Drawing Stereotypes

Europe and East Asia in Russian Political Caricature, 1900–1905

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  • 1 University of Virginia zah3pn@virginia.edu

Abstract

This article explores Russian political caricatures regarding the Boxer Uprising (1900) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5) that appeared in two of the empire's largest newspapers, Novoe vremia (The new times) and Russkoe slovo (The Russian word). The article argues that caricaturists both poked fun at international politics and crafted visual identities for their readers of Russia's European, Chinese, and Japanese neighbors. The images examined here sketch out the crowded and dangerous stage of global imperialism, while also pointing toward Russia's place within it. In the process, they articulate stylized notions of Europeanness and Asianness that had important connotations for how each periodical depicted the actors in each conflict.

On 13 June 1903, the popular St. Petersburg newspaper Novoe vremia [The new times] ran a political cartoon that pointedly satirized Japan and its political and diplomatic machinations in East Asia. The image, titled “A Triple Alliance,” shows a Japanese figure split down the middle (figure 1). On the left side, he wears European military garb and hooks elbows with John Bull, a personification of Great Britain. Bull faces away from his Japanese friend and looks ominously at an Asian figure in the distance. On his right side, this same Japanese figure wears a traditional costume and joins arms with a Chinese man, who takes a similar pose toward a distant European. The Japanese figure himself smirks deviously at the viewer, coyly acknowledging that he is playing both sides.1

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

S. F. Sokolovskii, “A triple alliance,” Novoe vremia, 13 June 1903.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

The caricature primarily pokes fun at Japan's ambitions in the Far East. It also expresses a deeper discomfort with the ways this newly Westernized empire tried to straddle the line between European and Asian identities. Having recently achieved a swift victory over China in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95, Japan stood ready to further disrupt the balance of power in the region. Moreover, this impressive victory caused European and Russian observers to question whether this ascendant Asian nation might claim a seat among the great powers.2 By presenting the Japanese figure locking arms with both John Bull and the Chinese man, the caricature thus shows not only the complicated web of allegiances and identities in Northeast Asia but also the potential danger posed by countries that might try to traverse these categories.

By the late 1890s, the interests of nearly every major global empire converged in Northeast Asia. As Russia expanded into the region via the Trans-Siberian Railway, it abutted not only China and Japan but also the European powers (notably Great Britain, France, and Germany) occupying “treaty ports” and spheres of influence along the Chinese coast.3 Tensions boiled over into military conflict twice during this period in the Chinese antiforeign revolt known as the Boxer Uprising in 1900 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5. The rapid growth of publishing in the second half of the nineteenth century had created a vibrant culture of newspapers, magazines, and journals in fin-de-siècle St. Petersburg and Moscow and a readership eager for international news.4 Given Russia's close involvement in both conflicts, the popular press of the two capitals followed the events closely.5

For political cartoonists, the intersection of national interest, European colonialism, clashes between East and West, and sensational events like the Boxer siege of Beijing in the summer of 1900 and Japan's surprise attack on Port Arthur in early 1904 offered a treasure trove of material. By the 1880s, newspapers had incorporated technologies that allowed for mass circulation and the inclusion of illustrations and graphics in their pages or weekly supplements.6 At the turn of the century, Russian political caricature flourished.7 Working in the medium of stereotype and hyperbole, caricaturists both poked fun at international politics and crafted visual identities for Russia's European, Chinese, and Japanese neighbors.

This article explores the ways two of the most popular and influential periodicals of the time—the right-wing8 St. Petersburg newspaper Novoe vremia and the liberal Moscow newspaper Russkoe slovo [The Russian Word] and its weekly illustrated supplement Iskry [Sparks]—portrayed distinct national, ethnic, and moral identities for Russia's friends and enemies in East Asia. The illustrations that appeared in the top tier of publishing offer important insights into not only visual identities of Russia's peers that circulated in the press but also the ways these images differed in left- and right-leaning publications. The political cartoonists of Novoe vremia and Russkoe slovo did more than just sensationalize events or illustrate national and ethnic stereotypes. Their drawings populated the global environment for newspaper readers. Representations of interactions between European and Asian countries detailed norms of international relations and often suggested numerous ways that Russia's opponents supposedly violated them. Stereotypical representations perpetuated these depictions but also built narratives of purportedly typical European and Asian behaviors. The images examined in this article sketch out the crowded and dangerous stages of a global empire, while also pointing toward Russia's place within it.

It is important to note that these visual narratives articulated specific ideas about Europeanness and Asianness for Russian newspaper readers. While the two newspapers differed in their political leanings, they often approached these themes in similar ways. The caricatures that appeared in their pages shared several stylistic resemblances when depicting countries as European (like Britain) or Asian (like China). This led to clearly demarcated, if complex, stereotypes of peoples from each continent. These images illustrated how these countries purportedly interacted with each other, and in the process, often strongly implied that Russia played a benevolent role in the region.

Japan's Westernized military and posture as an imperialist power with an Asian heritage violated the clear East-West dichotomy, complicating its depiction in the caricatures of the two periodicals. Its ascendant position in East Asia challenged both Russia's interests in Manchuria and its attempts to straddle the line between Europe and Asia in its dealings with China. This caused a stark difference in Japan's appearance in the two papers. Each approached this chimerical nation from a different perspective and drew different conclusions about what this dual identity meant as Russia confronted the Japanese foe once war broke out. In their pages, the island empire was variously a worthy adversary and a grotesque and dangerous amalgam of East and West. In this way, Japan served as not just an opponent, but a foil to Russia in its dealings in East Asia.

The Imperial Stage and Cast of Characters

Russian expansion into Northeast Asia in the 1890s and 1900s was part of an increase in foreign pressure on the declining Chinese Qing Dynasty. In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Britain, and later, France, had defeated the Qing in a series of trade wars, forcing it to acknowledge European economic hegemony.9 Unequal treaties gave Britain and France special economic privileges in key Chinese cities, immunity for their personnel from local laws, and any trade rights China offered to other countries. Facing superior Western military technology and a catastrophic rebellion in its heartland, China could do little to rebuff these advances. Sensing this weakness, the remaining European powers quickly secured their own unequal arrangements with the dynasty. For its part, Russia conducted two unequal treaties with China expanding its southeastern borders to their current positions and gaining the coastline that would eventually contain the port of Vladivostok.10

Japan's victory over the tottering dynasty in 1895 saw both its ascension to regional great power status and intensified global imperial interest in East Asia. Wary of Japan upsetting the balance of power, Russia, France, and Germany intervened in the Sino-Japanese peace talks to pressure the victor into relinquishing demands for Chinese territory. On the heels of this intervention, Russian finance minister Sergei Iul'evich Witte organized a secret defensive alliance with the Middle Kingdom against Japan, the terms of which included the construction of a branch of the Trans-Siberian Railway through Chinese Manchuria to Vladivostok.11 In 1897, the German kaiser pressed the advantage more openly. Under the pretext of defending its local missionaries and merchants, his forces seized the Jaiozhou Bay south of Beijing. Tsar Nicholas followed suit and, against Witte's advice, pressured the Qing to lease the Yellow Sea ports of Port Arthur and Dalian (renamed Dal'nii [Distant]) to Russia and allow a second branch of the Trans-Siberian to connect to these new outposts. The European powers, Russia, and Japan quickly agreed to a system of spheres of influence over sections of the Chinese mainland to prevent a further scramble for concessions and keep economic channels open.

