The First Sino-Japanese War (May 25 — April 17, 1895 ) was a conflict between the Qing dynasty in China and the Japanese Empire over the influence of Joseon Korea. It was a great battle with troop movements from 1 August 1894 to 17 April 1895 in Korea, Manchuria, Taiwan, and the Yellow Sea, which led to a Japanese victory. The war was the 1894-95 conflict between Japan and China that marked the rise of Japan as a major world power and demonstrated the weakness of China’s empire.
The first Sino-Japanese war showed that the Qing Dynasty failed in China to modernize its military and defend against threats to its sovereignty relative to the Japanese empire after the successful Meiji restoration. While waging war, the Qing Empire rebelled against the Dungan revolt in northwestern China, in which thousands lost their lives. General Dong Fuxiang (Ma Anliang, Ma Haiyan) was summoned by the Qing government to bring Hui troops under his command to participate in the war, and he was sent to suppress the revolt.
At the end of October, Japan had not only expelled the Chinese from Korea but had also entered China itself. The 3,500 Chinese soldiers stationed in Seonghwan, located in East Asan near Kongju, had lost ground to the superior Japanese and had fled to Pyongyang.
The Shimonoseki Treaty signed in April 1895 gave China control over the peninsula Liaodong, the west Korean peninsula, and the island of Taiwan. In it, China declared its intention to withdraw from Korea and appoint a resident to reaffirm Korea’s tribute status. China’s defeat, however, encouraged Western powers to make further demands of the Chinese government.
Much of the first Sino-Japanese war was fought at sea, and the Japanese navy had an advantage over its antiquated Chinese counterpart because Empress Dowager Cixi siphoned off funds earmarked for modernizing the Chinese navy to rebuild the Summer Palace in Beijing. East Asia’s traditional heavyweight champion, Qing China, had failed to modernize its own military bureaucracy after losing two opium wars against Western powers.
In any case, Japan cut off the Chinese supply lines through its garrisons in the naval blockade of Asan, and on July 28 Japanese and Korean land troops overran a 3,500-strong Chinese force killing 500 of them and capturing the rest; both sides declared war on August 1. China’s troops fled distraught into the fields, leaving vital supplies and looting the local population. The remaining Chinese troops retreated to the northern city of Pyongyang and dug into the territory while the Qing government sent reinforcements to raise the Chinese garrison in Pyongyang to a total of 15,000 soldiers.
In 1875, Japan began adopting Western technology, forcing Korea to open up to Japanese foreign trade, and declaring Korea independent of China in its foreign relations. There have also been domestic tensions in Korea between reformers seeking to strengthen ties with Japan and force modernization in Asia, and traditionalists aligned with China.
Six years later, after the disastrous Boxer Uprising, Japan gained the right to deploy troops in eastern Manchuria and made it a military Hudson on the Chinese mainland. The collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 further weakened China and allowed Japan to expand its influence sphere. Japan, which had begun adopting Western technology, was identified as a radical modernizing power in Korea, while China continued to promote conservative officials who rallied around the royal family.
After an incident on the Marco Polo Bridge between Wanping and Beijing, a full-blown war between China and Japan began in July 1937. Japanese troops opened fire on local soldiers, and after a brief truce was brokered, both sides stepped up their military presence in the region.
It took just over an hour to sink the Chinese transport ship Kowshing, a British ship hired by the Chinese government as a troop transport vessel. This resulting in the loss of two Chinese gunboats, one sunk and one captured. The sinking, controlled by the British and occupied by the Europeans together with the drowning and shooting of most of the crew of 800 Chinese soldiers, became an international incident and a media sensation.
The significance of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) for the development of international relations in East Asia during the twentieth century and the development of the national history of China, Japan, and Korea is widely recognized. The Treaty of Shimonoseki and the triple intervention from France, Germany, and Russia were successful attempts to minimize the Japanese advantage in the war.
In reality, the Sino-Japanese war was a Japanese attempt to pre-empt Russia’s expansion into the Korean Peninsula, which threatened Japan. During the war, Japanese politicians tried to protect Japan from expulsion from China and a decade later they expelled Russia from China’s tributaries in Korea and southern Manchuria during the Russian-Japanese War (1904-1905). Despite China’s large population, army resources based on relatively short communication routes and superior battleships, and years of military modernization, China lost the battle and lost decisively.
On February 26, 1876, Japan forced Korean state-based Korea to sign the Treaty of Ganghwa, which opened Japanese trade and declared independence from China following a confrontation between conservative Korean isolationists and Japanese in Korea. In 1884 a group of pro-Japanese reformers overturned the pro-China conservative Korean government in a bloody coup d’état. The pro-China faction backed by Chinese troops under General Yuan Shikai managed to gain control but a bloody counter-coup led to the deaths of several reformers but also the burning of the Japanese embassy and the deaths of several envoys and citizens.