Japan's Success

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6. Chapter 6



The Chino-Japanese War of 1894-5

The war between Japan and China, though the details of it attracted at the time comparatively little attention in Europe and America, was fraught with momentous consequences. Of the Far Eastern Powers which remained independent or quasi-independent, by far the most important were China and Japan. The Chinese represented the conservative and civilian, the Japanese the progressive and military forces still uncontrolled by Europeans and Americans. In China change was disliked, in Japan it was welcomed. The people ruled by the Manchu sovereign at Peking despised soldiers, whereas the subjects of the Mikado had for centuries looked up to and revered the samurai, perhaps the finest military caste that has ever existed. Their Emperor was regarded by the Chinese as the spring of some complicated machine contrived by purely human intelligence, but the Japanese considered the Mikado to be a god, and his ancestors to be disembodied divinities. If the system at the head of which was the able, astute, and corrupt Li Hung-Chang triumphed, if Mutsuhito failed in a war with China, as Hideyoshi at the end of the sixteenth century had failed, it was to be expected that the Far East would speedily be divided among European or American Powers.

The war was interesting for other reasons. Because the average Chinaman sneered at soldiers, it did not follow that the Chinese leaders were ignorant of the way of conducting successful campaigns. Gordon had taught them the art of war as understood by Europeans, and German and British soldiers and sailors were in their service. As long before as 1882 the possibility of a war with Japan had been considered.

The synopsis of the memorial addressed to the Chinese Emperor by Chang-Pei-Lun and the Board of Censors, with Li Hung-Chang's commentary on it, which was published by The Times during the war, ought to be read in this connexion.

According to the memorial, China in recent years had suffered four calamities - the Opium War, the Taiping Rebellion, the insurrection of the Mohammedans, and the troubles arising irom foreign intercourse. All these difficulties, the memorialists reminded the Emperor, had been overcome with the exception of the last. ' Our foreign relations ', they pointed out, ' are of supreme importance . , . and of all our foreign relations, those with Japan cause more trouble than all the others.'

Having noted that the two principal Japanese clans, Satsuma and Choshu, were constantly quarrelling, that there had been an over-issue of paper money in Japan, and that the people were grumbling because of the great expenditure on armaments, the memorialists fatuously observed that the military system of Japan was not well organized, and that the Japanese troops were inferior to those at the disposal of Li Hling-Chang. Nevertheless, the Japanese every year were becoming more arrogant. They had seized the Loo-Choo Islands and threatened to seize Corea ; and consequently, war with Japan was to be expected. * If we do not prepare ', said the Chinese statesmen, ' then the evil day will be upon us with the swiftness of rain from the sky.'

The preparations which the Censors thought should be made were these. The defeat of Japan could be achieved only by a ' preponderating superiority of naval forces '. China's navy should, therefore,, be reorganized. Special ministers ought also to be appointed to deal with the whole question, and Li Hung-Chang should consider the Japanese affair. Meantime, the viceroys and governors of provinces should make naval and military preparations, and friendly relations with the European nations who ' consider themselves as of right qualified to decide matters, which in reality only concern ourselves ' should be cultivated. Japan's strength was very inferior to China's ; she had no intimate relations with foreign countries, and could not, like China, offer foreigners any advantages of commerce as a price for their assistance.

The memorial was submitted by the Emperor to the Board of Military Affairs, and the Board recommended that Li Hung-Chang, who, born about 1823, had distinguished himself in the Taiping Rebellion, and as Viceroy of Chihli had been one of the most important personages in China since 1870, should prepare a plan for the invasion of Japan and be responsible for its execution. An Imperial Edict to that effect was issued, and Li Hung-Chang's views invited. These views are deserving of examination.

Li Hung-Chang agreed that preparations for a war with Japan were necessary, and that the Chinese naval armaments ought to be developed. But he thought that a rupture with Japan should be sought not on the Corean but on the Loo-Choo question. ' We have ', he said, ' an indisputable right to those islands, and every foreign Power would have to admit our claim, if we demanded the restoration of our rights over them.' He forgot that no European Power had any serious interest in depriving the Japanese of Ryukyu.

Unlike Chang-Pei-Lun and his fellow Censors, Li HungChang, while agreeing with them that Japan was disunited and her army and navy weak, thought that the foreign Powers might take her side. ' Let us remember ', he said, ' that the two great principles which exercise paramount influence in the world are reason and strength. . . . The former distinguishes between right and wrong, the latter makes might into right, when opposed to weakness. ... If we only organize our resources, develop our army and navy, we shall gain the respect of even the most powerful of foreign nations, who will rank us with the Great Powers, and then Japan will not venture to carry out any hostile designs.'