This swell of international imperial activity in East Asia caused a proliferation of satirical depictions of Russia's imperial rivals in its print culture. Cheap illustrated popular prints and posters (known as lubki) circulated images of European and Japanese villains together with Russian heroes to the literate and semiliterate lower classes in the countryside and cities.12 Satirical magazines and journals peddled exaggerated and humorous caricatures of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean peoples and their governments.13 The major newspapers in St. Petersburg and Moscow were no exception. As important international news stories, the events in East Asia drew their attention.

As the most widely read conservative newspaper in the empire, Novoe vremia's reportage and illustrations on the region usually took a staunchly nationalist line. Owned and managed by publishing magnate Aleksei Sergeevich Suvorin (who also wrote a popular column), the newspaper offered extensive coverage of national and international news.14 Though operated as a popular daily aimed at a general audience, it was also a favorite newspaper of imperial officialdom and the tsar. Loyalist in tone, it regularly harangued Russia's competitors for perceived slights to its national honor.15 The work of its staff cartoonist, Stepan Fedorovich Sokolovskii (often working under the pseudonym Coré), drew almost entirely on international politics and produced biting caricatures of European and Asian empires and their misadventures. His characteristic style and wit frequently featured in Novoe vremia's daily editions and weekly supplements, offering neat encapsulations of his periodical's views on international politics.

Russkoe slovo occupied the opposite end of the political spectrum. Though a relative newcomer to the upper echelons of Russian newspapers, it had quickly gained a wide circulation owing to several high-profile editorialists and a network of domestic and foreign correspondents. By the early 1900s, this made it one of the empire's most well-informed and engaging news sources.16 Russkoe slovo tended to advocate for progressive social and political causes and was less jingoistic regarding foreign policy than Novoe vremia. Starting in late 1900, it began producing a popular weekly illustrated supplement featuring lifestyle and cultural stories, fiction pieces, and visual materials ranging from political cartoons to photographs. Titled Iskry, this Sunday addition to the paper drew from a variety of artists on topics including foreign affairs, domestic issues, entertainment, and the arts.17

The visual representations Novoe vremia and Iskry put forward of the events in the region expressed evolving and malleable stereotypes of European and Asian peoples and governments. The major armed conflicts of 1900 and 1904–5 played an important role in crafting these images. While caricatures are necessarily exaggerated, the specific characteristics of these exaggerations could vary, depending on the situations they described and the newspapers in which they appeared.

European Villains

In 1900, a folk spiritual movement in the Chinese countryside coalesced into large contingents of angry “Spirit Boxers” that set about attacking European economic assets and personnel in an attempt to divest China of foreign influence.18 The foreign powers, seeing a vested interest in suppressing the violence and maintaining the balance of power united in an “Eight-Nation Alliance” to deal with the uprising.19 The main military actions took place that summer, with the alliance marching on Beijing to relieve the foreign legations, which Boxer and Qing forces held under siege. Though Russian troops took part in the alliance, they also conducted a full-scale invasion and occupation of Manchuria to protect its newly constructed branches of the Trans-Siberian Railway.20 The Chinese government, which had supported the Boxers by declaring war on all the foreign powers, finally capitulated in fall 1900. Although Russia played an active and even aggressive role in the affair, its press and political caricature preferred to focus on the interactions between the European and Chinese players.

Skepticism and open contempt for the imperialist exploits of the European great powers was a common trope in fin-de-siècle Russian political caricature. Notwithstanding their country's extensive imperialist activities in Northeast Asia, the press frequently pointed to these empires as the primary transgressors on Chinese sovereignty.21 Novoe vremia, for example, wove a narrative of events that saw Russia as a longstanding and friendly neighbor to China, unlike the voracious European empires that wanted wealth at all costs.22 The tsar and several of his closest advisors showed similar thinking as well.23 Though not all periodicals used this line of reasoning—it was especially popular with those leaning to the right—its images of avaricious European empires attacking weaker, less powerful nations remained a prominent theme in the periodicals under examination here.24

Novoe vremia and Iskry regularly poked fun at Russia's main rivals. Though Germany received increased negative attention as tensions between the two empires increased at the turn of the century, Great Britain stood out as a locus for cartoonists’ mockery and scorn.25 The visual narrative of East Asian affairs in Novoe vremia and Russkoe slovo remained necessarily tied to the actions of the European empires active in the region. The negative vision of Great Britain provided not only a primary antagonist on the international stage, but also a counterpoint to the supposedly mutually beneficial and peaceful expansion of Russian power into Northeast Asia.26

A 1901 cartoon in Iskry by the artist A. I. Gomolitskii (pseudonym Vezuvii) highlights this tendency in its depiction of the great powers. In the picture (figure 2), he draws four “national types” and includes short descriptive captions under each figure. The viewer sees an ambitious “Frenchman from Bordeaux,” an aloof “Michel the German,” a devious looking “Son of Albion” (John Bull), and a lanky and eagle-like “Poor Jonathan, the Yankee.” In the captions, we find out that the Frenchman is ambitious and capricious, the German philosophical and fond of beer, and the American industrious but “stale as a dry loaf of bread.” Great Britain's John Bull strikes a harsher image, however. He wears an evil smile, and though he has a large belly, we are told that his rotund chest does not contain a heart. Moreover, he “perpetually suffocates” weaker nations to show his strength.27 Among this lineup, Britain appears as the most worrisome national type, his distended stomach symbolizing heartless avarice and ruthless cruelty.

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Vezuvii, “National types,” Iskry, 30 June 1901.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

Russia and Great Britain had been locked in imperial competition over Central Asia for decades, but Britain's involvement in major international conflicts of this period reinforced the Russian press's derision.28 Even before the Boxer Uprising, Novoe vremia's political cartoons had specifically targeted Britain for its war against Dutch colonists in South Africa, known as Boers. When British forces suffered several early defeats in the conflict, Novoe vremia, together with most other Russian newspapers, cheered their humiliation.29 S. F. Sokolovskii specialized in mocking Great Britain. During and after the Boer conflict, he drew over a dozen cartoons that showed the plucky Boers handing John Bull his just desserts.30 Iskry's artists joined in with images of Boers beating up on a hapless John Bull (figure 3).31 The schadenfreude in these images is palpable. In each of these depictions, Britain lives up to Iskry's representation of the British national type by appearing as a greedy and opportunistic power, preying on weaker nations.

Figure 3.
Figure 3.

M. Mukhin, “A would-be hero,” Iskry, 11 February 1901.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

The press showed similar condemnation for Great Britain, and European powers more broadly, concerning the situation in China. In Novoe vremia, for example, Sokolovskii had shown the Middle Kingdom suffering under European domination since even before the Boxers emerged. His 1899 cartoons “The Chinese Dragon” and “Help!” (figure 4) show the Celestial kingdom in a European death grip.32 The former depicts it as an anguished dragon under a boot labeled “Europe.” The latter shows Europe as a shark dragging a Chinese figure underwater. The struggling figure in “Help!” calls out in vain to a ship in the distance labeled “Japan,” but no assistance is forthcoming. After its victory in the Sino-Japanese War, Japan had joined the powers greedily slicing concessions from the weakened Qing state. In these images, Europe's dealings with China appear an outright attack on an almost helpless target.

