Kobayashi Kiyochika's War Stories


Kobayashi Kiyochika mastered woodblock printing and added elements of the most modern printing techniques and influences from photography, copperplate printing and oil painting to create one of the most contemporary-looking "graphic novels" I've ever seen. He did this...in the 1890s. 

Early in his career, he became the first to master painting the night sky and perfectly captured the modernization of Tokyo in the 1870s and '80s. When the First Sino-Japanese War broke out between his Meiji Japan and Qing Dynasty China in the mid-1890s, he printed up the battles and victories in mind-boggling detail. The Smithsonian's Freer-Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC has all the war tryptics; these images are from there and Google Art Project.


Sakuma, Chief of the Second Legion, 1895


Our Fleet Bombards the Enemy at Talien Bay, c. 1894


The Heroic Commander Hirose, 1904



Imperial Arrival at Shimbashi Station on Triumphal Return from Hiroshima, 1895



Landing at Yeijo Bay, 1895




Our Forces Sink a Chinese Warship in the Yellow Sea, 1894


Illustration of the Attack and Occupation of Tianzhuangtai, 1895


Fierce Battle of Gasan, Attacking Across the Anjo River, 1894


The Japanese Army at Weiheiwei, 1895


The Fall of Chinchow Fort, 1984

 
Our Elite Forces Capturing the Hoko Islands of Taiwan, 1894


Our Forces Occupy Ryuko Island, 1895



A very Marcel Dzama-looking one: Photographing our Troops Fighting in the Fortress Town, Ninzhuang, 1895


Braving the Snow, Our Troops Capture the Stronghold at Weihaiwei, 1895



Total Occupation of the Hoko Islands, 1895

 
Landing on Formosa at Midnight, 1895


Naval Battle of Ryojun, 1895

 

Lieutenant General Yamaji Leading the Second Army on its Landing on the Kinshu Peninsula, November 1894



Negotiations with Peach Envoy Ri Rosyo, 1895

1 comments

  1. Thanks for this superb post. I have sold Japanese wood block prints and have never experienced this important work. The images are answering so many of my questions. xo Mary