By Kenneth M. Swope
The invasion of Korea by means of jap troops in could of 1592 was once no usual army excursion: it was once one of many decisive occasions in Asian background and the main tragic for the Korean peninsula until eventually the mid-twentieth century. eastern overlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi anticipated conquering Korea, Ming China, and finally all of Asia; yet Korea’s entice China’s Emperor Wanli for counsel brought on a six-year struggle concerning thousands of squaddies and encompassing the full zone. For Japan, the struggle used to be “a dragon’s head by means of a serpent’s tail”: a powerful starting with out genuine ending.
Kenneth M. Swope has undertaken the 1st full-length scholarly learn in English of this significant clash. Drawing on Korean, jap, and particularly chinese language assets, he corrects the Japan-centered viewpoint of past bills and depicts Wanli no longer because the self-indulgent ruler of acquired interpretations yet fairly one actively engaged in army affairs—and involved specifically with rescuing China’s purchaser nation of Korea. He places the Ming in a extra energetic mild, detailing chinese language siege war, the advance and deployment of leading edge army applied sciences, and the naval battles that marked the climax of the battle. He additionally explains the war’s repercussions outdoor the army sphere—particularly the dynamics of intraregional international relations in the shadow of the chinese language tributary system.
What Swope calls the 1st nice East Asian conflict marked either the emergence of Japan’s wish to expand its sphere of effect to the chinese language mainland and an army revival of China’s dedication to protecting its pursuits in Northeast Asia. Swope’s account deals new perception not just into the historical past of struggle in Asia but additionally right into a clash that reverberates in diplomacy to this day.
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Extra resources for A Dragon’s Head and a Serpent’s Tail: Ming China and the First Great East Asian War, 1592–1598
His younger sons Li Ruzhang and Li Rumei had already earned distinction in the military, as had their cousin, Li Ruwu. The family was greatly feared and respected along the northern frontiers. 42 His recommendation immediately sparked controversy. The Li family had made quite a few enemies over the years, both because of their great regional power in northeast China and because of their disdain for traditional Confucian sensibilities. In addition, they were tainted by their association with the now discredited Zhang Juzheng.
Swope FM-End 10/19/09 3:39 PM Page 9 INTRODUCTION 9 worthy of such an appellation. For example, the sixth and seventh centuries witnessed wide-ranging conflicts between the Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) empires of China and the three Korean kingdoms of Koguryö, Silla, and Paekche. The Sui dynasty invaded Koguryö, the northernmost kingdom, three times in response to aggressive forays into ostensibly Chinese territory. 12 The Tang then launched unsuccessful invasions in 645 and 647 that perhaps gave Koguryö the confidence to attack a Tang vassal state in 655 and join with Paekche (the southwestern Korean kingdom) in an invasion of Silla (the southeastern Korean kingdom).
But Siam and Ryukyu both allegedly contributed military support to the allied effort against Japan. The Chinese clearly saw Hideyoshi’s gambit as an audacious attempt to usurp Ming (1368–1644) hegemony in East Asian commercial and diplomatic affairs and therefore responded to his challenge with appropriate military force. The broad scope of this conflict has even prompted one Chinese scholar, Li Guangtao, to call this war the single greatest event in the history of East Asia. 6 But it is precisely this connection that I draw attention to in the present work while avoiding (I hope) facile direct analogies or erroneous assertions about national predispositions to conquest or aggression.
A Dragon’s Head and a Serpent’s Tail: Ming China and the First Great East Asian War, 1592–1598 by Kenneth M. Swope