The Treaty of Shimonoseki was the document that officially ended the First Sino-Japanese war. This document relinquished all Chinese claims to Korea, which subsequently annexed in 1910. With this agreement, Imperial Japan also took control of Taiwan, Penghu Islands and the Liaodong Peninsula. The official translation of the text is as follows:
Treaty of Shimonoseki April 17, 1895
(took force on May 8, 1895)
TREATY OF PEACE His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and His Majesty the Emperor of China, desiring to restore the blessings of peace to their countries and subjects and to remove all cause for future complications, have named as their Plenipotentiaries for the purpose of concluding a Treaty of Peace, that is to say:
His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, Count ITO Hirobumi, Junii, Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of Paullownia, Minister President of State; and Viscount MUTSU Munemitsu, Junii, First Class of the Imperial Order of the Sacred Treasure, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
And His Majesty the Emperor of China, LI Hung-chang [Li Hongzhang], Senior Tutor to the Heir Apparent, Senior Grand Secretary of State, Minister Superintendent of Trade for the Northern Ports of China, Viceroy of the province of Chili [Zhili], and Earl of the First Rank; and LI Ching-fong [Li Jingfeng], Ex-Minister of the Diplomatic Service, of the Second Official Rank:
Who, after having exchanged their full powers, which were found to be in good and proper form, have agreed to the following Articles:
Article 1 China recognises definitively the full and complete independence and autonomy of Korea, and, in consequence, the payment of tribute and the performance of ceremonies and formalities by Korea to China, in derogation of such independence and autonomy, shall wholly cease for the future.
Article 2 China cedes to Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty the following territories, together with all fortifications, arsenals, and public property thereon:
(a) The southern portion of the province of Fêngtien [Fengtian] within the following boundaries [Liaodong agreement in November 1895 deleted this and replaced it with an indemnity of 30 million taels of silver to be paid Japan]:
The line of demarcation begins at the mouth of the River Yalu and ascends that stream to the mouth of the River An-ping [Anping], from thence the line runs to Fêng-huang [Fenghuang], from thence to Hai-cheng [Haizheng?], from thence to Ying-kow [Yinzhou?], forming a line which describes the southern portion of the territory. The places above named are included in the ceded territory. When the line reaches the River Liao at Ying-kow, it follows the course of the stream to its mouth, where it terminates. The mid-channel of the River Liao shall be taken as the line of demarcation.
This cession also includes all islands appertaining or belonging to the province of Fêngtien situated in the eastern portion of the Bay of Liao-tung and the northern portion of the Yellow Sea.
(b) The island of Formosa, together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa.
(c) The Pescadores Group, that is to say, all islands lying between the 119th and 120th degrees of longitude east of Greenwich and the 23rd and 24th degrees of north latitude.
Article 3 [deleted by the Liaodong agreement, November 1895] The alignment of the frontiers described in the preceding Article, and shown on the annexed map, shall be subject to verification and demarcation on the spot by a Joint Commission of Delimitation, consisting of two or more Japanese and two or more Chinese delegates, to be appointed immediately after the exchange of the ratifications of this Act. In case the boundaries laid down in this Act are found to be defective at any point, either on account of topography or in consideration of good administration, it shall also be the duty of the Delimitation Commission to rectify the same.
The Delimitation Commission will enter upon its duties as soon as possible, and will bring its labours to a conclusion within the period of one year after appointment.
The alignments laid down in this Act shall, however, be maintained until the rectifications of the Delimitation Commission, if any are made, shall have received the approval of the Governments of Japan and China.
Article 4 China agrees to pay to Japan as a war indemnity the sum of 200,000,000 Kuping [Gubing] taels; the said sum to be paid in eight instalments. The first instalment of 50,000,000 taels to be paid within six months, and the second instalment of 50,000,000 to be paid within twelve months, after the exchange of the ratifications of this Act. The remaining sum to be paid in six equal instalments as follows: the first of such equal annual instalments to be paid within two years, the second within three years, the third within four years, the fourth within five years, the fifth within six years, and the the sixth within seven years, after the exchange of the ratifications of this Act. Interest at the rate of 5 per centum per annum shall begin to run on all unpaid portions of the said indemnity from the date the first instalment falls due.
China shall, however, have the right to pay by anticipation at any time any or all of the said instalments. In case the whole amount of the said indemnity is paid within three years after the exchange of the ratifications of the present Act all interest shall be waived, and the interest for two years and a half or for any less period, if any already paid, shall be included as part of the principal amount of the indemnity.
Article 5 The inhabitants of the territories ceded to Japan who wish to take up their residence outside the ceded districts shall be at liberty to sell their real property and retire. For this purpose a period of two years from the date of the exchange of ratifications of the present Act shall be granted. At the expiration of that period those of the inhabitants who shall not have left such territories shall, at the option of Japan, be deemed to be Japanese subjects.
Each of the two Governments shall, immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of the present Act, send one or more Commissioners to Formosa to effect a final transfer of that province, and within the space of two months after the exchange of the ratifications of this Act such transfer shall be completed.
