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Ulsterman

Colonel Tamura Okinosuke, a quiet, bookish man in the center of history

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I got this photo off eBay this week from an antique dealer I know up the road. Sadly, I did NOT get the better companion photo of the Thai Prince with all the Saxon orders that went with it. I got it mostly because Im finishing the translated Russo-Japanese war trilogy(8 volumes total but starting in 1850) by Ryataru, or trying to anyway.

The NHk t.v. series by the way, is great.

The picture below is signed in beautiful, elegant script, " Herrn Hauptmann Scealte-zur freundlichen errinerung .Oberst O. Tamura den 29.9.1912".

A quick snout round my library and google brought together a surprising tale.

Tamura Okinosuke was born @1855, before the Black ships arrived and the US forced Japan to open her doors to unfair commercial trade and-for the Europeans, potential colonization. He grew up during the Bakematsu-the bloody, dramatic civil war era when the feudal Tokegawa Shogunite slowly died under the restless, chaotic forces of modernization, clan rivalries and untra-nationalism masked as Emperor worship. His older brother became one of the first members of Japans' new army and earned the ultra rare Formosia medal. As a cadet, young Tamura also took part in the truly epochal battles of Aizu, during the horrific climax of the Boshin War. Aizu would become an obscure fulcrum point in Japanese history. Most people remember it as the "last samurai war". While it was this, the clans involved later solidified into political/social factions that had ENORMOUS historical consequences several generations later. As Hotta points out in her brilliant book, the burning of Aizu castle led directly, step by step, to the sacking of Nanjing, Pearl Harbor and the mushroom cloud above Nagasaki.

In this photo, Colonel Tamura is freshly back from observing maneuvers and soon to depart Berlin, where he served as an attache from 1910-1913, to return to Japan. Earlier (1902-1905) he had served a year in a Magdeburg field artillery regiment and as an attache'. He was recognized as Japans' technical expert and knew the Krupp family well. Tamura knew Churchill (met during British army maneuvers in 1911) and a great many of the German general Staff. He corresponded with Bruckmueller. Back home in late 1913, he joined the Imperial General Staff and rose to LT. General in 1915, taking over the management of Buro 4, which was responsible for maps, histories and record keeping. He died in April 1919, just as Japan entered the height of its imperial phase.

Tamura was born and grew up in a time that was for all intents and purposes, the 12th Century. He studied to be a samurai and took part in the last Samurai battles. He watched his country modernize and , although he did not know it at the time, knew all the men who would later instigate World War Two and the atomic age. As an attache' in Berlin he met and took part in a glittering social and intellectual scene that one can only marvel at.

The man he sent the picture to also had an interesting career, which I shall write about later.

Edited by Ulsterman

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Perhaps this photo will come out better....

Edited by Ulsterman

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Hello Ulsterman,

A very nice photo and interesting history! During my studies about the foreign influence on the developing of the Japanese Navy in the 19th Century under foreign influence, I observed the so-called oyatoi gaikokujin (hired foreigners) and the ryûgaku sei (Japanese students, who studied aboard).

Especially in the history of the army, the German Kaiserreich played an important role.

Here is some further information/confirmation about TAMURA Okinosuke, which you already mentioned as well.

He served as Major of the artillery in Magdeburg and Berlin from August 1902 until April 1905.

He spent one year within a German field artillery regiment. From October 1910 until January 1913 he was appointed as military attaché in Berlin and was promoted to lieutenant-general.  

After he came back to Japan, he was commanded in the general staff of the Japanese Army as Leader of the Buro No. 4. Within this office, he was responsible for cartography Military History, Translation and the Archive/Military Records.

Source: HARTMANN, Rudolf (2007): Japanische Offiziere im Deutschen Kaiserreich 1870-1914, in: Japonica Humboldtiana, 11, S. 93-158.

 

I would love to see a scan of the back side with the signature… :whistle:

PS: Which source did you used for your information?

