A Russian Soldier Protests as Two Japanese Soldiers Interrupt His Dinner Preparations


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, Russia is personified as a boorish tempura seller who has had his frying oil taken by the Japanese army. The tempura represents a battle site. This scene depicts Japanese soldiers effortlessly piercing through the tempura, symbolizing the Battle of Mukden in central Manchuria. This battle in fact had ended with massive losses for both sides.

Last updated: March 2, 2012