125 years ago, on July 25, 1894, Japan's war against the Qing Empire began. The Japanese fleet attacked the Chinese ships without declaring war. On August 1, the official declaration of war on China followed. The Japanese Empire began a war with the aim of capturing Korea, which was formally subordinate to the Chinese, and expansion in Northeast China (Manchuria). The Japanese predator was creating his colonial empire in Asia.
First Japanese conquests
In the Far East, the old western predators (England, France and the USA), who tried to grab as many sweet pieces as possible, were joined by Japan in the 1870s. After the "discovery" of Japan by the United States (at gunpoint), the Japanese elite began to rapidly modernize the country along Western lines. The Japanese quickly understood and accepted the fundamentals of the predatory concept of the Western world: kill or die. After the Meiji Revolution, Japan embarked on a path of rapid capitalist development. Became a dangerous predator who needed markets for its goods and resources for a developing economy. The Japanese islands could not provide resources for the expansion and development of the empire. The plans were ambitious. Therefore, the Japanese elite began to prepare for military expansion.
In 1870-1880. Japan has swiftly embarked on an industrial footing, building an army and navy according to Western standards. Japan quickly became a serious military force in Asia, and an aggressive power that sought to create its own sphere of prosperity (colonial empire). Japanese expansion became a new factor that disturbed the peace in the Far East. In 1872, the Japanese captured the Ryukyu Islands, which were part of China's sphere of influence. King Ryukyu was lured to Japan and detained there. The islands were first placed under the protectorate of Japan, and in 1879 they were annexed, becoming the prefecture of Okinawa. The Japanese gained an important strategic position on the sea approaches to the Celestial Empire: the Ryukyu Islands control the outlet from the East China Sea to the ocean. The Chinese protested, but could not respond by force, so the Japanese ignored them.
In 1874, the Japanese tried to capture the large island of Formosa (Taiwan). The island was rich in various resources and had a strategic location - a staging ground for a dash to the continent. The island also controlled the second exit from the East China Sea and gave access to the South China Sea. The murder in Taiwan of sailors from Ryukyu, who were shipwrecked, was used as a pretext for aggression. The Japanese found fault with this. Although not only developed communities lived in Taiwan at that time, but also quite wild tribes that did not obey the Chinese. The Japanese landed a detachment of 3,600 soldiers on the island. The local population resisted. In addition, the Japanese suffered from epidemics and food shortages. The Chinese authorities also organized a rebuff, sending about 11 thousand soldiers to the island. The Japanese were not ready for serious resistance from the Chinese troops and the local population. Japan had to retreat and begin negotiations with the Chinese government, mediated by the British. As a result, China confessed to the murder of Japanese subjects and recognized the Ryukyu Islands as Japanese territory. Also, China paid compensation to Japan. The Japanese, faced with unforeseen difficulties, temporarily abandoned the capture of Formosa.
The beginning of the enslavement of Korea
Korea was the main focus of Japanese expansion. First, the Korean kingdom was a weak, backward state. Suitable for the role of the victim. Secondly, the Korean Peninsula occupied a strategic position: it was, as it were, a bridge between the Japanese islands and the continent, leading the Japanese to the northeastern provinces of China. Korea could be used as a staging ground for an attack on China. Also, the Korean Peninsula occupied a key position at the exit from the Sea of Japan. Third, Korea's resources could be used to develop Japan.
The Korean crown was considered a vassal of the Chinese Empire. But it was a formality, in fact, Korea was independent. A weakening, degrading and crumbling China, devoured by Western parasites, could not control Korea. In an effort to subjugate Korea, the Japanese government in the early 70s more than once sent its delegates to the Korean port of Busan for negotiations, seeking to establish diplomatic relations (the Koreans pursued a "closed door" policy). The Koreans understood what this threatened them and ignored these attempts. Then the Japanese applied Western experience - "gunboat diplomacy." In the spring of 1875, Japanese ships entered the mouth of the Hangang River, on which the Korean capital, Seoul, was stationed. The Japanese killed two birds with one stone: first, they carried out reconnaissance, studied the water approaches to Seoul; secondly, they exerted military-diplomatic pressure, provoking the Koreans into retaliatory actions that could be used for a large-scale intervention.