The Chinese statesman conceded that the Japanese fleet was the equal of the Chinese, and that no invasion of Japan was possible until the Chinese fleet had a marked superiority. He desired that the responsibility for devising a plan and of executing it should not be placed on his shoulders alone. To carry out a plan of the kind, the viceroys and governors of all provinces would have to work together earnestly and harmoniously for many years. In justification of his contentions, Li appealed to the events of the Taiping Rebellion, and putting his finger on one of the open sores of the Chinese government, he demanded a radical reform of the examinations for the public service. Not ' great scholars ' but ' capable administrators ' should, he urged, be appointed to posts in the government service. He demanded an annual sum of 4,000,000 taels for the navy and coastal defence, and with it he promised in five years to endow China with a strong navy. Formosa and Shantung being the parts of the Empire most liable to be attacked, the most capable generals should be stationed there. Li summarized his opinions in the form of three propositions.

' I. It is essential to strengthen the national defences ;

' 2. It is essential to organize a strong navy ; and

' 3. There is no immediate need to attack Japan.'

As a result of the advice tendered by Li and of the defeats suffered by the Chinese in the Franco-Chinese War of 1884-5, during which Chang-Pei-Lun's squadron was signally discomfited off Foochow, a serious attempt was made to modernize the Chinese fleet. A Board of Admiralty and a Naval College, entrance to which was by a competitive examination on rational lines, were created.

The memorial of Chang-Pei-Lun, who married Li HungChang's daughter in 1888, and the commentary of Li HungChang himself, show the dangerous position in which Japan was placed. China could have easily purchased in Europe the units of an overwhelming navy. Had she done so, and had she re-employed Gordon or given carte blanche to a von der Goltz, the campaign about to be described might have taken a very different turn.

Luckily for Japan and for the cause of civilization, the Chinese ministers were too corrupt and lazy to organize the vast resources of men, money, and financial credit at their disposal. The governors of the provinces were not brought under the firm control of a central body, and when war broke out there was an, almost total absence of coordination between the local fleets and armies. In effect, the Japanese had to deal only with the men-of-war and armed forces stationed in, around, or in the neighbourhood of the Gulf of Pechili.

At the opening of hostilities the Chinese navy consisted of four squadrons, of which the one stationed in the north was alone engaged. It consisted of two second-dass battleships (the Ting-Tuen and Chen-Twen), three armoured cruisers, three third-class protected cruisers, two third-class unprotected cruisers, six gunboats, two training-ships, and some thirteen torpedo-boats. The other squadrons, however, lent the northern fleet two torpedo-gunboats, one gunboat, two dispatch vessels, and two transports. The senior ofiicers were, as a rule, very inefiicient ; the junior, however, were good, and the crews courageous and well disciplined.

At the fortress of Port Arthur on the tip of the LiaoTung peninsula, which like a toe protrudes south-eastwards from Manchuria into the waters between Shantung and Corea, there was a first-rate dockyard. The approaches to Port Arthur on land were guarded by the forts of Ta-lienwan, a few miles to its north-east. Across the sea, at the fortified port of Wei-hai-wei on the northern coast of Shantung, there were naval workshops and stores. Port Arthur guarded on the north, Wei-hei-wei on the south, the entrance to the Gulf of Pechili. A hundred miles of sea - some twenty miles less than the distance between Kiushiu and Corea - separated Shantung from Port Arthur. The Gulf of Pechili extends some two hundred miles inward and westward from the longitude of Port Arthur. Peking, the capital of the amorphous Chinese Empire, is less than a hundred miles from the western coast of the gulf. Peking had been captured in i860 by a Franco-British force. From Taku, the port of landing for an expedition to Peking, to Nagasaki on the west coast of Kiushiu, is by sea a distance of some 900 miles. To transport on shipboard troops from Nagasaki to Taku would roughly be equivalent to transporting them from Liverpool to Oporto.