Article 6 All Treaties between Japan and China having come to an end as a consequence of war, China engages, immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of this Act, to appoint Plenipotentiaries to conclude with the Japanese Plenipotentiaries, a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation and a Convention to regulate Frontier Intercourse and Trade. The Treaties, Conventions, and Regulations now subsisting between China and the European Powers shall serve as a basis for the said Treaty and Convention between Japan and China. From the date of the exchange of ratifications of this Act until the said Treaty and Convention are brought into actual operation, the Japanese Governments, its officials, commerce, navigation, frontier intercourse and trade, industries, ships, and subjects, shall in every respect be accorded by China most favoured nation treatment.
China makes, in addition, the following concessions, to take effect six months after the date of the present Act:
First.—The following cities, towns, and ports, in addition to those already opened, shall be opened to the trade, residence, industries, and manufactures of Japanese subjects, under the same conditions and with the same privileges and facilities as exist at the present open cities, towns, and ports of China:
Shashih [Shashi], in the province of Hupeh [Hubei].
Chungking [Chongqing], in the province of Szechwan [Sichuan].
Suchow [Suzhou], in the province of Kiangsu [Jiangsu].
Hangchow [Hangzhou], in the province of Chekiang [Zhejiang].
The Japanese Government shall have the right to station consuls at any or all of the above named places.
Second.—Steam navigation for vessels under the Japanese flag, for the conveyance of passengers and cargo, shall be extended to the following places:
On the Upper Yangtze [Yangzi] River, from Ichang [Yichang] to Chungking [Chongqing].
On the Woosung [Wusong] River and the Canal, from Shanghai to Suchow [Suzhou] and Hangchow [Hangzhou].
The rules and regulations that now govern the navigation of the inland waters of China by Foreign vessels shall, so far as applicable, be enforced, in respect to the above named routes, until new rules and regulations are conjointly agreed to.
Third.—Japanese subjects purchasing goods or produce in the interior of China, or transporting imported merchandise into the interior of China, shall have the right temporarily to rent or hire warehouses for the storage of the articles so purchased or transported without the payment of any taxes or extractions whatever.
Fourth.—Japanese subjects shall be free to engage in all kinds of manufacturing industries in all the open cities, towns, and ports of China, and shall be at liberty to import into China all kinds of machinery, paying only the stipulated import duties thereon.
All articles manufactured by Japanese subjects in China shall, in respect of inland transit and internal taxes, duties, charges, and exactions of all kinds, and also in respect of warehousing and storage facilities in the interior of China, stand upon the same footing and enjoy the same privileges and exemptions as merchandise imported by Japanese subjects into China.
In the event additional rules and regulations are necessary in connection with these concessions, they shall be embodied in the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation provided for by this Article.
Article 7 Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding Article, the evacuation of China by the armies of Japan shall be completely effected within three months after the exchange of the ratifications of the present Act.
Article 8 As a guarantee of the faithful performance of the stipulations of this Act, China consents to the temporary occupation by the military forces of Japan of Weihaiwei, in the province of Shantung [Shandong]. [later in the same day, Japan and China agreed to the terms of the occupation]
Upon payment of the first two installments of the war indemnity herein stipulated for and the exchange of the ratifications of the Treaty of Commerce and navigation, the said place shall be evacuated by the Japanese forces, provided the Chinese Government consents to pledge, under suitable and sufficient arrangements, the Customs revenue of China as security for the payment of the principal and interest of the remaining installments of the said indemnity. In the event that no such arrangements are concluded, such evacuation shall only take place upon the payment of the final installment of said indemnity.
It is, however, expressly understood that no such evacuation shall take place until after the exchange of the ratifications of the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation.
Article 9 Immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of this Act, all prisoners of war then held shall be restored, and China undertakes not to ill-treat or punish prisoners of war so restored to her by Japan. China also engages to at once release all Japanese subjects accused of being military spies or charged with any other military offences. China further engages not to punish in any manner, nor to allow to be punished, those Chinese subjects who have in any manner been compromised in their relations with the Japanese army during the war.
Article 10 All offensive military operations shall cease upon the exchange of the ratifications of this Act.
Article 11 The present Act shall be ratified by their Majesties the Emperor of Japan and the Emperor of China, and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Chefoo on the 8th day of the 5th month of the 28th year of MEIJI, corresponding to the 14th day of the 4th month of the 21st year of KUANG HSÜ [Guangxu].
In witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the same and affixed thereto the seal of their arms.
Done in Shimonoseki, in duplicate, this 17th day of the fourth month of the 28th year of MEIJI, corresponding to the 23rd day of the 3rd month of the 21st year of KUANG HSÜ [Guangxu].
Count ITO HIROBUMI, [L.S.]
Junii, Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of Paullownia
Minister President of State
Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan
Viscount MUTSU MUNEMITSU, [L.S.]
Junii, First Class of the Imperial Order of the Sacred Treasure
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan
LI HUNG-CHANG [Li Hongzhang], [L.S.]
Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of China
Senior Tutor to the Heir Apparent
Senior Grand Secretary of State
Minister Superintendent of Trade for the Northern Ports of China
Viceroy of the province of Chili [Zhili]
Earl of the First Rank
LI CHING-FONG [Li Jingfeng]
Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of China
Ex-Minister of the Diplomatic Service, of the Second Official Rank
Source: Treaties between China and Foreign States. Second Edition (Shanghai: by order of the Inspector General of Customs, 1917), vol. 2: 590-596.
This treaty was one of the paramount treaties that led Imperial Japan to rule the entirety of East Asia during World War II. Although initially its signing was seen as a move of peace, the volatile global situation in the following years gave way to a series of a more violent future.