甲午戰爭前，中日兩國海軍的明量暗較，以北洋海軍置備「定遠」、「鎮遠」兩艘在東亞堪稱空前的鐵甲鑑後，日人籌建三艘噸位不大而特配巨砲的巡洋艦(「嚴島」、「松島」、「橋立」─合稱三景艦)以謀剋制，過程最複雜，揭示性亦最深廣。其間種種，當日主持北洋海軍者固所知極有限，其後國人研究斯役者亦鮮有增益，以致研究報告習以虛誇此三日鑑為常事。本文之作，圖正視聽外，還希望通過實例去證明北洋海軍領導階層素質的庸劣。 Among the instances of competition, conspicuous or otherwise, between the Chinese and Japanese navies before the 1894-95 Sino-Japanese War, the case of how the Japanese planned to subdue Ting-yuan and Chen-yuan, the powerful pair of German-built ironclads of China's Northern Squadron, by building three cruisers of calculatingly risky design (Itsukushima, Matsu-shima, and Hashidata, collectively known as the Sankeikan for their being named after three scenic locations in Japan) under the guidance of the famed French naval architect Louis-Emile Bertin, is as complicated as it is revealing. The stupidity of those in charge of the Northern Squadron played right into the hands of the Japanese in making the whole job much easier for them. When hostilities broke out, the Chinese were defeated without knowing much about the state of the Japanese warships involved. This ignorance perpetuates in the still current exaggeration of the capacities of these faultily designed Japanese cruisers. This paper examines the related events, and explains the dreadful calibre of the Chinese naval leadership as a major reason for their being soundly routed.