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Re: A thought experiment...

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  • mattfmcti
    ... 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
    Message 1 of 27 , Jan 3, 2005
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      > 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
    • John Mooers
      Fujiwara-tono, 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
      Message 2 of 27 , Jan 3, 2005
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        Fujiwara-tono,
        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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      • Ii Saburou
        ... Sounds like you are talking about this: http://www.users.on.net/~mkfenn/page2.htm I find some of it interesting because the origin myths given are
        Message 3 of 27 , Jan 3, 2005
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          On Sun, 2 Jan 2005, Solveig wrote:

          > Ii Dono!
          >
          > Greetings from Solveig! I should also point out that the Haida of Vancouver,
          > Island had large sea going canoes and practed celestial navigation. According
          > to Thor Hyrdahl, the Haida went all sorts of places including Easter Island
          > or some such place. The place with the huge stone statues as I recall.

          Sounds like you are talking about this:
          http://www.users.on.net/~mkfenn/page2.htm

          I find some of it interesting because the origin myths given are different
          than the ones I learned, which were Tlinget. Also, I saw a lot of stuff
          that is questionable or, I believe, outright wrong (e.g. the 'sunken
          structures' near Japan are more reasonably natural formations--there was a
          great show on this just a few weeks back on Discovery, I believe).

          -Ii
        • Solveig
          Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! The Japanese were doing a very good job of nibbling away at China until the U.S. intervened in the late 1930 s early
          Message 4 of 27 , Jan 3, 2005
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            Noble Cousin!

            Greetings from Solveig! The Japanese were doing a very good job of nibbling
            away at China until the U.S. intervened in the late 1930's early 1940's.
            Even in August of 1945, the Japanese had an operational army in China with
            more a million troops. If memory serves correctly of course.
            --

            Your Humble Servant
            Solveig Throndardottir
            Amateur Scholar

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          • Solveig
            Noble Cousins! Greetings from Solveig! ... Invading Korea and China was quite rational and a far better alternative than trying to follow the example of the
            Message 5 of 27 , Jan 3, 2005
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              Noble Cousins!

              Greetings from Solveig!

              > 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.

              Invading Korea and China was quite rational and a far better alternative
              than trying to follow the example of the Minamoto following the Genpei War.
              Basically, the Japanese had raised huge armies which expected loot. Not
              to mention the large number off defeated soldiers who needed someplace to
              go.

              > 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.

              Remember the Iberians were there! The Japanese constructed fairly modern
              (for the time) vessels toward the end of the sixteenth and the begining
              of the seventeenth centuries. As for the comparative attractiveness of
              China, that point is well taken, and I tried to raise it myself in an
              earlier posting.
              --

              Your Humble Servant
              Solveig Throndardottir
              Amateur Scholar

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              | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
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            • Ii Saburou
              ... If you look, there aren t easier pickings. For most of Japan s history, they have to island hop to get to the mainland--it is just far enough that if you
              Message 6 of 27 , Jan 3, 2005
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                On Mon, 3 Jan 2005, mattfmcti wrote:

                > 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?

                If you look, there aren't easier pickings. For most of Japan's history,
                they have to island hop to get to the mainland--it is just far enough that
                if you start sailing without some kind of guide, you can end up way off
                course. This is one of the reasons the Mongol invasion took the same
                route in to Japan both times.

                If Japan wanted resources outside of their own country, Korea was their
                ticket. They could try to go north and finally take Hokkaido and up that
                direction, but why? What is there for them? It is cold, and the people
                are primitive so you aren't bringing back great plunder.

                Korea on the other hand, has historical value as well. Japan's early
                legends/history tell of their conquering Korea--Empress Jingo Kogo in 366,
                according to tradition. Japan later started losing its foothold in Korea.
                Once back on the home islands, Japan had enough trouble with the local
                Emishi that they don't seem to have been much inclined to try to expand.

                As Emishi are being put down in the provinces, the life of the court grows
                more insular. They are more concerned with what is going on in the
                capital than outside. They lose effective control of the provinces, and
                the warrior caste comes to power. Despite 'unification', there is still
                enough to keep the Japanese busy, especially when the Mongols decide to
                come to them. Finally, after an imperial dynastic struggle and Japan's
                own warring states period you finally have a warlord who has sufficiently
                pacified the nation to continue his ambitions further. Since the only
                really accessible piece of land is Korea, there he goes.

                One--if not *the*--problem Toyotomi had was he wouldn't remain satisfied
                with Korea. He got it into his head he could take on the whole of China.
                The Chinese were rather content to let him come through Korea--they didn't
                really care so much about it--but when they saw he wanted to come further
                they decided it would be better to fight that war on someone else's
                territory, and so march the Japanese off the Penninsula.

                Japan decides to become insular again, and without outside pressure, they
                content themselves with their islands.

                Then Perry comes in his Black Ships and forcibly requires Japan to open
                its doors. Up and coming Japanese come to the realization that the world
                will come to them unless they learn to keep the world out, and they build
                up a Navy and Army that are able to dominate their section of the world,
                defeating both the Chinese and the Russians.

                Japan then goes for Korea again because of the resources required to keep
                up with the industrialization. Also, no doubt, they are taking lessons
                from the British as to how the Brits became a great world-spanning Empire
                from just a small island nation.

                Japan actually keeps Korea this time until the end of WWWII.

                So, all in all, Korea wasn't a bad move for Japan at any point in its
                history, as I can see it.