Figure 4.
Figure 4.

Sokolovskii, “Help!,” Novoe vremia, 24 July 1899.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

Russia had joined the foreign powers that marched on Beijing and crushed the uprising in August 1900, but while contributing troops to the European punitive expeditions under German field Marshal Alfred von Waldersee, focused most of its attention on the occupation of Manchuria. Novoe vremia and Iskry (as well as much of the Russian press) downplayed this Russian participation in the retaliation and instead derided the other powers for their harsh reprisals.

During their negotiations with the defeated Qing, the great powers sought and ultimately received an enormous indemnity to cover damage to their properties and goods.33 A Sokolovskii cartoon in Novoe vremia lambasted the “economic interests” that the foreign powers were supposedly protecting. In “So the goods don't get wet” (figure 5), he draws John Bull sheltering a stockpile of opium from a storm in Shanghai.34 The choice of opium (and that it is labeled in English) refers directly to the Opium Wars of the mid-nineteenth century that had initially opened China to European coercion. It also presents the generally intrusive and harmful nature of Europe's involvement in the Middle Kingdom. Great power intervention in the Boxer Uprising represented yet one more incidence of Western empires punishing China with military force for daring to refuse exploitative and even deadly commerce with Europe.

Figure 5.
Figure 5.

Sokolovskii, “So the goods don't get wet,” Novoe vremia, 17 August 1900.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

Caricatures also struck out at European violence against the Boxers with black humor. M. Mukhin's “At a reception in Berlin” (figure 6) in Iskry mocks Marshal Waldersee's widespread use of capital punishment against Boxers and their sympathizers.35 In the image, a Chinese man apologizes for stepping on the train of a German lady's gown. She refuses his apology, however, and chides him that the Chinese have recently had their “heads chopped off” for much less. Sokolovskii took this sentiment into even darker territory in Novoe vremia by invoking the still-ongoing Boer War in South Africa. In “How I sympathize with the Boers!” (figure 7), he draws a crow lamenting the fate of the Boers while perched on a Chinese man's severed head.36 The image presents the “civilized” nations of the world waxing poetic about the Boers’ heroic struggle against British invaders, while at the same time brutalizing a Chinese rebellion with similar aims. In another cartoon, titled “For ‘the boys in uniform,’” he drew Waldersee in a dressing gown decorating a Christmas tree with Chinese heads dangling by their still-attached queues (the traditional ponytail worn by subjects of the Qing Dynasty).37

Figure 6.
Figure 6.

Mukhin, “At a reception in Berlin,” Iskry, 21 January 1901.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

Figure 7.
Figure 7.

Sokolovskii, “How I sympathize with the Boers!,” Novoe vremia, 22 December 1900.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

When it came to the actions of European empires on the global stage, the political caricatures of both periodicals thus gave readers much to find distasteful. Western powers, with Great Britain in the lead, appeared as bullies preying on small and often downtrodden countries. Artists like Sokolovskii and Mukhin did not hold back when acknowledging the violence of the Boxer war. Indeed, they used it to powerful visual effect and indulged in the gruesome details of conflict to present European imperialism as harsh and callous.

A Complicated Sympathy for China

Although the Boxers had posed a real threat to Russia's economic and political interests in China and Manchuria, Novoe vremia's and Iskry's caricatures showed marked support for the Chinese cause, if not always their methods.38 Given the overwhelmingly negative depiction of European imperialism in China that appeared in newspaper pages, it is perhaps not surprising that Russia, given its supposed opposition to this imperialism, would applaud any attempt to thwart it. The Anglo-Boer conflict sparked a similar sentiment, but the war had ostensibly been between two European peoples. The Boxer situation entailed a clash between Europeans and Asians, and was, thus, quite different. This added racial element caused even positive depictions of Chinese figures to contain exaggerated and grotesque physical features. In this way, almost any sympathy for China necessarily came with a sense of distrust and otherness.

In many cases, the press's sympathetic view of the Boxers related directly back to the established trope of European colonial aggression and domination. The Boxer Uprising was an act of revenge. Novoe vremia, for example, repeatedly described the uprising as the lashing out of a once-great people driven to the edge. After China's defeat in 1895, Europe, America, and Japan had undertaken an “orgy of conquest,” one of its editorials argued. Each empire seemed only interested in coercing as many concessions as possible from the moribund Qing Dynasty. Conveniently brushing over Russia's own coerced leases of Chinese territory,39 it argued that European businessmen and missionaries had invaded the country's interior with little regard for their customs or traditions. As such, the article called the Boxers’ response “cruel, but perhaps somewhat justified.”40 Newspapers and journals from across the political spectrum in Russia shared many of these opinions.41

Sokolovskii's cartoons from 1900 augment this sentiment vividly. Figure 8 shows European fishermen pulling a large fish labeled “China” onboard their ship.42 The dragon-like creature is wounded and covered in arrows, yet it still thrashes violently, prompting the fishermen to keep their distance. European countries had brutally captured China, but its violent struggles for freedom now threatened to knock them all overboard. Other illustrations showed more amusement at China's revenge. In figure 9, a furious Chinese man pounds a large fist down onto the head of a toad-like figure. The man's crushed top hat and dislodged monocle identify him with European capitalism and “civilization.”43 That the Boxer cries “À bas la civilisation! [Down with civilization!]” in French further underscores that the Chinese recognize this so-called civilization as the crushing force of European domination. Still another caricature (figure 10) shows a hulking Boxer ready to pummel Europe in the form of one of the “sinister” missionaries that had inundated the Chinese heartland.44 In Sokolovskii's work, the uprising was one of righteous fury against cruel oppressors.

Figure 8.
Figure 8.

Sokolovskii, “Careful! Don't get close!,” Novoe vremia, 6 June 1900.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

Figure 9.
Figure 9.

Sokolovskii, “A bas la civilisation!,” Novoe vremia, 26 May 1900.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

Figure 10.
Figure 10.

Sokolovskii, “A sinister missionary,” Novoe vremia, 16 June 1900.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

The artists of Iskry showed similar sympathy. In the previously mentioned “At a reception in Berlin” (figure 6), a Chinese man faces capital punishment for merely stepping on a Western woman's dress. Another image, “A toast to your health” (figure 11), shows the Chinese having fun at Marshal Waldersee's expense. A group of Chinese men gathers around a table where the eldest “mandarin” proposes they offer the same wishes for the German commander's health that he would wish to them. Given his reputation for violent reprisals against the Chinese, the implication is that they wish he was dead, too. Howls of laughter follow the mandarin's proclamation.45

Figure 11.
Figure 11.

