Kwantung Leased Territory

Kwantung Leased Territory

The Kwantung Leased Territory (Chinese: 關東州, 关东州, Guāndōngzhōu; Japanese: 関東州, Kantōshū) was a territory in the southern part of the Liaodong Peninsula in northeastern China that existed from 1898 to 1945. It was one of the numerous concessions that China was compelled to award to foreign countries at the end of the 19th century. The territory included the militarily and economically significant ports of Lüshunkou (Port Arthur) and Dalian (Dal'niy or Dairen).

The name Kwantung means "east of Shanhaiguan", a reference to part of Qinhuangdao in today's Hebei province, with the eastern end of the Great Wall of China.


In Qing dynasty China, the Liaodong Peninsula was administratively part of Liaoning Province. In 1882, the Beiyang Fleet established a naval base and coaling station at Lüshunkou (Port Arthur).

Japan occupied the region during the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). Under the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki signed by Japan and China ending the war in April 1895, Japan gained full sovereignty of the area. However, within weeks, Germany, France and Russia pressured Japan to cede the territory back to China, in what was called the Triple Intervention.

In December 1897, Russian naval vessels entered Port Arthur harbor, which they began to use as a forward base of operations for patrols off of northern China, Korea and the Sea of Japan. In March 1898 Russia formally leased the region for 25 years from China. The leased area extended to the northern shore of Yadang Bay on the western side of the peninsula; on the eastern side it reached Pikou. The peninsula north of the lease was made a neutral territory in which China agreed not to offer concessions to other countries. In 1899, Russia founded the town of Dal'niy (meaning "distant" or "remote") which would later become Dalian (Dairen in Japanese).

In 1898 Russia began building a railroad north from Port Arthur to link Port Arthur with the Chinese Eastern Railway at Harbin; this spur line would become the South Manchurian Railway.

Under the Portsmouth Treaty (1905) resulting from the Russo-Japanese War, Japan replaced Russia as leaseholder. Japan also obtained extraterritorial rights the regions north of the territory adjacent to the South Manchurian Railway in 1905 (the South Manchurian Railway Zone, which was extended to Changchun. These rights, along with the railway and several spur lines were passed to the corporation known as the South Manchurian Railway Company.

Japan established the to administer the new territory, and based the Kwantung Garrison to defend it and the railway. In negotiations with the Republic of China under the Twenty-One Demands, the terms of the lease were extended to 99 years, or until 1997.

After the foundation of Japanese-controlled Manchukuo in 1932, Japan regarded the sovereignty of the leased territory as transferred from China to Manchukuo. A new lease agreement was contracted between Japan and the government of Manchukuo, and Japan surrendered the surrender at the end of World War II in 1945.


In a reorganization of 1919, the Kwantung Garrison was renamed the Kwantung Army and separated from the civilian administration of the territory, which was designated the . The Kantō-cho initially directly reported to the office of the Prime Minister of Japan; later it was subordinated to the Ministry of Colonial Affairs. Internally, the Kwantung Leased Area was divided into two districts, with two cities and nine towns. The city assemblies were in part elected, and in part appointed by the governor.


Massive capital investment was concentrated in Dairen (now the capital of the territory), wherein Japanese firms developed a significant industrial infrastructure, as well as creating a first class port out of the mediocre natural harbor. The facilities of the port at Dairen and its free trade port status made it the principal trade gateway to northeast China. The South Manchurian Railway Company was headquartered in Dairen, and some of the profits from its operation were channel into transforming Dairan into a showcase city of modern city planning and modern architecture, with hospitals, universities and a large industrial zone.


In the national census of 1935, the population of the Kwantung Leased Territory was 1,034,074, of whom 168,185 were Japanese nationals. The numbers excluded military personnel. The area of the territory was .

Governor-General of Kwantung Leased Territory

Name From To
1 General Baron Yoshimasa Oshima (大島義昌) 1905-10-10 1912-04-26
2 Lieutenant General Yasumasa Fukushima (福島安正) 1912-04-26 1914-09-15
3 Lieutenant General Akira Nakamura (中村覚) 1914-09-15 1917-07-31
4 Lieutenant General Yujiro Nakamura (中村雄次郎) 1917-07-31 1919-04-12
5 Gonsuke Hayashi (林権助) 1919-04-12 1920-05-24
6 Isaburo Yamagata (山県伊三郎) 1920-05-24 1922-09-08
7 Hikokichi Ijuin (伊集院彦吉) 1922-09-08 1923-09-19
8 Hideo Kodama (児玉秀雄) 1923-09-26 1927-12-17
9 Kenjiro Kinoshita (木下謙次郎) 1927-12-17 1929-08-17
10 Masahiro Ota (太田政弘) 1929-08-17 1931-01-16
11 Seiji Tsukamoto (塚本清治) 1931-01-16 1932-01-11
12 Mannosuke Yamaoka (山岡万之助) 1932-01-11 1932-08-08
13 General Nobuyoshi Muto (武藤信義) 1932-08-08 1933-07-28
14 General Takashi Hishikari (菱刈隆) 1933-07-28 1934-12-10
15 General Jiro Minami (南次郎) 1934-12-10 1936-03-06
16 General Kenkichi Ueda (植田謙吉) 1936-03-06 1939-09-07
17 General Yoshijirō Umezu (梅津美治朗) 1939-09-07 1944-07-18
18 General Otozo Yamada (山田乙三) 1944-07-18 1946-08-28

See also


  • Coox, Alvin (1990). Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939. Stanford University Press. 0804718350.
  • Hsu, Immanuel C.Y. (1999). The Rise of Modern China. Oxford University Press. 0195125045.
  • Low, Morris (2005). Building a Modern Japan: Science, Technology, and Medicine in the Meiji Era and Beyond. Palgrave MacMillian. 1403968322.
  • Quigley, Harold S (1932, reprinted 2007). Japanese Government and Politics. Thomson Press. ISBN 140672260X.
  • Young, Louise (1999). Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism. University of California Press. ISBN 0520219341.


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