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Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 5

Japanese Color Woodblock Printed Book

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 5

by Kubota Beisen, 1894

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7
IHL Cat. #548

About This Book

Volume 5 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."

Ad 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.

Volume 5 covers events around the area of Fenghuancheng and contains a map of the area and an interpretation of events.  The artist pictures himself speaking with a soldier in the illustration titled "General Ōseko shooting the enemy from the hill Kozan."  No injured or dead Japanese troops can be seen in any of the illustrations.

See the print Picture of the Hard Fight at Fenghuangcheng by Ogata Gekkō (1859-1920) for a brief report by the journalist Beisen of the fighting at Fenghuangcheng.  

1. The below descriptions in Japanese are taken from the National Diet Library https://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/995306
2. All misspellings and grammatical errors in the captions have been carried forward. Where the names of Japanese military officers have been obviously translated into English incorrectly, I've corrected those names within brackets.

back cover

日清戦闘畫報 五編
Nisshin Sentō Gahō, Volume 5

page 4-5
Colonel Satō disguised as a Korean, spying on the bank of the Ōryokukō (Yalu).

The military council at Gishū Castle.

page 2-3
序 Preface (cont.)
Convocation of the Diet in special Session in Hiroshima.

page 1
序 Preface

page 10-11
The assault by Lft. General Katsura [Major General Kuroda] on the hill of Kozan.
page 8-9
Constructing a bridge over the Ōryokukō at dark night.

 General Ōseko [Ōsako] shooting the enemy from the hill Kozan.

page 6-7
Colonel Satō wading the Ōryokukō defeats the Manchoorian cavalry.
page 16-17
The Japanese troops defeat the enemy at the vicinity of Daitōkō.

 The seizure of several guns at Antōken.

page 14-15
Maj. General Kuroda [Major General Okuyama] cannonading the enemy's entrench ments from Gishu.

General Yamagata enter to Kyūrenjō. - unread seal

page 12-13
Maj. General Tatsumi defeats the enemy on their returning attack.

page 22-23
Landing of the 2nd corps d'armée at Kwayenkō.
page 20-21
The assemblage of war-vessels & transports on mouth of the Daitōkō (Tai-tong-kang).

page 18-19
The establishment of the Board of Administration at Antōken.

The march of Lt. Colonel Fukushima for Taikozan.

page 28-29 
Historical account
page 26-27
Historical account

page 24-25
Establishing lines of telegraph by the Telegraph band.

Historical account

page 34-35
Historical account
page 32-33
Historical account
page 30-31
Historical account

-intentionally left blank-
page 38-39
畵者 久保田米僊
者 久保田米齊
畵者 久保田金仙
編輯兼 発行人 大倉保五郎
印刷人 杉原辨次
発賣所 大倉書店  
印刷所 杉原
剞劂人 梅澤巳之吉
printed on December 29, 1894
published on December 30, 1894
painter Kubota Beisen
painter Kubota Beisai
painter Kubota Kinsen
editor and publisher Ōkura Yasugorō
printer Sugihara Benjirō
publishing house Ōkura shoten
printing office Sugihara kappanjo
carver Umezawa Minokichi

初編目次 第貮編目次 第三編目次
Table of contents for the first four volumes
page 36-37
Historical account

rough battle map of Fenghuangcheng

Book Details

 IHL Catalog #548
 Title/Description Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 5
 日清戦闘畫報* 第五編 (Nisshin Sentō Gahō, daigo 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 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
 illustrationsnot signed unless noted on above thumbnails
 Seal illustrationsnot sealed unless noted on above thumbnails
 Publication Date December 30, 1894 明治廿年十二月三日發行
 Publisher  Ōkura Yasugorō 大倉保五郎 (Ōkura shoten)- Tokyo
 Carver Umezawa Minokichi 梅澤巳之吉
 Printer Sugihara Benjirō 杉原辨次郎
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - minor toning and staining throughout; binding and all pages in tact with little edge or paper wear
 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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