                -Ii
              • James Eckman
                ... It s cool, it s interesting. ... Is the sea blue? That s what we in the west say even though it s more likely to be a yucky kind of turquoise most of the
                Message 7 of 27 , Jan 3, 2005
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                  sca-jml@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                  >From: "Ellen Davis" <ellen.m.davis@...>
                  >
                  >
                  >The pottery in question is called Valdivia ware and does bear a marked
                  >similarity to certain Jomon styles from both Honshu and Kyushu.
                  >
                  >(Not to toot my own sho, but I wrote a paper on this whole shebang as part
                  >of an American Prehistory class, and I'm posting it to the Files section
                  >under "Valdivia.doc". It's a bit technical in places but I thought it might
                  >be helpful and/or interesting.)
                  >
                  >
                  It's cool, it's interesting.

                  >From: Solveig <nostrand@...>
                  >
                  >
                  >No there are not. This is patently false. The canonical and well worn
                  >example is aoi.
                  >
                  >
                  Is the sea blue? That's what we in the west say even though it's more
                  likely to be a yucky kind of turquoise most of the time. Color words are
                  not very precise in English, or even between people with the same
                  background and language.

                  >I am not a subscriber to nihonron either, but the notion that Japanese and
                  >English are equivalent is laughable.
                  >
                  Certainly much closer than Navajo or some of the really far out tribal
                  languages. I guess all those translator's out there are just ripping us
                  off ;)

                  >There are things which are easier and
                  >more natural to express in each of these languages. Even if something can
                  >be easily expressed in both languages does not mean that you will see a
                  >1:1 word mapping.
                  >
                  >
                  For more complex concepts that's true. Actually for pre-1900's Japan I
                  would say love is tough word to translate in either direction.

                  > From: "mattfmcti" <mattfmcti@...>
                  >
                  >
                  >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.
                  >
                  Why are the Turks and Greeks still fighting, why did the French and
                  English always fight each other? It's all part of being neighborly ;)

                  Jim Eckman
                • Solveig
                  Noble Cousins! Greetings from Solvieg! Love is indeed another interesting word. Ancient Greek had four words for love . Modern Japanese has more than one.
                  Message 8 of 27 , Jan 4, 2005
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                    Noble Cousins!

                    Greetings from Solvieg! "Love" is indeed another interesting word. Ancient
                    Greek had four words for "love". Modern Japanese has more than one. Arguably
                    English has at least two common words: "love" and "lust".
                    --

                    Your Humble Servant
                    Solveig Throndardottir
                    Amateur Scholar

                    +---------------------------------------------------------------------------+
                    | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
                    | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
                    | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:bnostran@... |
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                  • mattfmcti
                    ... nibbling ... China with ... IIRC, Japan was also technologically superior to China, having spent the last 40-50 years modernizing the country at warp
                    Message 9 of 27 , Jan 4, 2005
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                      > Noble Cousin!
                      >
                      > Greetings from Solveig! The Japanese were doing a very good job of
                      nibbling
                      > away at China until the U.S. intervened in the late 1930's early 1940's.
                      > Even in August of 1945, the Japanese had an operational army in
                      China with
                      > more a million troops. If memory serves correctly of course.

                      IIRC, Japan was also technologically superior to China, having spent
                      the last 40-50 years modernizing the country at warp speed. I believe
                      the Chinese resistance during WWII was using U.S.-supplied arms and
                      supplies, because they either didn't have the facilities to make there
                      own or the Japanese had bombed/taken them.

                      Besides, don't you know....you NEVER get involved in a land war with
                      Asia. ^_^

                      Fujiwara
                    • David Williams
                      ... And never challenge a Sicillian when death is on the line!!!! Cristen __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail - Helps protect you
                      Message 10 of 27 , Jan 4, 2005
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                        >
                        > Besides, don't you know....you NEVER get involved in
                        > a land war with
                        > Asia. ^_^
                        >
                        > Fujiwara
                        >
                        >
                        And never challenge a Sicillian when death is on the
                        line!!!!

                        Cristen



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                      • Solveig
                        Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! ... As the author of Empire of the Sun put it, the Japanese make machines and the Chinese break machines . -- Your
                        Message 11 of 27 , Jan 4, 2005
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                          Noble Cousin!

                          Greetings from Solveig!

                          >IIRC, Japan was also technologically superior to China,

                          As the author of "Empire of the Sun" put it, "the Japanese make machines
                          and the Chinese break machines".
                          --

                          Your Humble Servant
                          Solveig Throndardottir
                          Amateur Scholar

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                        • Park McKellop
                          Never bet with a Sicilian. It is inconceivable. Alcyoneus ... And never challenge a Sicillian when death is on the line!!!! Cristen
                          Message 12 of 27 , Jan 4, 2005
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                            Never bet with a Sicilian.

                            It is inconceivable.

                            Alcyoneus

                            David Williams <gary7williams@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Besides, don't you know....you NEVER get involved in
                            > a land war with
                            > Asia. ^_^
                            >
                            > Fujiwara
                            >
                            >
                            And never challenge a Sicillian when death is on the
                            line!!!!

                            Cristen



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                          • Park McKellop
                            It is still today. I wouldn t hesitate to buy a Japanese tool or machine. I would buy a Chinese tool or machine only if I could afford to think of it as a
                            Message 13 of 27 , Jan 5, 2005
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                              It is still today. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Japanese tool or machine. I would buy a Chinese tool or machine only if I could afford to think of it as a disposable tool, or could afford nothing better.

                              Alcyoneus


                              >IIRC, Japan was also technologically superior to China,

                              As the author of "Empire of the Sun" put it, "the Japanese make machines
                              and the Chinese break machines".
                              --

                              Your Humble Servant
                              Solveig Throndardottir
                              Amateur Scholar

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                              | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
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