Chronicle of the Conquest of Kagoshima: Officer Nozu Retrieves the National Flag During a Battle at the Mouth of the Takase River
(Kagoshima setoki no uchi: Takaseguchi kawadori no senso Nozu ko rentaiki o torikaesu zu)
signed oju Taiso Yoshitoshi, with publisher's date and address seal Meiji junen sangatsu jusanka; [Tokyo Nihonbashi] Kobunacho Sanchome 11-banchi, shuppanjin Kumagai Shoshichi (Meiji 10 , March 13) of Ebisuya Shoshichi of Kinshodo
oban tate-e triptych 14 1/2 by 29 1/2 in., 36.7 by 75 cm
The Satsuma Rebellion was led by a group of disaffected samurai who had lost their social standing in the Meiji Restoration. Though the conflict lasted less than a year, it was a pivotal moment in Japan's westernization, and had a particularly strong impact on Yoshitoshi himself. Yoshitoshi was very interested in the rebellion and followed it closely, frequently depicting in woodblock prints.
In this scene, the Imperial Officer Mitchitsura Nozu has retrieved a fallen standard from the rebel samurai, turning the tide of a battle back to the Imperial forces. To his right is the Officer Shinohara Koka, while the figure off in the background to his left is identified as Major Yoshida (Yoshida Rikugun-Shosa). Officer Nozu (1841-1907) was a commander born in the Kagoshima Prefecture (then called the Satsuma domain). He started as a regular, fighting shogunal forces during the Meiji Restoration, and by the time of the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877 had been promoted to chief of staff of the 2nd Infantry Brigade. Nozu fights gallantly abroad his bucking horse, in what one can see is just a small part of the large pitched battle occurring deep into the background of the design. He would later serve as a commanding officer in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and a general during the subsequent Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), and died in retirement as a marquis in 1907.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 55
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 421, no. 351.1
Rotem Kowner, The A to Z of the Russo-Japanese War, 2006, p. 268 (re: Officer Nozu)
Robert Schaap, Appendix II in Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Fries Collection, 2011, p. 168, no. 103 (illus.)
British Museum, accession no. 1983,0701,0.12.1-3
(inv. no. 10-4499)
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