The First Pacific War, also known as the Great War, was a devastating armed conflict from 1881 to 1887. The war was between the Allied Powers: the United States, Canada, and Japan, against the Eastern Powers, China, Korea, and Russia.
Race for Asia
Beginning in 1839, the Race for Asia was literally a race for Asian territory. The two biggest powers in the race were the Russian Empire and the United States. The Russian Empire were centered in Central Asia, while the United States was powerful in Japan. However, the Russian advance in Central Asia was stopped by Sikhia in 1858, forcing the Russians to turn east into Eastern Asia.
Dispute Over Korea
Qing China and Japan had disputed the Korean Peninsula for centuries. It was strategicly located and could be a center for trade. Korea was also declining, which opened the door for China and Japan to invade again. China warned Japan that if they invaded Korea it would mean war. Japan did not listen, and still invaded, starting the war.