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17508Re: [SCA-JML] Re: A thought experiment...

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  • John Mooers
    Jan 3, 2005
      Hideyoshi was unrealistic in his estimations when using Korea as the on-ramp to China. Some say he was insane when ordering the second (or even first) invasion. The second invasion was more to consolidate Japanese hold on southern Korea than a true invasion of China. If he had truly read and digested the classics he may not have gone into China. Generals vied with each other for glory as much as your average Samurai competed to be the first spear or first over the wall. Date Masamune was the only Daiymo to actually make it into China but didn't stay long. Taking more rice land was always good.
      Japan, Korea, and China subjected each other to exchanges of culture, religion, and piracy. Most nations that focus on colonization already have a well consolidated homeland and national government. This did not occur in Japan until the Tokuwaga Bakufu and their initial forays into trade expeditions died when they closed the country to outsiders.
      Focus on the "unique and divine" nature of the home islands perhaps made conquest of other lands less attractive. Travel by the relatively primitive native vessels from Japan to the east Indies was dangerous and communication problems made military activities less attractive. Conquest of Korea and Manchuria is far more attractive from an operational and economic perspective. Manchuria and Korea abound in raw materials the way Japan abounds in scenic mountains. A nation with burgeoning population and lack of available land looks to add land, not just resources, and Indonesia has resources but not nearly the land area of Asia.
      Then there is the psychological aspect. China as the font of culture and "big brother" in Asia was seen as conquerable. Consider you are a fanatically ambitious Daimyo who cannot be Emperor of Japan since you (a) are born in the wrong family and (b) have no daughter married to the ruling Emperor. You also cannot be Shogun since you are not from the right family...and you REALLY want to be Emperor. You remember that the Mongols conquered China but not Japan. You believe that the Gods raised the kamikaze to defeat the Mongols with their Chinese and Korean lackeys. After being the only guy to unite, decisively, a archipelago of factious warlords you might think anything is possible.
      Remember, Alexander just kept conquering until his army mutinied.

      Date Genshiro Toshinobu
      Yama Kaminari Ryu

      mattfmcti <mattfmcti@...> wrote:

      > They were at various times bitten by the colonization bug. As I recall,
      > in the early 17th century a good portion of Indochina was taken over by
      > a Japanese adventurer, and the Japanese periodically tried to duke it
      > out with China in Korea. The problem was that with China, Korea, and
      > India parked relatively close at hand, the Japanese were not nearly as
      > interested in taking over Indonesia, the Philipines, or East Africa.

      I'm getting an image of a man beating his head against a brick
      wall...how many ultimately futile expeditions did the Japanese send to
      Korea through the ages? One would guess that, with easier pickings
      elsewhere, they might have learned to just forget Korea. *The Big
      Question* What is the morbid Japanese facination with Korea anyway?
      Was it seen as a beach head into China (T'ien Xia...I love Hero, esp.
      in Mandarin)? I just finished reading "The Seven Military Classics of
      Ancient China" (trans. by Sawyer), and the size of the armies even the
      Warring States era kingdoms were able to field was staggering. Was
      Japan ever able to field an army of the size needed to conquer China?
      It boggles the mind how many troops one would need. It just doesn't
      make sense, strategically, to even attempt it. One would think that
      the Japanese generals, having studied the various Chinese military
      works, would have seen this.

      On a side note, I've been studying the various Chinese dynasties. Did
      the Japanese transition from the Nara-jidai to the Heian-jidai have
      anything to do with the decline of the T'ang, since both happened in
      relatively the same time frame, or was the break in diplomatic
      relations and cultural ties due to other forces?

      Fujiwara Takaharu

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