“A toast to your health,” Iskry, 29 April 1901.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

For all their sympathy for the Boxer cause, cartoons about the uprising used stereotyped and often repulsive imagery when depicting the Chinese. The Boxers in figures 9 and 10 are brutish, primal, and out of control. Their faces are exaggerated, deformed, and ape-like. Unlike Japanese figures, which often wear Western-style military uniforms in Sokolovskii's work, the Chinese appear in traditional and exoticized clothing. The Boxers act aggressively and charge at their adversaries in a blind rage. Additionally, their fists—after which the foreign press labeled the Boxer movement46—appear dirty, hairy, and have long unkempt fingernails. Even straightforwardly sympathetic cartoons like “Help!” (figure 4), share these characteristics and present the Chinese as fundamentally different and “other.”

The Chinese man in the Iskry cartoon from 1901 (figure 6) exhibits similar attributes. His limbs contort as he stumbles on the lady's train. He has a misshapen skull, pointed ears, and a wildly waving queue. “A toast to your health” (figure 11) takes this sense of otherness still further. The eyes of the Chinese men in this illustration are little more than crude slants, and bucked teeth jut from their gaping mouths. In further dehumanization, their laughter at the leader's joke is even rendered in the caption as “woof, woof, woof! [gav, gav, gav!]”47 For as much as these images might seem to applaud the Boxers’ outburst against European empire-building, the Chinese in them appear as a backward and alien people to Russian viewers.

This uncertain image of the Chinese as both comrade and unknown entity mirrored government thinking about Russia's eastern neighbor. David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye's work on the ideologies of empire that influenced Nicholas II and ultimately led Russia down the path to war with Japan identifies a similar tension. Many officials in the empire identified with the Chinese as a more-or-less neighborly fellow Asian power with which Russia ought to engage in friendly trade and mutual assistance (though, of course, with its economic and diplomatic interests firmly in mind). Others, however, saw China in terms of a “Yellow Peril” that might overwhelm the Far East if Russia did not flex its imperial muscles and take advantage of the Middle Kingdom's present weakness.48 The unifying notion in the caricatures examined here, however, remains the specter of the European model of cutthroat expansion. Identification with and support for the Boxers were in large part necessarily tied to the denigration of European, and especially British, imperialism. Therefore, while some newspapers, such as Novoe vremia, alluded to various degrees of kinship between Russia and China, most of the press could agree that the Boxer Uprising's anti-European fury was both well-placed and not directed at Russia.49

Images of the Chinese in Iskry and Novoe vremia perhaps served to identify Russia as apart from European imperialism rather than together with its fellow Asian empire. The extreme otherness of these otherwise sympathetic images of the Chinese showed support while still keeping them at arm's length. In this way, these depictions of the Boxer Uprising reflect a positive image of Russia as a global empire, even if Russia itself is not pictured. At the same time, they perpetuate unpleasant Asian physical stereotypes that prevent the full identification of readers with the Chinese.

Japanese Chimeras

The conclusion of the uprising brought increased tensions between Russia and Japan as both argued over control of Manchuria. Harboring jingoistic ideas about Russian glory in East Asia and under the influence of hawkish elements in his government, Nicholas decided to keep troops in the region long after the Boxer conflict concluded. This threatened the sphere of influence Japan had claimed in South Manchuria and Korea after its success in the Sino-Japanese War. For three more years Russia missed withdrawal deadlines, delayed meetings, and failed to come to an agreement with Japan about removing its forces.50 In January 1904, the Japanese government finally resorted to force and launched a surprise attack on Port Arthur, beginning the Russo-Japanese War.51

Japan, thus, emerged as Russia's primary rival in Northeast Asia in both the international arena and the pages of its press during this period. The Empire of the Rising Sun had already secured a place in the press's cast of characters for the region. Japan's successful Westernization and victory over China complicated its identity and visual representation in both the satirical press and mainstream newspapers like Novoe vremia and Russkoe slovo.52 Possessing both an Asian ethnicity and European military and political structures, Japan was a somewhat divisive topic in the press.53

Novoe vremia and Iskry vary considerably in their depictions of Japan before and during the Russo-Japanese War.54 As ostensibly “progressive” publications, Iskry and its parent organ, Russkoe slovo, often derided European jingoism and took a negative view of acts by the Russian Empire that seemed to follow this model. Russkoe slovo presented Japan's claims to Manchuria as somewhat justified during negotiations between the two countries in 1901 and 1903. Further, while applauding the heroism of Russian soldiers during the Russo-Japanese War, it opposed the conflict from the beginning.55 Images from its illustrated supplement followed suit and depicted Japan tastefully, highlighting its unique culture and successful modernization.

In 1903, Iskry ran articles on Japanese culture and traditional sports, such as sumo wrestling and kendo, and life in its modernizing cities. These pages showed the Japanese as an advanced and proper, if slightly exotic, people that deserved Russia's interest and respect. Indeed, barely three weeks before the surprise attack on Port Arthur, it offered readers pleasant depictions of Japan's New Year's celebrations. These images (figure 12) show smiling people offering each other holiday greetings on the streets and smartly dressed military figures receiving guests. Other images also showed Japan's formidable navy and Westernized military technology.56 This was clearly a worthy opponent.

Figure 12.
Figure 12.

“The New Year in Japan,” Iskry, 7 December 1903.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

When Iskry did run political cartoons supporting the Russian cause it mostly demurred from presenting Japan as an orientalized other. Figure 13, for instance, touts Port Arthur's supposedly impervious defenses by showing a Japanese soldier banging his head against its walls to no avail.57 The soldier's head is swollen with bruises, but he insists on trying again. Despite its derogatory tone, the Japanese soldier is presented in a more realistic style, largely free from the grotesqueries that characterized earlier images of the Chinese. In these ways, Japan appeared as a modern country that had adopted some of the best elements of Western technology and culture. While it certainly would prefer a Russian victory, Iskry more or less showed the Japanese as an enemy to be respected rather than dehumanized. Russkoe slovo preached a similar line and ran a series of articles from one its star journalists, Vladimir Ivanovich Nemirovich-Danchenko, that praised the bravery and skill of Japanese soldiers alongside their Russian adversaries.58

Figure 13.
Figure 13.

Mitrich, “I'll just give it one more try,” Iskry, 7 March 1904.

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Novoe vremia's political caricatures of Japan showed almost none of this restraint or deference. Sokolovskii's illustrations between 1900 and 1905 wove a narrative of Japanese treachery and villainy that jibed perfectly with his newspaper's increasingly bellicose language toward Japan as tensions heightened in 1903. His cartoons during the Boxer Uprising showed Japan as having only partially adopted European culture and technology and seeking to use it for solely selfish and predatory purposes. Although they appear in the same imperialist camp as Russia's European peers, Sokolovskii presents them as posturing neophytes ridiculously unable to fulfill their ambitions.59

Many of these illustrations portray Japan's aspirations to martial prowess as laughable and misguided. One depicted skinny-legged soldiers exaggeratedly goose-stepping while their commander yells, “In step! Europe is watching you!”60 Another image (figure 14) offers a similarly slight trooper laboring under a heavy backpack that represents Japan's responsibilities if it wants to be counted among the world's great empires. “Ugh, civilization is heavy,” he grumbles.61 Both show Japan trying and failing to show off in front of Europe. Others, like “Called to dinner” (figure 15), show Japan covetously preying on its weakened neighbor.62 This image presents Japan as a greedy ape (or possibly, a mouse) rushing to dine on China's misfortunes. The large fork and spoon give Japan the appearance of a tiny, opportunistic power joining the feeding frenzy.

