Japan's military provocation for invading Korea in 1875

September 20, 2023

On September 20 1875 the Japanese imperialists committed a military provocation with their warship Unyo intruding into the Korean waters. 

The Unyo incident was a premeditated move of Japan to invent an excuse for armed invasion on Korea.

After the Meiji Restoration in the mid-19th century, the Korea policy enforced by Japan was the one of “diplomacy for the conquest of Korea”. The diplomacy, which was pursued under the pretext of “restoring diplomatic relations between Korea and Japan”, was aimed at imposing diplomatic pressure on Korea to force an unequal and subordinate treaty on it. It was also aimed at making preparations for armed invasion when the opportunity was ripe while detecting internal affairs of Korea and committing subversive and tricky moves against it. 

Accordingly, Japan frequently dispatched aggressor vessels to the southeast coast of Korea to perpetrate espionage acts and show off its military muscles. 

The Unyo illegally intruded into the waters off Pusan in May 1875 on the pretext of a firing drill and also trespassed on the Korean waters in September that year on the pretext of “passage survey”. 

The intrusions were aimed at making an excuse for forcing an unequal treaty on Korea.  

On September 19 the ship illegally entered the waters off Kanghwa Island to reconnoitre waterways and so on in the Wolmi Island area. The following day, it approached the Chojijin battery, an important military fortress on the west coast of Korea. As Korean soldiers took a self-defence measure, the Japanese aggressors fired guns as if they waited for it.

They attacked Hangsan and Yongjong islands which had poor defence installations, killing many innocent residents there and destroying and plundering the islands. But in the end they were driven out by the Korean soldiers. This is the Unyo incident provoked by Japan.

It was Japan’s planned military operation for translating the “theory of the conquest of Korea” into practice.

It is evidenced by the statements of Japanese bigwigs and what Japan did after the incident. 

A Japanese army general said, “In September 1875 the captain of the Unyo received from the Japanese naval department secret instructions to carry out a demonstration against Korea on the plea of surveying the sea route from the Korean coast to a place of the Qing Dynasty.”

After the incident, Japan made more desperate attempt to conquer Korea by dint of force. 

It shifted all the blames for the incident on to the Korean feudal government in order to cover up the criminal truth of the incident. And it resorted to military threat and blackmail in order to exact an "apology" and "reparations" from the latter. In November 1875 Japan set a policy of “peace negotiation diplomacy”, a variety of the policy of “diplomacy for the conquest of Korea”, and hatched a plot to force a subordinate “treaty of amity and commerce” on the Korean feudal government. The incident was the prelude to Japan’s armed invasion of Korea. 

In February 1876 Japan threatened the Korean feudal government by dint of guns and warships to fabricate the heinous “Kanghwado Treaty”. Afterwards, it cooked up the “Ulsa Five-point Treaty” in 1905, the “Jongmi Seven-point Treaty” in 1907 and the “Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty” in 1910, thus turning Korea into its complete colony.

The Korean people suffered untold suffering, misfortunes and disasters under the 40-odd-year-long fascist military rule by the Japanese imperialists.

Japan is an assailant which inflicted enormous damages on the Koreans. It is the legal and moral duty and demand of international law for an assailant to make an apology and reparation to the victim.

Therefore, Japan should make an apology and reparation to the Korean nation.  


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