Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905

The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905, also known as the Eulsa Treaty, Eulsa Unwilling Treaty or Japan–Korea Protectorate Treaty, was made between the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire in 1905. Negotiations were concluded on November 17, 1905.[1] The treaty deprived Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty and made Korea a protectorate of Imperial Japan. It resulted from Imperial Japan's victory in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.[2]

Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905
The treaty on display
DraftedNovember 9, 1905; 117 years ago (1905-11-09)
SignedNovember 17, 1905; 117 years ago (1905-11-17)
LocationJungmyeongjeon Hall, Hanseong, Korea
EffectiveNovember 17, 1905; 117 years ago (1905-11-17)
Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905
Japanese name
Korean name
Alternative Korean name
Hangul제2차 한일협약
Alternative Korean name


In the metonymy Eulsa Treaty,[3] the word Eulsa or Ulsa derives the Sexagenary Cycle's 42nd year of the Korean calendar, in which the treaty was signed.[4] The treaty is identified by several names including Second Japan–Korea Convention (Japanese: 第二次日韓協約, Korean: 제2차 한일협약, 第二次韓日協約),[5] Eulsa Restriction Treaty (Korean: 을사늑약, 乙巳勒約),[5] Eulsa Protection Treaty (Japanese: 乙巳保護条約, Korean: 을사보호조약),[citation needed] and Korea Protection Treaty (Japanese: 韓国保護条約).[citation needed]


Following Imperial Japan's victory in the Russo-Japanese War, with its subsequent withdrawal of Russian influence, and the Taft–Katsura Agreement, in which the United States allegedly agreed not to interfere with Japan in matters concerning Korea, the Japanese government sought to formalize its sphere of influence over the Korean Peninsula.

Delegates of both Empires met in Seoul to resolve differences in matters pertaining to Korea's future foreign policy; however, with the Korean Imperial palace under occupation by Japanese troops, and the Imperial Japanese Army stationed at strategic locations throughout Korea, the Korean side was at a distinct disadvantage in the discussions.

Formation of treatyEdit

Jungmyeongjeon Hall, where the treaty was signed

On 9 November 1905, Itō Hirobumi arrived in Hanseong and gave a letter from the Emperor of Japan to Gojong, Emperor of Korea, asking him to sign the treaty. On 15 November 1905, he ordered Japanese troops to encircle the Korean imperial palace and threatened the emperor in order to force him to agree to the treaty.

On 17 November 1905, Ito and Japanese Field Marshal Hasegawa Yoshimichi entered the Jungmyeongjeon Hall, a Russian-designed building that was once part of Deoksu Palace, to persuade Gojong to agree, but he refused. Ito pressured the cabinet with the implied, and later stated, threat of bodily harm, to sign the treaty.[6] According to 한계옥 (Han-Gyeok), Korean prime minister Han Gyu-seol disagreed, shouting loudly. Ito ordered the guards to lock him in a room and said if he continued screaming, they could kill him.[7] The Korean cabinet signed an agreement that had been prepared by Ito in the Jungmyeongjeon. The Agreement gave Imperial Japan complete responsibility for Korea's foreign affairs,[8] and placed all trade through Korean ports under Imperial Japanese supervision.

Treaty provisionsEdit

This treaty deprived Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty,[9][10][11] in effect making Korea a protectorate of Imperial Japan.[12] As a consequence, the Korean Empire had to close its diplomatic representations abroad, including its short-lived legation in Beijing,[13] and its legation in Washington, D.C.

The provisions of the treaty took effect on November 17, 1905, and it laid the foundation for the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1907, and subsequent annexation of Korea in 1910.[14]

The treaty was deemed to have gone into effect after it received the signature of five Korean ministers:[15]

  • Minister of Education Lee Wan-yong (이완용; 李完用)
  • Minister of Army Yi Geun-taek (이근택; 李根澤)
  • Minister of Interior Yi Ji-yong (이지용; 李址鎔)
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Je-sun (박제순; 朴齊純)
  • Minister of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry Gwon Jung-hyeon (권중현; 權重顯)

Emperor Gojong of Korea did not assent or sign the treaty. Other officials who disputed the treaty included:


Gojong's analysis of the "treaty of 1905"

Emperor Gojong sent personal letters to major heads of state to appeal for their support against the illegal signing.[16] As of February 21, 1908, he had sent 17 letters bearing his imperial seal, to the following eight heads of state:[citation needed]

Letter written by Gojong sent to Wilhelm II of Germany.

