A Chronology of Japanese History

Yamato Period (300-550) & Asuka Period (550-710)
Nara Period (710-794)
Heian Period (794-1185)
Kamakura Period (1185-1333)
Muromachi Period (1338-1573)
Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600)
Edo Period (1603-1868)
Meiji Period (1868-1912)
1868 Resumption of government with Emperor as Head of State.
April 6, 1868 The five-article Charter Oath is announced and taken by the Emperor. This could be called modern Japan's first constitution as it lays out the new Meiji government's basic (and very vague) policies. The Junior and Senior Councils of State are modified.
April 1868 The emperor receives foreign representatives in audience.
June 1868 The Councils of State are completely revamped. The supreme governing body is now a single Council of State, consisting of an Upper and Lower House for deliberations, an Office of the President of the Council, and five Departments of State (Shintō Religion, War, Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Justice). The system is not modeled on any western system, but rather on the administrative system established in Japan in 701, with most of the same offices and titles. However, the entire system undergoes several modifications until 1871, and then a final modification in 1889.
September 1868 Edo is renamed Tōkyō (Eastern Capital) and established as the capital city.
1868-1870 The Meiji government arrests over 3000 christians in Kyūshū in their attempt to stamp out Christianity and exalt Shintō.
March 1869 The emperor is moved to Tōkyō and the city is made the seat of government.
The daimyō of Satsuma, Chōshū, Tosa, and Hizen return their domains to the Emperor. Most of the other daimyō do likewise by the end of the year. To encourage this surrender, the government grants the daimyō one-half of their revenue.
July 1869 Daimyō who have returned their domains to the emperor are appointed as governors of the domains they once ruled.
1869 Yokoi Shonan is assassinated.
1869 The status of the Department of Shintō is elevated so that it supersedes the status of the Council of State. All Buddhist priest who had been associated with Shintō shrines are either returned to secular life or reinstalled as Shintō priests.
1869 A shrine (Tōkyō Shōkonsha) is built in Tōkyō for the repose of those who had died for the royalist cause during the Meiji Restoration.
February 3, 1870 The government issues the Proclamation of the Great Doctrine which restores the 'way of the kami' (kannagara) as the guiding principle of the nation. Every Japanese is now required to register at the shrine of the local kami of his residence.
1870 A conscription law is introduced in order to build a national army. (But it didn't take effect for a few more years with the first army taking shape in 1873)
1870 Japan borrows about one million pounds sterling from Great Britian in order to build her first railway.
1871 The Council of State is abolished and divided into the Central Board (policy making), Left Board (advisory board), and Right Board (administration).
1871 A Ministry of Education is established which encourages Western learning and begins the process of building a national system of education.
1871 A new currency system is adopted with the Yen established as the main monetary unit. It's value for the next few decades varies between a half and one U.S. dollar.
1871 The Department of Shintō is replaced with the Shintō Ministry. All Buddhist ceremonies that had been performed in the imperial household are abolished. All Buddhist temple lands are confiscated by the state and a great many temples nationwide are simply destroyed.
August 29, 1871 The government (finally felling strong enough to enforce it) suddenly announces that it is abolishing all domains and converting them into three urban and seventy-two rural prefectures. New governors are appointed for each prefecture and all former Daimyō are ordered to leave their estates and move to the capital with their families. In return they receive pensions of one-tenth of the han's income and the government takes over some of their debt.
1871 The government removes old class distinctions and divids people into new classes. Equal opportunity is declared for all, but while all had an equal opportunity to rise, all are not treated equally under the law.
November 1871 In an attemt to imporve governmental finances, a mission, headed by Iwakura (a former court noble) and including Okubo (of Satsuma), Kido (of Chōshū), and Itō (also of Chōshū), is sent to the U.S. and then Europe asking for a revision of the unequal trade treaties. It was unsuccessful.
1872 Statistical Interlude:
Population - 34,806,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 42.8 (m), 44.3(f); Real GNP - ??
1872 The government revokes all ranks and privileges previously bestowed on the Buddhist hierarchy. All Shintō functionaries (and some Buddhist priests) are made 'government priests' and divided into fourteen ranks. The cultic aspects of Shintō are assigned to the government Board of Ceremonies. The religious aspects are assigned to the Department of Religion and Education.
