Picture of the Capture of the Gunboat Sōkō

 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Picture of the Capture of the Gunboat Sōkō, 1894

IHL Cat. #570

About This Print


A depiction of captured Chinese sailors from the gunboat Tsao Kiang (Caojiang) which was captured off Asan, Korea by the Japanese cruiser Akitsushima on July 27, 1894 during the Battle of Pungdo, the first naval battle of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). The sailors are likely being transferred to the Japanese dispatch vessel Yayeyama1.  Conflicting information exists on the history of the Tsao Kiang and also its renaming as a ship of the Japanese navy, with most sources (including the title of this print) listing its new Japanese name as "Sōkō" and at least one source listing its new name as the "Toyshina."  The wikipedia entry on this ship follows.

1 The Surgical & Medical History of the Naval War Between Japan & China During 1894-95 , S. Suzuki of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Tokio Printing Co., Ltd., 1901, p. 534.

The Captured Ship Tsao Kiang
Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_gunboat_Tsao-kiang
Tsao Kiang (traditional Chinese: 操江; pinyin: Cāojiāng) was a 640-ton wooden (according to other sources: 600-ton composite-hulled) gunboat, launched in 1869 by Jiangnan Shipyard, Shanghai, for the Nanyang Fleet. Acquired in 1872 for Zhili by Li Hongzhang it served with Beiyang Fleet as a governor's yacht. It was captured by the Japanese cruiser Akitsushima on 25 July 1894 during the Battle of Pungdo and was renamed Soko; stricken in 1902, it was broken up in 1904.


Imperial Japanese Navy gunboat Soko in 1897
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IJN_gunboat_SOKOU_in_1897.jpg


The Battle of Pungdo (豊島沖海戦)

Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Pungdo
The Battle of Pungdo or Feng-tao (Japanese: 豊島沖海戦) was the first naval battle of the First Sino-Japanese War. It took place on 25 July 1894 offshore of Asan, Chungcheongnam-do Korea between cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy of Meiji Japan and components of the Beiyang Fleet of Qing China.

The Japanese Account
Source: http://www.okazaki-inst.jp/mutsu_munemitsu/Mutsu_Chapter_16.pdf, p. 1, 2.
In the early morning of July 25, 1894, the cruisers Yoshino (吉野), Akitushma (秋津州), and Naniwa (浪速) of the First Mobile Squadron of the Japanese Grand Fleet encountered the Qing navy cruiser Tsi-yuan (済遠) and the gunboat Kwang-yi (広乙) in the offing of Pungdo Island off the west coast of the Korean peninsula. While ordering crews to prepare for action in case of emergency, the commander of this tiny Japanese fleet intended to sail past the Qing ships in accordance with naval procedure in peacetime. When the distance between the two fleets narrowed to 3,000 meters, however, the Tsi-yuan suddenly started firing at the Yoshino; the Japanese fleet immediately returned fire. Thus began a fierce exchange of salvos. Visibility soon worsened due to funnel smoke of the warships and their gun smoke mixed with the morning mist.

When the mist cleared, the Kwang-yi was adrift, deprived of any battle capability, while the Tsi-yuan was fleeing. Chased by the Naniwa, the Tsi-yuan soon hoisted the white flag and the ensign of the Rising Sun to signal the surrender. At that point, the British commercial ship Kow-shing (高陞) arrived on the scene. The Kow-shing was transporting Qing soldiers and was escorted by the Chinese gunboat Tsao-kiang (操江). The Tsao-kiang immediately surrendered, but while the Naniwa’s crews boarded and searched the Kow-shing the Tsi-yuan fled. When ordered to tag along with the Naniwa, the British captain of the Kow-shing agreed to comply, but Qing soldiers on board stubbornly insisted on being taken back to a Qing port because the war had not yet erupted when the Kow-shing left Qing. After four hours of futile arguments, Tōgō Heihachirō (東郷平八郎), commanding officer of the Naniwa, issued the last warning and, subsequently, sank the Kow-shing and its crew members and soldiers, sparing the lives of three officers, including the captain.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #570
 Title or Description  Picture of the capture of the gunboat Sōkō
 (Soukou-gou hakaku no zu 操江号捕獲の圖)
 Artist  Yukawa Hiromitsu (active c. 1894)
 Signature  Hiromitsu
 Seal  Yukawa seal
 Publication Date  October 14, 1894 (Meiji 27)
 Publisher  大淵渉 (Oobuchi Wataru)
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  fair - overall soiling
 Genre  ukiyo-esenso-e
 Miscellaneous    
 Format  shikishiban
 H x W Paper 
 10 1/8 x 8 5/8 in. (25.7 x 21.9 cm) 
 H x W Image
 9 1/4 x 7 3/8 in. (23.5 x 18.7 cm)
 Literature 

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