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Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 9

Japanese Color Woodblock Printed Book

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 9

by Kubota Beisen, 1895

Beisen Sansui Gachō (Album of Fourteen Landscapes)

IHL Cat. #906

About This Book

Volume 9 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.

Source: 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 9, published on June 5, 1895, after the war's end on April 17, portrays events related to the last major engagement of the war, the Battle of Wei-hei-wei, and is a follow-on of the events pictured in Volume 8.  The first illustration (see below) shows Vice Admiral Itō Yuko (1843-1914), commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet that defeated the Chinese Northern Fleet led by Admiral Tei Josho (more commonly known as Admiral Ding Ruchang or Ting Ju-ch'ang) in February 1895, receiving a gold watch from the Emperor.1  The last illustrations relate to Admiral Itō's act of chivalry in ordering the return of a captured Chinese battleship to transport the body of Chinese Admiral Tei, who committed suicide after surrendering, back to China.

1 The awarding of the gold watch,along with Admiral Itō's act of chivalry in returning Admiral Ting's body to China, is reported on in an article "Some Japanese Warriors" by J. H. De Forest, profiling various Japanese military heroes involved in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), appearing in the  August 11, 1904 issue of the New York newspaper The Independent.

日清戦闘畫報 第九編
Nisshin Sentō Gahō, Volume 9
Rear Cover

-intentionally left blank-

L: Preface

R: Preface (cont.)
L: "His Majesty the Emperor gives a golden watch to Vice Admiral It

R: "Major Umezawa and his soldiers slaughtering about 300 Chinese naval forces about to land on Ch
ōhokushi." - signed Kinsen
L: "Captain Higuchi emblacing a Chinese child by his left and and brandishing the sword by his right."

R: "Captain Yano under the 2nd corps d'arm
ée kills many of the Chinese at the vicinity of Sokaton." -signed Kinsen

L: "The spy-band under the 13th regiment entering the town of I-kai-ei (Wei-hai-wei)."

 "Some troops under the 17th regiment attacking and occupying the fort at Hokuzanshi."
"Attacking by the 9 Japanese torpedo boats, - the boat No. 22 sunk the Tei-en, and No. 9 was struck by the enemy's shot."

"The Matsushima and other 22 war-ships bombarding for Ry
ūkotō and Nittō."

 "Ten Japanese torpedo boats under the 1st Flying Squadron pursuing the Chinese steamers and torpedo boats."

R: "Four Japanese steamers and boats breaking the booms at the entrance to I-kai-ei bay."
 L: "Japanese pioneer-band under 2nd corps
d'armée capturing a Chinese torpedo boat at the vicinity of I-de-i isle."

"The Chinhoku Chinese gun-boat hoisting a white flag offered to surrender."

"The cavalry-band under the 2nd corps
d'armée occupying Nei-kai without the least opposition."
R: "Lieut. Commander Nawa receiving the Chin-en Chinese war-ship." - unread signature
L: "The K
ōsei given to the Chinese for conveying the remains of Admiral Tei-Jo-sho* leaving for Chi-i-fu on the 17th Feb."
* More commonly known as Admiral Ding Ruchang or Ting Ju-ch'ang.

R: "Lieut. Commander Nawa receiving the Chin-en Chinese war-ship."

L: 威海衛陷落史








R: colophohn
L: summary of the first four volumes

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

Book Details

 IHL Catalog  #906
 Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 9
 日清戦闘畫報* 第編 (Nisshin Sentō Gahō, daikyū 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  June 6, 1895 明治廿八年六月六日發行
 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
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  good - minor toning throughout; binding and all pages in tact with little edge or paper wear; minor insect damage on several illustration pages; insect damage primarily in margins on most text pages
 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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