Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95

A war between China and Japan formally declared on August 1,1894 and concluded with the Treaty of Shimonoseki on April 17, 1895. Japan quickly and utterly defeated the superior forces of China and emerged as the dominant power in East Asia. Japan's successes, however, were soon aborted by the "Tripartite Intervention" in which Russia, France, and Germany "advised" Japan to give up the territory won during the war. The Japanese government had no choice but to comply, and the humiliation of the "intervention" only stiffened the Japanese resolve to persevere in the game of imperialist politics. In Japanese history, the war marked the point when the armed forces gained a controlling influence in official decision making, foreign policy came to emphasize territorial expansion and power politics, China became an object of Japanese exploitation, and industrialization began in earnest. The war is a landmark in modern Asian international relations. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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