BR,

Chris

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The same article, (on line) via the SMH web links ((society of Military History/VMI). Also, some other secondary sources, including tne almanach d' Gotha and the books mentioned above. The story gets more interesting as the recipient also has an interesting career.

Hotta does a good preliminary job of discussing the family/clan issues that created the careers of people like Tojo with the Boshin war.

Given the peacetime Japanese army was only 175,000 men (20,000 officers?) in 1903, records aren't overwhelming.

Id love to see your thesis! Is it in English? Did you also notice the losing clans sending sons into the navy as careers? The army seems to have been controlled firmly by the anti-Tokegawan "rebel" clans/families well into the 1930s.

Edited by Ulsterman

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Tamuras' medal bar:

Rising Sun, 3rd class at neck,

1. Golden Kite

2. Sacred Treasure, 5th class

3. Imperial Constitution promulgation (1889)

4. Sino-Japanese war medal

5. Russo-Japanese war medal

staff college badge

By his death he would have had the 1914/5 war medal as well, been due the Allied victory medal and probably donated/bought the red cross medal (it was the patriotic fashion to do so).

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I suspect this is Tamura later in 1905.

also, the inscription...

Edited by Ulsterman

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Hi Ulsterman,

 

Thanks for your information!

No sorry, I can only send you my German master theses.

It brings back the memories to me, reading my own writting, strong influence of the "chôdohi" (the hand of Satsuma, Chôshû, Tosa Hi-zen) and their overwhelming influence on the navy. But it's a general problem. I remember my Professor tried to keep me away for my master thesis due to the lack of sources. Fortunately, I was able to find some great helpers with David C. Evans (who already passed away) and Mark R. Peattie (author of the book “Kaigunâ€), who provided me unpublished material, especially about the role of the Satsuma clan.

BR,

Chris

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Outstanding! Id LOVE to see this material.

Hotta only references Satsuma briefly, but even today Japanese political factions are split along some of those old clan lines. Even at the last war conference where Hirohito was hinting strongly that attacking the US was the wrong thing, the army/navy rivalry kept the officers from discerning his intent.

I suspect Tamura served under General Nogi upon his return to Japan/Manchuria and thus his older brother helped his career. Nogi NEVER recovered fully from losing the imperial standard during the Satsuma rebellion and eventually committed seppuku after the Meiji Emperor died.

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This is a very interesting thread.  It is enjoyable to read something outside one's normal area of interest.

 

I vaguely remember hearing about a book written by a Japanese attache in Berlin who returned to Japan on horseback riding through Russia.  His observations while in Russia were reportedly instrumental in preparations for the Russo-Japanese War 1904/05.  Is this related to this thread in any way?  Or is this a figment of my imagination?

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hmmmmmm....maybe...theres a "Diary of General Somebody " that sounds like this. Off to Abe books.

Here is Tamura at the 1911 Kaisermanouvres in Silesia, probably watching incredulous as charging German hussars "successfully" attack infantry in trenches. From Woodwards' "Armies of the World" (1978).

Edited by Ulsterman

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Here's the guy!  Fukushima Yasumasa

 

His Wikipedia entry talks about the epic ride from Berlin to Vladivostok.  It doesn't mention a diary or book though.  Maybe that's my imagination.

 

Edited to add:

 

According to this website:

 

The Long Riders’ Guild would like to thank Richard La Tondre, who is currently translating the Baron’s book, “Tanki Ensei" (The Lonely Expedition) into English. This excerpt will soon be available in Dick’s new book, “The Golden Kite.â€

Edited by IrishGunner

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This is a very interesting thread.  It is enjoyable to read something outside one's normal area of interest.

 

I vaguely remember hearing about a book written by a Japanese attache in Berlin who returned to Japan on horseback riding through Russia.  His observations while in Russia were reportedly instrumental in preparations for the Russo-Japanese War 1904/05.  Is this related to this thread in any way?  Or is this a figment of my imagination?

