The Nanjing Atrocities | Map: Spheres of Influence (1850-1914)
From the mid-1850s to the beginning of World War I, many Western nations were expanding into Asia. The "Age of Imperialism" was fueled by the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States, and it profoundly influenced nation building efforts in Japan and China. As the desire to exert regional strength grew, Japan also began to expand its colonial influence across East Asia.
While China dealt with internal economic and political upheaval after the formation of the First Chinese Republic in 1911, Japan was emerging as a formidable imperial power. Following their victories in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), Japanese leaders sought for more territories in the region. Gradually, Japan grew a vast empire.