A Well-Watched War: Images from the Russo-Japanese Front, 1904-1905

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The world has grown accustomed to seeing modern warfare through the lens of a camera. At the beginning of the 1900s, however, illustrations and prints were still popular means of proving images of from the war front. The Russo-Japanese War, fought during 1904-1905, was a dispute over control of the materially rich and strategically important territories of Korea and Manchuria. As the first modern war between an industrialized Asian nation and a Western power, the conflict generated a huge amount of public interest, drawing international media attention at a time when war journalists still preferred to use illustrations to cover most major events. This exhibition is organized on themes of individual heroism, the home front, compassionate warriors, the enemy, and the technology of warfare. As propaganda, these prints were a great international success, generating a huge amount of sympathy for the Japanese cause in Britain and the United States. "Through these images," Sackler Curator James Ulak says, "Western observers realized Japan was a powerful military force to contend with."


  • Ulak, James T
  • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Smithsonian Institution)
  • A Well-Watched War: Images from the Russ-Japanese Front, 1904-1905 (Exhibition) (2000: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


The Smithsonian "Torch" - No. 00-6, 11, 2000 Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession: 05-298

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


June 11, 2000


  • Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905
  • Graphic arts
  • Art museums
  • Exhibitions
  • Journalism
  • Museums
  • Photographs
  • Museum exhibits


  • Japan
  • Manchuria (China)
  • Washington (D.C.)
  • Russia
  • Korea

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