By Kenneth M. Swope
The invasion of Korea by way of eastern troops in could of 1592 used to be no traditional army day trip: it was once one of many decisive occasions in Asian heritage 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 attract China’s Emperor Wanli for counsel caused a six-year struggle concerning millions of squaddies and encompassing the total quarter. For Japan, the warfare used to be “a dragon’s head through a serpent’s tail”: a powerful starting with out genuine ending.
Kenneth M. Swope has undertaken the 1st full-length scholarly research in English of this crucial clash. Drawing on Korean, jap, and particularly chinese language resources, he corrects the Japan-centered viewpoint of prior money owed and depicts Wanli now not because the self-indulgent ruler of got interpretations yet particularly one actively engaged in army affairs—and involved particularly with rescuing China’s buyer kingdom of Korea. He places the Ming in a extra full of life mild, detailing chinese language siege conflict, the advance and deployment of cutting edge army applied sciences, and the naval battles that marked the climax of the struggle. He additionally explains the war’s repercussions outdoors 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 battle marked either the emergence of Japan’s wish to expand its sphere of impression to the chinese language mainland and an army revival of China’s dedication to protecting its pursuits in Northeast Asia. Swope’s account bargains new perception not just into the heritage of conflict in Asia but additionally right into a clash that reverberates in diplomacy to this day.
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Additional info for A Dragon’s Head and a Serpent’s Tail: Ming China and the First Great East Asian War, 1592–1598
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. Given the tense state of affairs in Northeast Asia today, it seems imperative that we arrive at a deeper understanding of the historical backdrop to contemporary concerns as well as look at more positive historical ties. Unlike some writers, who maintain that the events of Japan’s nineteenth- and twentieth-century expansionism had absolutely nothing to do with that nation’s historical experience prior to the nineteenth century, I suggest that the explicit references to the war of the late sixteenth century by scholars, politicians, colonial overlords, and colonial victims in twentieth-century Korea and China testify to its continuing relevance.
5 But for all his faults, Wanli was very interested in and devoted to maintaining Ming military supremacy in Asia. 6 He viewed military affairs as one of the areas in which he could assert his will and did so fairly often, especially in the first three decades of his reign. Even toward the end of his reign, Wanli remained concerned about the growing Manchu threat and approved the release of funds and the dispatch of the aforementioned Ming expeditionary force to meet the Manchus in Liaodong in 1619.
Swope FM-End 10/19/09 3:39 PM Page 5 INTRODUCTION 5 and cloak Japan’s actions by praising Hideyoshi for enshrining the spirits of the dead. With respect to the Mimizuka, Korean opinion has been divided. Some have suggested leveling the mound to erase its shameful memory, while others advocate repatriating the remains to Korea. But the Japanese government’s position has been that because the mound is a national landmark, it should not be disturbed. ”4 Although a seminal event in the region’s history, the First Great East Asian War (as I prefer to call it) is barely known outside East Asia.