To the Chinese fleet protecting the Gulf of Pechili, Japan could oppose no battleships so powerful as the lingYuen and Chen-Yuen. She possessed in 1894 only one third-class battleship, four armoured first-class cruisers, seven second-class protected cruisers, nine third-class cruisers, two sloops, eight gunboats, a dispatch vessel, and a torpedo-boat flotilla. On paper she seemed, so far as her navy was concerned, to be in the same state of inferiority as she had been when Hideyoshi commenced his invasion of Corea. But the Japanese ships were faster than the Chinese ; the officers, trained by British or by Britishtrained instructors, were excellent, and the men were worthy of their oificers. The number of disciplined sailors on whom she could count was far greater than that in the Chinese service.

While the navies of the belligerent Powers were on a fair equality, the armies were most unequally matched. A British officer, Captain Younghusband, who visited the Japanese islands not long before the war, discovered to his astonishment that the Japanese army was of European quality. Six territorial divisions, each 17,000 strong, with an Imperial Guard mustering 13,000 - or a grand total of 115,000 officers and men - formed the force ready to be thrown into Corea and Manchuria.

The Guards and 4th Division were armed with magazine, the rest with Murata, rifles. Supported by ah excellent and numerous artillery, led by dauntless and capable officers who had studied in Europe and America or been taught in Japan by experienced theorists like the celebrated German strategist and tactician, Meckel, the Japanese army could, probably, even then have measured itself with any European army of the same size. The Satsuma rebellion had shown that the conscripts as soldiers were not behind the samurai in fighting qualities, and the Mikado, who was commanderin-chief, was reckoned by the rank and file to be a god. The odds on land against China were much greater than those against Persia when Alexander crossed the Hellespont.

In the first place the Chinese was not a national army. Each province in China had a separate force, which consisted of ' Banner-men ', the descendants of the Manchu conquerors and of the renegade Chinamen who had rallied to their cause, of ' Green Standard ' troops - what remained of the Chinese Army defeated by the Manchus - and of ' Braves ', volunteers originally in Gordon's ' ever-victorious army ', or those who had subsequently replaced them.

The ' Banner-men ', if we except those in Manchuria, were worthless. Only the ' Braves ' and a specially trained section of the ' Green Standard ' men were of any account. Many of them were armed with modern weapons, but they had had little training. In 1884 a scheme had been prepared for drilling the Manchurian troops who were nearest to the probable theatre of war, Corea. In each of the three provinces of Manchuria 10,000 recruits were annually to be called up and drilled, but this ordinance had been ignored. The few Manchurians who had been trained were, however, excellent soldiers.

' Li Hung-Chang's army ' had been deputed to defend the shores of the Gulf of Pechili, but the Imperial Guard and the 13,000 ' Bannermen ', who formed the Peking field force and were armed with modern weapons, were not under Li's command. It was calculated that in the whole Empire, with its population estimated at 400,000,000, there were but 400,000 trained soldiers. In Shantung, Chihli, and Manchuria there were not more than 125,000.

The infantry were armed with Mauser, Remington, Winchester, and other rifles, including a native-made one which had to be carried and manipulated by two men. Krupp had supplied the field-guns, but the Chinese artillerymen did not know how to use them efficiently. The common soldiers were brave enough, but most of the officers' were conceited, ignorant, and corrupt. The Coreans had materially helped the Chinese against Hideyoshi's armies. In 1894 the effeminate and degenerate Coreans were valueless allies.

Corea, the Hermit Kingdom, for the control of which China and Japan were fighting, is a peninsula some 400 miles long by, on an average, 150 miles wide. Not twice the length and about the width of Scotland, it forms the western boundary of the Sea of Japan. Imagine Scotland lengthened, pointing south and attached to Manchuria, one then gets a fair idea of Corea. Along part of the base of the peninsula flows the River Yalu, entering the Yellow Sea at the eastern end of the base of the Liao-tung peninsula. Near the mouth of the Yalu and on its northern bank is the important town of Antung. The River Tumen, which rises near the head-waters of the Yalu, flows north-eastward along the remainder of the Corean frontier into the Sea of Japan at a point some seventy-five miles south-west of Vladivostok, the terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway. In February 1890 the Tsar Alexander III had issued a rescript authorizing the construction of a railway across Siberia. It was to be completed in ten years. Commenced at both ends, the eastern section had been opened in September 1893. Unless Japan speedily became the suzerain of Corea, she might see the peninsula snatched from her grasp by Russia. The Tsarevitch Nicholas (afterwards Tsar Nicholas II), who had visited Japan in 1891, had been wounded by a Japanese fanatic, and might be expected to cherish no very kindly feelings towards the Japanese. Russia, besides, was seeking everywhere for an ice-free port.

