Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Knights of the Air: WWI as envisioned by the Japanese (circa 1915)

Welcome to Knights of the Air, a weekly series on Dieselpunks spotlighting the aces and pioneering aerial technology of World War I.

In a scene that could have been pulled straight from HG Wells' classic War in the Air, a mighty air and sea battle between German and British forces is imagined in this fanciful 1915 Japanese lithograph.

Japanese lithograph from WWI

Japan, which had almost no experience with military aviation, had joined The Great War on the side of the Allies in August of 1914.  Its citizens, curious about events in the West, avidly purchased lithographs like this because news photographs were difficult to obtain and to reproduce.

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Comment by John Paul Catton on September 9, 2012 at 11:58am

I bet the artist was enjoying himself painting this scene! It's also interesting in that it doesn't seem to have many Japanese aesthetic touches ... the general feel is decidedly western. 

Comment by Charles Laster on June 15, 2012 at 3:59pm

I'd love to live in a timeline with airships, with theri metallic processions against the sky.


Comment by Tome Wilson on April 7, 2012 at 2:29am

I wouldn't consider a week of aerial bombing to be in the same league as the massive dog fight depicted in the lithograph.

Comment by Richard Armstrong on April 5, 2012 at 11:06pm

I'm not sure how you say that Japan had almost no experience with military aviation when they launched the world's first successful sea-launched airstrike in September 1914 against the Germans in Tsingtao.  And Japanese soldier and later Shinto priest Haruo Suekichi created planes in 1895 that would have flown if he could have afforded a commercially available engine

Comment by Pablo J. Alvarez on April 5, 2012 at 7:10pm

Today it´s more a fantasy than a realistic artwok, but in those years was really a plausible scene. Really it´s part of the dieselpunk concept.

Comment by Dan G. on April 5, 2012 at 12:30pm

WOW! That really does look more like artwork from The War in the Air than most artwork I've ever seen derived from HG Wells' stories. I wonder if they'll use it if they ever bother to republish that rather interesting and very prophetic work?

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