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Emperor Gojong of Korea
|Revised Romanization||Gojong Hwangje|
Originally, Gojong's father, Regent Heungseon (Daeweon-gun ), ruled for him until Gojong reached adulthood and ruled the country directly. It was during Daeweon-gun's reign that the main palace at Gyeongbokgung was restored as the seat of the royalty.
Following the invasion of Korea by Chinese, Japanese, and Russian forces during the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), and the subsequent Japanese victories in both wars, Gojong was pressured to accept pro-Japanese advisors to the royal court by the Meiji Emperor of Japan. His domestic and foreign policies, however, proved to be successful in the face of the Japanese threat, mostly because they were cleverly directed by his brilliant wife, Queen Min, officially known as Empress Myeong-Song. Empress Myeong-Song used Russian and Chinese interests in Korea to defend her country from Japanese domination. Her domestic policies were also successful in industrializing Korea. However, due to the shift in the balance of power, the Japanese assassinated her and effectively ended any chance of Korea's remaining independent.
Gojong continued his late wife's policies to the end of his reign. He proclaimed the Korean Empire in 1897 in order to defend Korea against Japanese aggression. Following the Protectorate Treaty of 1905 between Korea and Japan, which stripped Korea of its rights as an independent nation, he sent representatives to the Hague Peace Convention of 1907 in order to tell the world of the crimes of Japanese imperialism in Korea. Although the Korean representatives were blocked by the Japanese delegates, they did not give up, and later held interviews with newspapers. As a result, an enraged Emperor Meiji forced Gojong to abdicate in favour of Gojong's son, Sunjong.
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