1872 Japan asserts administrative control over the Ryūkyū Islands.
1872 The government authorizes the establishment of national banks.
1872 The government issues the Education Act calling for universal, state controlled, education (compulsary at the primary school level) and no illiteracy. The education provided in this system was to be organized along western lines.
1872 Baseball is introduced to Japan.
1872 The first Japanese Protestant Church is established in Yokohama.
1872 The first railway is constructed in Japan. It connects Tōkyō and Yokohama and is 18 miles long.
January 1, 1873 The western calendar system is adopted with the 3rd day of the 12th month of 1872 set as January 1, 1873.
January 1873 The government declares universal conscription (as per an 1871 law) and raises the first national army from men of former Satsuma, Chōshū, and Tosa, thus ending the samurai's lock on military power.
July 1873 The Land Tax is shifted from a percentage of yield to a fixed money tax allowing the national government to predict its revenue for budgeting purposes. At the same time, ownership of the land is shifted to the person who had been paying the land tax. This effectively took ownership of the land away from the ex-daimyō and gave it to the farmers themselves.
1873 Japan places the Bonin Islands under the control of the Navy.
1873 The ban on Christianity is officially lifted although many Buddhists, Shintōists and Confucianists allied in an all-out anti-Christian campaign.
1873 Compulsory registration at the local Shintō shrine is terminated after vigorous criticism from many.
1873 A second loan (and the last foreign loan for 25 years) is raised from Great Britian in order to release funds to pay the pensions due to ex-Daimyō and retainers.
September 1873 When the Iwakura Mission returns to Japan, they find that Saigo Takamori, Itagaki Taisuke (of Tosa), Goto, and others are making plans to invade Korea and Formosa. The plan to invade Korea is overruled by Iwakura, Kido, and Okubo. Saigo and Itagaki leave the government in protest (along with Goto, Eto, and others). The plan to invade Formosa is not overruled and Kido resigns in protest for that.
Late 1873 Itagaki forms the first political association in Japan. Headquartered in Tōkyō, the Aikoku-kōtō (Public Society of Patriots) was not a political party, but it was the first organized political group and opposed the government. At the same time he establishes a political academy/training school back in Tosa called the Risshisha (Society of Independent Men or Society of Freethinkers). Membership was limited to former samurai.
January, 1874 An unsuccessful assassination attempt is made against Iwakura for his role in reducing the status and income of the samurai.
January, 1874 Itagaki, Goto, Eto, and others present a memorial to to the government demanding the early establishment of a representative assembly. They also launch a public campaign. While it doesn't come about, a compromise is attempted and Itagaki rejoins the government - only to leave again after a short while.
1874 Itagaki returns to Tosa and founds the "Freedom and People's Rights" movement (Jiyu Minken Undo) and the Aikok Koto (Public Party of Patriots).
1874 All local police departments brought under control of central Ministry of Home Affairs.
May, 1874 Government troops put down uprising in Saga (Saga Rebellion).
May, 1874 An expeditionary force is sent to Formosa (now Taiwan) in retaliation for Japanese fishermen from the Ryūkyū Islands (now Okinawa) that had been killed. In fact, many in Japan had been looking for a reason to justify an invasion. To forestall problems with China, Okubo himself goes to Peking for talks with the Chinese government. China agrees to pay an indemnity and the Japanese forces are withdrawn from the island.
1875 In an attempt to, in part, appease Itagaki, the government is reorganized. The Council of State is retained and the Senate and a Supreme Court are added. In fact, though, all power continues to reside solely in the Council of State.
1875 A Press Law is enacted which implements censorship and severely restricts political criticism of the government. Japan trades Sakhalin Island to the Russians for the Kuril Islands (still a hotly contested political issue today).
1875 Japan uses Perry-style gunboat diplomacy to try and open trade with Korea. A naval ship is sent to the waters off Hanghwa Island, on the west side of Korea, knowing that the Koreans would fire on it (the Unyō Incident). When they did, Japan protested an attack on an peaceful mission.
