Kobayashi Kiyochika Captain Kani Ichita

Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1847-1915

Mirror of Famous Army and Navy Men: Captain Kani Ichita
(Rikukai gunjin komyo kagami: Kani taii Ichita-kun)

signed Kiyochika with artist's seal, dated on left margin, Meiji nijuhachinen ichigatsu ichika (Meiji 28 [1895], January 1st), followed by the publisher details of Inoue Kichijiro (active late 19th cent), ca. 1895

oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 10 in., 37.3 by 25.4 cm

This print is from a series of twenty-five which celebrated heroes of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). Captain Kani Ichita was meant to lead his company on an assualt at Port Arthur, but he was suffering from an illness and collapsed within a hundred yards of the fort, leaving his men to carry on without him. Although he had been taken to a hospital, he slipped out a week later and returned to the location where he had fallen and committed seppuku, leaving a note "At this place, thinking that the fall of the enemy fortress was imminent, I allowed myself to halt because of illness. The momentary rest is the mistake of my life. I leave this letter to vindicate the honor of my name."

Reference:
Rhiannon Paget, in Hu, et al., Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2016, p. 164, no. 64.1
(inv. no. C-1499)

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