Japan Before and During WW2


Commodore Perry Enters Tokyo Bay

July 8, 1853

"Diplomatic" expedition by U.S. to try to establish a trade agreement with Japan, by means of parking large boats with guns on their doorstep, and then asking for a trade agreement.

Meji Restoration

Approx. 1868 - Approx. 1912

Emperor Meji is returned to power, ending the rule of the shogunate. The Meji Restoration was marked by largescale modernization and Westernization of the country.

Edo Period Ends

Approx. 1868

Final traditional period of Japan, under rule by shogunate, marked by internal peace and economic growth.

First Sino-Japanese War

1 August 1894 - 17 April 1895

War between Japan and China over control of Korea. Established Japan as a World power.

Russo-Japanese War

8 February 1904 - 5 September 1905

War between Japan and Russia over Korea and Manchuria. First time an Asian power defeated a European power, and forced Russia to abandon expansionist policies.

Annexation of Korea

Aug 22, 1910

Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910 is signed, officially annexing Korea to Japan.


Approx. 1920 - Approx. 1940

Political faction of the Japanese Army which favored a rapid and aggressive expansion, as well as a restoration of the Emperor.


Approx. 1920 - Approx. 1940

Political faction of the Japanese Army which favored a more cautious and defensive expansion, as well as more cooperation between bureaucracy and military.

Washington Conference Begins


International military conference called by U.S. to try to avoid naval arms race. Resulted in the Four-Power Pact and Five-Power Naval Limitation Treaty.

Emperor Hirohito Gains Power


Longest serving emporer of Japan, between 1926 and 1989, and during WW2.

Manchukuo created


Japanese puppet state in northern China established during Japanese expansion into China.

Mukden Incident


An event involving minor and inconsequential explosions near a Japanese railway which was used as a justification for the invasion and occupation of Manchuria.

Lytton Report Published

October 1932

Report of the Lytton Commission, established by the League of Nations to find the cause of the Mukden Incident. The report didn't directly address the causes, or blame Japan, but it led to a motion to name Japan as the aggressors, which causes Japan to leave the league.

Anti-Comintern Pact is Signed


Anti-communist agreement between Germany and Japan (later Italy, on Nov 6, 1937).

Marco Polo Bridge Incident

7 July 1937 - 9 July 1937

Conflict between Japan and China near modern day Beijing. Arose less from a specific action, and more from growing tensions between the two nations prior to WW2.

Second Sino-Japanese War

July 7, 1937 - September 9, 1945

War between Japan and China as a result of China's resistance to Japanese expansion and influence in the region. Japan surrendered, and ended Chinese occupation

Rape of Nanjing

13-Dec-37 - Approx. Jan 1938

Period of systematic and mass murder and rape by Japanese military during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Signing of the Tripartite Pact


Defensive military alliance between Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor


Japanese bomber planes attack the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Helped tremendously to convince America to officially join the war.