China Location: Home Page> Asia > China

How did Japan annex Ryukyu? Killing two birds with one stone, Peony Society incident exposed weakness of Qing Dynasty.

In 1871, a ship from Ryukyu Kingdom was caught in a hurricane and drifted to coast of Taiwan. More than 50 people on board were killed by local "shengbans". According to common sense, this issue should be negotiated between Qing Dynasty and Ryukyu Kingdom. However, Japan sent 3,000 men to invade Taiwan. This question is called "The Peony Club Incident". The Peony Society Incident was a test of Japanese aggression against China to force Qing dynasty to recognize Japan's annexation of Ryukyu. This incident had an important impact on deployment of troops throughout East Asia.

Prior to Qing Dynasty, China considered island of Taiwan and Ryukyu Islands to be "Ryukyu". During Southern Song Dynasty, Ryukyu Kingdom was founded.In 1372, it established tributary relations with Ming Dynasty and accepted canonization of Ming Dynasty. However, in 1609, Toyotomi Hideyoshi sent Satsuma domain to conquer Ryukyu, and Ryukyu must surrender to both countries at same time.

Since Meiji Restoration, Japan's national power has been on rise, and its ambitions of outward expansion are slowly unfolding. In 1868, Japan transferred Ryukyu Kingdom under jurisdiction of Kagoshima Prefecture and attempted to directly administer its territory. This move did not receive consent of Ryukyu king. At that time, Ryukyu Kingdom was also a vassal state of Qing Dynasty and Japan had to be recognized as a Qing Dynasty if it really wanted to occupy Ryukyu.

In October 1871, a tribute ship owned by islanders of Miyako Island in Ryukyu encountered a typhoon en route to Naha and drifted towards Shengfan Peony Club in southern Taiwan. There were 69 people on board, 3 of whom drowned, and 66 people landed. However, they accidentally broke into Taiwan's original area and killed 54 people. The 12 people who escaped arrived in Tainan with rescue of Taiwanese Han people and were sent back to China by the Qing Dynasty.

At that time, many areas of Taiwan were settled by immigrants, but there were still many mountainous areas where natives lived. The Qing Dynasty called these natives "Sheng Fang", who are now called Gaoshan people. The island of Taiwan is a trading hub in East Asia. Every year, a large number of Chinese and foreign merchant ships are killed in typhoons, and local "shengfan" often brutally kills them. In 1867, Western Merchant Marine and Zhuo Qidu, leader of Eighteen Fanshe, reached an agreement that was known in history as "Nanjiao Alliance". However, Zhuo Qidu cannot contain all "shengfang", so from time to time there are cases of killing of refugees.

After incident with Peony Society, Ryukyu Kingdom was unable to deal with it. As Japan continued to undermine sovereignty of Ryukyu, "The Ryukyu Prince's Mansion could not handle this issue because for more than two centuries, under control of Japanese Lord Satsuma, Ryukyu King Zhongshan no longer had power to exercise sovereignty alone." , Ryukyu appealed to Japan for help.In 1872, Ryukyu Prince Ie Shangjian led a mission to Tokyo to congratulate Emperor Meiji on his support for government, and was canonized as a Chinese.Ryukyu has since become officially a territory of Japan.

In second year, Japan sent an undersecretary of state for foreign affairs to China to try to negotiate with Qing Dynasty about Peony Society incident. Qing Dynasty officials also mentioned that "I heard that people of Ryukyu Islands were killed in Taiwan, but I never heard that Japanese were killed in Taiwan."At that time, great powers also did this . not recognize Japan's claim to Ryukyu. The British Minister for Japan, Parkes, repeatedly stressed: Ryukyu belongs to China.

The early 1970s was also time of official establishment of Sino-Japanese relations. As early as 1871, Japan sent a mission to China. After some haggling, she finally signed "Sino-Japanese Rule Amendment", which is an equality pact. During negotiations, Japan did not allow Qing Dynasty to use name of country "China", thinking that "China is a reference to deserted borders of country". It's been a long time since then. ancient times, and there was never a chance to rewrite name of country.”” The two sides once talked about it. In end, Li Hongzhang compromised and used "China" in Chinese text and "Great Qing Dynasty" in Japanese text. This incident proves that Japan is on surface on good terms with China, but in fact it is secretly producing and propagating "non-Chinese Yuan and Qing theory" in an attempt to split China.

"Sino-Japanese Rule Amendments"

In March 1873, a ship from Japanese island of Kyushu ran aground near Mawu Grottoes on southeast coast of Taiwan. The crew was looted by local natives, but no one was hurt. The victims this time were finally Japanese, so Japan took opportunity to negotiate with Qing Dynasty. The Qing Dynasty sent Mao Changxi and Dong Xin to negotiate with Japan. During negotiations, two men mentioned that "all killers are born and belong to people outside culture".