Beyond and north of the Yalu and Tumen rivers is a range of wooded mountains crossed by several roads, of which the most important is the Imperial Peking Highway leading to Peking by way of Liao-yang. It traverses the mountains by the Motien Ling (' Heaven-reaching ' Pass), 4,000 feet high. West of the Motien are several other passes.

Corea itself has been picturesquely described as being ' as plentifully sprinkled with mountains as a ploughed field with ridges '. It is an agricultural country, which was a reason why Japan could not afford to see it pass into the hands of a Power likely to prevent Corean cereals from reaching her shores. The Japanese population - now rapidly increasing - had experienced numerous famines in the nineteenth century, in consequence of the failure of home crops. Corea possesses excellent harbours, the best being on the east Gensan or Wonsan, 330 miles south-west of Vladivostok; on the south Masampo, a splendid landlocked harbour, and Fusan ; on the west Mokpo, and north of it, Chemulpo, the port of Seoul. Above Chemulpo, at the mouth of the Ping-yang inlet, is Chinampo, closed two months every year by ice. There were Japanese settlements at Gensan, Fusan, Chemulpo, and Seoul. Between Corea and either Kiushiu or the south-western end of Honshiu lies the island of Tsushima, which was in the possession of Japan. The Fusan-Tsushima channel is some forty, the Tsushima-Shimonoseki channel but seventy miles or so wide. Since with mines these two channels could be sealed up or navigation in them rendered dangerous, even if Japan were worsted at sea, it would be difficult for the Chinese to enter the Sea of Japan. The island of Iki, too, spht up the Tsushima-Shimonoseki channel.

Thus Japan could safely land troops on the east or south of Corea, and if the Chinese fleet were beaten or refused to fight, also on the west coast. The west coast alone was really open to the Chinese, but they could move their armies across the Manchurian mountains and the Yalu into Corea.

Under the Convention of Tientsin it had been arranged that troops should be withdrawn from Corea by both China and Japan, and that, if their presence were again needed, contingents of equal strength should be simultaneously sent to the peninsula by the two countries. At the beginning of 1894 disturbances broke out in the southern provinces. In 1859, eight years after the appearance of Teinteh, the Mahdi of the Taipings, a Corean fanatic living near Fusan began preaching a gospel compounded of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity. He had been beheaded as a Roman Catholic in 1865, but his followers, like the Taipings, had formed themselves into a political society, the Tonghaks. The Tonghaks, mostly rustics, now rose ; and the King of Corea appealed for help to his nominal suzerain, China. Chinese troops were dispatched to Asan, south of Seoul (June 8), and the Japanese landed on June 12 at Chemulpo a corresponding force, which entered the capital the next day. By the end of June the Japanese troops at Chemulpp under Major-General Oshima amounted to 8,000, while the Chinese at Asan numbered only 2,500. The Tokyo Cabinet proposed to China that China and Japan should reform Corea. The proposal met with a supercilious refusal. Japan determined to undertake the work by herself, and notified China that the sending of reinforcements to Corea would be construed as an act of hostility. Nevertheless, i,ooo Chinese arrived at Asan, 3,500 crossed the Yalu and marched to Ping-yang, and 3,500 left Mukden, the Manchurian capital, en route for Corea.

On July 20, Japan delivered an ultimatum to the Corean government, and called on China to withdraw her troops from Corea. An unsatisfactory reply was received. Two days later, ii,ooo Chinese troops from Taku and Port Arthur were on their way to Corea - 3,000 for Asan, 8,000 for Ping-yang, which is on the road from Seoul to the Yalu. On July 23 the Japanese at Seoul seized the Royal Palace. The Corean government, overawed, expressed its wish that the Chinese should be expelled. General Oshima, leaving detachments in the capital and, north of it, on the road to Ping-yang, promptly moved south on Asan.

On the 24th a portion of the Chinese reinforcements arrived there by sea, and the next day three Chinese warships, escorting a transport to Asan with 1,200 more Chinese troops, engaged three Japanese cruisers. The result of the action was never in doubt. One Chinese man-of-war was captured, another had to be abandoned, and the third, seriously damaged, took to its heels. The transport, with Captain Galsworthy and Major von Hanneken on board, bravely refused to surrender, and was sunk. On August i war was formally declared.