1875 In an attempt to discourage the traditional practice of married women dying their teeth black, the empress gives up the custom.
1876 Government cancels ex-daimyo stipends. The daimyo paid off with government bonds (which, of course, would have no value if the central government fails).
1876 Samurai are denied the right to wear swords.
February 1876 Japan sends more warships and troops to Kanghwa Island in Korea in order to force the Koreans into trade agreements. The two countries sign the Treaty of Kanghwa, ostensibly to protect Japanese fishing boats in Korean waters, but in reality it was to weaken China's power and control over the country. It had many provisions typical of an unequal treaty, and gave Japanese much leeway in Korea. A revision a few months later granted even more economic privileges to Japanese merchants now in Korea.
Late 1876 Itagaki leaves the government again as it is clear that neither the Senate nor the Assembly of Provincial Officials will ever be given any power. The Council of State has no intention of relinquishing any decision making.
1877 The Home Ministry is assigned to administer religious affairs.
1877 Japan's second railway line is completed, connecting Ōsaka and Kyōto.
January, 1877 Close to 80,000 samurai in Satsuma, led by Saigo Takamori, begin a rebellion uprising (Seinan Rebellion, Seinan no eki). The government puts it down after almost nine months of fighting and Saigo commits seppuku. The important point coming from the government victory is that a national army consisting of non-samurai could defeat the elite samurai from Satsuma. The government no longer need fear an armed samurai uprising.
June, 1877 The Rishhisha sends a memorial to the emperor asking for the creation of an elective assembly, accusing the government of usurping the emperor's authority, and interfering with the emperor's announced plan of granting political rights to the people. The memorial is rejected and several members of the Rishhisha are arrested.
1877 Kido dies
May 1878 Okubo is assassinated in revenge for Saigo's death.
1879 Tōkyō Shōkonsha is renamed to Yasukuni Jinja.
1879 Prefectural Assemblies are instituted and replace the previous (and discredited) Assembly of Provincial Officials. While they still hold no real power, they do teach local authorities needed administrative skills. Okinawa is incorporated into the state and becomes Okinawa Prefecture.
1879 Military General Staff is created. It reports to the emperor (and hence the genro) and not to the civilian government.
1879 In response to a decade of growing dissatisfaction with a centralized, state controlled, educational system, the Education Act is revised. The new ordinance lays out education principles in general terms but leaves it to local prefectures to apply the them acccording to local rules and decisions.
1880 The first translation of the New Testament into Japanese is completed.
1880 Village, Town, and City Ward Assemblies are instituted.
1881 ōkuma calls for a full and immediate implementation of the British Parliamentary system. Others in government favor a more gradual approach and reject the proposal.
1881 ōkuma is expelled from the government after his criticism of government plan to sell off holdings in Hokkaido Colonization Commission. At the same time, the government publicly announces a plan to draft a constitution and to form a national assembly by 1890 in order to quell public outrage. (Now free from government duties, ōkuma founds a college that at a later time becomes Waseda University)
1881 Government opponents begin forming national political parties in anticipation of the establishment of a national assembly. The Liberal Party (Jiyūtō) is established with Itagaki as president. The Constitutional Progressive Party (Rikken Kaishintō) is formed with ōkuma as president.
1881 A national political party called the Constitutional Imperial Party (Rikken Teiseitō) is formed by pro-government supporters. However, it never became successful due to lack of government support.
1881 As Korea begins to open to the west, they begin to reform their miitary and bring a Japanese military officer over to train them.
1882 The Law of Public Meetings is enacted restricting political gatherings and assemblies.
1882 The Bank of Japan (modeled on the Belgian Central Bank) is created as the nation's central bank.
1882 The government divides Shintō into 'State Shintō,' which is allowed to use the title jinja for it's shrines, and 'Sect Shintō,' which must use the title kyōkai (church) or kyōha (sect). In addition, the former received state privileges and financial subsidies while the later didn't. Also, Sect Shintō establishments were forbidden from using torii.
April, 1882 In preparation for writing a draft constitutioin, Itō, with a large staff, goes overseas to tour several constitutional systems of government - spending most of his time in Germany studying the system of Bizmark.
July 1882 During a military uprising in Korea, the Japanese training officer to the Korean military is murdered and the Japanese legation building is burnt to the ground, although the Japanese Minister escapes.
August 1882 The Japanese Minister to Korea returns to Seoul with warships and troops. While his intention was to demand reparations for the attack on the Japanese legation and the death of the Japanese training officer, these efforts were stymied when he found that Chinese troops had also arrived, but with superior numbers. In the end, a new treaty was signed, which gave Japan the right to station troops in Seoul to guard the Japanese legation.
1883 Iwakura dies, thus ending rule by the original group of Meiji leaders. Government now passes to the younger generation.
Early 1884 Itō returns to Japan. A special bureau is formed to draw up the constitution. It is housed under the Ministry of the Imperial Household instead of the Home Ministry to emphasize that the new constitution will be a present from the emperor himself.
1884 Itagaki dissolves the Liberal Party to quell the rising radicalism of its members. ōkuma and his followers leave the Reform Party but the party survives for a while without them. WIth the loss of these oppositon voices, conservative forces inteh government have their way. They also begin the process of building the emperor up as the absolute, supreme ruler of the state, "by whom all rights were granted and to whom all duties were owed." (Sansom)
1884 A Peerage is created of ex-Daimyo, court aristocracy, and government leaders to counter popular assembly.
Late 1884 During a coup d'etat in Korea, the Japanese Minister reneges on an promise of military support he had made to support the plotters. Chinese troops put down the coup within three days. Most of the Japanese legation escaped to Japan (with some of the plotters), while others stayed, burned the legation, and fought the Chinese.
April 1885 Itō Hirobumi goes to China to discuss a compromise settlement in Korea. In the Convention of Tienstsin, Japan and China come to an agreement where both sides agree to remove their troops from Korea within four months. This eases some of the tension between the two countries, but opens the way for right-wing nationalists in Japan to begin pushing for expansion throughout Asia. At the same time, China intensifies it's interventions in Korea by appointing a regent in Seoul to ensure that Chinese interests are strengthened.
December 1885 The Council of State is abolished in a major government reorganization. A modern cabinet system is adopted (but never written into the constitution) to be presided over by a Prime Minister. The public continues to be told that the emperor is supreme and rules with the advice of the Prime Minister. This effectively quells almost all public criticism of the government as it would be construed as criticism of the emperor.
December 1885 A Civil Service system is established with entrance into the system decided by examination. Like the new cabinet system, it is based on a German model.
December 1885 Itō Hirobumi becomes the first Prime Minister.
1886 The Education Act is revised yet again, this time bringing the education system back under state control. The new (1885) Minister of Education, Mori Arinori, declares that education is not for the sake of the pupils, but for the sake of the country.
Mid-1887 The public finds out that the Foreign Minister is preparing to sign new treaty agreements with foreign representatives in Tōkyō that, while going a ways toward abolishing the extraterritorial rights granted foreigners in the unequal treaties, still allowed foreign judges to sit on trials where foreign nationals were involved. The public raises such a loud outcry that the Foreign Minister is forced to resign and all negotiations are canceled.
December 25, 1887 Anti-foreign sentiment is becoming extreme and secret societies are being formed. There is a lot of violence against officials. In response, the government imposes the Peace Preservation Ordinance (Hoan Jōrei) which basically puts Tōkyō under martial law. ōkuma is brought back to the cabinet as Foreign Minister to attempt new negotiations with foreigners, but his suggestions are violently rejected and this ends all negotiations.
1888 Final prefectural reorganization. The country is divided into 43 Ken, 3 Fu, and 1 Tō.
1888 City Assemblies are instituted.
April 1888 Kuroda Kiyotaka becomes Prime Minister. (Itō resigned to devote time to continue drafting the constitution).
1889 Statistical Interlude:
Population - 40,000,000
February 11, 1889 The constitution is promulgated. It is influenced more by the German constitution than the American, French, or English examples and, therefore, stresses national rights over popular rights. A House of Representatives is created. A House of Peers is created from the previously created Peerage. On paper, the emperor is given broad political powers with the Prime Minister responsible to Emperor, not the Diet. (But, the Genro still controlled the emperor, so still controlled the government).
