"Conflict and War: China and Japan, 1894-95"

22.8.2014 - 11.3.2015

Jointly presented by
Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Shandong Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau

Organised by
The Museum of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 – 1895, China

Permanent Exhibition Galleries 1 – 5,
Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War marked a low ebb in modern Chinese history. Not only did it symbolise the total failure of the Self-Strengthening Movement of the late Qing period, but it also marked the onset of a scramble among Western powers for concessions from China. In distinct contrast, Japan rose to the level of a military super power in the Far East, upsetting the status quo and creating far-reaching impacts in East Asia.

The First Sino-Japanese War began with the Naval Battle of Feng Island on 25 July 1894 and ended on 17 April 1895 with the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The war consisted of the Naval Battles of Feng Island and the Yellow Sea, the Battles of Korea (the Battle of Seonghwan and the Battle of Pyongyang), the Battles of Liaodong Peninsula (the Battle of Jinzhou, the Battle of Lushun and the Battle of the Liaohe Plain) and the Battle of Shandong Peninsula (also known as the Battle of Weihaiwei).

Of all the battles fought during the First Sino-Japanese War, the most decisive one was the Naval Battle of the Yellow Sea as it marked a turning point in the war. Japan's ambition consisted in nothing less than the defeat of the Beiyang Fleet and gaining naval supremacy over the Yellow and Bohai Seas. With these objectives met, Japan could not only annex the Korean Peninsula, but could also storm Beijing head-on by landing at Dagukou, Tianjin. The Naval Battle of the Yellow Sea was decisive in setting the stage for Japan's victory in the First Sino-Japanese War, which led to great changes in East Asia.

2014 marks the 120th anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese War. Jointly organised with the Museum of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, the exhibition features around 90 pieces of invaluable artefacts and historical photographs, as well as battleship models, and replicated navy uniforms and flags of the Beiyang Fleet as supporting exhibits. We hope that visitors to the exhibition will leave with a better understanding of the establishment of the Beiyang Fleet, the course of the war and its impact on the development of modern China.