Handsome illustration from the Sino-Japanese War of Captain Sakuma sounding a bugle as the Japanese attack the Chinee in the Pescadores. Leaning back on one leg, he raises his instrument high as he calls the troops into battle, orange shots streaking across the sky behind him. An officer leads the way with his sword in hand, a fallen enemy slumped across the rocky hillside below. At right, Japanese troops move forward carrying rifles with bayonets fixed. A dramatic image from this historic conflict, with fine bokashi shading and faint embossing in the clouds. A pine tree at right has been shattered by a shell, a large branch hanging to the side.
Interesting to note: Centre and right panel images of the triptych re-used in a triptych by Yonehide* (active 1904) titled Japanese Forces Occupying Yizhou. Russian Soldiers Fleeing to the North Bank of the Yalu River.
(Nihon gun Gishu senryō. Rohei Oryokkō hokugan e tōsō su).depicting an event that occurred on 4 April 1904.
Yonhide appears to have reused the blocks from a Toshihide Sino-Japanese War print (reproduced Konishi vol. 11.p.129) Only the left sheet has been significantly changed. Yonehide simplifies the design and changes the costume on the dead enemy soldier in the centre sheet. Even the left sheet takes its composition from the original design. It is suprising that this practice, not uncommon in ukiyo-e, did not occur more often in war prints. (from the 1991 Worcester Art Museum publication “In Battles Light”, Catalogue number 55. p.126).
Collections : Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
References : Illustrated in the Shinbaku Books 2014 publication “Massacres in Manchuria: Sino Japanese War
Prints 1894-1895”, edited by Jack Hunter, as Captain Sakuma leads a charge in the Pescadores,
page 124; Art work by Toshikata.
Illustrated in the 1977 Kodansha publication, First Sino-Japanese War Nishikie Chronicle (Ukiyo-e, 1894-95), p.129.
(* Nothing is known of Yoshikune, whose name appears on Russo-Japanese War prints. He may have been the pupil of Nanura Yoshikuni, who wrote his name with different characters, and who died in 1903 at the age of 49. the styles of both artists vary from ukiyo-e to Western.)