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Japanese Trade War (Two Chinas)

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Japanese Trade War
Date June 1st 1904 - August 27th 1906
Location Japan; Okinawa, Yokosuka, Chiba, Tokyo
Result Empire of Japan/United States victory; Great Britain and France driven out of Japan
Belligerents
Empire of Japan, United States Great Britain, France Tokugawa Remnant
Commanders and leaders
Theodore Roosevelt, George Dewey, Nelson Miles, Wesley Merritt, Emperor Meiji, Oyama Iwao, Kodama Gentaro, Nogi Maresuke, Togo Hihachiro Edward VII, Émile Loubet, Various local militia commanders unknown
Strength
US: 320,000 regulars and volunteers, Japan: 600,000 Great Britain: 400,000 regulars, France: 500,000 regulars, ~70,000 volunteers ~10,000
Casualties and losses
20,000 US Troops killed, 50,000 Japanese Troops killed, ~55,000 WIA 40,000 British regulars killed, 67,000 French regulars killed, ~35,000 volunteers killed, ~50,000 WIA unknown, estimated at 6000


The 'Japanese Trade War' was an armed conflict between the Empire of Japan, its ally the United States and Great Britain and France.


Prelude

In 1886, shortly after the United States opened up Japan for trading, Great Britain and France were the first arrive on the coast of Japan. The Meiji Emperor, still unsure about western powers, confined the all trading to Yokosuka and Okinawa. 

The United States

In 1886, the Tokugawa Shogunate falls and the Meiji Empire takes over. The United States had already been there for some time now and have established six training camps and 4 bases around Tokyo and Osaka. They also established a small colony near present day Tachikawa. The United States was vital to training the Imperial Japanese Army.

Great Britain and British Okinawa

Flag of British Okinawa

The official flag of the British Colony of Okinawa

When English traders arrived on Japan, they settled in the northern tip of Okinawa island where they were later confined. The British that lived and that were stationed there established the colony of British Okinawa 

France and French Yokosuka/Yokosuka Colonial Defense Corps

Flag of French Yokosuka

The flag of the French Yokosuka

When the French arrived, they were confined to Yokosuka where they set up a colony. Most troopers in the YCDC were Japanese commanded by veteran French officers. 

Declaration of War

During the time of European presence in Japan, France and Britain pushed the Emperor to further expand trading ports but they declined. Then, France and Great Britain threatened to seize Okinawa and Yokosuka from Japan. Japan countered by threatening to kick France and Great Britain out. Britain was the first one to make a move to secure three regiments of regulars around Okinawa to prevent being kicked out. France follows suit and dispatches two legions around Yokosuka. Japan responds by declaring war on Great Britain and France and soon after, they declared war back.

Outbreak of War

First Year (June -December 1904)

The first year were a disaster for the Imperial Japanese Army as they were pushed back from Yokosuka and out of Okinawa. Especially disastrous was the Battle of Okinawa City. Imperial Japanese troops attempted to take Okinawa City but the heavily fortified British defense pushed them out. Similar things happened when they marched towards Yokosuka through Chiba and were met by a French counter-offensive that destroyed the Japanese 3rd Battalion. The IJN also saw no luck as they were bombarded by the Royal Navy near Yokosuka. The French Naval forces forced the IJN back to Chiba where they suffered immense casualties

Second Year (January-December 1905)

The second year saw the turning point of the war in favor of the Empire of Japan. It was also when the United States joined the war. The IJA made a breakthrough outside Osaka where they broke through British lines are were able to siege them near Mt. Fuji. The French still stayed strong as they managed to push into Chiba from Yokosuka and seize the coastline as well as make it near modern-day Kunitachi. 

The Entrance of the United States against Great Britain and France (late May 1905)

For much of the war up until May, the United States has been supporting Japan via arms and training. No one expected the US to join the war as did no damage to them whatsoever. That changed when during a US platoon was assaulted by a British-French joint battalion, mistaking them for Japanese soldiers due to the uniform similarities. (The men of that particular platoon still wore American Civil War-Era Union Army uniforms) The United States was quick to declare war on Great Britain and France, much to those countries surprise. It was also surprising to the Japanese, who had thought that they would take side against Japan, not with them. The US Army sent out its first battalion into Chiba to attack the French that had besieged the Japanese. 

The Siege of Chiba and Entrance of Samurai into War

The Japanese and US were able to force the French into Chiba proper and besiege them there. At the same time, remnants of the Tokugawa Shogunate declared war against the IJA and assaulted numerous platoons near Mt. Fuji and Kyoto. The IJA and US responded by sending into battalions and regiments to flush out the samurai, eventually finding the base camp and crushing the remaining samurai in the Battle of Chibata.  

Third Year and End (January-August 1906)

The third and final year of the war saw the fall of the British and French armies as the United States and IJA were able to push them back into Okinawa and Yokosuka. The third year begins with the Siege of Yokosuka. the IJA and US Army pushed the French back from Tokyo and pushed them back through Chiba through a series of battles and eventually pushed them back into Yokosuka, where the IJN was waiting. The IJN and IJA besieged the French army for seven months until the French surrendered unconditionally in late July of 1906. Meanwhile other divisions were seeing stalemate with the British Army and Royal Navy. Both sides are unable to defeat each other until the British lines began to falter due to surviving samurai fighting now for Imperial Japan. The archers were able to keep the British distracted long enough for the US and IJA to lead a charge, breaking through British lines and pushing them back into Okinawa. From there on, the US and Japan harassed the British via war of attrition until early March, when the Japanese charged into Naha and assault the British. Soon, with the end of the French, the Japanese focused on Britain and eventually defeats them in the Third Battle of Naha. With the British and French defeated, they signed a peace treaty with the United States and Japan declaring that no foreign nation, with an exception of the United States, Russia, China, and the Joseon, may establish a trading colony anywhere on Japanese soil. 

Aftermath

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