Teacher guide Throwing off Asia II: woodblock prints of the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95 - visual narratives

TLF ID M007090

This is a collection consisting of eight visual narratives or sets of Japanese woodblock prints. They present scenes from the Sino-Japanese War as imagined by Japanese printmakers and, in the process, they denigrate the Chinese foe. The visual narratives are organised around eight topics or themes: attacking and occupying Port Arthur; the predictable pose of the hero; the compassionate hero; war at sea; army and navy heroes; Kiyochika's manga; the devil in the details; and orientalism. The narratives are introduced by brief written commentaries.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This collection of visual narratives is highly valuable for historical studies of Japan's emergence as a world power and its emulation of other powers by engaging in an imperialist war. It is especially useful for modern history in years 11 and 12, particularly for studies of the rise of Japan in the Meiji period. It is also useful for history in year 9, particularly for the elective depth study of Asia and the world.
  • Seven of the eight visual narratives in this collection provide a unique opportunity for historical, cultural and artistic analysis of Meiji woodblock prints of the Sino-Japanese War. Their organisation into visual narratives enhances the 'reading' of the prints, while the introductory commentary for each narrative highlights its common theme.
  • Popular prints positioned Japan's aggression as part of its 'throwing off Asia' modernisation. 'Asia' was symbolised by China and the Chinese people who, for the first time in their long history of interaction, were viewed by the Japanese as backward, weak and, as evidenced by many of the prints, racially inferior.
  • The final visual narrative, 'Orientalism - the War in English eyes', contains pictures, prose and verse about the war that appeared in the English journal 'Punch'. It is useful for historical studies of European attitudes towards Asia, especially towards the emergence of Japan as a world power.
Year level

9; 10; 11; 12

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Publisher
  • Name: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: Massachusetts, UNITED STATES
  • URL: http://web.mit.edu/
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Online
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2008 Visualizing Cultures. Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0.