Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact


SDHF Newsletter No.368 THE ROAD TO THE GREATER EAST ASIAN WAR Part 6: Chapter 2: The 1st Sino-Japanese War -3

Nakamura Akira, Dokkyo University Professor Emeritus

(English Translation: Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact)

Part 6: Chapter 2: The 1st Sino-Japanese War-3
Defying the world’s expectations, the Japanese handed China a resounding defeat. The Chinese petitioned for peace talks, which took place at the Shunpanro, a hotel in Shimonoseki. The resulting agreement was signed on April 17, 1895. The framework of what became the treaty of Shimonoseki follows:

1. China recognizes the full and complete independence and autonomy of Korea.
2. China cedes to Japan in perpetuity the Liaodong peninsula, Formosa (Taiwan) and all appertaining islands, and the Pescadores Islands.
3. China agrees to pay to Japan as a war indemnity 200 million taels (ca. \300 million).

Unfortunately, no sooner had the treaty been concluded than Japan was confronted by a bolt from the blue in the form of interference from Western powers. There is a traditional Chinese diplomatic stratagem that involves pitting one barbarian tribe or state against another to gain the upper hand. In employing this maneuver, the Chinese sought Russian cooperation. Since Russia was eager to acquire territory on the Manchuria-Korea border and the Liaodong peninsula, it readily agreed, joined by France and Germany.
The Triple Intervention took place on April 23. Russia, France and Germany “advised” Japan to retrocede the Liaodong peninsula, which Japan had rightfully won.
In China Zhang Zhidong, then the viceroy of Hubei and Hunan provinces, conveyed a mind- boggling opinion to the Qing court: “Waste no time in requesting assistance from the UK, Russia, and Germany, offering concessions in return.” He went so far as to suggest, “After we have intimidated the barbarians by abrogating the treaty, we should cede Xinjiang or the Southern (or Northern) Silk Road to Russia, and Tibet to the UK.” This type of thinking on the part of the Chinese triggered the tribulations that plagued East Asia for the next 50 years.
The Japanese people could not possibly accept the shameful Triple Intervention. Emperor Meiji issued a rescript in which he counseled his subjects to exercise patience and restraint.
But some Lower-House Diet members, among them Ozaki Yukio and Inugai Tsuyoshi, launched a campaign in June 1896 seeking an extraordinary Diet session to discuss the following three points.

(1) Expand the military immediately to restore Japan’s honor
(2) Compel the government to accept responsibility for the retrocession of Liaodong
(3) Maintain Japanese authority and status in Korea
It is important to realize that it was not only Diet representatives and journalists who called for military expansion, but also the citizens of Japan.


MOTEKI Hiromichi, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact