Treaties Leading to Japan’s Annexation of Korea: What Are the Problems?
(Vol.56. No.4 winter, 2016 pp.5~32)
Yi Tae-Jin
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abstract

In August of 1910, the Japanese Empire annexed the Korean Empire (Daehan Jeguk 大韓帝國; also known as the Great Han Empire), the culmination of a step-by-step seizure of Korea’s national sovereignty by means of a military force that was used starting from the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905). In this process, the Japanese Empire coerced five treaties from Korea: (1) Japan–Korea Protocol (February 23, 1904); (2) 1st Japan–Korea Agreement (August 22, 1904); (3) 2nd Japan–Korea Agreement, or Eulsa Treaty(November 17, 1905); (4) Japan–Korea Treaty of 1907 (July 24, 1907); and (5) Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty (August 29, 1910). It is well known that the above treaties were forced upon the Korean emperor and ministers through threats. This article examines how these treaties not only did not follow the standard form of treaties, but also how the Japanese government in fact prepared the documents that should rightly have been prepared by the Korean government. This article also focuses on how the Japanese government, in the translated English versions of the treaties, added words that were not present in the original treaties in order to convince the Western powers that the treaties were flawless in terms of their respect of national sovereignty. In addition, regarding Japan’s Treaty of Korean Annexation of 1910, this article shows how both the Korean and the Japanese versions not only used the same paper, but also the same strap and font. These facts constitute clear objective evidence that the annexation of Korea was done without the consent of the Korean Empire. The author expects this study to be utilized as evidence in proving the illegality of the Japanese annexation of Korea.

Keywords: Japanese annexation of Korea, illegality of treaties, forceful signing, falsification of signature, King Gojong, King Sunjong
 
Types: Articles
 
Subject: History , History
 
About the author(s) Yi Tae-Jin is Professor Emeritus of History at Seoul National University. E-mail: tjyi@snu.ac.kr.