Figure 14.
Figure 14.

Sokolovskii, “Ugh, civilization is heavy,” Novoe vremia, 25 May 1901.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

Figure 15.
Figure 15.

Sokolovskii, “Called to dinner,” Novoe vremia, 20 June 1900.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

The physical appearance of the Japanese in Sokolovskii's work lends them an otherness, not unlike his depictions of the Chinese. Though not as outrageous as his images of the Boxers, they look unpleasant and scrawny. The soldiers have enlarged ears and comically thin limbs. The Japanese man in figure 15 is rodent-like and short of stature. It is perhaps not surprising that he would take these themes to extremes as the Russo-Japanese conflict escalated.

During 1903 and early January 1904, Sokolovskii drew the Japanese as tiny nuisances or puppets of Britain in Novoe vremia's pages.63 After the outbreak of war, these images of Japan became truly exaggerated. In addition to disfiguring Japanese faces to roughly match the grotesqueries of the Boxers, wartime caricatures played up the idea of the Japanese as a small people whose success depended on the support of British allies. His caricatures showed the Japanese as dwarfish (figure 16), knee-high, or miniaturized.64 These pompous Japanese stereotypes now wore traditional clothing and received constant praise from John Bull or the British press. Other cartoons during 1904 showed Japan variously as a mouse ensnared by British and American money and a dog tearing apart international law to wage an illegal war.65 This type of dehumanization of the Japanese was common in propagandistic images during the Russo-Japanese War.66 Novoe vremia, and much of the rest of the Russian press, largely refrained from depicting them as “short-tailed monkeys” as Nicholas II had famously called them.67 The newspaper nonetheless frequently presented the Japanese as diminutive in both physical stature and international prestige.

Figure 16.
Figure 16.

Sokolovskii, “The English press,” Novoe vremia, 12 March 1904.

Citation: Sibirica 19, 1; 10.3167/sib.2020.190106

While the visual onslaught in Novoe vremia continued through 1904 as Russian losses mounted, Russkoe slovo maintained its antiwar stance and focused instead on honoring Russian soldiers and highlighting domestic social tensions that would soon explode in St. Petersburg. Indeed, Bloody Sunday in January 1905 and the ensuing revolution diverted much of the press's attention from the Russo-Japanese conflict that year.68 When the war returned to the headlines, it was for the Russian army's major defeat at Mukden in March and the annihilation of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Tsushima in May.69 Sokolovskii continued to satirize Japan in 1905 as a grotesque mixture of Asian backwardness and European technology and greed, though cartoons about the war became less frequent.70 The conflict with Japan had brought the island empire to the forefront of Novoe vremia's and Iskry's visual representations of politics and diplomacy in East Asia. The catastrophic course of the war and wobbling of the tsarist regime drew the press's focus from this region back to the Russian heartland and its restive cities.

Conclusion

The disparity between depictions of Japan in Novoe vremia and Iskry had several causes. Their opposing political leanings did not prevent them from subscribing to similar stereotypes about China and Great Britain. Yet Novoe vremia's ultranationalism led it to take exception to Japan's attempts to get Russia to abandon its Manchurian foothold. Although Novoe vremia did not openly call for war, after the attack on Port Arthur it remained the conflict's most powerful proponent in the press, advocating it even after the military and domestic disasters of 1905. Russkoe slovo's purported aversion to chauvinism led Iskry's cartoons to take a much lighter, and sometimes even deferential, attitude toward Japan. During the war, it also printed interviews with soldiers returning from the Manchurian front with praise for the battlefield conduct of their Japanese adversaries.71 These differences were rooted in the visual tropes of Europeanness and Asianness the periodicals shared.

The cartoons that appeared in Novoe vremia and Iskry offered moral commentaries on their subjects. They identified sets of stereotypically European and Asian characteristics that possessed both moral and immoral aspects. Europeans like John Bull had the means and strength to influence global events but remained beholden to avarice and selfish desires for glory and territory. When the Chinese tried to throw off European imperialism, nations like Britain responded by using their superior resources to brutally repress them. For China's part, its people could fight valiantly to defend their unique culture from an objectively repressive foreign invasion. At the same time, the periodicals presented this culture as inherently backward and treacherous. They highlighted the racial otherness of the Boxers and the cruelty and primal frenzy with which they could attack these invaders. These satirical images, thus, elucidated the moral spectra of each stereotype.

It is these ethical stereotypes of European and Asian peoples that most explain Japan's divergent appearance in Iskry and Novoe vremia. Iskry, owing to its overall liberal orientation, remained skeptical of Russia's recalcitrance and saber-rattling regarding the Manchurian occupation. It presented Japan as a respectable enemy, praising its adoption of Western technology. Novoe vremia, by contrast, showed Japan as an ugly pastiche of negative European and Asian moral qualities. It had abandoned the decorum of its Asian past for a Western military and cultural model that it could not fully assimilate. Sokolovskii's images show Japan succeeding at absorbing only the negative elements of Europeanness exemplified by Great Britain. It used its Westernized military greedily to oppress its Chinese neighbors and insult Russia's allegedly legitimate interests in Manchuria. The island empire's attack on Port Arthur before an official declaration of war supposedly showed that Asian qualities like treachery and bloodthirstiness still drove it as well.72 Novoe vremia saw Japan as an especially dangerous foe that exemplified the worst elements of both Europeanness and Asianness.

This matrix of morality had important connotations for Russia as well. Although it does not appear explicitly in any of these cartoons, a general narrative of Russia's place in the world emerges. Grotesque and unflattering imagery in the depiction of both Asians and Europeans differentiated Russia from their undesirable attributes. They were, in a sense, inversions of Russian virtue.73 For both Novoe vremia and Russkoe slovo, Russia existed in a hostile global system. European rivals like Great Britain might cheat or undermine it at any time. China was Russia's professed friend according to the secret alliance, but it remained unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Regardless of Japan's trustworthiness, it was now a junior member of the world powers and, as such, a rival. Novoe vremia's overall stance on international politics also adds another layer to this narrative. In this sense, Sokolovskii's cartoons offered images of what Russia was not. It was neither a greedy and intrusive European empire, nor was it a treacherous or backward Asian realm. Novoe vremia hinted that Russia was instead a mixture of the best qualities of each and, in this way, the polar opposite of Japan. It had the sophisticated civilization and technology of Europe but none of its pomposity or avarice. It stood up against European imperialism but was not susceptible to the Qing dynasty's stagnation or crudeness. This implied Russia might, therefore, act as a kind of anti-imperialist empire.