When considering the conduct of the belligerents immediately preceding the war, it must be remembered that, while Corea was according to the Chinese contention a vassal of China, it was only an outlying cul-de-sac and a tiny and unimportant portion of the Chinese dominions. To Japan, however, Corea was what Belgium and Holland are to ourselves. Had the Japanese been Europeans it is probable that they would not in the circumstances have waited so patiently.

Meanwhile the Chinese at Asan had marched out to meet Oshima. On the 29th they were defeated by the Japanese, and the beaten troops made their way east of Seoul to Ping-yang. Oshima returned to Seoul, and Corea, south of the capital, was clear of the Chinese. On August 6 the remainder of General Nodzu's Division (the 5th), of which Oshima's force was a detachment, landed at Fusan and marched up the peninsula to Seoul, which Nodzu reached at the end of the month. On August 10 a Japanese fleet of nineteen men-of-war was off Wei-hai-wei, A few days later, another Japanese force under General Sato was disembarked at Gensan. From that town Sato could march against the left flank and rear of the Chinese troops stationed at Ping-yang. By September 12 the 3rd Division (General Katsura) had completed its disembarkation at Chemulpo. The 3rd and Sth Divisions formed the Japanese I St Army, commanded by Marshal Yamagata. By a series of combined movements, Nodzu, Oshima, and Sato dislodged the Chinese, 17,000 strong, from their entrenched position at Ping-yang (September 15-16). The Chinese lost in the battle some 6,000 killed and wounded, the Japanese no more than 189 killed and 516 wounded.

The naval action of July 24 and the battle of Ping-yang were symptomatic of the course which the war was to take. On September 17 the Chinese fleet (fourteen men-of-war and some torpedo-boats), which had safely convoyed transports with reinforcements to the mouth of the Yalu and was returning to its base, was intercepted hy a Japanese fleet (eleven men-of-war) under Admiral Ito. The battleships, Ting-Yuen and Chen-TTuen, were each of over 7,000 tons displacement. Ito's strongest ships were belted cruisers of 4,000 tons. After fierce fighting, the second considerable naval action of the steamship era ended in four Chinese ships being sunk. The two battleships escaped.

The Japanese had obtained eflFective command of the sea, and the Chinese army in Corea was in full retreat towards the Yalu and the frontiers of Manchuria. General Sung, the commandant of Port Arthur, with 20,000 troops entrenched himself on the Manchurian bank of the river north of Antung. His left vsdng was across the Ai-ho, a tributary of the Yalu which enters it some miles above the town, and rested on Hushan Hill, in the fork of the Ai-ho and Yalu. The main Japanese body on October 23 arrived at Wiju, opposite Hushan HiU. During the night of the 24th-25th the Yalu, above its junction with the Ai-ho, was bridged by the Japanese, and at 8 a.m. on the 25th Hushan Hill was carried by assault. By 10.30 a.m. the Chinese left vying had been driven across the Ai-ho ; on the next day the Japanese entered Antung. The losses on both sides were insignificant.

The victory of the Yalu completed the Japanese conquest of Corea. Sung's routed troops retired into Manchuria and the Liao-tung Peninsula. During the winter there was fighting in the approaches to and in the passes of the Manchurian mountains, but, thanks to the naval victory of September 17, the Japanese could now turn that obstacle from the south-west.

A second Japanese Army (38,620 strong) under Marshal Oyama had been already formed. On October 24, the day before the battle of the Yalu, part of Oyama's army landed in the Liao-tung peninsula, west of Takushan. Oyama's aim was to reduce the Chinese naval bases of Ta-lien-wan and Port Arthur. The peninsula just north of the Ta-lien bay tapers. On the land side the natural point to defend is the isthmus of Chin-chou. Six forts, armed with Krupp and Creusot guns, covered Ta-lien-wan. The Chinese fleet, instead of assisting the defenders, steamed away to Wei-hai-wei.

On November 6 the Japanese captured Chin-chou, and the Ta-lien-wan forts were evacuated by the Chinese the next day. Ta-lien-wan became the Japanese base for the siege of Port Arthur, which is at the extremity of the peninsula. An attempt of Sung moving down from Haicheng on Chin-chou to relieve Port Arthur failed (November 2i). The same day Oyama, with a loss of 400 or so kiUed and wounded, stormed the forts of Port Arthur, armed with Krupp and other guns and defended by a garrison of some 14,000 troops. The Chinese had 2,000 killed and wounded, but most of them escaped up the western shore past Chinchou and joined Sung.

