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Korean Invasion Disagreement Illustrated

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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Korean Invasion Disagreement Illustrated, 08/11/1877
Ink on Paper
13 7/8 in. x 28 3/8 in. (35.24 cm x 72.07 cm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2005.1.42

Alternate Title: SeiKan ron no zu

Excellent impression; embossed. Excellent colors, with burnishing.

Signed: “Yoshusai Chikanobu” with red “Yoshu” gourd shaped seal

Colored ink woodblock print; 3 oban tate-e (triptych).

Object Description
With the Satsuma Rebellion in Kyushu capturing the country's attention in 1877, Tokyo publishers were quick to provide more background materials about Saigo and his men, such as this scene from a dramatic meeting in 1873 when Saigo quit the imperial government.

A crisis had developed within Japanese government circles during the early 1870's concerning policies toward Korea. Because the Korean king had disapproved of the removal of the shogunal regime in 1868, he refused to recognize the Japanese emperor's new government when they presented credentials in 1870. Two years later the Koreans again rejected a Japanese diplomatic mission, not even allowing them to enter Seoul. This affront by the Koreans came at a time when Japan was having difficulties with Taiwan and with establishing equitable treaties with European countries.

Saigo proposed heading a diplomatic mission to Korea to avoid a confrontation, but Kido, Iwakura and Okubo were reluctant to allow him such prestige and authority. When Saigo failed to secure that proposal, he then advocated a strong military stance against Korea, in order to embarrass Iwakura. Here the artist presents Saigo standing in a dramatic pose, his fists clenched in outrage, glaring at Prime Minister Sanjo and Minister of the Right Iwakura who are leaning forward at the opposite end of the table. While such a heated confrontation probably occurred, Chikanobu has created a rather theatrical presentation with figures spread out as if on a stage.

The five yellow cartouches contain the names of Saigo and his faction (right to left): Maebara Issei, Shinohara Kunimoto, Saigo Takamori, Eto Shinpei, and Kirino Toshiaki.

The red name blocks are (right to left): Oki Takato, Okuma Shigenobu, Ninna-ji no miya, Prime Minister Sanjo Sanetomi, Minister of the Right Iwakura Tomomi, Arisugawa no miya, Okubo Toshimichi, Kido Koin (blue cartouche), Enomoto Takeaki, Saigo Tsugumichi, and Itagaki Taisuke.

For more information, please refer to the Chikanobu exhibition catalogue.

Fukuda Kumajiro

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