The remaining issue is how these same neighbors perceived Russia. While the Russian press remained unique in its overt sympathy for the Boxers, European political cartoons lampooned imperialism in much the same way as Novoe vremia and Iskry.74 European cartoonists did not shy away from highlighting the violence or hypocrisy of their imperial rivals and produced parodies of Russia's role in the suppression of the Boxer movement. The European attitude toward Russia as autocratic (and perhaps even “Asian” itself) made some of these images equally graphic.75 For China's part, the forced leases of Port Arthur and Dal'nii had shown the Qing government the tsar's intentions. The declaration of war and attacks on tsarist holdings in Manchuria in 1900 suggest that the Middle Kingdom did not view Russia as much different from the other powers.76 Before the Russo-Japanese conflict, the European press largely continued to present Russia as a despotic imperialistic power, this time haughtily intimidating the smaller Japan. This image persisted through the war, though enthusiasm for Japan shifted to wariness as the island empire scored all of the war's major victories.77 Russia, therefore, received considerable negative press for its actions in East Asia.

In their criticisms of Russia's rivals, the caricatures of both newspapers largely omit their country's major imperialist role in East Asia. Despite its protestations of friendship and sympathy for China, Russia received the largest portion of the Boxer indemnity and effectively governed more Chinese territory than all the other powers combined. It stretched a supposedly temporary occupation to subdue the Boxers into a four-year ordeal by refusing to comply with evacuation agreements, straining Japanese patience to the breaking point. Nonetheless, the images of the European and Asian characters that populated the international stage offer an interesting glimpse into the conceptual world that the press used to describe Russia's position in East Asia to its readers during the height of global imperialism.

Acknowledgments

I thank Zach Carmichael, Jane Hacking, Jeff Hardy, an anonymous reviewer, and the attendees of the Asia in the Russian Imagination Conference for their insightful comments and suggestions. Special thanks to Matthew Romaniello for his comments and role in organizing the conference and this special issue.

Notes
1

Stepan Feodorovich Sokolovskii, “Troistvennyi soiuz,” Novoe vremia, 13 June 1903.

2

On Japan's victory and its reverberation in the European and Russian press, see S. C. M. Paine, The Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895: Perceptions, Power, and Primacy (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2003), esp. chaps. 6 and 7.

3

On imperial Russia's expansion into Northeast Asia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and its relation to the other European powers in the region, see David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Toward the Rising Sun: Russian Ideologies of Empire and the Path to War with Japan (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006); S. C. M. Paine, Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1996); R. K. I. Quested, Matey Imperialists? The Tsarist Russians in Manchuria, 1895–1917 (Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong Centre of Asian Studies, 1982); and Boris Aleksandrovich Romanov, Russia in Manchuria, 1892–1906, trans. Susan Wilbur Jones (Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards, 1952).

4

Works on the growth of the Russian Empire's periodical press include Louise McReynolds, The News under Russia's Old Regime: The Development of a Mass Circulation Press (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991); Octavie Bellavance, “Fourth Estate, Fifth Power: The Daily Press, the Public and Politics in Russia, 1861–1907” (PhD diss., Yale University, 2015); and Charles A. Ruud, Fighting Words: Imperial Censorship and the Russian Press, 1804–1906 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982).

5

Sun Zhingching's Kitaiskaia politika Rossii v russkoi publitsistike kontsa XIX–nachalo XX veka (Moscow: Natalis, 2008) surveys the reportage and opinions of empire's leading newspapers and journals on the Sino-Japanese War and Boxer Rebellion. See also Elena Eskridge-Kosmach's “The Russian Press on Russia's Chinese Policy in Period of the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895),” Journal of Slavic Military Studies 25 (2012): 618–61 and “The Boxer Rebellion and the Standpoint of the Russian Press,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies 26 (2013): 414–38. On the press's reaction to the Russo-Japanese War, see McReynolds, The News under Russia's Old Regime, chap. 8.

6

Stylized images of Russians and foreigners had circulated in the empire earlier, however, in the form of woodcut prints known as lubki. On lubki, see Stephen M. Norris, A War of Images: Russian Popular Prints, Wartime Culture, and National Identity, 1812–1945 (Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006).

7

A broad survey of Russian political caricature during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is A. G. Golikov and I. S. Rybachenok, Smekh—delo ser'eznoe. Rossiia i mir na rubezhe XIX–XX vekov v politicheskoi karikature (Moscow: Institut rossiiskoi istorii RAN, 2010).

8

Notions of liberalism and conservatism were not well-defined in late imperial Russia since it lacked legal political organizations before 1905. In this article, I use the terms “conservative” and “right-wing” to mean active support for the tsarist government and principle of autocracy and “liberal” and “left-wing” to mean support for civil liberties and popular representation following the Western model. For a recent treatment of liberalism in the late imperial period, see Anton A. Fedyashin, Liberals under Autocracy: Modernization and Civil Society in Russia, 1861–1904 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012). For conservatism, see I. V. Omel'ianchuk, “Parlamentarizm v ideologii rossiiskikh konservatorov nachala XX v.,” Voprosy istorii, no. 2 (February 2015): 13–35 and Don C. Rawson, Russian Rightists and the Revolution of 1905 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

9

On informal European colonization of China, see Robert Bickers, The Scramble for China (London: Penguin Books, 2012) and James L. Hevia, English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century China (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003).

10

On the Russian annexation of Outer Manchuria, see Paine, Imperial Rivals, 23–97.

11

Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Toward the Rising Sun, 142–46.

12

On the lubki during the Russo-Japanese war, see Norris, A War of Images, chap. 6 and Yulia Mikhailova, “Images of Enemy and Self: Russian ‘Popular Prints’ of the Russo-Japanese War,” Acta Slavica Iaponica 16 (1998): 30–53.

13

T. A. Filippova's “Vrag s vostoka”: Obrazy i ritoriki vrazhdy v russkoii satiricheskoi zhurnalistike nachala XX veka (Moskva: AIRO-XXI, 2012) extensively covers the appearance of East Asian figures in the capitals’ left-leaning satirical journals in its first two chapters. Satirical magazines and journals proliferated, especially after the decline in government authority during the Revolution of 1905. For a survey of the satirical press during this period, see Oleg Minin, “Art and Politics in the Russian Satirical Press” (PhD diss., University of Southern California, 2008).

14

On Suvorin and Novoe vremia, see Effie Ambler, Russian Journalism and Politics: The Career of Aleksei S. Suvorin, 1861–1881 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1972) and Robert Anthony Bartol, “A. S. Suvorin and His ‘Malen'kiia pis'ma’: A Publisher's Commentary on Tsarist Russia, 1900–1906” (PhD diss., Michigan State University, 1972).

15

On the limits of Novoe vremia's loyalty to the government during the Russo-Japanese War and Revolution of 1905, see Zachary Hoffman, “Subversive Patriotism: Aleksei Suvorin, Novoe Vremia, and Right-Wing Nationalism during the Russo-Japanese War,” Ab Imperio 1 (2008): 69–100.

16

For more on Russkoe slovo, see McReynolds, The News under Russia's Old Regime, 171–79; Charles Ruud, Russian Entrepreneur: Publisher Ivan Sytin of Moscow, 1834–1934 (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1990); and McReynolds, “News and Society: ‘Russkoe slovo’ and the Development of a Mass Circulation Press in Late Imperial Russia” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 1984).

17

Iskry was sold both separately and bundled with Russkoe slovo. Ruud, Russian Entrepreneur, 51–53.

