Eulsa treaty

This article is about the 1905 treaty. For the 1907 treaty, see Japan-Korea Treaty of 1907.
This article is about the 1905 treaty. For the 1910 treaty, see Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910.

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


In the metonymy "Ulsa 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: 제2차한일협약, 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), and Korea Protection Treaty (Japanese: 韓国保護条約).


Following 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 treaty

On 9 November 1905, Ito Hirobumi arrived in Seoul 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, Hasegawa and Ito entered the Jungmyeongjeon Hall, a European-style 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 physical 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 Japan complete responsibility for Korea’s foreign affairs,[8] and placed all trade through Korean ports under Japanese supervision.

Treaty provisions

This treaty deprived Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty,[9][10][11] in effect making Korea a protectorate of Japan.[12] The provisions of the treaty took effect on 17 November 1905, and it laid the foundation for the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1907, and subsequent annexation of Korea in 1910.[13]

The treaty was deemed to have gone into effect after it received the signature of five Korean ministers:[14]

  • 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 Pak 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:

  • Prime Minister Han Gyu-seol (한규설; 韓圭卨)
  • Minister of Finance Min Yeong-gi (민영기; 閔泳綺)
  • Minister of Justice Yi Ha-yeong (이하영; 李夏榮, Later, however, he turned from opposing to agreement of the treaty)


Emperor Gojong sent personal letters to major heads of state to appeal for their support against the illegal signing.[15] As of 21 February 1908, he had sent 17 letters bearing his imperial seal, including to the following eight rulers:

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 the 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"


This treaty, later, was confirmed to be "already null and void" by Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea concluded in 1965.[16]

In a joint statement on 23 June 2005, officials of South Korea and North Korea reiterated their stance that the Eulsa treaty be 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 Japanese collaborators at the time of the treaty.[17]

See also



  • 10-OCLC 14719443
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Division of International Law. (1921). Pamphlet 43: Korea, Treaties and Agreements." The Endowment: Washington, D.C. OCLC 1644278
  • Clare, Israel Smith; Hubert Howe Bancroft and George Edwin Rines. (1910). Library of universal history and popular science. New York: The Bancroft society. OCLC 20843036
  • Cordier, Henri and Edouard Chavannes. (1905). OCLC 1767648
  • 13-OCLC 232346524
  • Korean Mission to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington, D.C., 1921-1922. (1922). Korea's Appeal to the Conference on Limitation of Armament. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. OCLC 12923609
  • Pak, Chʻi-yŏng. (2000). Korea and the United Nations. The Hague: Kluwer Law International. 10-OCLC 247402192
  • United States. Dept. of State. (1919). Catalogue of treaties: 1814-1918. Washington: Government Printing Office. OCLC 3830508
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