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Captain Higuchi, in the Midst of the Attack, Personally Holds a Lost Chinese Child

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Captain Higuchi, in the Midst of the Attack,

Personally Holds a Lost Chinese Child

by Ogata Gekkō, 1895

IHL Cat. #1811

About This Print

Source: MIT Visualizing Cultures  https://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/throwing_off_asia_01/compassionate_hero.html
"One of the most celebrated Japanese heroes of the Sino-Japanese War was Captain Higuchi, who reportedly rescued a Chinese infant in a crucial battle near Weihaiwei. As the story was told, Captain Higuchi heard the abandoned child crying on the battlefield, scooped him up in his left arm, and led his forces to victory flourishing his sword with his right arm. After the battle, Higuchi returned the child to his parents."

Also see IHL Cat. #1343 Captain Higuchi by Mizuno Toshikata (1866-1908) and IHL Cat. #2163 The Attack on Weihaiwei: The Taking of the Hundred Foot Cliff [Captain Higuchi saves a child] by Watanabe Nobukazu (c.1872-1944).

This print was one of a number of Sino-Japanese war prints on display in the "posters" section at the 1895 Nineteenth Triennial Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. They were contributed by the famous importer and purveyor of Japanese goods Bunkio Matsuki.1 In the report of the judges for foreign and American posters they note, "Your jury further wish to highly recommend the artistic and graphic nature of the Japanese War series of bulletins."2

1 "A Pleasing Novelty":Bunkio Matsuki and the Japan Craze in Victorian Salem, Frederic A. Sharf, Peabody & Essex Museum, 1993, p. 104.
2 Report of the Nineteenth Triennial Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association Held in their Exhibition Building corner of Huntington Avenue and West Newton Street Boston October and November, 1895, Boston Press of David Clapp & Son, 1896, p. 196 and 202. 

click on image to enlarge

Various Accounts of Captain Higuchi and the Chinese Baby

Captain Higuchi Saves a Chinese Child at the Battle of the 100 Foot Cliff
Near Wei-Hai-Wei
(translation of the scroll appearing on the print Captain Higuchi by Mizuno Toshikata)

After having destroyed and conquered the enemy at Motianling [Fort], and while pushing forward towards the "Hundred -Foot-Cliff," the battalion commander of the Sixth Brigade, Captain Higuchi, found an abandoned Chinese infant crying on the ground.  Taking pity on the child and worried that it might freeze to death, he picked up the child and continued to advance.  Unexpectedly, Higuchi ran into the enemy and realized that he had to fight. He then embraced the child with his left arm and raised his sword with his right arm, leading his men.  Afterwards he gave the child to a Chinese prisoner who returned it to the parents.  In general, [these actions] exemplify the spirit of our brave and virtuous soldiers.

Heroic Japan: A History of the War Between China & Japan,
F. Warrington Eastlake and Yamada Yoshi-aki,  S. Low, Marston & Co., Ltd., London, 1897

THAT baby!

The assault of the Chaopei-tsai fort was acomparatively easy task for the Japanese, for the Chinese garrison was soonvanquished and the fort readily seized by the attacking forces. After all wasover, a fine-looking Chinese woman was seen approaching the Japanese lines,having evidently lost her way. The woman was, in all probability, nothing morethan the concubine of one of the Chinese officers in the fort before itscapture; yet the Japanese took pity on her for the sake of her sex, and Lieut.-Colonel Kawamura Masanao, who was commanding a Battalion of Engineers in theSixth Division, showed her what road to take and saw that she reached in safetya house in the nearest village. A few minutes later on some of the soldiersfound a well-nourished Chinese baby boy lying on the ground, and it wassupposed that the child belonged to the woman who had just been sent beyond thelines. Pitying the little fellow, who was crying bitterly, Captain HiguchiSeizaburō,of the Sixth Division, picked him up and did his best to console the baby. Butas the young China-man refused to be comforted. Captain Higuchi called up oneof the prisoners and told him that he, the Captain, would give him his libertyif he took that baby to its parents. To this the Chinese captive, a stalwartfellow who looked as if he might have children himself, joyfully consented;but the baby refused to be separated from its Japanese friend, and cried harderthan ever when the Chinese tried to take it in his arms. So, holding the babyin his left arm while he grasped his sabre with the right, Captain Higuchimarched to the capture of the next fort, receiving at one time a bullet throughhis cap. The fort was taken in gallant style, the baby meanwhile looking on inwondering surprise at the din and uproar of the battle, perfectly content torest on the kind-hearted Captain's shoulder. When all was over this gallantofficer gave his tiny charge to some of his troopers, who bore the child insafety to a Chinese house in a village hard by.

Hana a Daughter of Japan, Gensai Murai, The Hoichi Sinbun, Tokyo, 1904

In the Japan-China war our Captain Higuchi was commanding his troop at the battle of Weihai-wei, and he found a little child on the street during a hot engagement, the child had been left there by his parents who had fled away. The Captain who had a father's heart could not bear to leave the child that way, he took him up in his left arm, and in his right hand he held his sword and carried on his victorious fight. Afterward he searched out the parents and returned the child. 

The Youth’s Companion May 26, 1898


Among the Chinese present at one of the battles between the two Asiatic nations in the late Chinese and Japanese war, was one spectator of an unusual kind. After the capture of a small fort by the Japanese and the retreat of such of their enemies as hat not been taken prisoners, a healthy-looking Chinese baby was found by the victors, lying on the ground in their line of march. The captain of a division picked him up, and did his best to administer consolation, and presently called one of the prisoners, to whom he offered his liberty on condition that he should take the child to his parents. The captive joyously assented, but the baby raised a noisy objection. He lifted his voice on high and cried so loudly, when the attempt was made to take him from his Japanese friend, that the latter saw no resource but to submit. So, holding the baby on his left arm, while he grasped his sabre with the right, Captain Higuchi marched on to the capture of the next fort, receiving, meanwhile, a bullet through his hat. The baby looked on wonderingly while the fort was taken in gallant style, and seemed to be quite unmoved by the din and uproar of battle, so long as he could rest upon his captain's shoulder. When the fight was over, the captain gave the child to some of his troopers, who bore the little creature to a Chinese house nearby.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Captain Higuchi, in the Midst of the Attack, Personally Holds a Lost Chinese Child
 Higuchi taii shingeki no toji mizukara Seishi no ishi o hōji suru no zu  
 Artist Ogata Gekkō (1859-1920)
 Seal 一嶽一叡 ichigaku ichiei* seal (see above)
 Publication Date July 1895 (Meiji 28) [appearing in left margin which has been trimmed from this print]
 Publisher Daikokuya Heikichi (Matsuki Heikichi 松木平吉) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 [appearing in left margin which has been trimmed from this print]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - left margin trimmed to image; light soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e - senso-e (Sino-Japanese War)
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 13 7/8 x 9 1/4 in. (35.2 x 23.5 cm) each sheet (Note: left sheet only 9” wide)
 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection 21.1546-8,2000.183a-c, 2000.184a-c; Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery S2003.8.1787 and S1999.56a-c; The Walters Art Museum 95.864A-C
* Reading of seal is taken from the website of David Humpries on Ogata Gekko

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