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First Sino-Japanese War

Gapsin Coup

Thursday Dec 4, 1884

On December 4, 1884, with the help of the Japanese minister Takezoe Shinichiro who promised to mobilize Japanese legation guards to provide assistance, the reformers staged their coup under the guise of a banquet hosted by Hong Yeong-sik, the director of the General Postal Administration. The banquet was to celebrate the opening of the new national post office. King Gojong was expected to attend together with several foreign diplomats and high-ranking officials, most of whom were members of the pro-Chinese Sadaedang faction. Kim Ok-gyun and his comrades approached King Gojong falsely stating that Chinese troops had created a disturbance and escorted him to the small Gyoengu Palace, where they placed him in the custody of Japanese legation guards. They then proceeded to kill and wound several senior officials of the Sadaedang faction. Consequently, within three days, even before the reform measures were made public, the coup was suppressed by the Chinese troops who attacked and defeated the Japanese forces and restored power to the pro-Chinese Sadaedang faction.