigo hen) 
 *typically seen written as 日清戦闘画報
Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War (日清戦闘畫報* Nisshin Sentō Gahō), Volume 5 (第五編) [*typically written as 日清戦闘画報]
Kubota Beisen (1852-1906) [assisted by his sons Kubota Beisai 久保田 米齊 (1874-1937) and Kubota Kinsen 久保田 金仙 (1875-1954)]

left: detail from colophon
畫者 [illustrators]:
久保田 米 僊
久保田 米 齊
久保田 金 仙
 illustrations not signed unless noted on above thumbnails
 Seal  illustrations not sealed unless noted on above thumbnails
 Publication Date  December 30, 1894 明治廿年十二月三日發行
 Publisher  Ōkura Yasugorō 大倉保五郎 (Ōkura shoten)- Tokyo
 Carver  Umezawa Minokichi 梅澤巳之吉
 Printer  Sugihara Benjirō 杉原辨次郎
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  good - minor toning and staining throughout; binding and all pages in tact with little edge or paper wear
 Genre  ehon 絵本. senso-e
 Format  fukurotoji
 H x W Paper  6 3/4 x 9 1/4 in. (17.1 x 23.5 cm)
 Collections This Book  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2000.338 (Volume 3); Victoria & Albert Museum E.2531-1925 (volumes 1-5 and 8); Rijksmuseum Netherlands RP-P-2005-594;
Japanese Special Collection in Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University, ID #1121 (Volume 3); UCLA Libraries and Collections Record ID 2035932 (Volumes 1-3); University of Chicago Library Call No.: J6289.2 2269 (Volumes 1-3); Cornell University Library call number Asai Rare DS765.K95 (Volumes 1-11); Williamsburg Research Libraries Partnership Swem Library DS765 .K82 v.1 (Volumes 1-11); Columbia University Libraries East Asian SPECIAL COLL. DS765.K82 1894 (Volumes 1-11); Brown University Library Hay Military DS765.K83x 1894 (Volumes 1-8); Harvard University HOLLIS: 007566215 (Volumes 1-11); St. Louis Museum of Art 854.2010, 855.2010, 848.2010 (Volumes 4, 5, 8)
 Reference Literature  Japan at the Dawn of the Modern Age – Woodblock Prints from the Meiji Era, Louise E. Virgin, Donald Keene, et. al., MFA Publications, 2001, ill. 23, p. 63; In Battle's Light: Woodblock Prints of Japan's Early Modern Wars, Elizabeth de Sabato Swinton, Worcester Art Museum, 1991, p. 14; The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization, Julia Meech-Pekarik, Weatherhill, 1986 p. 206; Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Philip K. Hu, et. al., Saint Louis Museum of Art, 2016, p. 158-160.
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