Causes of first Sino-Japanese war

Causes of first Sino-Japanese war

The first Sino-Japanese war was a major conflict between China and Japan over Korean Peninsula in the late 19th century. The war that took place in 1894-95 marked the emergence of Japan as a major world power while demonstrating the fault of Chinese empire. The war grew over a tussle between the two countries despite the fact that Korea had been one of the most important client states to China. This essay will explore the causes of first Sino-Japanese war.

The strategic location of Korea and the peninsula, its natural resources including iron and coal attracted the interest of Japan. Japan in 1895 had already started adopting Western technology forcing Korea to open itself to foreign trade, more specifically Japanese trade and declare itself independent in foreign relations from China. The conflict between China and Japan came to be known as the First Sino Japanese war.

What were the causes of the First Sino-Japanese War?

Following the conflict over control of Korean peninsula, Japan soon identified itself with major modernizing forces within the government of Korea. Meanwhile, China sponsored conservative officials around royal family. A pro-Japanese group in 1884 tried to overthrow Korean government but the king was rescued by Chinese troops under leadership of Gen. Yuan Shikai. Many legation guards from Japan were killed in the process. As a result, war between Japan and China was prevented by signing a Li-Ito Convention with the two nations withdrawing their troops from Korea.

Japan in 1894 was not ready to compromise as it had a lot of national pride following its modernization program and increasing influence on young Koreans. Pro Japanese Korean leader, Kim Ok-Kyun in 1884 was lured to Shanghai but got assassinated by Yuan Shikai agents. His body was then sent back to Korea and this angered Japanese.

The situation became tenser when Tonghak rebellion broke out in Korea. China at the request of the King from Korea sent her troops to help fight the rebels. Japan saw this as a violation of the Li-Ito Convention and sent its troops to Korea. As Chinese tried to reinforce its military, Japan sank British Steamer, Kowshing ship that carried reinforcements. This inflamed the situation even further.

The First Sino-Japanese War

The war was on 1st August 1894 officially declared. Even though foreign observers predicted a Chinese victory, Japanese had done an incredible modernization job. Japan was more prepared and better equipped. It sent its troops to the region quickly scoring and attaining victories on the land and on the sea. Japan invaded the province of Shandong successfully and Manchuria by March 1895. It also fortified posts that commanded the sea area especially the side approaching Beijing. China having lost sued for peace.

Signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki

The conflict, the First Sino-Japanese war ended following the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. It saw the recognition of Korea’s independence by China as it lost two major Opium wars to Western powers and ceded Taiwan, Pescadores and Liaodong Peninsula in Manchuria. China agreed to give trading privileges to Japan on Chinese territory. The treaty was later modified by Russian for fear of Japanese expansion as well as combined France, Germany; Russia combined intercessions that forced Japan to return to China’s Liaodong Peninsula.

Conflicts over Korean Peninsula were the major causes of First Sino-Japanese war that ended with a Japanese victory. China was defeated thus encouraging western powers to make more demands of its government. The war in China itself led to creation of a reform government that tried to renovate the state. The defeat of china also encouraged anti foreign sentiment and played a significant role in the outbreak of Boxer Rebellion. It marked beginning of a revolutionary activity against to the rulers of Qing dynasty in China because the dynasty was undermined. This further led to the end of Imperial rule in China in 1911.

Japan won with a decisive victory adding Korean peninsula to its sphere of influence. The war also led to loss of many lives and injuries. China lost about 35, 000 of her men while some were injured. Japan on the other hand had 5000 of her men wounded or killed.

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