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Occupation of Seoul

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Occupation of Seoul
Part of Donghak Peasant Revolution and the First Sino-Japanese War
16126.d.2(92)-News from Korea- an account of a skirmish -involving Minister Ōtori-.jpg
Ōtori Keisuke escorts Daewongun to the royal palace as Ōshima Yoshimasa engages the palace garrisons
Date24 July 1894
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Korea

Japanese victory

  • Restoration of Heungseon Daewongun and the establishment of a Pro-Japanese Government
  • Start of the Battle of Seonghwan

 Empire of Japan

  • Japanese Army

Kingdom of Joseon

  • Joseon Army
Commanders and leaders
Ōtori Keisuke
Ōshima Yoshimasa
Heungseon Daewongun
8,000 Muwiyŏng (Palace Guards Garrison)
Changŏyŏng (Capital Guards Garrison)

The Occupation of Seoul occurred on July 24th, 1894. The Imperial Japanese forces led by Japanese Minister Plenipotentiary to Korea Ōtori Keisuke stormed the palace defended by the modernized palace garrison to restore King Gojong's father Heungseon Daewongun to power and establish a Pro-Japanese government.


On June 1, 1894, King Gojong requested military aid from the Qing to put down the Donghak Peasant Revolution as they were nearing Seoul, Korea. On June 6, 1894, the Qing sent about 2,465 troops and landed in Inchon, Korea, and marched to Asan. The Japanese, however, were infuriated by the Qing's violation of the Convention of Tientsin for not notifying their government. The rebels agreed to a truce with the Joseon government to focus on keeping foreign interventions in check. But the Japanese became convinced that the rebellion would call for their intervention; the Japanese sent in the IJA 9th Infantry Brigade, also styled the “Ōshima Combined Brigade,” of 8,000 soldiers and landed in Chemulpo, Korea and marched onto Seoul to counterbalance the Qing.[1][2][3] Minister Plenipotentiary to Korea Ōtori Keisuke demand the Joseon Government to reform, but they refused and demanded them to withdraw. The Qing and the Japanese failed to cooperate to reform Joseon, Mutsu Munemitsu ordered Ōtori to take any measures to compel them to reform. Ōtori ordered Major-General Ōshima Yoshimasa to attack Gyeongbokgung Palace. Before the dawn of July 23, 1894, Ōshima Yoshimasa sent a telegram to the Chief of General Staff Ōyama Iwao to let him know he would attack the Korean royal palace. He informed him that he would lay siege to the palace the following morning.[4]

On 23 July 1894, the IJA 9th Infantry Brigade surrounded the Gyeongbok Palace and engaged the palace garrison in a firefight with rifles, machine guns, and artillery. Despite the fierce resistance from the newly modernized palace garrison, the Japanese breached the gates and overran the palace. They engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the interior defenses and massacred the palace attendants and officials. With overwhelming odds, the King surrendered, and the Japanese disarmed the garrison.[5][citation needed]


Japanese troops storm the palace capturing King Gojong (bottom left) while the rest of their army engages the Qing at Seonghwan, Korea.

King Gojong surrendered political control to his father and replaced the existing Korean government with the pro-Japanese faction to expel the Qing and begin the Gabo Reform.[6] On 24 July 1894, Ōshima Yoshimasa telegrammed the Chief of General Staff, outlining the attack. Because the Qing Government did not inform the Japanese Government of the King's request for aid, the Japanese started preparations to attack the Qing forces at Asan, leading to the Battle of Seonghwan of the First Sino-Japanese War which they won.[7] Japan won the war, and China signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895. The treaty forced the Qing to recognize "the full and complete independence and autonomy of Korea," thus ending Korea's tributary relationship with the Chinese Qing Dynasty and achieving its independence in 1895.

Cultural references[edit]

2018 Nokdu Flower (Korean Drama)

See also[edit]

Other articles of the topics North Korea AND South Korea : 2013 Korean crisis

Other articles of the topic North Korea : Let us create more revolutionary films based on socialist life, Photojournalism in North Korea, Kim Bo-hyon, Tongil Tours, HIV/AIDS in North Korea, North Korea–United States proxy conflict, Lupine Travel

Other articles of the topic South Korea : Treasure 13, 2013 Korean crisis, Ok Rae Yoon, Sung-Hee Kim-Wüst, Yoon San-ha, National Tax Service of South Korea, Antisemitism in South Korea

Other articles of the topic Japan : Jun Kusanagi, Tsubaki Sannomiya, Corporate Contribution Programme, Shochiku Studio Co., Ltd., Chiharu Nakai, Naho Ozawa, Fuko, P-Chan
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  • Gabo Reform
  • Donghak Peasant Revolution
  • First Sino-Japanese War


  1. McClain 2002, p. 297.
  2. Boulger & Hazeltine 1893, p. ???.
  3. Olender, Piotr (2014). Sino-Japanese Naval War 1894–1895. MMPBooks. ISBN 978-8-36367-830-2.
  4. https://www.jacar.go.jp/english/jacarbl-fsjwar-e/main/18940723/index.html
  5. https://www.jacar.go.jp/english/jacarbl-fsjwar-e/main/18940723/index.html
  6. Seth, Michael J (2010). A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-7425-6716-0.
  7. Olender, Piotr (2014). Sino-Japanese Naval War 1894–1895. MMPBooks. ISBN 978-8-36367-830-2.

Category:Conflicts in 1894 Category:Joseon dynasty Category:1894 in Korea

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