18

On the origins of the Boxer Uprising, see Esherick, The Origins of the Boxer Uprising (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987).

19

The participants in the alliance were Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Japan, and the United States.

20

A full account of the Manchurian invasion appears in Vladimir Grigor'evich Datsyshen, Bokserskaia voina: Voennaia kampaniia russkoi armii i flota v Kitae v 1900–1901 gg. (Krasnoyarsk: Krasnoyarskii gosudarstvennyi pedagogicheskii universitet, 2001).

21

Golikov and Rybachenok, Smekh—delo ser'ezno, 176–200. On the press's negative view of European imperialism, see Elena Eskridge-Kosmach, “The Boxer Rebellion and the Standpoint of the Russian Press,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies 26 (2013): 416–21; idem, “The Russian Press and the Ideas of Russia's ‘Special Mission in the East’ and ‘Yellow Peril” Journal of Slavic Military Studies 27 (2014): 661–75; and David Schimmelpenninch van der Oye, “Russia's Ambivalent Response to the Boxers,” Cahier du monde russe 41, no. 1 (2000): 68–70.

22

Other right-leaning newspapers, like Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti held this position, while much of the liberal press, including Russkoe slovo, remained skeptical of European imperialism Eskridge-Kosmach, “The Russian Press and the Ideas of Russia's ‘Special Mission in the East’ and ‘Yellow Peril,” 669–72 and “The Boxer Rebellion and the Standpoint of the Russian Press,” 416–17.

23

Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Toward the Rising Sun, 168–71.

24

Jane E. Elliot's survey of European and American political cartoons about the Boxer Uprising in Some Did It for Civilisation, Some Did It for Their Country: A Revised View of the Boxer War (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2002) argues that this was a common trope in the national presses of other participants as well.

25

Golikov and Rybachenok, Smekh—delo ser'ezno, 176–79. For Britain in the satirical press, see Filippova, Vrag s vostoka, 144–66. On Anglo-Russian relations during this period, see Michael Hughes, Diplomacy before the Russian Revolution: Britain, Russia and the Old Diplomacy, 1894–1917 (London: Macmillan, 2000).

26

Though Nicholas II ultimately bowed to jingoism, Witte had championed a peaceful extension of Russian influence into Northeast Asia that, in many ways, fits this description. Schimmelpenninck van der Oye refers to this philosophy as “pénétration pacifique,” in his chapter on Witte in Toward the Rising Sun, 61–81.

27

Vezuvii, “Natsional'nye tipy,” Iskry, 30 June 1901.

28

On Anglo-Russian diplomacy during this period, see Hughes, Diplomacy before the Russian Revolution.

29

I. S. Rybachenok, “‘Novoe vremia’ ob Anglo-Burskoi Voine 1899–1902 godov: Verbal'noe i vizual'noe,” Novaia i noveishaia, no. 2 (2016): 80–93, offers a thorough study of Novoe vremia's coverage of the Second Boer War, as well as how this fit with the rest of the Russian press. See also Golikov and Rybachenok, Smekh—delo serezno, 131–50. On the Boer War, see Dennis Judd and Keith Surridge, The Boer War: A History (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

30

See, for example, S. F. Sokolovskii's “Britanskii lev v Afrike,” Novoe vremia, 30 December 1899, and “K transvaal'skim sobytiiam,” Novoe vremia, 2 October 1899.

31

See, for example, M. Mukhin, “Gore-bogatyr’,” Iskry, 11 February 1901.

32

Sokolovskii, “Kitaiskii drakon,” Novoe vremia, 1 May 1899; “Pomogite!,” Novoe vremia, 24 July 1899.

33

For more on the Boxer Protocol and surrounding negotiations, see Chester C. Tan, The Boxer Catastrophe (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967), 215–32.

34

Sokolovskii, “Chtoby tovar ne promok,” Novoe vremia, 17 August 1900.

35

M. Mukhin, “V Berline na prieme,” Iskry, 21 January 1901.

36

Sokolovskii, “Kak ia buram sochuvstvuiu!,” Novoe vremia, 22 December 1900.

37

Sokolovskii, “Dlia ‘sinnikh molodtsov,’” Novoe vremia, 21 December 1900.

38

Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, “Russia's Ambivalent Response the Boxers,” 57–60, 76–77. For a discussion of Russian foreign policy during the Boxer Uprising, see Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Toward the Rising Sun, chap. 10. For more on the Russian press's response to the Boxer Uprising, see Eskridge-Kosmach, “The Boxer Rebellion and the Standpoint of the Russian Press,” 414–38.

39

At the time of the acquisitions of Port Arthur and Dal'nii, the paper emphasized that the Chinese had given their full consent to the deal. Indeed, it argued that the agreement represented a “mutual understanding among peoples,” “S. Peterburg, 17 marta,” Novoe vremia, 18 March 1898.

40

“Bezporiadka v Kitae,” Novoe vremia, 26 May 1900.

41

Organs as diverse as the ultramonarchist Moskovskie vedomosti, liberal-intellectual Russkie vedomosti, and moderate Novosti joined Novoe vremia and Iskry in their sympathy for the Boxer's struggle with European imperialism, Eskridge-Kosmach, “The Boxer Rebellion and the Standpoint of the Russian Press,” 415–16, 425.

42

Sokolovskii, “Osteregis’! Ne podkhodi blizko!,” Novoe vremia, 6 June 1900.

43

Sokolovskii, “A bas la civilisation!,” Novoe vremia, 26 May 1900. The figure receiving the beating is possibly supposed to be Chinese himself (albeit, Europeanized), as there appears to be a ponytail flying up from under his top hat. In this way, the picture may represent not just Boxer rage at European influence, but also against those Chinese that had accepted it.

44

Sokolovskii, “Zloveshchii misioner,” Novoe vremia, 16 June 1900.

45

“Zazdravnyi tost,” Iskry, 29 April 1901.

46

The Boxers, as a movement, contained numerous marital arts-practicing societies. The name of one of the most prominent of these is usually translated as “the Righteous and Harmonious Fists,” hence the English language press began calling them “boxers.” “Boxers (or Fists) United in Righteousness” or “Boxers of United Righteousness” might be a better translation of this society's name. Esherick, The Origins of the Boxer Uprising, 154.

47

“Zazdravnyi tost.”

48

In Toward the Rising Sun, Schimmelpenninck van der Oye identifies four main influences on Nicholas: Finance Minister Witte's cautious plan for slow economic expansion into China; orientalist and royal confidante Prince Esper Esperovich Ukhtomskii's view of Russia as an Asian country that ought to pursue close relations with China; War Minister Aleksei Nikolaevich Kuropatkin's wariness of Yellow Peril and desire for border security; and nineteenth-century colonialist hero Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalski's adventurist vision of Asia as a place for Europeans to gain glory by conquering and “civilizing” the natives. See also Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, “Russia's Ambivalent Response to the Boxers.”

49

On expressions of Russia's shared Asian heritage with China, see Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Toward the Rising Sun, chap. 3 and Eskridge-Kosmach, “The Boxer Rebellion and the Standpoint of the Russian Press,” 416, 421.

