Sun Yat-sen – An Army in Exile – Extra History – #3

Sun Yat-sen – An Army in Exile – Extra History – #3

Tokyo 1897 The reports had been right. Sun Yat-Sen realizes Tokyo is a hotbed of revolutionaries A mix of Chinese reformers, Philippine independence fighters, Japanese ultra-nationalists, And student radicals of all stripes. The Japanese government both sheltered and aided them, hoping these agitators would unite a Pan-Asian alliance, and drive the western powers out of Asia Sun’s objective was clear. Not only did he need to build a coalition from these rival groups, He needed to make them an army *Intro music* But that goal came later. When Sun arrived in Japan, he had a simple goal: Gain backdoor support from Japanese politicians And use Tokyo as a base to ferment uprisings in China. As he traveled to Tokyo, he’d arranged a meeting with the country’s largest pan-Asian-ist organization. It was an underground society with members placed at the highest level of Japanese government, particularly, the Ministry of Finance. They ran off-the-books intelligence operations and aided rebel groups. Their objective: to keep Russia out of northern China, ensuring that Korea stayed in Japan’s sphere of Influence. They went by another name, but soon they re-christened themselves as the Black Dragon Society, and they were looking to overthrow the Qing and strengthen China Sun’s contact was a wild-haired adventurer named Miyazaki Toten, who’d spent years scouring China for promising revolutionaries. Their first meeting… was rough. Miyazaki arrived early, Sun hadn’t washed or dressed, neither spoke the other’s language well, and they had to draw Chinese characters to make themselves clear It was the start of a lifelong friendship In the end, Miyazaki passed Sun up to his handlers. The Janpense sponsors gave Sun the stamp of approval. This was their guy. Within weeks, they’d given Sun a house in Tokyo under an assumed name, and they plugged him into their network. Miyazaki would serve as representative in areas Sun couldn’t travel. The alliance was not without its contradictions Revolutionaries, like Sun, wanted to overthrow the Qing, particularly because it has opened the door for Japanese imperialism, and on the other side, many Japanese pan-Asians, didn’t want to end colonialism, so much as make Japan the sole colonial power. They wanted a strong China, but as a puppet state, in fact decades later, the same ultra-nationalists supporting Sun would usher in an age of Japanese militarism and invade China, yet they had what Sun needed: protection, contacts, and access to military weapons, so he took their help, while also dispatching friends to undermine Japanese rule in Taiwan. But Sun was increasingly running into a problem: He had competition In 1898, a group of Confucius scholars persuaded the emperor to endorse an ambitious reform program, Buuut, a hundred days later, the dowager empress shut it down by staging a coupe and and putting her nephew, the emperor, under house arrest. The reformers fled… to Tokyo, where their new group began poaching Sun’s recruits and fundraising efforts. He reached out in hope of forming an alliance, but the reformers refused. They were monarchists from an elite bureaucracy, and wanted nothing to do with this peasant. So Sun forged other ties. During the Spanish-American war, he covertly bought arms from the Japanese and shipped them to Philippine independence fighters. He’d hoped that a liberated Philippines would provide a new base for Chinese revolutionaries, but the arm ship sank and the revolt failed. Meanwhile, he dispatched agents throughout south-east Asia, opening new chapters of the revived China Society, and solidifying himself as the organization’s sole commander, but the reformers were still out-pacing them. Sun worried that the revived China society wouldn’t stay relevant. Then, Fate played it’s bloody hand. In the year since Sun fled China, imperial powers had become ever more bold about slicing the Chinese melon. More territory, more economic concessions, special rights for missionaries and Christians At all levels of Chinese society, people feared their country would go the way of Africa. The result was backlash. The Boxer Uprising assailed western establishments across China, and besieged Beijing’s foreign quarter. The dowager empress publicly backed them, hoping to wrest control back from the great powers. An eight nation coalition invaded, and trounced the Boxer’s, driving the dowager empress from the Forbidden City, and amidst the chaos, Sun launched his second uprising. Again in southern China, and again using Triad Society. This time though, the Triads defeated the government troops sent to crush them. They barreled towards Guangzhou, picking up recruits, triggering a larger rising than Sun had hoped, and soon 10,000 men marched with him, but the plan hinged on Sun sending a cache of Japanese arms, and there’d been a change of government. Sun’s supporters were out, and the government back off of the shipment, so Sun ordered his army to disperse. It was deeply