When the Japanese ships entered the Hangang and began to measure depths, the Korean patrolmen fired warning shots. In response, the Japanese fired at the fort, landed troops on Yeongjondo Island, killed the local garrison and destroyed the fortifications. In September, the Japanese held a new military demonstration: a Japanese ship approached the island of Ganghwa. The Japanese threatened and demanded the consent of Seoul to establish diplomatic relations. The Koreans refused. In January 1876, the Japanese carried out a new act of intimidation: they landed troops on the island of Ganghwa. It is worth noting that Japan's policy towards Korea at that time was supported by Britain, France and the United States, who also wanted to "open" the Korean Peninsula and begin economic and political expansion.
At this time, two feudal groups fought inside Korah itself. Around Prince Lee Ha Eun (Heungseong-tewongong) conservatives were grouped, supporters of the continuation of the "closed door" policy. Relying on the patriotism of the people, Taewongun has already managed to repel the attack of the French squadron (1866) and the Americans (1871), who were trying to open Korean ports by force. King Gojong (he was the son of Li Ha Eun) did not actually rule on his own, he was only a nominal monarch, his father and then his wife, Queen Ming, ruled for him. Supporters of a more flexible policy united around Queen Ming. They believed that it was necessary to "fight the barbarians by the forces of other barbarians", invite foreigners to the Korean service, with their help to modernize the country (Japan also traveled the same path).
During the period of intensification of the Japanese military-diplomatic pressure, supporters of Queen Ming took up. Negotiations began with Japan. At the same time, the Japanese were preparing the ground in China. Mori Arinori was sent to Beijing. He had to encourage the Chinese to persuade Korea to "open the doors" to Japan. Mori said that if Korea refuses, it will incur "incalculable troubles." As a result, under pressure from Japan, the Qing government offered Seoul to accept the Japanese demands. The Korean government, intimidated by the Japanese military actions and not seeing any help from China, agreed to "open the doors."
On February 26, 1876, a Korean-Japanese treaty of "peace and friendship" was signed on Ganghwa Island. The enslavement of Korea by Japan began. It was a typical unequal treaty. Japan received the right to establish a mission in Seoul, where there were no foreign missions before. Korea received the right to a mission in Tokyo. Three Korean ports were opened for Japanese trade: Busan, Wonsan and Incheon (Chemulpo). In these ports, the Japanese could rent land, houses, etc. Free trade was established. The Japanese fleet received the right to explore the coast of the peninsula and draw up maps. That is, the Japanese could now conduct political, economic and military intelligence in Korea. This could be done by consular agents in Korean ports and a diplomatic mission in the capital. The Japanese achieved the right of extraterritoriality in Korean ports (outside the jurisdiction of local courts). Formally, the Koreans received the same rights in Japan. However, they were almost not there and there was no one to use them. The Korean kingdom was an undeveloped country and had no economic interests in Japan.
Under an additional agreement, which was concluded in August 1876, the Japanese achieved duty-free import of their goods to Korea, the right to use their currency on the peninsula as a means of payment, and the unlimited export of Korean coins. As a result, the Japanese and their goods flooded Korea. The Korean monetary system and finances were undermined. This dealt a severe blow to the economic position of Korean peasants and artisans. That further worsened the already difficult socio-economic situation in the country. Food riots began, and in the 90s a peasant war broke out.
The Japanese broke into Korea, followed by other capitalist predators. In 1882, the United States concluded an unequal treaty with Korea, followed by England, Italy, Russia, France, etc. Seoul tried to create a counter to the Japanese with the help of Americans and other foreigners. As a result, Korea was involved in the world capitalist, parasitic system. Western parasites began to "suck" it. The conservative closed-door policy was replaced not by economic and cultural development based on the principle of co-prosperity, but by the colonial enslavement of Korea and its people.
Thus, the masters of the West used Japan as a tool to hack Korea into their global predatory system. In the future, the West also uses Japan to further weaken, enslave and plunder the Chinese Empire. Japan is used for the further colonization of China. In addition, Japan will become the West's "club" against Russia in the Far East
Despite the infiltration of other predators and parasites, the Japanese gained dominance on the Korean Peninsula. They were closest to Korea, at this point they had military and naval superiority. And the right to force is the leading right on the planet, and the Japanese mastered this very well and used their advantage over the Koreans and Chinese. Korea was relatively distant from the only well-equipped western naval base in the Far East - British Hong Kong. As a result, all European fleets, including the British, in the waters of the Korean Peninsula were weaker than the Japanese. The Russian Empire, before the construction of the Siberian Railway, due to mistakes, shortsightedness and outright sabotage of some dignitaries, was extremely weak in the Far East in military and naval terms, and was unable to resist Japanese expansion in Korea. This was the sad result of Petersburg's long-term indifference to the problems of the Russian Far East, its focus on European affairs (Westernism, Eurocentrism).
