Beisaku Taguchi was a Meiji-period woodblock print artist best known for his scenes of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). Beisaku was born as the son of a rice merchant in Tochigi in 1864. In 1873, he moved to Tokyo, where he began his artistic training with Banzan Nakamura. In 1881, Beisaku became the student of Kiyochika, one of the foremost printmakers at the turn of the 20th century. Under the wing of Kiyochika, Beisaku explored caricature and eventually replaced Kiyochika as the head cartoonist for the magazine Marumaru Chinbun in 1892.
As the woodblock print competed with new reproductive technologies such as photography and lithography, Beisaku worked during a transitional moment for his medium. Though the world of Edo was dissipating with the modernization of the Meiji period, senso-e, or “war prints,” answered a swell of nationalism and sparked a temporary reinvigoration of demand for woodblock prints. Often designed as triptychs, senso-e depicted scenes of soldiers, scouts and raging battles across three sheets. As newspapers did not yet include photography during the Sino-Japanese War, senso-e served as a form of reportage, answering a public interest in the progress of the war in China. Beisaku’s designs are considered some of the highlights of the genre.
Ukiyo-e | Japanese Woodblock Prints | Ronin Gallery