frustrating. They’d poured years of resources into the revolt, and now they had to raise that money again. So Sun hit the road on a fundraising tour, visiting overseas Chinese throughout south-east Asia. He passed through Hawaii to obtain a forged birth certificate, then used it to cross into the United States, where non-Chinese citizens weren’t allowed to travel. He joined a triad society so he could move from city to city under their protection. At every stop he saw how badly the reformists had depleted his ranks, but outlooks were starting to change. In 1904, Japan went to war with Russia, challenging them over Chinese territory they’d seized during the Boxer Uprising. The imperial Japanese navy destroyed two Russian fleets, forcing them to abandon the territory, and formalizing Korea as a protectorate. It rejuvenated Sun’s message and damaged the reform arguments. Defeating a european power was a win for pan-Asian-ism, but the contrast between a rising Japan and deteriorating China, highlighted Qing incompetence. Could such an impotent, weak government even be reformed? Wouldn’t it be better to scrap it and start something new? China was larger than Japan in every measure, Sun told the Chinese-Americans. If Japan could defeat the Tsars, think of what a modernized, united China could achieve. And then he reached Europe, and the tide turned. Since the Sino-Japanese War, China had made several attempts at reform, including a push to modernize education. Chinese students increasingly went overseas to study as engineers, doctors, and scholars, but mostly they learned the business of war. The Qing was forming a new army using German equipment and structure, sending the brightest cadets to train at elite military academies in Prussia and Japan, and these young, foreign, educated intelligentsia, leaned towards revolution. Sun came to Europe seeking government support, but instead a student group asked him to lecture. It was a triumph, he realized. They were looking for leadership. Sun spoke, proposing a government with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the American model, plus two from the imperial system. One for student examinations, and another to police corruption. And he unveiled his three principals of the people: a guiding statement of what his revolution embodied. Nationalism: all Chinese ethnic groups united under one national identity, democracy: a state with a constitutional government, and the people’s livelihood. An economic platform to combat poverty, reform land codes, and establish taxes. The student revolutionaries endorsed him, and magic started to happen. One of the things that had held Sun back was a lack of elite support, but now he was among the up-and-comers of the new generation, who saw him as the key to the revolution. After all, once they overthrow the Qing, they’ll need someone with foreign connections who can talk the great powers out of an intervention, and Sun was that man. The students, for their part, brought publishing muscle In Tokyo, Singapore, and the foreign quarters of Shanghai, young radicals were turning out revolutionary books and magazines by the stack. Neither government nor culture was sacred. In their pages, the feminist revolutionary Qiu Jin, argued against foot binding and forced marriage. She pledged to die rather than betray the revolution, and walked the streets of Tokyo dressed in a western man’s suit, and these radical publications started promoting Sun’s ideas Within months, Sun drew the radicals and rebels into an alliance and started to plan new revolts. In fact, over the next 6 years, he would plan, coordinate, or sponsor 8 uprisings. And increasingly, student revolutionaries graduated and took new positions in the new army, China’s modernized military force converting other officers to their cause, and in time, even bringing more army units into the risings. But… they failed Every single one, and it began to take its toll. Each revolt meant dead comrades, old friends, and young followers, sometimes in their hundreds. After a failed bomb plot in 1901, assassins hired by the governor of Guangzhou gunned Yan Ku Wan down at his desk. Days later, another of Sun’s agents in Hong Kong died in a suspicious poisoning, and in 1907 the Qing arrested Qiu Jin. She’d been heading up revolutionary activity in her home province, and the secret police learned her name while torturing prisoners ahead of a planned uprising. Her articles provided enough evidence for a death sentence There were consequences for Sun as well. Fearing for their reputation, the Japanese expelled him in 1907. He moved his base to Hanoi, and when the French kicked him out, he went to Singapore. By 1911 he was banned from most Asian countries, and the organization was nearly broke. They poured almost everything into the tenth uprising. Ten. Failed. Uprisings. The kindling burned, but the logs didn’t catch. Discouraged and heartsick, he went to raise more funds in the US. He had no idea that the eleventh uprising was about to begin, and this time the fire would rage. *outro music*


