top of page



                                    CHINA                     JAPAN                   KOREA





Kanagawa, Treaty of   

Signed on 31 March 1854, after Commodore Perry returned to Japan, the Treaty of Kanagawa was Japan's first treaty with a Western nation. This treaty opened Hakodate and Shimoda to US vessels, and guaranteed that shipwrecked sailors would be treated well.


Kanghwa, Treaty of    

Signed on 26 February 1876 between Japan and Korea, this treaty was Korea's first modern,Western-style treaty. Its provisions included opening ports for trade and recognition of Korea as an independent country. It both ended Chinese "monopolization" of Korea and marked the end of Korea's isolation as "the Hermit Kingdom."


Portsmouth, Treaty of   

Signed on 5 September 1905 and negotiated by Theodore Roosevelt, this treaty ended the Russo-Japanese War. Japan benefited greatly from this treaty, at the expense of China, Korea, and Russia.


Russo-Japanese War 1904-05

Japan was the unexpected victor of this war. Victory raised the prestige of Japan in the world and established it as an imperialist power. This war confirmed Japanese authority in Korea; Japan also gained Russian holdings in China and Manchuria, as well as southern Sakhalin and the Kurile chain. The Treaty of Portsmouth ended the Russo-Japanese War.


Shimonoseki, Treaty of.

Signed on 17 April 1895, this treaty ended the first Sino-Japanese War. Negotiated between Ito Hirobumi for Japan and Li Hongzhang for China, it gave Japan extensive concessions, as well as a massive indemnity. Although Japan was forced by the Western powers to give up some of its gains, this treaty established Japan as the foremost power in East Asia.


Sino-Japanese War 1894-95 

After increasing tensions of which country had the "right" to dominate Korea, China and Japan fought a brief war over the issue. Although Western powers expected China to win, Japan easily defeated the Chinese. Even when China sued for peace, Japan kept fighting. Finally, the Treaty of Shimonoseki was negotiated to end the war. China paid a high price for peace, ceding territory and paying a huge indemnity.Yellow Peril: A popular term that referred to the perceived "menace" that the Chinese and Japanese presented to the West, both in Asia and at home.


Townsend Harris: 1804-1878. First American consul in Japan. According to the Treaty of Kanagawa, there was to be an American consular representative stationed in Japan; Townsend Harris was the first to fill that position.From his arrival in Japan in 1856, Harris negotiated with the Japanese. He was rewarded with a commercial treaty in 1858. Harris continued in Japan as the US representative. However, when his health declined, Harris asked to be relieved of his duties, and left Japan in 1862.


Matthew Calbraith Perry: 1794-1858. In March 1852, Commodore Perry of the US Navy was assigned command of four ships. His mission: to establish relations with Japan. Perry and his ships reached Japan in July 1853. On 14 July 1853, he presented Japanese officials a letter from President Millard Fillmore, which asked for the establishment of relations and trade. Perry also emphasized the importance of avoiding confrontation between the two countries. Shortly thereafter, he and his ships left. Before leaving, he told the Japanese he would be back with a larger contingent to receive their reply.Perry returned to Japan in February 1854, this time with eight ships- On 31 March 1854, the Treaty of Kanagawa was signed, which was both Japan's first treaty with a Western power and the death knell of the Tokugawa policy of isolation.


Chapter 3


bottom of page