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Captain Matsuzaki Fights Bravely in the Battle of Songhwan

 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Captain Matsuzaki Fights Bravely

in the Battle of Songhwan

by Migita Toshihide, 1894


IHL Cat. #690

About This Print

The Brave Captain Matsuzaki


click on image to enlarge
Source: Impressions of the Front: Woodcuts of the Sino-Japanese War, Shunpei Okamoto, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1983, p. 20.
Before reaching Songhwan, the Japanese troops had to cross the deep Anson river.  Forty-year-old Captain Matsuzaki Naoomi from Kumamoto on Kyushu led his men on July 29, 1894, in attacking the enemy on the other side of the river.  In this print the fearless captain battles cowering Chinese soldiers.  But he was ambushed from one hundred feet and was shot through the leg.  Undaunted, he continued to fight gallantly with his sword.  When he was struck by another bullet in the head, he is reported to have shouted, “I’ve been hit!” and to have died bravely.

Other prints from this collection featuring the valor of Captain Matsuzaki can be found at The Great Battle of the Ansong Ford: The Valor of Captain Matsuzaki Crossing Anjo and Captain Matsuzaki Crossing the Anjō-sen.

Battle of Songhwan

Source: Impressions of the Front: Woodcuts of the Sino-Japanese War, Shunpei Okamoto, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1983, p. 12.
After replacing the pro-Chinese Korean royal government with a royal government more favorable to Japan, the new royal government requested the Japanese to expel Chinese forces in Korea. Provocations against China followed, leading to the first land battle of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) at Songwhan (Seikan in Japanese) on July 29, 1894.1

Asan, a stronghold south of Seoul, was defended by about thirty-five hundred Chinese troops.  The Chinese commander, hearing of the Japanese southern advance, moved some twenty-five hundred troops to Songhwan, a fort northeast of Asan, in order to encounter the Japanese.  Before dawn on July 29, the Japanese began fighting, and after two hours of fierce battle, they occupied Songhwan.  Immediately reassembling, they pursued the Chinese troops to Asan.  Since the Chinese had been stationed at Asan for some time and were bolstered by the added Songhwan troops, stiff resistance from the stronghold was expected.  The Japanese advance column arrived in the early evening of July 20 and found that the Chinese had already evacuated; not one Chinese soldier was there.  The Japanese occupied Asan without a single loss.

Other prints from this collection depicting the battle of Songhwan and the occupation of Asan can be found at Ban-Banzai for the Great Japanese Empire! Illustration of the Assault on Songhwan: A Great Victory for Our Troops, View of a large intense engagement [of the] First Sino-Japanese War, Sino-Japanese War Break in the Fighting, Captain Matsuzaki Crossing the Anjō-sen and The Great Battle of the Ansong Ford: The Valor of Captain Matsuzaki Crossing Anjo.

1 A formal declaration of war between Japan and China would not be officially declared until August 1, 1894.


Print Details
 IHL Catalog
 #690
 Title or Description  Captain Matsuzaki Fights Bravely in the Battle of Songhwan (Seikan no gekisen Matsuzaki taii funyou no zu)
 Artist  Migata Toshihide (1863-1925)
 Signature  Toshide
 Seal  Gosai
 Publication Date  September 1894 (Meiji 27)
 Publisher
Sasaki Toyokichi 佐々木豊吉 [Marks pub ref. 450; this seal not shown but the last five characters on the seal are similar to seal 25-209 and read 佐々木豊吉]
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  good - backing remnants; separate sheets; soiling throughout, primarily along edges
 Genre  ukiyo-e - senso-e (Sino-Japanese War); Meiji era
 Miscellaneous  
 Format  vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 13 1/2 x 9 1/8 in. (34.3 x 23.5 cm)  each sheet
 Literature
 Impressions of the Front: Woodcuts of the Sino-Japanese War, Shunpei Okamoto, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1983, pl.5, p. 20.
 Collections This Print
 Philadelphia Museum of Art

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