50

A good discussion of Nicholas's thinking and the reasons behind Russian intransigence on the Manchurian question is in Schimmelpenninck van der Oye's Toward the Rising Sun, esp. 185–95.

51

For a blow-by-blow account of the war, see J. N. Westwood, Russia against Japan: A New Look at the Russo-Japanese War, 1904–1905 (New York: State University of New York Press, 1986).

52

Filippova dedicates the first two chapters of “Vrag s vostoka” to Japan's appearances in the satirical press before and during the Russo-Japanese War.

53

For Japan in the press and Russian culture more broadly, see Susanna Soojung Lim, China and Japan in the Russian Imagination, 1685–1922: To the Ends of the Orient (London: Routledge, 2013), esp. chaps. 5 and 6; Yulia Mikhailova, “Representations of Japan and Russo-Japanese Relations in Russian Newspapers, 1906–1910,” Slavica Iaponica 30 (2011): 43–62; Rosamund Bartlett, “Japanisme and Japanophobia: The Russo-Japanese War in Russian Cultural Consciousness,” Russian Review 67, no. 1. (January 2006): 8–33; and Rimer, J. Thomas, ed., A Hidden Fire: Russian and Japanese Cultural Encounters, 1868–1926 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995).

54

Louise McReynolds offers a good survey of the press's reaction to the war in The News under Russia's Old Regime, 179–97.

55

McReynolds, The News Under Russia's Old Regime, 186–187.

56

Both sets of images appear in Iskry, 7 December 1903.

57

Mitrich, “Poprobuiu-ka eshche raz,” Iskry, 7 March 1904.

58

McReynolds, The News under Russia's Old Regime, 186–87.

59

Filippova notes a similar, if cruder, depiction of Japan as merely performing for the West in the satirical press, “Vrag s vostoka,” 86–88.

60

Sokolovskii, “V nogu! Evropa smotrit na vas!,” 2 September 1900.

61

Sokolovskii, “Ukh, tiazhela tsivilizatsia,” Novoe vremia, 25 May 1901.

62

Sokolovskii, “Pozvali obedat’,” Novoe vremia, 20 June 1900.

63

Sokolovskii, “Na dal'nem vostoke,” Novoe vremia, 26 November 1903; idem, “Angliiskaia pressa—Szadi nikogo net,” 18 January 1904. Norris and Filippova note appearances of the idea of Japan as a puppet or façade of Britain in lubki and the satirical press. Norris, A War of Images, 119; Filippova, “Vrag s vostoka,” 145.

64

Sokolovskii, “Angliiskaia pressa,” Novoe vremia, 12 March 1904; idem, “Dzhon Bul’ –Skoro ponesete sami, mne uzhe nadoelo,” Novoe vremia, 30 April 1904; idem, “–Da, eto dlia vas … Poprobuite nadet’ na golovu,” Novoe vremia, 16 May 1904.

65

Sokolovskii, “Vezde otkryto! (myshelovka),” Novoe vremia, 23 March 1904; idem, “Mezhdunarodnoe pravo,” Novoe vremia, 15 August 1904.

66

See, for example, Stephen M. Norris, A War of Images, esp. chap. 3.

67

McReynolds, The News under Russia's Old Regime, 193, fn193. As Filippova argues, those that openly referred to the Japanese as “macques” in the satirical press most often did so to highlight their “aping” of European culture and technology rather than to necessarily label them as subhuman. Filippova, “Vrag s vostoka,” 90.

68

On the press and 1905, see McReynolds, The News under Russia's Old Regime, chap. 9. A standard account of the revolution is Abraham Ascher's two volumes: The Revolution of 1905: Russia in Disarray (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988) and The Revolution of 1905: Authority Restored (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992).

69

A thorough, if slightly sensational, account of the Russian Baltic Fleet's journey to the Yellow Sea and destruction at Tsushima is Constantine Pleshakov, The Tsar's Last Armada: The Epic Journey to the Battle of Tsushima (New York: Basic Books, 2002).

70

See, for example, Sokolovskii, “Ia ne boius—menia znaiut,” Novoe vremia, 6 March 1905, which shows a Japanese soldier attempting to smoke out a Chinese bee's nest and “Dvery, konechno, ostanutsia otkrytymi,” Novoe vremia, 15 April 1905, showing a demon-like samurai standing guard at the gates to Beijing's Forbidden City.

71

McReynolds, The News under Russia's Old Regime, 186–87.

72

On the satirical press's mockery of Japan's amalgamation of European and Asian traits, see Filippova, “Vrag s vostoka,” 80, 83.

73

Peter Burke, Eyewitnessing: The Uses of Images as Historical Evidence (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001), 123–26, 134, 139.

74

Elliot, Some Did It for Civilisation, 299–322.

75

See, for example, an Italian cartoon depicting Russia “teaching” civilization in China with a nine-tailed whip made of severed Chinese heads attached by their long queues. Elliot, Some Did It for Civilisation, 319.

76

Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, “Russia's Ambivalent Response to the Boxers,” 61–62, 75–77.

77

Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Toward the Rising Sun, 176. For European perceptions of the war and this evolution of opinion about Japan, see Ikuru Akira, “Japan under Paternalism: The Changing Image of Japan during the Russo-Japanese War,” in Rethinking the Russo-Japanese War, 1904–05, ed. John Chapman and Inaba Chiharu (Kent: Global Oriental, 2007), 2: 257–73.

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Contributor Notes

Zachary Hoffman, PhD, is a postdoctoral research associate and lecturer at the University of Virginia. His research examines the culture of imperialism in late tsarist Russia, focusing on the interaction between the popular press and foreign policy. He is currently working on a manuscript exploring popular imperialism among Russian newspaper readers during the Russo-Japanese War and a database of Russian political cartoons from the late imperial period. E-mail: zah3pn@virginia.edu ; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7755-3936.

Sibirica

Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies

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    S. F. Sokolovskii, “A triple alliance,” Novoe vremia, 13 June 1903.

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    Vezuvii, “National types,” Iskry, 30 June 1901.

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    M. Mukhin, “A would-be hero,” Iskry, 11 February 1901.

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    Sokolovskii, “Help!,” Novoe vremia, 24 July 1899.

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    Sokolovskii, “So the goods don't get wet,” Novoe vremia, 17 August 1900.

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    Mukhin, “At a reception in Berlin,” Iskry, 21 January 1901.

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    Sokolovskii, “How I sympathize with the Boers!,” Novoe vremia, 22 December 1900.

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    Sokolovskii, “Careful! Don't get close!,” Novoe vremia, 6 June 1900.

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    Sokolovskii, “A bas la civilisation!,” Novoe vremia, 26 May 1900.

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    Sokolovskii, “A sinister missionary,” Novoe vremia, 16 June 1900.

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    “A toast to your health,” Iskry, 29 April 1901.

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    “The New Year in Japan,” Iskry, 7 December 1903.

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    Mitrich, “I'll just give it one more try,” Iskry, 7 March 1904.

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    Sokolovskii, “Ugh, civilization is heavy,” Novoe vremia, 25 May 1901.

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    Sokolovskii, “Called to dinner,” Novoe vremia, 20 June 1900.

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    Sokolovskii, “The English press,” Novoe vremia, 12 March 1904.

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