Kuropatkin As Town Crier


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. The text of this print jokes that Japanese newspaper extras are associated with battle victories, but in Russia they are called the extras of ōmake (large loss), not in price but in battle. A man (possibly General Aleksei Nikolaevich Kuropatkin, the Russian Imperial Minister of War) wearing a suit and on skis is crying out the news from the war front as he passes a well-dressed couple. When the lady asks her husband why the Russians are so weak, he replies that their skill is in being prideful and not in accepting defeat.

Last updated: March 2, 2012