February 1889 On the day the constitution is promulgated, the Minister of Education is assassinated for his alleged unpatriotic political views.
December 1889 Yamagata Aritomo becomes Prime Minister.
1890's From the book Korea Old and New: A History: "...by the early to mid-1890s Japanese economic activity had reached astonishing levels. Japanese commercial establishments could be found in overwhelming numbers in each of the opern ports...; in 1896, 210 of 258 such businesses were Japanese run. Japan also dominated the carrying trade in Korean waters .... Thus, 72% of the vessels and over 78% of the gross tonnage came in under the Japanese flag. Japan's proportion of Korea's foreign trade volume loomed correspondingly large — over 90% of exports went to Japan while more than 50% of imports ame from Japan."
July 1890 The first Diet is elected (July) and convened (November). Virtually all of the new Diet members opposed the government and ended up organized as: 60 members in Goto's Daidō (General Agreement Group) and 50 members in each of the two major parties: the Liberal Party (Jiyūtō - Itagaki supporters) and the Reform Party (Kaishintō - ōkuma supporters). The remaining 140 members are all independents with nothing in common.
1890 The Imperial Rescript on Education is issued reinserting Shintō and Confucian morality into the education system - but saying virtually nothing about education.
1890 ōkuma (the Minister of Foreign Affairs at this time) is severly injured in a bomb explosion
1891 A commercial legal code, with strong German elements, goes into effect.
May 6, 1891 Matsukata Masayoshi becomes Prime Minister.
October 28, 1891 An earthquake rocks Gifu Prefecture killing or injuring over 25,000 people.
December 1891 The first Diet is dissolved after the government is unable to get the budget passed, but the administration remains in power (although disliked throughout the country for its strong arm tactics).
February 1892 Following the dissolution of the Diet, new elections are held and a new Diet is formed. The government, however, still fails to get a majority.
August 8, 1892 Unable to work with the Diet, the cabinet resigns. Itō Hirobumi becomes Prime Minister again in an attempt to restore order.
November 1892 A new Diet session opens but the battle between it and the govenrment continues.
February 1893 The Lower House submits an address to the emperor accusing the cabinet of misconduct. The cabinet, gets the emperor to issue a message which tells both sides to work together, but is, in effect, a rebuke of the Diet
December 1893 After another Diet appeal to the emperor, and another negative imperial reply issued on behalf of the cabinet, the Diet is dissolved.
1893 A civil legal code, with strong French elements, goes into effect. While it did recognise some individual rights, the code still makes the household the legal unit. All Japanese are registered as either the head of a household or the subordinate to a head.
March 1894 General elections are held
March 1894 A religious group in Korea rebels against the Korean monarchy. Both Japan and China send troops to help put the rebellion down.
May 1894 A new Diet is assembled. It immediately begins proceedings to impeach the government, but an imperial order, in turn, immediately dissolves the Diet - all within three weeks of its sitting.
June 1894 With the rebellion over in Korea, China calls for all foreign troops to leave the country. Itō refuses and sends China a list of proposals for reforms (to be jointly supervised) in Korea instead. China rejects the list of proposals and begins preparing for a possible war.
July 16, 1894 A new treaty is signed with Great Britian. In this treaty, it is agreed that all extrateritoriality rights in Japan will be eradicated by 1899.
July 23, 1894 Japanese forces in Seoul sieze the Korean king and in his place install a pro-Japanese puppet cabinet. This cabinet then demands the withdrawal of all Chinese forces from the country.
August 1, 1894 War begins between China and Japan in Korea. To the surprise of all, Japan trounces the Chinese army and navy.
October 1894 Chinese forces have now been comletely driven out of Korean Territory.
March 1895 The Chinese send out peace overatures to the Japanese.
April 17, 1895 The Treaty of Shimonoseki (also called the Treaty of Tientsin?) ends the Sino-Japanese War. China pays Japan an indemnity and cedes Fomosa (now Taiwan), the Pescadores Islands, and the Liaotung Peninsula to Japan. They also recognize the independence of Korea and give Japan the same "unequal" treaty rights in China as given other Western powers. Japan begins to reform the Korean government to increase their power there.
