Korea had been under the influence of Imperial China. The Japanese government initially sought to separate Korea from China and make Korea a Japanese satellite in order to further thecountry’s security and national interests. After the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894, Japan’s victory removed China control and allowed for Japanese influence. In October 1895, the Empress of Korea was assassinated by Japanese agents. After Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 the Taft-Katsura Agreement between the US and Japan recognized US interests in the Philippines and Japanese interests in Korea. Korea was obliged to become a Japanese protectorate by the Eulsa Treaty. In June 1907 at the Peace Conference in the Hague, Korea tried to bring up their fears of Japanese colonization but were refused access to the public debates by the international delegates who questioned the legality of the protectorate convention. Out of despair, one of the Korean representatives committed suicide. August 1910, Japan effectively annexed Korea with the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty
Christian missionary work in Korea dates from 1784 when Catholic preists arrived. In 1884 the American Presbyterian missionaries arrived in Korea. Christian protests caused considerable unrest and annoyance to the Japanese colonial regime. The “Million Souls for Christ Campaign” was successful in bringing about mass conversions to the Protestant religion. By 1910, 1% of the nation was Protestant.
On June 28, 1912 124 persons were arrested and charged with planning to kill the Japanese Governor-General. 98 are Christians. The Japanese see Christians as the single most established group capable of threatening their complete control of Korea.