The Navy Lands at Sukuchi Village

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

 

A Complete Chronicle of the Conquest of Kagoshima: The Navy Lands at Sukuchi Village, 1877 - Fantastic illustration of the Meiji Imperial Navy landing troops at Sukuchi Village during the Satsuma Rebellion. Rebels rush forward into the shallow water to engage the troops, fighting with swords while the soldiers fire guns and point bayonets at them. At upper right, cannons fire down at the approaching forces from atop the hill above the bay, with clouds of smoke billowing upwards. A dramatic night scene filled with action and energy.

One of many triptych prints by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) chronicling various battles of the Satsuma Rebellion.  This print depicts a night time landing of naval forces in the early March battle of Tabaruzaka Hill in northern Kagoshima, one of the most intense campaigns of the war.  Interestingly, this print omits all references (in the form of cartouches containing names) to specific rebel leaders or government military officers involved in the events, an almost universal component of Satsuma Rebellion prints.

Source: “The Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. From Kagoshima through the Siege of Kumamoto Castle", James H. Buck, Monumenta Nipponica 28, 4 p. 427-446.

The battle at Tabaruzaka Hill was the turning point of the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877.  Imperial forces emerged victorious, but with over 4,000 killed or wounded on each side.  The Meiji government's campaign against the rebels and their leader Saigo Takamori began in early March and this print likely depicts action associated with a final assault by government forces on March 19.  The assault by government forces came by sea and from the hills above and we can see a line of government soldiers and artillery on the ridge top in the right panel.

 

Condition: Color and impression is great. No holes or tears. Not backed. 

Date: 1877

Image Size - 14 1/8" x 19" 

 

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