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Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 8

Japanese Color Woodblock Printed Book

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 8

by Kubota Beisen, 1895

IHL Cat. #549

About This Book

Volume 8 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."

Advertisement 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 8, published on March 24, 1895, towards the end of the War, portrays war-related events in January 1895.  It starts with New Year's celebrations in conquered Kinshu and ends with the January 31st arrival in Hiroshima of two Chinese plenipotentiaries, Chang In-hoon and Shao Yulien, to sue for peace (an effort that was refused by their Japanese counterparts.)1 It includes the siege of the critical coastal forts protecting Wei-Hai-Wei but not its final capture in mid-February.  Illustrated is a mortally wounded Major General Ōdera "who was so severely wounded by a shell while in the Motienling fort that he died soon thereafter."2   A map of the area around Wei-Hai-Wei is provided at the back of the volume.

1 A Concise History of the War Between Japan and China, Jikichi Inouye, Osaka: Z. Mayekawa, Tokyo: Y. Okura, 1895, p. 83.
2 ibid., p. 76.

Nisshin Sentō Gahō, Volume 8

Back cover

-intentionally left blank- 


L: Preface

R: Preface (cont.)
 L: "
Anniversary festival of the regimental flag celebrated at Kinshu." - signed Kinsen

"The New Years day festival in the
occupied places." signed Kinsen

Lieutenant Ōta & other 61 soldiers' adventure as the great spy-band making the junction of the 1st & 2nd corps d'armée."

"Major General Nogi
under the 2nd corps 
occupying Gaihei."

R: "Chōshisei a Chinese general receiving a bullet in his loins escapes from the field in battle of Kōgasai." - Beisan seal
L: "Two colonels Fujimoto & Satō defeating the Chinese in the second attack by them against Kaijō."

R: "Bombardment against Tōshū-fu by three Japanese war-ships."

L: "Landing of the land force from the Yaeyama on the gulf of Eijō." 

R: "The 4th regiment under Maj. General Yamaguchi occupying Ei
jō-ken & setting the castle gate en fire." - unread signature
L: "Assembling of war-ships & transports of the 2nd corps d'armée on the gulf of Eijō." - unread signature
"The Japanese troops under
the Prince Fushimi occupying the enemy's camp at Kozan near Ikaiei."

The three-columns of the 6th divisional army taking the batteries of Matenroi after a furious fighting." - Beisen seal

Our 6th divisional army from the newly occupied battery on Mntorci bombarding for the Tei on a Chinese warship."

R: "The Japanese naval force in order to re-enforce the landforce bombarding for the chinese war-ships & batteries." - unread seal
L: Death of Major General Ōdera
after occupying the battery
at Matenrei. - Beisen seal

R: "The Chinese envoys guarded by our police-men going up to the prefect office in Hiroshima." - Beisen seal










R: colophon
L: summary of the first six volumes

-intentionally left blank- 

-intentionally left blank- 

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

Book Details

 IHL Catalog  #549
 Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 8
 日清戦闘畫報* 第編 (Nisshin Sentō Gahō, daihachi hen) 
 *typically seen 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  March 25, 1895 明治廿八年三月二五日發行
 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); National Diet Library (Volumes 1, 2, 3, 6, 8); 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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