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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Battle at Hakodate Harbor

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

Eight Views of Warriors in the Provinces: Battle at Hakodate Harbor
(Shokoku musha hakkei: Hakodate minato)

signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga, with publisher's seal Man, hanmoto, Nihonbashi, Manson, Tori Ichi (Yorozuya Magobei of Kineido), and combined censor and date seal Hitsuji-ichi, aratame (year of the goat [1871], 1st lunar month, examined)

oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 9 7/8 in., 37.1 by 25 cm

At the 1869 Battle of Hakodate over 16,000 Imperial troops marched on Hakodate harbor, the last stronghold of the fledgling Ezo Republic. What followed was one of the first modern naval battles in Japanese history as steam-powered warships engaged one another in Hakodate Bay. With the assistance of land-based artillery support, the Imperial forces won a resounding victory, sinking two ships and capturing the remaining three Ezo warships and forcing the capitulation of the Republic. In the foreground, the Imperial forces standing on the shore are knee-deep in sand, facing a sinking ship engulfed in flames just offshore. The black smoke from the ship and the grey smoke from the cannon blasts mingle in the evening sky.

Keyes 1983, p. 393, no. 271.3
Jansen 2002, pp. 278, 342 (re: battle)
Schaap 2011, p. 161, no. 41 (illus.)
Iwakiri 2014, p. 54, no. 68