As a result, Japanese representative made extensive use of this, stating that "the Qing government is not responsible for ancestors in south", and published internationally that "The Qing state did not exercise or claim control over Shengpan territory .She is widely known in world, so Japanese side does not consider it necessary to receive any written promises.Moreover, Qing Dynasty map defines territory it controls only as land surrounded by mountain ranges, and aboriginal residential areas are excluded.» The purpose of Japan using this to create public opinion is to prepare for aggression.

In February 1874, Japan adopted a "Summary of Elimination of Taiwan Fandi", which revisits past and uses Mudansha incident as a pretext to send troops to Taiwan. Subsequently, 3,600 Japanese soldiers landed in Sheliao, Taiwan and began aggressively attacking Shengfang Village in Taiwan. Taiwan fought bravely, and Japanese army killed and wounded 500 people. Although Japanese army defeated shengfang with advanced weaponry, they were unable to adapt to local climate and widespread disease emerged. As a result, Japanese army was only able to withdraw to Guishan, where they established "Taiwan Affairs Governor's Mansion" and "Taiwan Affairs Bureau" in preparation to guard fields.

The Qing Dynasty also immediately appointed Fujian Minister of Shipping Shen Baozhen as imperial envoy in charge of defense of Taiwan and southeast coast. Deng Tingzhen mobilized over 10,000 troops in Taiwan in preparation for war against Japan. Concerned that a war with China might threaten Japan's sovereignty, Japan turned to United Kingdom and United States for mediation. Li Hongzhang and others did not dare to violate "mediation" of England and United States and advocated peace negotiations with Japan. After a month of negotiations, China and Japan signed Special Articles for Taiwan Affairs in September 1874. The treaty recognized Japan as "protection of people" and provided Japanese army with compensation of 500,000 taels as a condition for withdrawal of troops.

The signing of this treaty fully reflects softness of Li Hongzhang's bones, but it is still unknown if bones are there. With this treaty, Qing dynasty effectively recognized Japan's occupation of Ryukyu, and Japan's goal was achieved. In second year, Japan sent troops to Ryukyu, ending suzerain-vassal relationship between Ryukyu and Qing Dynasty. The Ryukyu Kingdom sent Shang Dehong to China for help, but Qing court ignored this, pointing out that it had surrendered. 1In 879, Japan officially "abolished fief and created a prefecture" in Ryukyu, and country of Ryukyu became Okinawa District.

Li Hongzhang, frightened by Japanese military threat, openly demanded at court that Xinjiang be abandoned, and that all military spending on border defense in Northwest be directed to coastal defense to create a modern fleet. Fortunately, Zuo Zongtang argued stubbornly, and finally Qing dynasty agreed to pay equal attention to defense of fortress and defense of coast, and allowed Zuo Zongtang to send troops to rebuild Xinjiang.

After Mudansha Incident, Qing Dynasty realized importance of Taiwan and began to actively manage and develop Taiwan Island. First of all, officials and residents of Taiwan began to build forts on a large scale to strengthen their defense forces. Later, Luo Dachun carried out "opening mountain and lifting mountains" in Taipei, repaired road from Suao to Hualien, carried out large-scale land reclamation, set up free schools, and accelerated development of Taipei area. Finally, Qing dynasty established Taiwan Province in 1885, with Liu Mingchuan as its first governor.

Liu Mingchuan participated in Westernization Movement in Taiwan, training new armies, building railroads, developing minerals, establishing telecommunications, reforming postal service, and developing shipping, which made Taiwan one of most advanced provinces of Qing Dynasty. Thus, Liu Mingchuan has been called "the father of Taiwan's Westernization movement" and "the father of Taiwan's modernization."

But how can a small Ryukyu feed Japan? In 1878, Japan established a General Staff Headquarters and made China first target of aggression. In 1884, Japan began its 10-year preparations for war against China. In 1887, Japan introduced "Qing Dynasty Conquest Policy", which mentioned "the division of Qing Dynasty into several small states." there should be a life-and-death battle between China and Japan.

Related Blogs

How did Japan annex Ryukyu? Killing two birds with one stone, Peony Society incident exposed weakness of Qing Dynasty. As pinnacle of feudal society in Kangxi and Qianlong, why is it said that Qing Dynasty died in Qianlong? Is he a weak king? How did Han Dynasty unify Central Plains? The abolition of princes of Western Han Dynasty is equivalent to reunification of Warring States period. What great powers did Qing dynasty establish? Several companies ranked among top 500 in world How did Huaxia originate? The war between Xia and Dongyi dynasty proved vicissitudes of tribal integration. Speaking of Cheng Han, how did refugees persecuted and killed by Western Jin Dynasty establish Heavenly Kingdom in Sichuan? What impact did Little Ice Age of Ming and Qing dynasties have on China? Actually accelerated unification of China The Last 24 Hours of Chongzhen Emperor: What Did He Do on Eve of Destruction of Ming Dynasty? In great chaos in north, how did Eastern Jin Dynasty miss a golden opportunity to reclaim Central Plains? How did 5,000-year history of civilization in Europe originate?