Japan became a colonial power in 1895, at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War. This, however, did not happen by design: Tokyo had gone to war with Beijing the previous year in order to eliminate Chinese influence in Korea, not to acquire new territory.
Early in the conflict, however, Japan won a series of decisive victories that boosted the confidence of its leaders. Soon they demanded a large indemnity as well as the cession of Taiwan and the neighboring archipelago of Penghu. They even pushed for control of the Liaodong Peninsula on the Chinese mainland, but that was a bridge too far for Russia, Germany and France, who feared for their interests in the Middle Kingdom. They forced Tokyo to lower its ambitions and made it clear that it had to settle for Taiwan and Penghu.
In an age of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us tell the story well.