Japanese Expansion Timeline

  • Meiji Restoration

    An attempt by new Emperor Meiji to modernize and civilize Japan. Japanese Nationalism was the result of Western ideas and Japanese culture. The Meiji Restoration emphasized the importance of a strong military.
  • Meiji Constitution

    Meiji Constitution
    A document implemented by the Privy Council that declared the divinity and power of Japan's Emperor. The Constitution also gave the military extensive power. The military was given two cabinet positions in the government. This document required unanimity from all ministers to pass any laws, which eventually caused disagreements and increased military power. A parliament, called the Diet, was also created by this Constitution.
  • First Sino-Japanese War

    First Sino-Japanese War
    The Qing Dynasty declared war on Japan in August of 1894. Japan drove Chinese troops out of Korea. Japan began their invasion of Manchuria during this war; they also captured the economic asset of Port Arthur. Japan also captured port Wihaiwei and the islands off of Taiwan. Japan was largely dominant in this war.
  • Treaty of Shimoneski

    Treaty of Shimoneski
    The terms for peace that resulted from the First Sino-Japanese War. It gave Korea full independence from China, Japan received Taiwan and the Liaodong Peninsula, forced China to pay Japan around 13,600 tons of silver, gave Japan approval to operate ships on the Yangtze River, and allowed Japan to have factories in four Chinese ports.
  • Tripartite Intervention

    Tripartite Intervention
    Russia, Germany, and France's response to the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Russia took control of the Liaodong Peninsula and Port Arthur. Germany took control of part of the Shantung Peninsula. Japan was forced to submit to European powers, but the demands humiliated Japan and gave them motive to assert their dominance through further expansion.
  • Boxer Rebellion

    200,000 troops were stationed in Manchuria, partially to prevent Japan from stationing troops there. Russia does not remove troops after their Rebellion was struck. Japan feels that their interests in China and Korea were threatened. This leads to an initiation of meetings with Russia to determine their sphere of influence.
  • Anglo Japanese Alliance

    Britain formed this as a result of an inability to afford a large naval fleet or standing army in China. The Alliance stated that Japan and Britain would aid each other militarily if either was at war with two or more countries. It also stated that if either country was at war with only one other state, then the other would remain neutral. In relation to Japan's expansion, it guaranteed that Japan would only need to deal with Russia in the event of war.
  • Japan's Attack on Port Arthur

    After this attack, Port Arthur was under siege by land and sea by the Japanese. In December, most of Russia's navy that was anchored at Port Arthur had been destroyed. Port Arthur surrendered in January 1905.
  • Treaty of Portsmouth

    This treaty ends the Russo-Japanese War. As a result of this treaty, Japan was given the southern half of Sakhalin Island, Japan had the the right to lease the Southern Manchurian Railway from China, Japan (and Russia) were required to remove troops from Manchuria, and Japan was allowed to lead the Liaodong Peninsula and Port Arthur from China.
  • World War I

    This war gave Japan a chance to showcase their strength. Japan intended to demonstrate strength specifically against Germany and China.
  • Twenty-One Demands

    Japan presented this document to China in 1915, outlining many demands of the Japanese. Among these, Japan demanded: control over the Shantung Peninsula and Manchuria, agreement to build railways in areas under Chinese control, and permission to build Japanese hospitals, schools, and temples anywhere in China. China and Japan eventually agreed on a total of thirteen demands.
  • Paris Peace Conference

    Japan is established as a significant economic power with their obtainment of the German Pacific Islands.
  • Five Power Treaty

    This treaty limited the tonnage of naval supplies for Britain, USA, and Japan, with a ratio of 5:5:3. Japan's imperial navy was required to abandon any plans for massive expansion. This treaty was opposed by the Navy General Staff but supported by the Japanese government.
  • Four Power Treaty

    This treaty officially ended the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. It required the USA, Japan, the UK, and France to communicate if there were ever a crisis in the Pacific.
  • Positive Policy Towards China from Japan

    This policy was adopted in 1927, and it meant that Japan would treat Manchuria as a special case, unrelated to its other concerns in other parts of China.
  • London Naval Conference

    Here, Japan demanded a fleet that was 70% the tonnage of the US or British fleet. However, Japan received at 69.75% ration on battleships and a 60% ratio on cruisers. Many people in Japan felt that this agreement was unjust, and it incited an anger in many Japanese citizens.
  • Lytton Commission

    This group was formed by the League of Nations in response to the Manchurian Crisis. Despite being formed in December 1931, an official report was not issued until October of 1932. The report recommended that Japan retreat from Manchuria. The report had little effect, giving Japan confidence to continue its expansion.
  • Mukden Incident

    The physical effects of this incident were relatively minimal. During the Mukden Incident, a bomb exploded in the South Manchurian Railway. It took place near several Japanese troops, giving Japan an excuse to blame the explosion on the Chinese. This event gave the Japanese a reason to occupy Manchuria. It is believed that Japan staged this event.
  • Assassination of Prime Minister Inukai

    Also known as the May 15 Incident, Japan's prime minister was assassinated by several naval officers. These officers were given light sentences, and a rise in militarism and fall in democracy was seen as a result of this event.
  • League of Blood Incident

    This event was just one of many radical attempts of The Sakurakai and Kōdōha to wipe out political parties as well as the zaibatsu. In this incident, the leader of the Mitsui zaibatsu was assassinated. The Tōseiha were the political group contrary to these radical factions, and they wanted to reform Japan's government rather than destroy it.
  • Creation of Manchukuo

    After the Mukden Incident, the Japanese blamed the Chinese for intending to harm Japan. Japan declared control of Manchuria, claiming a need to protect life and property. Once Japan took control of Manchuria, they created a puppet state in the region by the name of Macnhukuo.
  • Tanggu Truce

    China signed this Treaty, which officially recognized that Japan controlled Jehol and Manchuria. China also promised not to fight to remove Japan from these areas.
  • Doihari Kenji-Qin Dechun Agreement

    China agreed to remove troops from the Manchukuo border and from the Charar Province. China agreed because their primary focus was the destruction of the CCP.
  • Anti-Comintern Pact

    This agreement was an anti-communist pact between Germany and Japan. Japan viewed the Soviet Union as Manchukuo's greatest threat. So, Japan looked to Germany as an ally to support military intervention with the USSR.
  • Nanjing Massacre

    Soon after Prince Asaka was appointed head of the Central China Area Army, he began to demand that all Chinese encountered be captured and executed. The Japanese's methods were gruesome: Chinese property was stolen, Chinese women and children were raped, and many Chinese soldiers were killed. This event outraged many foreigners.