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Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 2

Japanese Color Woodblock Printed Book 

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 2

by Kubota Beisen, 1894

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7

IHL Cat. #1984

About This Book

Volume 2 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.
[note: while the ad states "Complete in ten parts." an eleventh volume was added at a later date.]

2015 Reprint of All Eleven Volumes
In 2015, the Osaka publisher Sōgensha 創元社 reprinted all eleven volumes in a single 470 page volume with additional commentary.

Egakareta Nisshin Sensō: Kubota Beisen "Nisshin sentō gahō": eiin, honkokuban, gasha Kubota Beisen, Kubota Beisai, Kubota Kinsen ; Ōtani Tadashi, Fukui Junko hen.
描かれた日清戦争 : 久保田米僊「日清戦闘画報」 : 影印・翻刻版

1 Ten volumes were originally planned, but an eleventh titled 凱旋編 (Triumphal Return) was added at a later date.
2 See note 1 above.

Published on November 8, 1894, Volume 2 covers events during September and October 1894 including the taking of Pyongyang Castle on September 15, 1894.

1. The below descriptions in Japanese are taken from the National Diet Library https://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/995303
back cover

Nisshin Sentō Gahō, Volume 2

第二篇附録 (supplement)
folded insert: 
raising the flag after the fierce battle for Pyongyang Castle
on September 15, 1894
page 2
序 Preface (continued)
signed 斎 居士石英
[likely the writer and scholar
Kōsai Ishikawa]
page 1
序 Preface

page 6-7

page 4-5

page 3

page 11-12

 page 9-10
page 7-8

page 17-18
page 15-16

page 13-14


page 23-24 
Historical account
page 21-22
Historical account
page 19-20

Historical account

page 29-30
advertisement of books for sale by Ōkura shoten
page 27-28
著作者 久保田米僊
著作者 久保田米齊
発行兼 印刷者 大倉保五郎
発行所 大倉書店  
剞劂人 梅澤巳之吉
printed on November 5, 1894
published on November 8, 1894
writer Kubota Beisen
writer Kubota Beisai
publisher and printer Ōkura Yasugorō
publishing house Ōkura shoten
carver Umezawa Minokichi

日清戰闘畫報第一 編諸新聞批評
[critiques of Volume 1 from various newspapers]
page 25-26
Historical account

[maps of the battles]

page 35
 page 33-34
page 31-32

Book Details

 IHL Catalog #1984
 Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 2
 日清戦闘畫報* 第二編 (Nisshin Sentō Gahō, daini hen) 
 *typically seen written as 日清戦闘画報
[also written as 日清戰鬪畫報 and 日清戰鬥畫報]
Kubota Beisen (1852-1906) [assisted by his son Kubota Beisai 久保田米齊 (1874-1937)]
detail from colophon

著作者 久保田米僊
[author Kubota Beisen]
著作者 久保田米齊
[author Kubota Beisai]

 illustrations not signed unless noted on above thumbnails
 Seal illustrations not sealed unless noted on above thumbnails
 Publication Date November 8, 1894 明治廿七年十一月日發行
Ōkura Yasugorō
detail from colophon
発行兼 印刷者 大倉保五郎
[publisher and printer Ōkura Yasugorō]

発行所 大倉書店  
[publishing house Ō
kura shoten]
 CarverUmezawa Minokichi
剞劂人 梅澤巳之吉
Umezawa Minokichi]
 Printer Sugihara Benjirō 杉原辨次郎 [note: although the printing of the first three volumes is attributed to Sugihara, he is not listed as the printer in the colophon until volume 4 when his place of business 杉原所 Sugihara kappanjo (Sugihara print shop) is also listed. The colophon of this volume lists Ōkura Yasugorō, the publisher as the printer.]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - worm damage in first leaf only
 Genre ehon 絵本; senso-e
 Format fukurotoji
 H x W Paper 6 11/16 x 9 1/4 in. (17 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 MilitaryDS765.K83x 1894 (Volumes 1-8); Harvard University HOLLIS: 007566215 (Volumes 1-11); National Diet Library (Volumes1-3, 6, 8); National Institute of Japanese Literatue (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.
page created: 12/8/2018
last revision: 5/13/2020