Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910

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For the 1905 treaty, see Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905. For the 1907 treaty, see Japan–Korea Treaty of 1907.
Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty
Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910
Type Annexation treaty
Context Annexation of the Korean Empire by the Empire of Japan
Sealed August 22, 1910
Effective August 29, 1910
Expiration June 22, 1965 (1965-06-22), de facto September 2, 1945 (1945-09-02)
Expiry June 22, 1965 (1965-06-22)
Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty
Japanese name
Kanji 日韓併合条約
Hiragana にっかんへいごうじょうやく
Korean name
Hangul 한일병합조약
(한일합방조약, 한일합방늑약)
Hanja 韓日倂合條約
(韓日合邦條約, 韓日合邦勒約)

The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910, also known as the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty, was made by representatives of the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire on August 22, 1910. In this treaty, Japan formally annexed Korea following the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905 by which Korea became the protectorate of Japan and Japan–Korea Treaty of 1907 by which Korea was deprived of the administration of internal affairs.

Japanese commentators predicted that Koreans would easily assimilate into the Japanese Empire.[1]

In 1965 the Treaty of Basic Relations between South Korea and Japan confirmed this treaty is "already null and void".[2]


The treaty was proclaimed to the public (and became effective) on August 29, 1910, officially starting the period of Japanese rule in Korea. The treaty had eight articles, the first being: "His Majesty the Emperor of Korea makes the complete and permanent cession to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan of all rights of sovereignty over the whole of Korea".

Gojong of the Korean Empire later called the treaty a "neugyak (늑약 勒約)."[3] The alternative term used in lieu of "joyak (조약 條約)" implies the treaty was coerced from/forced upon Koreans by the Japanese. "Gyeongsul Gukchi (경술국치 庚戌國恥)" and "Gukchi-il (국치일 國恥日)" are alternative terms for the year and date the treaty was signed, respectively.[4]

Role of the international community[edit]

International policies/opinions played a role in the composition and implementation of the treaty; by 1910 much of the international community had largely acquiesced to Japanese imperialism in East Asia. Though most of this acquiescence was never directly stated, the international community did not challenge the Japanese expansionist interpretation of many treaties, agreements, and memoranda that took place in the time between the Meiji era and World War II, and the treaty of 1910 was also met with no international challenge beyond Korea.

For example, via the Anglo-Japanese Alliance negotiated in 1902, the United Kingdom specifically recognized Japanese interests with regards to Korea and China; though the British interpretation of the alliance treaty primarily focused on the lack of recognition for Russian interests in the same locations, the Japanese interpretation of the treaty as an invitation for imperial expansion and the execution thereof was not challenged by the British. This treaty was expanded in scope twice and renewed (in 1905 and 1911) but was later officially terminated in 1923.

The complete Japanese victory over the Russian Empire in the first Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 ensured Japanese military primacy in East Asia; in effect this outcome would guarantee the implementation of Japanese policy in East Asia (regardless of legality) for the next 40 years.

The Taft-Katsura Agreement of 1905, while technically a memorandum (and merely a restating of then-current official international policies of the United States and Japan at that) and not a formal agreement or treaty, was another example of what could be viewed as international acquiescence to Japanese domination over East Asia. The Japanese position regarding Korea as stated by then-Prime Minister of Japan Katsura Tarō, a perspective which the United States did not challenge, was that Korea at the time required Japanese oversight to avoid entering negotiations that could result in conflicts such as Russo-Japanese War (which was nearly over, with Japan as the evident victor, by the time of the memorandum) and to ensure stability in East Asia; at the time, as the stated Japanese aim for its international policies in East and Southeast Asia were the maintenance of peace, American interests in and control of the Philippines were recognized and not disputed by Japan. Although Secretary of War William Howard Taft was careful to point out to Prime Minister Katsura that the issues discussed reflected his personal opinion and understanding (and therefore were not binding on official American policy), he did mention that he was sure that President Theodore Roosevelt would concur, which he later did.[5] The memorandum was not classified but remained unacknowledged in archives until 1924, when they were discovered by historian Tyler Dennett, who believed that the use of diplomatic language implied an actual (though not formalized) agreement (in terms of Realpolitik) and referred to the conversation as "President Roosevelt's Secret Pact with Japan."[5]


The legality of the Treaty was disputed by the exiled Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (formed in 1919, though it backdated its own authority to the cessation of Korean autonomy in 1910) as well as the South Korean government. While the treaty was affixed with the national seal of the Korean Empire, Emperor Sunjong of Korea refused to sign the treaty as required under Korean law. The treaty was instead signed by Prime Minister Lee Wan-yong of the Korean Empire, and Resident General Count Terauchi Masatake of the Empire of Japan. In practice, this detail had little effect on the implementation of Japanese entry into and occupation of Korean territory.

