The Humors, Devil to-Suppress "Kwai-Danzi"


The victory of Japan in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5, a collision over economic and political influence in Korea and Manchuria, marked the first victory of an Asian nation over a European power. This unexpected turn of events compelled the West to reassess the status of Japan in the international political order. Among Asian nations, it shattered the image of the invincibility of Western authority. While many in Japan were dissatisfied with the peace treaty that ended the war, Japan’s victory nevertheless confirmed the success of the Meiji regime’s drive towards modernization and helped to solidify the military’s growing presence in the government. This 1904 print, by Tomisato Chōmatsu, depicts Japan in the center as the “God of Peace” overpowering Russia, looked upon admiringly by England, the United States, Turkey, France, China, Korea, and Germany. The Japanese description at the bottom and its English translation in the upper left describe how Russia will be rejected by other nations while Japan will gain their support and admiration for driving away the “demon.” The figure representing Japan is holding a platter of rice cakes with the names of major places in dispute in the war.

Last updated: December 18, 2014