When did Japan invade Korea?

Korea and its history

The settlements on the coasts and rivers of Korea are said to have been in the 3rd millennium BC. When the country was in the middle phase of the Neolithic age. There are only sparse findings on this. Over the centuries, these settlements also expanded to the mountain slopes of Korea, as was the culture of rice cultivation from the 8th century BC. Confirmed.

This land was administered in several small tribal states, which 108 BC. Were subjugated by the Chinese Empire. Through the common resistance, independence could be regained and the "Three Kingdoms" emerged: "Shilla" in the southeast (since 57 BC), "Koguryo" in the north (since 37 BC) and "Paekche" in the Southwest of the country (since 18 BC). The tribal chiefs and a noble class ruled their empires with a tight military organization.

In 660 AD the Kingdom of Shilla, with Chinese support, began to submit to Paekche. As a result, Shilla was able to appropriate a narrow strip of land, which was also a southern border strip for the northern state of Koguryo. Koguryo was finally replaced in the 8th century by the Tungus-Manchurian state Parhae, from which the Manchu population emerged. From the end of the 8th century, the unified empire fell apart.

KORYO - "Land of High Beauty"

935 defeated the head of the Wang Dynasty, the military leader Wang Kon, the kingdom of Shilla, and founded a unified kingdom "Koryo", which encompassed the southern part of the Korean peninsula. This ruling dynasty lasted for more than four centuries. Koryo was ruled by the Wang Dynasty until 1392, and in 1369 they submitted to the Chinese Ming Dynasty. Before the Chinese takeover, Koryo was a vassal state of the Mongol Empire for 150 years, which ruled the peoples of East and Central Asia in the 13th and 14th centuries. The incorporation into the Mongol Empire required the Koryo kings to marry the daughters of the Mongol rulers. After the collapse of the Mongol Empire, the ruling dynasty of the Kingdom of Koryo also came to a rapid end.

In 1392 General Yi Song Gye took power and created a new kingdom called "Chosun". He chose Hanyang, today's Seoul, as the capital of the new ruling dynasty. He founded a new state system based on the doctrine of Confucianism. As a result, Buddhism, which had spread in Korea between the 4th and 6th centuries AD, lost its importance.
In the 15th century AD this state system resulted in an official state based on the Chinese model.
During this time, the Korean script developed through its own alphabet "Hangul".

Korea was also threatened by the Japanese, who tried to invade several times at the end of the 16th century. As a result, Korea closed itself off more and more against the other countries.

Between 1400 and 1900 the total population of Korea doubled from about 6 to about 12 million people. This increase in population within the country was caused by the progress in agriculture (wet rice cultivation, irrigation, cultivation of ginseng and tobacco) and the economic reforms in the 17th century. This gradual increase in population led to the deterioration of the living conditions of a large part of the population.


By "Tonghak", a sect with religious and social revolutionary goals, there was an uprising in 1894. China stood by Korea's side to help, while Japan tried to seize the opportunity to invade Korea. Years before, China and Japan had agreed in the Treaty of Tientsin that in the event of a military troop presence in Korea, the other country could also send its troops. This conflict became the source of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95.

In the course of this war there was an inner-Korean reform of the state and social order, which was promulgated in January 1895 and subsequently started to be implemented in many areas. But there were also domestic intrigues. Queen Min is murdered on the orders of her father-in-law, the father of King Kojong. Although Japan was not yet the dominant power over Korea, anti-Japanese forces were fought. The Korean King Kojong fled to the Russian envoy in 1896 and tried to proclaim his own empire "Tae Han".

After the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, Korea initially became a Japanese protectorate, and in 1910 it became a Japanese general government. The emperor was forced to abdicate.

From 1910 to 1945, the Japanese colonial rule over Korea, which caused many Koreans to emigrate. In 1939 Korea was declared a Japanese province. The Japanese tried to suppress many cultural expressions of the Koreans and to exploit the country. So in 1919 the independence demonstration "March 1st Movement" was bloodily suppressed. Nevertheless, many Koreans have not let themselves be culturally suppressed at all.

From 1930 onwards, Japan used Korea as a starting point for its expeditions of conquest on the mainland.


On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers. In the north, Soviet troops occupied the country to disarm the Japanese armed forces, and in the south American troops. The 38th parallel becomes the demarcation line.

In 1947 the United Nations attempted to hold general elections across Korea under its supervision. The northern part of the country boycotted the election, which resulted in a democratically elected government only in “South Korea”. On September 3, 1948, in North Korea, in Pyongyang, the “People's Democratic Republic” was officially proclaimed, after the “Republic of Korea” had been proclaimed in Seoul on August 15, 1948 a few weeks earlier.

On June 25, 1950, the penetration of North Korean troops into the south began the Korean War. On behalf of the UN, troops from 16 countries halted the invasion and attacked the north in a counter-offensive.

After bloody fighting, the 38th parallel became the front line. It was not until July 1953 that an armistice was concluded.


In 1960 the course was set for a democratic development in South Korea. Nonetheless, there was little to be seen of the development of democratic structures up until the 1980s. On the contrary, democratic development has been suppressed for years by authoritarian and totalitarian measures.

After the overthrow of the autocratic President Syngman Rhee by the students in April 1960, a democratic government came into being under the leadership of the Catholic Prime Minister Chang Myon, who began to build democratic structures across the country. However, in May 1961, General Park Chung Hee overthrew his government. Thereupon a totalitarian military government ruled until December 1963. In 1980, after the assassination of President Park, there was a popular uprising calling for the democratization of South Korea. It was bloodily struck down. Again it is a general who came to head the state, Chun Doo Hwan. He was followed by Roh Tae Woo and finally Kim Young Sam, the first "non-general" who also began to reintroduce a democratic state order.

He was followed in 1998 by another civilian, President Kim Dae Jung. As a young politician he was introduced to the Catholic faith by the then Catholic leader of the Democratic Party (and Prime Minister from 1960-61), Chang Myon. Kim Dae Jung is the second Catholic head of government in Korea. In 2000 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.