April 23, 1895 Russia, France, and Germany demand that Japan return the Liaotung Peninsula to Chinese control. Japan does so (rather unhappily) in exchange for an additional 4.9 pounds of indemnity. (But it is worth noting that just 3 years later these same countries that demanded Japan give back the Liaotung Peninsula, themselves seized pieces of Chinese territory - with Russia taking the Liaotung Peninsula!)
October 1895 Because the Korean Queen was aligning herself with the Russians in an attempt to drive the Japanese out of Korea, the Japanese Minister in Korea has the queen assasinated. He is brought back to Japan and tried, but found not guilty due to insufficient evidence. Armed groups form throughout Korea to fight Japanese troops and pro-Japan officials.
February 1896 Pro-Russian and pro-American government officials in Korea smuggle the King and Crown Prince out of the palace and, thus, out from under control of Japanese officials. Pro-Japan ministers are murdered and Japanese advisors are dismissed. A pro-Russian government is formed. This brings a temporary end to Japan's ability to control events in Korea.
1896 The Reform Party (Kaishintō) and other minor parties merge to form the Progressive Party (Shimpotō).
September 1896 Matsukata Masayoshi becomes Prime Minister again.
December 28, 1897 Matsukata Masayoshi resigns the prime ministership after dissolving the Diet when they passed a motion of non confidence in him and his cabinet.
Janurary 12, 1898 Itō Hirobumi becomes Prime Minister for a third time.
Early 1898 Realizing that it was becoming impossible for the genro to rule without Diet support, Itō suggests to Yamagata and Matsukata that he form his own parliamentary party. Yamagata and Matsukata, with the support of the Emperor, refuse.
1898 A government order forbids teachers and priests of Sect Shintō establishments from teaching within the compounds of State Shintō shrines.
1898 The Liberal Party (Jiyutō) and Progressive Party (Shimpotō) merge to form the Constitutional Party (Kenseitō). (Now, instead of two parties, there was one party is two factions).
June 1898 ōkuma Shigenobu becomes Prime Minister, with Itagaki selected as Home Minister. (This is Japan's first experiment in party governments.)
November 8, 1898 Yamagata Aritomo becomes Prime Minister again after it becomes clear that the parties of ōkuma and Itagaki could not work together. In addition, both the army and navy decided that they could not work with these two. The new government is openly anti-party and determined to restore the semblance of imperial rule.
1899 The Western powers give up their extraterritoriality privileges in return for granting foreigners the right to purchase property outside the old treaty settlements. The Western powers also started giving up control of tariffs and Japan was able to start increasing its import tariffs.
1899 Yamagata makes a trade with the opposition. He gets: a law that all bureaucrats up through level of vice-minister must be professional bureaucrats who entered the system by taking an entrance exam, a raise in the land tax, and large electoral districts with multiple candidates per district so that candidates from the same party must run against each other. He gives: an increased number of Diet seats, the secret ballot, and a lowering of the tax qualification to be eligible to vote.
1900 A Bureau of Shrines and a Bureau of Religion are established inside the Home Ministry.
1900 An Imperial ordinance is issued stipulating that only active military officers can hold the posts of Naval Minister and War Minister, thus giving the military a voice in political issues and the ability to veto cabinets.
June 1900 The Boxers, a Chinese secret society, begin an uprising against foreigners and Chinese Christians. The Russians take advantage of the situation by sending troops into Manchuria.
Summer 1900 Japan sends troops to support an international force that goes to China to put down the Boxer Rebellion.
September 26, 1900 Increasingly worried about Japan's growing rivalry with Russia over control of Korea, the Japanese foreign minister seeks, and obtains, a pledge of neutrality from Germany in the case Japan and Russia would go to war. He then petitions the emperor for permission to declare war on Russia immediately. Having done all of this without informing Yamagata, Yamagata resigns the prime ministership in disgust when he finds out about it.
October 1900 Itō Hirobumi forms the Seiyukai political party (by merging his followers with those of Itagaki) and becomes its party president. Leaders of Kenseitō dissolve their party. Some members join the Seiyukai while other members form the Kenseihontō (True Kensei Party).
