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The first Sino-Japanese War?


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Many historians called the battle waged between China and Japan in 1894 as the 1st Sino-Japanese War.

But it is not really correct.

There had been two large scale battles fought between these two countries.

The more well-known battle was Ming assistance to Korea's Yi Dynasty during the invasion launched by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1592.

However, there was an earlier large scale battle fought which is seldom mentioned in Chinese history.

In Japanese history, the encounter was recorded as Hakusukinoe. The battle was fought between the allied forces of Tang Navy and Shilla against Japan and Paekche at the river mouth of Hakusuki off Paekche (southwestern part of Korea peninsula) in 663 A.D. During the battle, Japan deployed a vast force of 20,000 but was heavily dealt a blow by Tang with two-thirds of Japanese battleships destroyed.

Curiously after this defeat, Japan's Taika Reform deepened with thousands of students sent to Tang to study. (Many Japanese came to Tang to study legal code because at time Japan considered China as a highly law-abiding society.)

Such scenario resembles Meiji Restoration Japan and Post-WWII Japan which eagered to learn from the country that had triumphed over her.

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