The Japanese First Army, commanded no longer by Yamagata but by Nodzu, now moved into Manchuria from the Yalu region. On December 3 Katsura, with the Third Division from Antung, marched westward. His objective was Haicheng. On the 19th he defeated Sung in an action at Kangwangtsai, and, at the opening of 1895, Nogi - detached by Oyama to assist Katsura - captured Kaiping, forty miles south of Haicheng. The latter town was occupied by the Japanese. There, on January 17, they were feebly attacked by 15,000 Tartars and Mongolians.

The same day an expeditionary force for the capture of Wei-hai-wei assembled in Ta-lien-wan.

This force (the Second Division and part of the Sixth Division) after a feint (January 18-19) " made west of Wei-hai-wei, sailed on January 19. It was escorted by the Japanese fleet. The next day the disembarkation began in Yungcheng Bay. A week later the march on Wei-hai-wei began. The tovm lies at the centre of the shores of a semicircular bay. The bay is six miles wide ; in its mouth is the considerable island of Liu-kung-tao, and south-east of it the islet of Itao. There were forts on the island and islet. The Chinese fleet under its brave admiral, Ting, had taken refuge in the harbour. Forts on both horns of the bay commanded the entrances, which were blocked by booms.

On January 30 the Japanese captured the forts round the south-eastern horn ; and on February 2 Wei-hai-wei itself was occupied. During the night of February 4-5 ten Japanese torpedo-boats slipped into the harbour round the boom blocking the south-eastern entrance. The battleship Ting-Ttien was torpedoed, but the Japanese lost one torpedo-boat, while two others were badly damaged. The following night five Japanese torpedo-boats entered the harbour by the north-western entrance and sank two more ships. On the 7th the fort on Itao was silenced by bombardment, and the eleven Chinese torpedo-boats, trying to escape, were either sunk or captured.

Another bombardment on the 9th resulted in the silencing of the fort on Liu-kung-tao and the destruction of a Chinese cruiser. Admiral Ting committed suicide on the I2th, and on the i6th what was left of the Chinese fleet and also the unsilenced forts surrendered. The guns on the mainland were destroyed or removed ; a small garrison was left on Liu-kung-tao ; and the Expeditionary Force withdrew to Port Arthur.

The fortresses guarding the entrance to the Gulf of Pechili having been reduced and the Chinese fleet having been put out of action, a blow could be struck at Peking. On February 24 the Chinese were defeated north of Kaiping, and on the 28th Katsura attacked the enemy on the road leading northward through Liao-yang to Mukden, the Manchurian capital. At the beginning of March the Japanese captured Neuchuang and advanced westward to the Liao river. On March 8 an army of 30,000 Chinese was severely defeated near the mouth of the Liao.

This defeat and the preparations of the Japanese to transport another army by sea from Port Arthur to Taku brought the Chinese to reason. On March 20 Li HungChang landed at Shimonoseki, and negotiations with Count Ito commenced. Four days later Li was wounded by a Japanese fanatic. Just before, Japanese reserve troops had been landed on Fisher Island in the Pescadores, west of Formosa.

An armistice was concluded on March 30, during which the Japanese Guards and Fourth Division were dispatched to Ta-lien-wan and Oyama's Army concentrated there. Prince Komatsu was appointed commander of the land and sea forces for the Peking Expedition. The First and Third Divisions of Nodzu's Army were drawn back from their advanced position in Manchuria ; and the Fifth Division alone was left to hold the country between the Yalu and the Liao.

Although the Chinese, it was estimated, v could muster 200,000 troops of sorts for the defence of Peking, the menace of a Peking expedition was sufficient to convert the armistice into a peace. On April 17 the Treaty of Shimonoseki ended the war. By its terms the independence of Corea was recognized. The Liao-tung peninsula, together with Port Arthur and Ta-lien-wan, the islands of Formosa and the Pescadores were ceded to Japan ; a heavy indemnity (£25,160,256) was to be paid to Japan, and Wei-hai-wei held in pledge by her until it was paid. Various commercial advantages were also secured by Japan for herself and foreigneis.

Thus Mutsuhito had succeeded where Hideyoshi had failed. The Japanese had gained useful strategical information for any future campaigns in Corea and Manchuria, and they had established a moral ascendancy in those regions which would be of immense value to them in the event of another war. From the Pescadores and Formosa the Japanese Island Empire stretched north-eastward from the latitude of Hong-Kong to above that of Vladivostok. It barred egress into the Pacific from Middle and Northern China, Corea, and Southern Siberia.