The Russian Generals Very Politely Lay down Their Arms
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 series mocked the Russians for their perceived military weakness, conceit, and cowardice. In this print, Russian generals regret taunting Japan as a small and insignificant nation, which they now realize may be small but should not be trifled with. They sob and surrender their weapons, pleading with the Japanese soldiers not to skewer them with their bayonets.
Yoshikawa town, Japan
Type of Item
1 print : woodcut, color ; 36.8 x 24.8 centimeters (sheet)
Last updated: March 2, 2012