The Assault on Lushunkou
Mitsukata (Japanese, active late 19th century)
DimensionsWork : 14 1/2 x 29 in. (36.83 x 73.66 cm)
Each : 14 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. (36.83 x 24.77 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelLushunkou, also called Port Arthur by Westerners during the 19th century, was a strategic port city at the tip of the Liaodong peninsula in what is now China’s Liaoning province. Chinese forces retreating from Korea during the Sino-Japanese War made a defensive stand at Lushunkou but were quickly overwhelmed by the Japanese military’s combined land and sea assault. This print depicts fighting between Chinese soldiers and Japanese soldiers of the First Army lead by General Oyama Iwao, who appears in the central panel leading the charge on horseback. The Japanese government commissioned thousands of prints during the Sino-Japanese War to celebrate its victories and build patriotic support for the war within Japan. As here, the prints typically portray the Japanese soldiers as well-trained, modern warriors while the Chinese are usually portrayed as inept fighters with outdated weapons and uniforms. After the Battle of Lushunkou, the Japanese army massacred thousands of surrendered Chinese soldiers and civilians in retribution after the bodies of several fallen Japanese soldiers were discovered to have been mutilated.