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Russo-Japanese War: Great Japan Red Cross Battlefield Hospital Treating Injured

Battle Between the Japanese and Russians at Seoul: Hurrah for the Great Victory of the Japanese Empire

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Russo-Japanese War: Great Japan Red Cross

Battlefield Hospital Treating Injured

by Utagawa Kokunimasa, 1904 

The Port Arthur Surrender

IHL Cat. #1676

About This Print

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. 44.
As part of Japan's efforts to emulate Western institutions, the Japanese Red Cross was established in 1877, during the Seinan War (a.k.a. Satsuma Rebellion).  By the time of the Sino-Japanese War [1894-1895], images of the Red Cross tending to fallen soldiers had become part of the standard iconography of the battlefield; the Japanese were to be seen as not only mighty but also magnanimous, as befitted an "enlightened" nation.  Such descriptions would only proliferate during the Russo-Japanese War, with the Japanese Red Cross shown selflessly caring for Japanese and Russian wounded alike. (For another print depicting the Japanese Red Cross in action on the battlefield see IHL Cat. #104 The Humane Ambulance Corps of the Japanese Red Cross.)

A later state of this print added an English transcription, written in cursive, to the upper left hand corner of the left sheet that reads "Japan Red Society Hospital treating the wounded in the Russo-Japanese war."

The inset, shown above, of the center sheet of this print reads "brutal Russian soldiers" 露國野蠻兵 who are seen tearing a child away from its mother. This inset leaves no doubt about who were the "bad guys and good guys" during the war, but as we know brutality towards the civilian population was practiced by both sides.

The Japanese Red Cross

Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Red_Cross
From the beginning, the Japanese royal family, especially Empress Shōken, provided active support for Red Cross activities. (See this collection's prints Picture of a Visit by the Empress to the General Staff Headquarters and Illustration of the Japanese Red Cross Society General Meeting.)  During the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the Japanese Red Cross played an outstanding role rescuing many Russian prisoners of war, gaining Japan a considerable amount of good public relations in the western press. 


Source: Official History of the Russian-Japanese War: A Vivid Panorama of Land and Naval Battles, J. Martin Miller, 1905

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #1676
 Title (Description)  Russo-Japanese War: Great Japan Red Cross Battlefield Hospital Treating Injured
 日露戰爭大日本赤十字野戰病院負傷者救療の圖
 Nichiro sensō dai Nihon Sekijūji yasenbyōin fushōsha kyūryō no zu
 Artist  Utagawa Kokunimasa 小国政   (1874 – 1944)
 Signature
柳蛙 Ryūa (signature used for Russo-Japanese War Prints)
 Seal
江戸子 Edoko ("true Tokyoite") 
 Pub. Date  March 1904 (Meiji 37) as shown on publisher's seal below
 Publisher
福田初次郎 Fukuda Hatsujirō
Fukuda Hatsujirō (福田初次郎) located at Tokyo Nihonbashi Hasegawachō 19-banchi (日本橋区長谷川丁九バンチ) [Marks: seal 30-062; pub. ref. 070]
臨写印刷兼発行者 Rinsha insatsu ken hakkōsha 
The characters 電浪 二九四 appearing to the left of the seal are likely the publisher's phone number, although "telephone" is normally seen as 電話 ("denwa") instead of 電浪 ("denrō") as written here.
 Carver
三卋彫栄 Hori Ei 3rd generation
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent 
 Condition  good - 3/4" paper loss center of left margin on right sheet, some paper remnants verso; some margin trimming 
 Genre  ukiyo-esenso-e (Russo-Japanese War)
 Miscellaneous  
 Format  vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 R:14 x 9 9/16 in.  (35.6 x 24.3 cm)
 C: 14 x 9 3/16 in. (35.6 x 22.9 cm)
 L: 13 15/16 x 9 5/8 in. (35.4 x 24.4)
 H x W Image  R: 14 x 9 7/16 in.  (35.6 x 24 cm)
 C: 14 x 9 3/16 in.  (35.6 x 23.3 cm)
 L: 13 15/16 x 9 3/8 in.  (35.4 x 23.8 cm)
 Literature 
 A Much Recorded War: The Russo-Japanese War in History and Imagery, Fredrick A. Sharf, Anne Nishimura Morse, Sebastian Dobson, MFA Publications, 2005, p. 44; The Male Journey in Japanese Prints, Roger Keyes, The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and The University of California Press, 1989, p. 110, fig. 159.
 Collections This Print  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2000.367a-c; Noda Public Library c27
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