Hi IrishGunner,

I guess, you’re thinking about the General Fukushima Yasumasa (1852 –1919)?

Fukushima was military attaché in Berlin from March 1887 to December 1891.

He joined the sino-japanese war in 1894/95, the Boxer rebellion in 1900 and the russo-japanese war in 1904/1905. He’s an interesting person, because he was a cofounder of the Japanese Kenpeitai (military police).

Indeed, he went back to Japan by horse, which took him approx. 14 months. Some further information can be found here: http://www.thelongridersguild.com/fukushima.htm

BR,

Chris

 

Edit: crossing post

Edited by Gensui

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.......and now, the rest of the story.......

the picture itself is addressed to a Hauptmann Shartle" (smudged) which led me a merry chase through various German ranklists from 1911-1914. Eventually I figured out that Shartle was in fact, an American and not only that, but married to a woman whose family still lives 2 towns up from me.

Samuel G. Shartle was born in 1871, from an old WASP family in Pennsylvania. A member of the SAR, he graduated from Lafayette college in 1891. In 1898 he volunteered for the war with Spain and was made a Corporal in the PA. volunteer infantry. In 1899 he was mustered out and accepted a commission as a 2nd Lt. in the newly established "Negro " 38th US infantry. He served with the 38th until 1901. He received both the Spanish war and Phillipene campaign medals. In August, 1901 he transferred into the Coastal Artillery as a Lt. and by 1903 was in station at the fort in Portland, Maine where he met and married a pretty heiress named Marian Chapman, who was from Cumberland Foreside, still one of the most exclusive zip codes in the USA. Ms. Chapman is a distant cousin of the actress Helen Hunt.

In 1906 Shartle was the Honor graduate at the US artillery school and got promoted to the lofty rank of Captain in January, 1907, at age 36!

In 1909 he was apponinted the military attache in Berlin. He was presented to the Kaiser in Potsdam and attended the Kaisermanouvres, where he met Winston Churchill. He attended the Kaisermanouvres every year until 1914. He took an avid interest in the development of Germanys' air arm and his letters can be seen in the Congressional Quarterly on the subject. He was one of the first to suggest that battleships might be vulnerable to bombing by airplanes.

He and his wife very much enjoyed the glamour and exotic whirl of Germanys' social and diplomatic life. Mrs. Shartles' diary was sold on eBay last month for $1,400. In it she details balls, teas, intrigues and other events. One of the most interesting is having tea with the new Chinese Republican ambassador and attache and his "tiny, doll like" wife. That man's great grand daughter is now a billionaire and CPCP cadre....and a graduate of Cambridge (and was working in a London fish and chip shop when I met her).

Shartle left Germany in 1915 and later served on the US General Staff.

He was part of the US delegation at Versailles and wrote a book about his experiences.

He was rotated from the staff in 1922 and given command of a fort in Newport, RI.

Afterwards he made it to Colonel and retired to Cumberland, Maine. By 1930 he was fed up with the winters and had relocated to Dade County Florida, where he wrote another book on fortifications in the Great War and his magnum opus, a translation of the war diary of a German condittori who fought in central Europe some 500 years before.

Not bad for a little photo off eBay.

Edited by Ulsterman

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Outstanding! Id LOVE to see this material.

Hotta only references Satsuma briefly, but even today Japanese political factions are split along some of those old clan lines. Even at the last war conference where Hirohito was hinting strongly that attacking the US was the wrong thing, the army/navy rivalry kept the officers from discerning his intent.

I suspect Tamura served under General Nogi upon his return to Japan/Manchuria and thus his older brother helped his career. Nogi NEVER recovered fully from losing the imperial standard during the Satsuma rebellion and eventually committed seppuku after the Meiji Emperor died.

Well, I'll check my documents if I still have them. But I'm afraid, I must scan them (only hard copy).

 

I guess, this kind of rivalry isnt' limited to Japan?  ;)  We still have this rivalry between navy and army in Germany.