This issue (that the Korean Emperor himself refused to and never signed the treaty) caused considerable difficulty in negotiating the establishment of basic diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan, which took place not after World War II and the resumption of Korean independence, but after the Korean War. During these negotiations, South Korea insisted on including a section stipulating that the treaty was not recognized as ever having been legal by the South Korean government. A compromise was reached in language of Article II of the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations:

"It is confirmed that all treaties or agreements concluded between the Empire of Japan and the Empire of Korea on or before August 22, 1910 are already null and void."[6]


On August 28, 2007, regarding the General Power of Attorney by Sunjong, Korean news paper Dong-a Ilbo reported that Korean monarchs did not sign in the official documents with their real names traditionally. But, the Korean Emperor was forced by Japan to follow a new custom to sign with his real name, which originated from the western hemisphere. It mentioned Sunjong's signature may be compulsory.[7]

On June 23, 2010, 75 South Korean congressmen suggested the legal nullification of the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty to the Prime Minister Naoto Kan.[8]

On July 6, 2010, Korean and Japanese progressive Christian groups gathered in Tokyo's Korean YMCA chapter and jointly declared that the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty was unjustified.[9]

On July 28, 2010, approximately 1000 intellectuals in Korea and Japan issued a Joint Statement that the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty was never valid in the first place.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Caprio, Mark (2009). Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945. University of Washington Press. pp. 82–83. 
  2. ^ Hook, Glenn D. (2001). Japan's International Relations: Politics, Economics, and Security, p. 491. "It is confirmed that all treaties or agreements concluded between the Empire of Japan and the Empire of Korea on or before August 22, 1910 are already null and void.", p. 491, at Google Books
  3. ^ Kim, Chasu (17 October 1995). "한일합방조약 원천무효". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Choi, Soyoung (29 August 1997). "'경술국치' 이후 87년 구석구석 파고든 '왜색옷에 왜색춤'". Kyunghyang Shinmun. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "President Roosevelt's Secret Pact with Japan," Tyler Dennett, The Current History Magazine, October, 1924, [1]
  6. ^ Tōgō, Kazuhiko (2010). Japan's Foreign Policy, 1945-2009: The Quest for a Proactive Policy. BRILL. p. 159. ISBN 9004185011. 
  7. ^ "네이버 뉴스". Naver. 
  8. ^ 김 (Kim), 승욱 (Seung-uk) (2010-06-23). ""한일병합 무효"..의원75명, 日총리에 건의 ("Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty Is Invalid".. Suggesting To The Japanese PM By 75 Congressmen)". Yonhap News (in Korean). Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  9. ^ 이 (Lee), 충원 (Chung-weon) (2010-07-06). "한.일 진보 기독교인 "한국 합병 부당" (Korean and Japanese Progressive Christians "Annexing Korea Was Unjustified")". Yonhap News (in Korean). Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  10. ^ 이 (Lee), 충원 (Chung-weon) (2010-07-28). "韓日 지식인 1천명 "한국강제병합 원천무효" (1000 Korean and Japanese Scholars "Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty Is Originally Invalid")". Yonhap News (in Korean). Retrieved 2010-08-02. 


  • Beasley, W.G. (1991). Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-822168-1. 
  • Duus, Peter (1998). The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21361-0. 
  • Korean Mission to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington, D.C., 1921-1922. (1922). Korea's Appeal to the Conference on Limitation of Armament. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. OCLC 12923609
  • United States. Dept. of State. (1919). Catalogue of treaties: 1814-1918. Washington: Government Printing Office. OCLC 3830508

External links[edit]