Due to the severe weather, transporting heavy equipment, especially cannons, from Yungcheng to WeiHaiwei was difficult. Many officers went ahead to scout, but because of the blowing winds and snow, they failed in their missions or were delayed.
Outstanding image from the Sino-Japanese War of an officer and his assistant braving a snowstorm while scouting enemy territory. Wind and snow sweep across the landscape in curving gusts, the snow blanketing the fronts of the men, who are bundled up in heavy coats with only their goggle-covered eyes and noses visible. A puff of breath curls up from the horse’s nostril as it waits in the cold, blanketed as it stands in the drifts. The tower of a building rises left, shaded in grey against the sky. Beautifully drawn and detailed with soft gradations of colour and burnishing in the black uniforms.
Considered one of the masterpieces of Japanese war prints, this fantastic design conveys a real sense of the brutally harsh winter conditions soldiers faced in Manchuria during the war.
The Japanese Second Army landed from troopships at Rongcheng bay on the Shandong Peninsular in China between 20 and 25 January 1895, before the march through severe conditions to decisive battles at Weihaiwei, which fell to the Japanese on 2 February
The severe conditions of cold, snow and ice that the troops encountered were mentioned in dispatches. Officers were sent ahead to scout but often failed or were delayed due to the driving winds and snow. Second Artillery Nanbu Kijirô recalled:
"As far as one could see, snow covered the Shandong Peninsula. It was biting cold. Beards hung like icicles from the chin. To combat frostbite, all extremeties had wool protective covers. But the cold iced even our bone marrow. The horses were too cold to continue..."
Collections: British Library.
The FitzWilliam Museum, Cambridge, England
The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Collections: Illustrated in the 1983 catalogue “Impressions of the Front by Shumpei Okamoto”, p.40. Catalogue