Battle of Seonghwan

Battle of Seonghwan
Part of the First Sino-Japanese War

Ukiyoe, by Mizuno Toshikata, dated August 1894
Date28–29 July 1894
Locationnear Cheonan, Korea
Result Japanese victory
Empire of Japan Japan Qing dynasty China
Commanders and leaders
Major General Ōshima Yoshimasa General Nie Shicheng
4,000 3,880 (Beiyang Army)
Casualties and losses
34 killed, 54 wounded 500 killed or wounded

The Battle of Seonghwan (成歓の戦い) was the first major land battle of the First Sino-Japanese War. It took place on 29 July 1894 at Seonghwan, outside of Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do Korea between the forces of Meiji Japan and Qing China. It is sometimes also referred to as the Battle of Asan (Japanese: 牙山作戦 ).


Charged with implementing the Imperial Japanese Army's commission from new Korean government to expel the Chinese Beiyang Army from Korean territory by force, a detachment of the Japanese First Army consisting of 4000 men under command of Major General Ōshima Yoshimasa marched south from Seoul towards the major port city of Asan.

The Chinese forces stationed at Seonghwan numbered approximately 3880 men under General Nie Shicheng, and had anticipated the impending arrival of the Japanese by fortifying their position with trenches, earthworks (including six redoubts protected by abatis), and by flooding surrounding rice fields. However, reinforcements, expected from China, had been lost in the naval Battle of Pungdo on 25 July 1894.

The Japanese began their attack with a small diversionary force consisting of four companies of infantry and one of engineers attacking Chinese positions on the night of 28 July 1894 from the front, while the main force of nine companies of infantry, one of cavalry and a battalion of artillery outflanked the Chinese defenses by crossing the Ansong River. The battle lasted from approximately 0330 – 0530 hours on the early morning of 28 July 1894. The defenders, after a sharp engagement, were unable to hold Seonghwan, and fled to Asan, ten miles to the southwest, leaving behind a considerable amount of weapons and stores.[1]

The Japanese forces pursued the Chinese to the city of Asan, but the surprise defeat at Seonghwan had a strong impact on Chinese morale, and the Japanese took Asan with relatively little resistance by 1500 hours on 29 July 1894. Surviving Chinese forces fled towards Pyongyang.

Chinese casualties included 500 killed and wounded against 88 for the Japanese.


The defeat of the Chinese forces at Asan broke the possibility of a Chinese encirclement of the Korean capital of Seoul. The victorious Japanese army returned to Seoul on 5 August 1894. Following this battle, formal declarations of war were issued by the Emperor of China and the Emperor of Japan.



  1. Paine, The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, pages 158-160

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Coordinates: 36°54′37″N 127°07′15″E / 36.91028°N 127.12083°E / 36.91028; 127.12083

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