SinoJapaneseWar.com  

August 1, 1894 – April 17, 1895

 Jiawu Zhanzheng 甲午戰爭   日清戦争 Nisshin senso

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Formal Declarations of War

 

 

Crowd in Tokyo looking at reports of the war

 

On August 1, 1894 both China and Japan formally declared war .Chinese

subjects in Japan and Japanese subjects in China were placed under

the protection of the United States. However, the protection of the United

States proved doubtful, when two Japanese students were accused of

being Japanese spies in Shanghai, went to the American legation for

protection. The American consul, Mr. Jernigan, was ordered by the State

department to turn the students over to the Chinese, who after a farce of

a trail , were found guilty and beheaded . After this, most of the

Japanese in Shanghai left the country .

 

When the soldiers in Japan traveled by train to embark for the seat of

war, crowds welcomed them at every station, offering them delicacies

and shouting farewell. Each report of a military success was solemnised

by displaying the national flag at every house

 

Translation of the Japanese declaration of War

 

"We, by the grace of heaven, Emperor of Japan, seated on a  

throne occupied by the same dynasty from time immemorial, do  

hereby make proclamation to all our loyal and brave subjects as  

follows : We hereby declare war against China, and we command  

each and all of our competent authorities, in obedience to our  

wish, and with a view to the attainment of the national aim, to  

carry on hostilities by sea and land against China, with all the  

means at their disposal, consistently with the law of nations.  

 

" Over twenty years have now elapsed since our accession to the  

throne. During this time we have consistently pursued a policy  

of peace, being deeply impressed with a sense of the undesirability of being in strained relations with other nations, and have  

always directed our officials diligently to endeavor to promote  

friendship with all the treaty powers. Fortunately our inter-  

course with the nations has continued to increase in intimacy.  

 

" We were therefore unprepared for such a conspicuous want  

of amity and of good faith, as has been manifested by China in  

her conduct towards this country in connection with the  

Korean affairs. Korea is an independent state. She was first introduced

 into the family of nations by the advice and under  

the guidance of Japan. It has however, been China's habit to  

designate Korea as her dependency, and both openly and secretly  

to interfere with her domestic affairs. At the time of the recent  

civil insurrection in Korea, China dispatched troops thither,  

alleging that her purpose was to afford succor to her dependent  

state. We, in virtue of the treaty concluded with Korea in 1882,  

and looking to possible emergencies, caused a military force to be  

sent to that country, wishing to procure for Korea freedom from  

the calamity of perpetual disturbance, and thereby to maintain  

the peace of the east in general. Japan invited China's co-operation for the accomplishment of that object; but China, advancing  

various pretexts, declined Japan's proposal.  

 

" Thereupon Japan advised Korea to reform her administration, so that order might be preserved at home, and so that the  

country might be able to discharge the responsibilities and duties  

of an independent state abroad. Korea has already consented to  

undertake the task, but China has insidiously endeavored to circumvent and thwart Japan's purpose. She has further procrastinated and endeavored to make warlike preparations, both on  

land and at sea. When these preparations were completed, she  

not only sent large reinforcements to Korea with, a view to the  

attainment of her ambitious designs, but even carried her arbitrariness and insolence to the extent of opening fire upon our  

ships in Korean waters.  

 

" China's plain object is to make it uncertain where the responsibility resides for preserving peace and order in Korea, and not  

only to weaken the position of that state in the family of nations  

— a position obtained for Korea through Japanese efforts — but  

also to obscure the significance of the treaties recognizing and  

confirming that position. Such conduct on the part of China is  

not only a direct injury to the rights and interests of this empire,  

but also a menace to the permanent peace and tranquility of the  

Orient. Judging from her action, it must be concluded that  

China from the beginning has been bent upon sacrificing peace to  

the attainment of her sinister objects. In this situation, ardent  

as our wish is to promote the prestige of the country abroad by  

strictly peaceful methods, we find it impossible to avoid a formal  

declaration of war against China. It is our earnest wish that by  

the loyalty and valor of our faithful subjects, peace may soon be  

permanently restored, and the glory of the empire be augmented  

and completed."

The Chinese Declaration of War

 

 

 

China promptly accepted the issue thus formally raised, and  

published a declaration in substance as follows :  

" Korea has been our tributary for the last two hundred odd  

years. She has given us tribute all of this time, which is a matter  

known to the world. For the last dozen years or so Korea has  

been troubled by repeated insurrections ; and we in sympathy  

with our small tributary have as repeatedly sent succor to her aid,  

eventually placing a resident in her capital to protect Korea's interests. In

the fourth moon (May) of this year, another rebellion  

was begun in Korea, and the king repeatedly asked again for aid  

from us to put down the rebellion. We then ordered Li Hung  

Chang to send troops to Korea, and they having barely reached  

Asan, the rebels immediately scattered, but the ' Wajin 倭人 '  

ancient epithet for the Japanese expressive of contemp translated

 as pigmies ' or more strictly according to usage  (vermin '),  

without any cause whatever sent their troops to Korea and entered

 Seoul, the capital of Korea, re-enforcing them constantly  

until they have exceeded ten thousand men.  

 

" In the meantime the Japanese forced the Korean king to  

change his system of government, showing a disposition in every  

way of bullying Koreans. It was found a difficult matter to  

reason with the ' Wajin 倭人. ' Although we have been in the habit  

of assisting our tributaries, we have never interfered with their  

internal government. Japan's treaty with Korea was as one  

country with another. There is no law for sending large armies  

to bully a country in this way and to tell it to change its system  

of government. Various powers are united in condemning the  

conduct of the Japanese, and can give no reasonable name to the  

army she now has in Korea. Nor has Japan been amenable to  

reason, nor will she listen to an exhortation to withdraw her  

troops and confer amicably upon what should be done in Korea.  

On the contrary, Japan has shown herself belligerent without  

regard to appearances, and has been increasing her forces there.  

Her conduct alarmed the people of Korea as well as our merchants there, and so we sent more troops over to protect them.  

Judge of our surprise then, when half way to Korea a number of  

the ' Wojen ' ships suddenly appeared, and taking advantage  

of our unpreparedness opened fire on our transports at a spot on  

the sea coast near Asan, and damaged them, thus causing us to  

suffer from their treacherous conduct which could not be foretold  

by us.  

 

" As Japan has violated the treaties and not observed the inter-  

national laws, and is now running rampant with her false and  

treacherous actions, beginning hostilities herself, and laying herself  

open to condemnation by the various powers at large, we, there-  

fore, desire to make it known to the world that we have always  

followed the paths of philanthropy and perfect justice through-  

out the whole complications, while the ' Wajin 倭人 ' and others have  

broken all the laws of nations and treaties which it passed our  

patience to bear with. Hence we command Li Hung Chang to  

give strict orders to our various armies to hasten with all speed  

to root the ' Wojen ' out of their lairs. He is to send successive  

armies of valiant men to Korea, in order to have the Koreans  

freed from bondage. We also command Manchu generals, vice-  

roys, and governors of the maritime provinces, as well as the  

commanders in chief of the various armies to prepare for war and  

to make every effort to fire on the ' Wajin 倭人 ' ships if they come  

into our ports, and utterly destroy them. We exhort our generals  

to refrain from the least laxity in obeying our commands, in order  

to avoid severe punishment at our hands. Let all know this edict  

as if addressed to themselves individually."

 

 

 

 

 

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