In 1907, Emperor Gojong sent three secret emissaries to the second international Hague Peace Convention to protest the unfairness of the Eulsa Treaty. But the great powers of the world refused to allow Korea to take part in the conference.

Not only the Emperor but other Koreans protested against the Treaty. Jo Byeong-se and Min Yeong-hwan, who were high officials and led resistance against Eulsa treaty, killed themselves as resistance. Local yangbans and commoners joined righteous armies. They were called "Eulsa Euibyeong" (을사의병, 乙巳義兵) meaning "Righteous army against Eulsa Treaty".

After completing the treaty, Emperor Gojong tried to let the world know the unfairness of the treaty, including sending a special envoy to The Hague. This directly contributed to the forced retirement of King Gojong.


Gojong's declaration of rescissionEdit

Thereafter, Gojong tried to inform the international community of the injustice of the 2nd Korea-Japan Agreement, but according to the logic of the international situation at the time, Gojong's secrets were not effective. Gojong's declaration of Rescission in the Eulsa Treaty had the following, but it was not recognized internationally:

  • A national document written on January 29th, 1906,
  • Personal letter handed to Special Commissioner Hulbert on June 22nd, 1906,
  • A letter sent to the President of France on June 22nd, 1906,
  • Gojong's power of attorney given to the Hague Special Envoy Lee Sang-seol on April 20th, 1907, etc.

This treaty, later, was confirmed to be "already null and void" by the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea concluded in 1965.[17]

In a joint statement on June 23, 2005, officials of South Korea and North Korea reiterated their stance that the Eulsa treaty is null and void on a claim of coercion by the Japanese.

As of 2010, South Korea was seizing property and other assets from the descendants of people who have been identified as pro-Japanese collaborators (Chinilpa) at the time of the treaty.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Korean Mission to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington, DC, 1921–1922. (1922). Korea's Appeal , p. 35, at Google Books; excerpt, "Alleged Treaty, dated November 17, 1905."
  2. ^ Clare, Israel et al. (1910). Library of universal history and popular science, p. 4732., p. 4732, at Google Books
  3. ^ Pak, Chʻi-yŏng. (2000).Korea and the United Nations, p. 6, at Google Books; excerpt, "... as a first step towards the final annexation of Korea in 1910, Japan forced the Korean king, Kojong, to accept the protectorate treaty (known as the Ulsa Protectorate Treaty) after Japan had defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), following its victory in the Sino-Japanese War (1904–1995)"; Cordier, Henri et al. (1905). "Traité entre le Japon et la Corée," Revue internationale de Sinologie , p. 633, at Google Books
  4. ^ Kodansha encyclopedia of Japan, Vol 4, 1983, p. 289; "Ulsa is the designation in the sexagenary cycle for the year corresponding to 1905"
  5. ^ a b 을사조약 (in Korean). Naver/Doosan Encyclopedia.
  6. ^ McKenzie, F. A. Korea's Fight for Freedom. 1920.
  7. ^ 이토 히로부미는 직접~ :한계옥 (1998년 4월 10일). 〈무력을 앞장 세워 병탄으로〉, 《망언의 뿌리를 찾아서》, 조양욱, 1판 1쇄, 서울: (주)자유포럼, 97~106쪽쪽. ISBN 89-87811-05-0
  8. ^ United States. Dept. of State. (1919). Catalogue of treaties: 1814–1918, p. 273, at Google Books
  9. ^ "Deoksu Jungmyeongjeon". June 23, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  10. ^ Uk Heo, Terence Roehrig (2010). South Korea Since 1980. Cambridge University Press. p. 9. ISBN 9780802091956.
  11. ^ "Independence leader Kim Koo". April 28, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  12. ^ The history of Korea, pp. 461–62, Homer Hulbert
  13. ^ Sungwook Son (2016), "Qing-Joseon Relations as Viewed from Joseon's Legation in the Qing Dynasty -from 'Hoidonggwan(會同館)' to Korean Legation in Beijing", 동국사학
  14. ^ Carnegie Endowment (1921). Pamphlet 43: Korea, Treaties and Agreements, p. vii, at Google Books
  15. ^ The signers of the treaty have been criticized by later Korean historians as the Five Eulsa Traitors
  16. ^ a b Lee Hang-bok. "The King's Letter," English JoongAng Daily. September 22, 2009.
  17. ^ "Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea". "It is confirmed that all treaties or agreements concluded between the Empire of Japan and the Empire of Korea on or before August 22, 1910 are already null and void."
  18. ^ Julian Ryall (July 14, 2010). "South Korea targets Japanese collaborators' descendants". telegraph.co.uk.