I have decided to showcase this postcard of General Kuroki from my grandfather’s postcard collection. This of course led me to “Google” him to find out a little more about the person behind the postcard.
I learned that General Kuroki was the Commander-in-Chief of the 1st Japanese Corps at the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905. Then I looked up the Russo-Japanese War, of which I knew nothing. Sometimes I think that a person could do nothing but study history for a lifetime, and still not know it all!
Kuroki Tamemoto was born in May 1844 and was the son of a samurai. It would seem that he was in the Japanese army for most of his life, gaining the rank of Lieutenant in 1869, Captain in 1871 and Major in 1872, and then at the age of 31 he was made a Lieutenant-Colonel. Skipping through the ranks he finally made General in 1903. His forces had a series of battle successes during the Russo-Japanese War including the battle of Yalu River, the battle of Liaoyang, the battle of Shaho and the battle of Mukden. General Kuroki retired from military service in 1909, dying of pneumonia in 1923 at the age of 79.
At the time of the Russo-Japanese war my grandfather was only 16 years old and living in the Tamworth area and in July of 1904 snow was clearly seen on the hills around the town. The Australian Prime Minister was Alfred Deakin; 1904 saw the women’s suffrage granted in Tasmania and Ipswich in Queensland was proclaimed a city.