The First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 was fought in part over control of Korea. Joseon Korea and Qing China had a long-established tributary relationship. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, China was a frail shadow of its former self, while Japan grew ever more powerful.
After Japan's crushing victory in the Sino-Japanese War, it sought to sever ties between Korea and China. The Japanese government encouraged King Gojong of Korea to declare himself emperor, in order to mark Korea's independence from China. Gojong did so in 1897.
Japan went from strength to strength, though. A few years after defeating the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), Japan formally annexed the Korean Peninsula as a colony in 1910. The Korean imperial family was deposed by its former sponsors after just 13 years.
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