  1. Welcome back everyone to the first Extra History of the new year! If you too would like to join the exclusive club of people who get to watch the videos a few days before they are public and get to actually be the "first!!1!!1!" comments on the video, head on over to our Patreon:

  2. I'm glad you guys made this, more people need to know about the Republic of China (ROC) and its origins, I also sincerely sincerely hope that you guys don't buy into communist propaganda "history" for the later episodes.

    From what I can see, most westerners like to "look at both sides" of the story, admirable but it is being misused by the CCP in this case, a lot of their "side of the story" is simply propaganda and misinformation

  3. I wonder, if Sun was gonna go fundraising in the U.S. again for the last uprising, why didn't he go back to the American Philippines for support?

    It was under American colonial rule by then, so he'd hit two birds with the same stone because of the huge Chinese-Filipino community and an abundance of American officials who might be appeasable (perhaps more so than their more racist counterparts back home).

    Plus, he's had a lot of history on American soil—Hawaii's now a U.S. colony too, and that's where he got his first education. Surely they'd be cooler dealing with him just for that?

  4. Oooo I would love to see a video of Sancho, Alfonso, and Garcia Jimenez. Such a good story; 3 kingdoms split between 3 brothers that overthrow one another and then take Muslim territory.

  5. I had some vague knowledge of Chinese history in that time, the colonization by Western and Japanese powers and the revolutions, but I had no idea Sun Yat-Sen existed until you made a video about him. You really achieved your goal here, making people learn.

  6. Well, the Philippine revolt against the Spanish technically didn't fail. It was due to the American invasion that followed in which the Filipinos couldn't mount a sucessful defense.

  7. Japan is and was the only asian state that is able to make asia strong and free. Not to defense asia against europe. But to defense asia against the chinese.

  8. Sun Yat-sen was well traveled. During the Chinese Exclusion Act, he would have been interrogated to investigate whether he was a legitimate immigrant. The Chinese were required some kind of document to enter mainland America. In this case, Sun Yat-sen gotten himself the Certificate of Hawaiian birth. There are other documents that he could have gotten but, The Hawaiian birth certificate would have proved that he was born on American soil in a certain sense. The document must have been forged very well if he was able to get through the interrogation process. Of course, this was probably before the 1906 earthquake. If he tried to get to America after 1906, he would have to go tough the tougher interrogation process.

  9. Wow, the arms ship to the Philippines just… sank? It's crazy to think what the ripple effect of that might have been. Annexing the Philippines was the main goal of the operation that involved bombing Pearl Harbor… if the ship got there (assuming the uprising worked) the islands might never have become a U.S. territory, and Japan might have invaded without directly incurring the wrath of the U.S. We might not have stayed out of the war altogether, (or we might have intervened on behalf of an independent Philippines regardless) but damn. What a difference one accident made.

  10. So they drew animations to understand each other
    Is it house
    Oh I know it’s a GUN
    Yes after half a hour finally got it

  11. If only that DAMN SHIP NOT F###ING SHANK THE FILIPINOS would still lose because there stubborn and lotsa mutinies in the army, soooooooo still a lost?

  12. 6:28, and now we see how powerful China is today. I'm irked by what they're doing with the West Philippine Sea, but they know how to run a country. They do things right and I can see competence where there is.

  13. So basically he was trying to set up North Korea only with a lot less poverty or to be more specific he was trying to form a communist China

  14. I heard Sun praised the Emperor's 100 day reform program. I really wonder what might have happened if Sun met the Emperor who wanted reform.
    Please I really wish to tell me your oppinion on my comment.

  15. This series hits close to home. My great grand father was one of the followers of Sun, and actually was with him during Japan at this time. He started the Xin Hai revolution in central China. Unfortunately he got murdered and his head cut off by assassins sent by the Qing Government. His name was Jing Wumu (井勿幕). RIP.

  16. Hi Extra Credits! I'm in the 6th grade and our class loves watching your videos! We watch you guys almost every day. Love you guys!

  17. Imagine a world where East Asia is United as friends despite each other's cultural differences….. Instead of Japan or China trying to invade each other and everyone around them :/

  18. Talk about never giving up…

  19. Reformers,independence fighters,ultranationalists and student radicals in one place.

    Well,this can turn ugly pretty fast

  20. Hey can u do a video on some war in Israel, they aren’t very talked about. Personally I would suggest the six day war

  21. I always thought a Pan-Asian kind of thing would take over the world. Now, I know a Pan-Asian thing was made in 1800s. I guess my guess would be history repeating itself, but not really. Oh well no harm in guessing.

  22. Welp.
    We didnt actually fail the revolt against the Americans because of a failed arms shipment but rather the infighting within us revolutionaries doomed the revolution to failure. I mean, we killed one of our most capable generals, after all.

  23. Typical simple minded student politician who never really matured .I thought he studied Western politics in London .he obviously didn't learn much .here,we despise that type

  24. 7:23 "to form government consist legislative, judicative and executive. The american model.."
    From what sources you on about? Even several biography from Soekarno, Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, etc says Sun quote the French's Philosopher Montesqiu model of government and SPQR model.
    How bizzare..

  25. Overthrowing a government creates 20-50 years of chaos. The reformers were China’s true patriots, Sun was a traitor for advocating an alternate course of action. See Libya, Iraq, Czarist Russia, Ottoman Empire, Change of government never strengthens a country.

  26. 8:29
    Looks at China now.
    They ain't united, but they have the west under their thumbs. What more if China was united under a Federal Republic?

  27. Gotta say, the ending to this video was perfect. Combining the delivery with the music and title, just really well done.

  28. Which traid group did he join specifically? The "Hung Society Zhigong Hall" or "Chee Kong Tong", based in San Francisco, USA?

  29. 0:10 Jose Rizal…unfortunately, Rizal died in 1896
    A great man who became a martyr for freedom
    Only the revolution of Andres Bonifacio can liberate the Philippines…or would it fail and cost Bonifacio his life?

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