Independency of Korea - Treaty of Shimonoseki


China (the Empire of the Great Qing) and Japan agreed that Korea would be an independent country in the Treaty of Shimonoseki.


The war between the Empire of Japan and the Empire of the Great Qing (China) from July 1894 to March 1895 ended in the victory of Japan. The Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed between both countries in the peace conference of the war on April 17, 1895. The treaty consists of 11 articles. Article-1 of the treaty is:

  • Qing recognizes the full and complete independence and autonomy of the Joseon Dynasty, Korea, and permanently abolishes tributes, presentations and ceremonies from Korea to Qing that will derogate such independence and autonomy.

This article shows the purpose and background of the Japan-Qing War of 1894-1895. The Empire of the Great Qing regarded Korea as its vassal state and often intervened in the relationship between Japan and Korea. In the declaration of war, Japan insisted that Korea became an independent country with a support from Japan and Qing intervened in the politics of Korea as if it was a vassal state of Qing, while Qing insisted that Korea had been one of its vassal countries for 200 years.

Why this fact affects the rightward trend?

The Japan Qing War and the Treaty of Shimonoseki are requisite items of the history education in Japan and students memorize the name of the events and the year 1984. Japanese textbooks tend to focus on the cession and indemnity, implying that the war was the beginning of the invasions of Asian countries. However, the fact that Korea gained substantial independence from China after the Japan-Qing War gives another view of the history to those who did not lean the detail of the war. Korea was substantially a vassal state of China, and Japan fought the War for the Korea's independence. This view contributes to shift the political position of Japanese people.