Sino-Japanese War, 1894–95 , a conflict between China and Japan over domination of Korea. It marked the beginning of Japanese expansionism on the Asian main-land. The war had its origin in Japan's ambition to gain an empire. The Japanese had found a pretext several times for sending troops into Korea, for centuries a semi-independent vassal of the Chinese Empire, which moved to defend it. In 1894, following a series of armed clashes in Korea, each side declared war. Japan's superior equipment brought about China's defeat within eight months. By the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895), Japan was given Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands. Also, the treaty required that China recognize the independence of Korea, thus making it possible for Japan to bring the nation into its sphere of influence.