October 19, 1900 Itō Hirobumi becomes Prime Minister.
April 29, 1901 (Future Emperor) Hirohito is born. (He is the first emperor since 1758 not born of an Imperial concubine)
May 1901 Itō resigns the prime ministership for his last time - thus ending the Genro domination of the cabinet and control of the nation. Itō retains, however the presidency of the Seiyukai.
June 1901 (General) Katsura Taro, a Yamagata protégé, becomes Prime Minister.
1901 The first Social Democratic Party is formed. Five of the six founders are Christians.
January 1902 Japan and Britain sign the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. In it, Britain acknowledges Japan's interest in Korea in return for Japan's acknowledgement of Britain's interests in China. In addition, it guarantees that Britain will remain neutral unless Japan is attacked by more than one country.
Early 1903 Japan demands that Russia remove its troops from Manchuria. Russia pledges to do so, but never does.
July 1903 Russian troops move south of the Yalu River and into northern Korea. When there, they buy land, set up permanent housing, and open a trading port. The Japanese and Russian governments begin negotiations to lower the growing tensions between the countries.
1903 Itō resigns the presidency of the Seiyukai.
1903 The Bureau of Religion in the Home Ministry is transferred to the Department of Education.
1904 A government order forbids teachers and ministers of Sect Shintō establishments from participating in celebrations of State Shintō rituals.
February 5, 1904 As the rivalry between Japan and Russia grows over Korea, Russia refuses demands to withdraw its troops form Manchuria along Korea's northern border. In response, Japan severs diplomatic relations with Russia.
February 8, 1904 Japan carries out a successful surprise attack on Russia's Far Eastern Fleet based at Port Arthur. At the same time, Japan send troops to Seoul and forces the Korean government to sign an agreement giving Japan numerous concessions in the country, including the stationing of troops at strategic places throughout the country.
February 10, 1904 Japan declares war on Russia over the issue of control of Korea and control of the Liaotung peninsula in China.
August 1904 Japan forces the Korean government to sign further agreements that installs Japanese officials in numerous Korean ministries, including finance and foreign affairs.
May 27-28, 1905 Japan defeats the Russian navy in the Battle of Tsushima.
May 31, 1905 Japan asks President Roosevelt to act as mediator in ending the war with Russia.
July 1905 The US and Japan sign a secret agreement (the Taft-Katsura Agreement), in which Japan agrees to acknowledge the US's control of the Phillipines in return for US recognition of Japan's control over Korea.
August 1905 Britain and Japan renegotiate the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and Britain acknowledges Japan's control of Korea
September 5, 1905 Japan and Russia sign a peace treaty in the US city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Japan wins control of the Liaotung Peninsula, control of Korea, and control over the southern half of Sakhalin Island.
Late 1905 Japan sends Itō Hirobumi to Korea to begin the process of making Korea a protectorate.
November 17, 1905 Whe the Korean Prime Minister refuses to sign a protectorate treaty, Japanese troops go to the foreign ministry, find the official stamp, and then stamp the the treaty themselves. This gives Japanese vast control of all aspects of Korean government.
January 1906 Saionji Kimmochi (an Itō protégé) becomes Prime Minister after Katsura resigns due to the unpopularity of the terms of the peace treaty with Russia.
August 1, 1907 Japan forces Korea to sign an amended agreement which gives them complete control. Japanese are installed in all government ministries. Japan then disolves the entire Korean military, leaving them completly defensless.
July 1908 Katsura Taro becomes Prime Minister again.
1908 The Kenseihontō merges with several smaller parties to form the Constitutional Nationalist Party (Rikken Kokumintō).
1909 Itō is assassinated by a Korean while in Manchuria for his role in making Korea a protectorate.
August 22, 1910 Japan annexes Korea and imposes military rule.
1911 Tariffs imposed by the "unequal treaties" are abolished.
August 1911 Saionji Kimmochi becomes Prime Minister again.
July 12, 1912 Emperor Meiji dies of cancer at the age of fifty-nine. Enthronement of Yoshihito (Taishō).
Taishō Period (1912-1926)
Shōwa Period (1926-1989)
Heisei Period (1989-Present)

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