Armies of the First Sino-Japanese War 1894–95

Armies of the First Sino-Japanese War 1894–95

Men-at-Arms 548
  • Author: Gabriele Esposito
  • Illustrator: Giuseppe Rava
  • Short code: MAA 548
  • Publication Date: 27 Oct 2022
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Describes how newly modernized Japan waged war against China in its first overseas campaign, marking its rapid transition into Asia's leading military power only 30 years after emerging from centuries of feudalism.

After the Meiji restoration of the Japanese imperial regime in 1868-77, modernization along Western lines of Japan's industry, communications and land and naval forces advanced with remarkable speed and, by the 1890s, the rejuvenated nation was ready to flex its muscles overseas. The obvious opponent was the huge but medieval Chinese Empire, and the obvious arena for war was Korea, a nearby Chinese protectorate that Japan had long coveted. (A secondary campaign would be fought on Formosa/Taiwan, an autonomous Chinese island protectorate.)

In this study, author Gabriele Esposito describes the bloodthirsty course of the Japanese campaign in China, using colour illustrations and photos to showcase the organization, equipment and appearance of the various Chinese forces (China had no true national army), the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, and, for the first time in English, the Korean and Formosan participants.

Japan's victory left it confident enough to challenge Imperial Russia and, nine years later, it defeated it at the Battle of Tsushima where two-thirds of the Russian fleet was destroyed by the Japanese Navy. This victory confirmed Japan's place as Asia's leading military power, soon to become a realistic rival to the West.

Biographical Note

Gabriele Esposito is a professor of modern history, a freelance researcher and an author of military history books, specializing in uniformology. His interests range from ancient civilizations to modern postcolonial conflicts including 19th-century Italian, Spanish and Latin American wars. His books and essays have been published by Pen & Sword, Winged Hussar and Libreria Editrice Goriziana and he contributes to a variety of specialist military-history journals. He has written various titles for Osprey including MAA 499 Armies of the War of the Triple Alliance 1864-70 and MAA 541 Armies of the War of the Grand Alliance 1688-97.



The opening of Korea - The ‘Imo incident', 1882 - The ‘Gapsin coup' and its aftermath,
1884-86- The ‘Donghak rebellion', 1894


Naval battle of Pungdo, 25 July 1894 - Battle of Seonghwan, 28 July 1894 - Battle of Pyongyang, 15 September 1894 - Naval battle of the Yalu river, 17 September 1894 - Japanese invasion of Manchuria, October-November 1894 - Liaodong Peninsula: capture of Port Arthur, 21 November 1894 - Shandong Peninsula: battle of Weihaiwei, 18 January-2 February 1895 - Manchuria: battle of Niuzhuang, 28 February 1895 - Treaty of Shimonoseki, and occupation of Pescadores, 20 March-17 April 1895 - Japanese occupation of Formosa, 29 May-21 October 1895

Conscription - Formations and strength - Imperial Guard- Infantry, cavalry and artillery units - Engineer, train and Gendarmerie units - Basic Japanese order of battle, 1894-95- Weapons

Army of the Eight Banners - Beijing Bannermen - Army of the Green Standard - Yung-ying armies - Huai army - Other modernized forces - Weapons

Chinese domination, 1880s - Japanese reorganizations, 1896-1907

Chinese garrison - Aboriginal forces




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