Offical caption from JMSDF: “25 NOV, ADM YAMAMURA Hiroshi, Chief of Maritime staff, invited officially ADM Nikolay Yevmenov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy. They discussed about the current situation and the Japan-Russia defense exchange, promoted mutual understanding.”
The portrait on the wall? You know, Marshal-Admiral Marquis Tōgō Heihachirō, the fabled Japanese sea lord who destroyed not one but two separate Russian fleets– which included sinking or capturing 13 of the Tsar’s battleships– in a brief 15 month period from Feb. 1904 to May 1905.
Interestingly, the photo is in a simple sea uniform rather than the Admiral’s grand dress uniform, which was topped by the exceedingly rarely-bestowed Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.
You can always dismiss the humor of the situation by saying maybe it was intended as a full-circle moment. However, if the same pose was struck by the current British First Sea Lord and head of the French Navy in front of a nice portrait of Nelson, you know there would be a gallery full of shit-eating grins.
Of course, it should be pointed out that ADM Yamamura is wearing a dress uniform based on that of the U.S. Navy, but still…