Punch Volume 126 Title-page

[Russo-Japanese War]

Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910)


Pen and ink

Punch title-page volume 126

Sambourne is dealing with the recent hostilities between Japan and Russia: there had been bad blood between them for some time over rival ambitions in Manchuria and Korea. In February 1904 Japan launched a surprise attack on the Russian navy at Port Arthur, to devastating effect. We can see a Japanese castle in the background as the smaller Japanese fighting cock knocks the crown off the head of the Russian imperial eagle, while an Englishman with a pith helmet leans over a fence and looks on. The conflict would lead to Japan's devastating defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05.