Further expansion of Japan in Korea
Japan was able to take a leading position in Korea's trade. The country was inundated with Japanese traders, entrepreneurs, and artisans. The Japanese had all the information about Korea. A pro-Japanese party was formed at the royal palace in Seoul. Tokyo was leading the way towards the complete colonization of Korea.
In 1882, an uprising of soldiers and townspeople against the government and the Japanese began in Seoul. The uprising soon engulfed the surrounding villages. As a result, the Korean officials who pursued the Tokyo policy and many Japanese who lived here were killed. The rebels defeated the Japanese mission. The Korean government asked China for help. With the help of Chinese troops, the uprising was suppressed.
The Japanese government used the uprising to further enslave Korea. The Japanese immediately sent a fleet to the shores of the Korean Peninsula and issued an ultimatum. In case of refusal, the Japanese threatened with war. Terrified, Seoul accepted Tokyo's demands and signed the Incheon Treaty on August 30, 1882. The Korean government apologized and pledged to punish those responsible for the attack on the Japanese. Japan received the right to send a detachment to guard the diplomatic mission in Seoul. The limits of the treaty of 1876 extended first to 50 li (the Chinese unit of measurement is 500 m), two years later - to 100 li to the sides of the free ports. Korea's economic dependence on Japan has grown further.
During the same period, China was able to regain some of its influence in Korea. In 1885, China and Japan pledged to withdraw their troops from Korea. The Chinese governor Yuan Shih-kai was appointed to Korea, for some time he became the master of Korean politics. In the early 1990s, Chinese trade on the peninsula was almost equal to Japanese trade. Both powers subsidized the export of goods to Korea in an attempt to subjugate her economy. This exacerbated the contradictions between the Chinese and the Japanese. Japan tried with all its might to oust the Chinese from the Korean kingdom. The Korean question became one of the causes of the Sino-Japanese war. Tokyo believed that China's claims against Korea were "sentimental" and "historical". In Japan, however, claims are vital in nature - it needs sales markets, resources and territory for colonization.
Reason for war
The Japanese elite did not accept the fact that Korea could not be turned into a colony in the 1980s. Tokyo was still preparing to take over this country. By 1894, up to 20 thousand Japanese merchants settled in Korea. Japan tried to maintain a dominant influence in the Korean economy. However, in the second half of the 1980s, China pressed Japan in Korean trade.
Japanese capital was interested in external expansion, since the domestic market was weak. The development of Japan in such a situation was possible only by capturing foreign markets and resources. The capitalist system is a predatory, parasitic system. They live and develop only in conditions of constant expansion and growth. Japan, having made modernization on the Western model, became a new aggressor, a predator who needed "living space". The rapid development of the armed forces was aimed at preparing for external conquests. The new Japanese military elite, who inherited the traditions of the samurai, also pushed for war.
In addition, Japan was in a fever. Modernization, the development of capitalist relations had not only positive features (in the form of the development of industry, transport infrastructure, the creation of a modern army and navy, etc.), but also negative ones. A significant part of the population was ruined (including some of the samurai who did not find a place for themselves in the new Japan), the peasants were now exploited by the bourgeoisie. The socio-political situation was unstable. It was necessary to channel the internal discontent outside. A victorious war could calm the people down for a while, bring prosperity and income to some social groups. For example, the Japanese envoy in Washington said: "Our internal situation is critical, and the war against China will improve it, arousing the patriotic feelings of the people and tying them more closely to the government."
Soon, Japan got a pretext for such a war. In 1893, a peasant war broke out in Korea. It was caused by the crisis of the feudal system and the onset of capitalist relations. Korean peasants and artisans were massively ruined, becoming beggars, especially in the south of the country, where the influence of Japan was stronger. Part of the nobility also became impoverished. Food products rose in price, as they were exported en masse in Japan and it was more profitable to sell food to the Japanese than to sell it in Korea. The situation was aggravated by crop failures, and famine began. It all started with spontaneous attacks by starving peasants on landlords and Japanese merchants. The rebels smashed and burned their houses, distributed property, food, and burned debt obligations. The center of the uprising was Cheongju County in South Korea. The uprising was led by representatives of the teachings of Tonhak "Eastern Doctrine"), who preached the equality of all people on earth and the right of everyone to be happy. They directed a peasant uprising against corrupt officials and rich parasites, the dominance of foreigners in the country. The Tonhakis took up arms against the "Western barbarians" and the Japanese "Lilliputians" who plundered their homeland.