The first think I learned during my basic training in the navy was, “gold will never salute against silverâ€. (While the navy members had golden insignia/chevron, the army had silver ones). It was a nice experience for me to see, that the navy guys always felt “something specialâ€â€¦

 

BR, Chris

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.......and now, the rest of the story.......

the picture itself is addressed to a Hauptmann Shartle" (smudged) which led me a merry chase through various German ranklists from 1911-1914. Eventually I figured out that Shartle was in fact, an American and not only that, but married to a woman whose family still lives 2 towns up from me.

Samuel G. Shartle was born in 1871, from an old WASP family in Pennsylvania. A member of the SAR, he graduated from Lafayette college in 1891. In 1898 he volunteered for the war with Spain and was made a Corporal in the PA. volunteer infantry. In 1899 he was mustered out and accepted a commission as a 2nd Lt. in the newly established "Negro " 38th US infantry. He served with the 38th until 1901. He received both the Spanish war and Phillipene campaign medals. In August, 1901 he transferred into the Coastal Artillery as a Lt. and by 1903 was in station at the fort in Portland, Maine where he met and married a pretty heiress named Marian Chapman, who was from Cumberland Foreside, still one of the most exclusive zip codes in the USA. Ms. Chapman is a distant cousin of the actress Helen Hunt.

In 1906 Shartle was the Honor graduate at the US artillery school and got promoted to the lofty rank of Captain in January, 1907, at age 36!

In 1909 he was apponinted the military attache in Berlin. He was presented to the Kaiser in Potsdam and attended the Kaisermanouvres, where he met Winston Churchill. He attended the Kaisermanouvres every year until 1914. He took an avid interest in the development of Germanys' air arm and his letters can be seen in the Congressional Quarterly on the subject. He was one of the first to suggest that battleships might be vulnerable to bombing by airplanes.

He and his wife very much enjoyed the glamour and exotic whirl of Germanys' social and diplomatic life. Mrs. Shartles' diary was sold on eBay last month for $1,400. In it she details balls, teas, intrigues and other events. One of the most interesting is having tea with the new Chinese Republican ambassador and attache and his "tiny, doll like" wife. That man's great grand daughter is now a billionaire and CPCP cadre....and a graduate of Cambridge (and was working in a London fish and chip shop when I met her).

Shartle left Germany in 1915 and later served on the US General Staff.

He was part of the US delegation at Versailles and wrote a book about his experiences.

He was rotated from the staff in 1922 and given command of a fort in Newport, RI.

Afterwards he made it to Colonel and retired to Cumberland, Maine. By 1930 he was fed up with the winters and had relocated to Dad County Florida, where he wrote another book on fortifications in the Great War and his magnum opus, a translation of the war diary of a German condittori who fought in central Europe some 500 years before.

Not bad for a little photo off eBay.

Stunning! :love:

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I suspect this is Tamura later in 1905.

also, the inscription...

Ulsterman,

Can you post a complete scan of the back side? I'd like to see the complete devotion starting with " Herrn Hauptmann Scealte".

I'm just curious, why a Japanese officer provided his photo to an American officer in  German language, not in English or even French...

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The great Post card collector Christine (the daily post? blog) has this signed postcard from Shartle from the 1910 maneuvers with signatures. Note the Nobel Prize winner.

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I am guessing that Tamura and Shartle knew each other. On eBay there were a series of officers' portraits sold (being sold) by an antique dealer up the road that clearly come from the Shartle estate. I suspect Shartle is the man in the cap over Tamuras' right shoulder in the 1911 maneuvers photograph.

The Spanish attache' is still for sale I note.

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Heres the full back (sorry, my pencil notes in margin)

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Thanks a lot!

I need to repeat - an absolute stunning historical piece with a beautiful "story behind" :cool:

BR, Chris

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Being a former attache myself, this is great stuff!  Thanks for taking time to research and share.

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