General Kuropatkin Ready for Anything Awaits the Coming of the Japanese


The Russo-Japanese War (1904–5) was documented in various forms of media, such as woodblock prints, photographs, and illustrations. The victories of the Japanese military in the early stages of the war inspired propaganda prints by Japanese artists. Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847–1915) contributed this farcical single-sheet print to the series, Nihon banzai hyakusen hyakushō (Long live Japan: 100 victories, 100 laughs). Kiyochika, known for producing woodblock prints using Western painting methods, had been under the brief tutelage of Charles Wirgman (1832–91), an English cartoonist for the Illustrated London News. Kiyochika also became a full-time political cartoonist for a Japanese magazine in 1882 –93. The satirical writer Honekawa Dojin (pseudonym of Nishimori Takeki, 1862–1913) supplied each illustration with an accompanying humorous description. In this print, General Aleksei Nikolaevich Kuropatkin, the Russian Imperial Minister of War, is depicted as the legendary Japanese warrior-monk Benkei. Despite his impressive appearance, as soon as Kuropatkin sees a Japanese soldier, he begs the soldier to spare him. The container on his belt is labeled bora (lies).

Last updated: March 2, 2012