And this treaty bore fruit in 1914 when Japan, as an ally of Great Britain, took part in the war between the great Powers of Europe by attacking Kiaochou, a district and fortress held by Germany on the northern coast of China. This was in accordance with the Japanese theory of "the Orient for the Orientals" and its dislike of European aggression upon the Asiatic coast.

Another reason for his haste may be found in the seizure of his territory by the European powers. A few months before he began his reforms two German priests were murdered by an irresponsible mob in the province of Shantung. With this as an excuse Germany landed a battalion of marines at Kiaochou, a port of that province, which she took with fifty miles of the surrounding territory.

Germany had taken Kiaochou, Russia had taken Port Arthur, Japan had taken Formosa, Great Britain had taken Weihaiwei, France had taken Kuangchouwan, and even Italy was anxious to have a slice of his territory, while all the English papers in the port cities were talking of China being divided up amongst the Powers, and it was these things which led the Emperor to enter upon his work of reform.

This indicates that his death had been premeditated and ordered by some high authorities, perhaps Prince Tuan or Prince Chuang, Boxer leaders, because the Germans had taken the port of Kiaochou, and had compelled the Chinese government to promise to allow them to open all the mines and build all the railroads in the province of Shantung.