Imperial Edict on declaration of war against Russia

 We, by the Grace of Heaven, Emperor of Japan, seated on the Throne occupied by a line of Emperor's unbroken for age eternal, do hereby make proclamation to all Our loyal and brave subjects as follows:

 We hereby declare war against Russia and We command Our army and navy to carry on hostilities against Russia with all their strength, and We also command all Our competent authorities to make every effort in pursuance of their duties, and in accordance with their powers, to attain the national cause with all the means within the limits of the law of nations.

 We have always deemed it essential to international relations and made it Our constant aim to promote the pacific progress of Our Empire in civilization, to strengthen Our friendly ties with other states, and to establish a state of things which would maintain enduring peace in the East Asia and assure the future security of Our Empire without injury to the rights and interests of other powers. This is what We have emphasized when negotiating with other countries, and We have always endeavored not to violate this thought. Our competent authorities have also performed their duties in obedience to Our will, so that Our relations with the Powers have been steadily growing cordiality. It was thus entirely against Our expectation that We have unhappily come to open hostilities against Russia.

 The integrity of Korea is a matter of constant concern to Our Empire. It is not only because of Our traditional relations with that country, but because the independence of Korea is essential to the safety of Our realm. Nevertheless, Russia, in disregard of her solemn treaty pledges to China, her repeated assurances to other Powers, is till in occupation of Manchuria and has consolidated and strengthened her hold upon three provinces, and is bent upon their final annexation.

 And since the absorption of Manchuria by Russia would render it impossible to maintain the integrity of Korea and would in addition compel the abandonment of all hope for peace in the Far East. We determined in those circumstances to settle the question by negotiation, and to secure thereby permanent peace. With that object in view, Our competent authorities, by Our order, made proposals to Russia, and frequent conferences were held during the course of six months. Russia, however, never met such proposals in a spirit of conciliation.

 But by her wanton delays Russia put off the settlement of the question and by ostensibly advocating peace on the one hand while she was on the other extending her naval and military preparations, sought to make us succumb to Russia. We cannot in the least admit that Russia had from the first any serious or genuine desire for peace. She has rejected the proposals of Our Government; the safety of Korea is in danger, the vital interests of Our Empire are menaced.

The guarantees for the future which We have failed to secure by peaceful negotiations We can only now seek by an appeal to arms. It is Our earnest wish that by the loyalty and valor of Our faithful subjects, peace may soon be permanently restored and the glory of Our Empire preserved.

(The Imperial sign manual and seal)

Battleship "Mikasa" with gun barrel damaged with shelled by Russian Fleet in the Battle of Yellow Sea