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Captain Sakuma Raising a War Cry at the Occupation of the Pescadores

Captain Matsuzaki Fights Bravely in the Battle of Songhwan

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Captain Sakuma Raising a War Cry at the Occupation

of the Pescadores

by Migita Toshihide, 1895

Migita Toshihide (1863-1925)

IHL Cat. #1221

About This Print

The Brave Captain Sakuma

One of many prints, by this artist (see Captain Matsuzaki Fights Bravely in the Battle of Songhwan) and other artists, that glorified the actions of particular officers or soldiers whose tales of valor were recorded by the press.  In this print we see Captain Sakuma leading a bayonet-charge of his Fourth Company coming to the aid of the Japanese First and Second Companies during the afternoon of March 23, 1895.1  Captain Sakuma's Fourth Company, along with the First, Second and Third Companies, had been set ashore earlier in the afternoon from a detachment of transports anchored in the bay of Li-chon-chiao to capture the Kon-peh-tai fort on Pa-chau Island (modern-day Wang-an.)2

As the artist was not present at the battle, he constructed this scene largely from his imagination, as did almost all the artists who portrayed the war.

Battle of the Pescadores

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pescadores_Campaign_%281895%29

The Pescadores Campaign (23–26 March 1895) was the last military operation of the First Sino-Japanese War and an essential preliminary to the Japanese conquest of Taiwan.


As the First Sino-Japanese War approached its end, the Japanese took steps to ensure that Qing-ruled Formosa (Taiwan) and the Pescadores (Penghu) would be ceded to Japan under the eventual peace treaty. Although hostilities in northern China were halted during the peace negotiations that eventually resulted in the Treaty of Shimonoseki (April 1895), Taiwan and the Pescadores were specifically excluded from the scope of the armistice, allowing the Japanese to mount a military operation against them without imperiling the peace negotiations. The key to the capture of Taiwan was the Pescadores, which lay midway between mainland China and Taiwan. Their occupation by the Japanese would prevent further Chinese reinforcements from being sent across the Taiwan Strait.

On 15 March 1895, a Japanese expeditionary force of 5,500 men set sail for the Pescadores Islands. The expeditionary force landed on Pa-chau Island (八罩嶼; modern-day Wang-an), to the south of the main Pescadores archipelago, on the morning of 23 March.

The campaign

Although the Pescadores were garrisoned by 15 Chinese regular battalions (5,000 men) and defended by the recently completed Hsi-tai coastal defense battery (built in the late 1880s in response to the capture of Pescadores by the French during the Sino-French War), the Japanese met very little resistance during the landing operation as the defenders were demoralized. It took the Japanese only three days to secure the islands. After a naval bombardment of the Chinese forts, Japanese troops went ashore on Fisher Island (漁翁島; modern-day Siyu) and Penghu Island on 24 March, fought several brief actions with defending Chinese troops, and captured the Hsi-tai battery (known to the Japanese, from the Japanese pronunciation of its Chinese characters, as the Kon-peh-tai fort; likely 拱北砲臺) and Makung. In the next two days they occupied the other main islands of the Pescadores group.

Re-using This Design 
Nine years after this print was published, the publisher Matsuno Yonejirō reused the design to depict an engagement during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905.)  For commentary on reuse of print designs depicting the Sino-Japanese War to depict scenes from the Russo-Japanese War see the section titled "Unabashed Plagiarism" on the page for the print titled Japanese Forces Occupying Yizhou. Russian Soldiers Fleeing to the North Bank of the Yalu.

Migita Toshihide, 1895
Captain Sakuma Raising a War Cry at the Occupation of the Pescadores
Yonehide, 1904 
Japanese Forces Occupying Yizhou.  Russian Soldiers Fleeing to the North Bank of the Yalu

1 Heroic Japan: A History of the War Betwen China & Japan, F. Warrington Eastlake and Yamada Yoshi-aki, Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1897, p. 401-403.
2 [The] Island of Formosa, Past and Present. History, People, Resources, and Commercial Prospects, James Wheeler Davidson, Macmillan & Co., 1903, p. 266-267.

Print Details
 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Captain Sakuma Raising a War Cry at the Occupation of the Pescadores
 澎湖島占領佐久間大尉吶喊之図 Hōkōtō senryō Sakuma taii totsukan no zu 
 Artist Migata Toshihide (1863-1925)
応需年英筆 Ōju Toshihide hitsu 
 Seal Ban? Gōsai  ? 梧斎 (shown above below signature)
 Publication Date
1895 (Meiji 28)
Matsuno Yonejirō 松野 米次郎 [Marks pub ref. 317; this seal not shown but similar to seal 21-141]
大倉刀 Okura? tō
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - full size (except left sheet which is irregularly trimmed - see Paper dimensions below); light backing; separate sheets; light soiling and toning; several wormholes covered by backing sheet
 Genre ukiyo-esenso-e (Sino-Japanese War)
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 right sheet: 14 3/4 x 9 15/16 in. (37.5 x 25.2 cm)
 center sheet: 14 3/4 x 10 1/16 in. (37.5 x 25.6 cm)
left sheet top: 14 13/16 x 10 1/16 in. (37.6 x 25.6 cm)
left sheet bottom: 14 13/16 x 9 11/16 in. (37.6 x 25.6 cm)
 H x W Image right sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm)
 center sheet: 14 1/8 x 9 1/4 in. (35.9 x 23.5 cm)
left sheet top: 14 1/8 x 9 1/4 in. (35.9 x 23.5 cm)
 Massacres in Manchuria, Sino-Japanese Prints 1894-1895, Ukiyo-e Master Series,: Vol. 13, ed. Jack Hunter, Shinbaku Books, 2014, p. 124.
 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2000.134a-c, 2000.205a-c; Princeton University Art Museum 2008-130 a-c