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Thread: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?



    ^ The first divisions of the Japanese navy arrive at Busan on April 13, 1592, spearheading the invasion

    INTRODUCTION
    When Japanese daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi, successor to Oda Nobunaga, invaded the Joseon Kingdom of Korea in 1592, he set his sights on much loftier goals in his near future. The Korean Peninsula was merely the stepping stone towards a much greater prize: the Ming Empire of China. Unlike the previous Japanese invasions of Korea in the 7th century AD that were meant to bolster their Baekje ally against the Silla Kingdom (which eventually unified the peninsula), this time around the Japanese intended a broad conquest of the entire region and beyond. The ruins of Japanese castles built in Korea from this decade speak volumes about their ambitious resolve to expand, colonize, and establish an East Asian empire. The Japanese succeeded in driving Joseon forces all the way to the Yalu River on more than one occasion, repelled by joint Ming-Joseon counterattacks. Allied forces were of course aided enormously by the repeated defeats suffered by the Japanese navy at sea against the Joseon Admiral Yi Sun-sin.

    KOREA: CHINA'S USEFUL BUFFER STATE
    The question must be asked, though: was Hideyoshi's larger goal an entirely realistic one? Ancient Han China succeeded in expanding its realm into northern Vietnam and northern Korea by the 2nd century BC, but that was long before those regions were developed and part of larger kingdoms that posed huge stumbling blocks for mainland expansion. Case in point: the Chinese Sui Dynasty's disastrous failed invasions of the Goguryeo Kingdom of Korea at the end of the 6th century AD and the Tang Dynasty failing half a century later to hold northern Korea against Silla (who was previously a staunch ally and later reestablished as a tributary vassal). In the 16th century, Joseon Korea, again a vassal state of the Chinese empire, served well as a buffer between China and Japan. Before this, the only significant mainland attempt to conquer Japan had been Yuan emperor Kublai Khan's two failed naval invasions in 1274 and 1281, both launched from Korea (which by that point was conquered by the Mongols, with the Goryeo Kingdom on life support as an occupied vassal). It is difficult, therefore, with the handful of major conflicts to assume Japan couldn't be conquered by China or vice versa.

    LOGISTICS, STUMBLING BLOCKS, MONGOLS AND MANCHUS
    If some of you here are convinced that Japan could have conquered China, let's talk about the numbers then! Specifically the troops available to Japan under Toyotomi Hideyoshi and if they could be used to garrison everything he had in mind. Given the rebellious conditions in Korea, it is tough to say that, had he controlled every square inch of Korea and then launched a proper invasion into China through Manchuria or across the Yellow Sea, his new Korean subjects wouldn't start revolts that would frustrate such grandiose plans. Aside from these matters, there are also the Mongols and Manchus to consider. Hideyoshi's invasions came a decade after the death of Altan Khan, the Mongolian ruler who had led several successful forays deep into Ming territory. The Northern Yuan Dynasty (a remnant of the fallen Yuan Dynasty of aforementioned Mongol emperor Kublai Khan), led at this point by Buyan Sechen Khan, nominally ruled all the Mongols. However, this was far from the truth. Despite being fractured, the Mongols could have posed a serious stumbling block to the Japanese if they had made it as far as northern China. With chaos all around, it would have been the perfect situation for the Mongols to move in and plunder once more. The Manchus would perhaps have posed an even greater threat in this regard. It was at this time that Nurhaci (predecessor to Huang Taiji, ruler of the Northern Jin Dynasty and founder of the Qing Dynasty) was busy unifying the Jurchen tribes of Manchuria that would later become the Manchu in 1635. With the Momoyama Japanese vying with the Ming for control of northern China, the Jurchen tribes under Nurhaci's banners could have seen some profit in taking advantage of the turmoil, perhaps even conquering Liaoning province long before 1626.

    EUROPEAN PRESENCE IN THE AGE OF SAIL
    Also, what role if any would the Dutch, English, Spanish, and Portuguese have played in this effort? In the 1590s they were trading heavily with Japan and seeing only limited trade with Ming China at a handful of ports (by now Macau was already well established as a Portuguese trade colony). The Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci had already been living in China for a decade when the war broke out, but was only accepted at the imperial court in Beijing in 1598, when the war was concluded. It was only after the war that he became the leading European figure and astronomer at the court of the Wanli Emperor, creating world maps, dictionaries, and translating works such as the ancient Greek mathematical treatise Euclid's Elements into Chinese. If the Japanese had successfully invaded northern China during the 1590s, would this have encouraged European powers to press for greater trade rights further up China's coast and even into the interior (that would be hypothetically controlled by the Japanese)? Would the Jesuit presence in China have been even more enhanced by a Japanese occupation? Or would the Protestant powers have gained the upper hand (seeing how Englishman William Adams became a trusted figure over the Spaniards at Tokugawa Ieyasu's court)?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    No.

    The whole point is that the iron fist of the peasant general, though mighty, was of dubious birth, so he had no good way of continuity into the next generation. His low birth precluded him from being Shogun, only Kampaku.

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi died 1598 which eroded a coalition of powerful families. He installed five Regents to protect his successor Hideyori who was 4 years old. This was bound to blow up sending Japan into intense civil war.

    Do you mean post-Sekigahara? I've long maintained that Tokugawa destroyed the samurai by turning them into bureaucrats. They could have continued the warrior tradition at that point into Korea making significant gains.

    But this largely contingent upon embracing Christianity, and using Portuguese ships to neutralize the Joseon navy. Admiral Yi Sun-sin also died in 1598, severely altering Joseon naval power. I have no idea who took his place in 1600.

    Yi Sun-sin was a genius, some compare to Drake, self-educated, knew every current, and with a small number of ships totally humiliated Shimazo Yoshihiro's much a larger force.

    A semi-Christian Japan, say one of Tokugawa's sons (Tokugawa Hidetada)fully embraces Christianity, conducting joint Portuguese naval assistance, then results in damaging the Ming. China is too vast to control outright, but control the ports? Some possibly. Ieyasu handing over the reins to a Christian Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada in 1605 perhaps might have changed the face of Japanese territory. But in reality Ieyasu AND Hidetada severely disliked Christianity.

    Many Japanese embraced the similarity of Master:subject relationship in Confucianism to Jesus:bondservant.

    Christians were matryed and crucified or beheaded in 1597 under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, then again 1613, then again in 1630. If the opposite happened, Portuguese Jesuits influence and control who wins Sekigahara, or if that also never happened, there's a major army to utilize of 200K samurai.


    Kuroda Yoshitaka was a devout Christian samurai, the "chief strategist and adviser to Toyotomi Hideyoshi too. Kinda relevant.

    Takayama Ukon was a saintly Christian daimyo who lived in this time-window.


    Date Masamune was very interested in Christianity, one of the most well known daimyo.

    On their own, I doubt your theory is plausible.
    Last edited by RubiconDecision; September 17, 2015 at 03:37 AM.

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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    No because Manchus would deal Japanese first.
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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    Many less civilised polities on China's fringes succeeded in placing one of their own on the throne of the Middle kingdom, so why not Japan? they had a dedicated warrior caste, respect for Confucian values (indeed the greater part of their higher culture was Chinese) and they wouldn't have been the first group to take a divided fractious mess and turn it into a conquest engine (Genghis, Timur, Philip/Alexander are names that spring to mind). If the Manchu can become the ruling elite of China then so theoretically could the Japanese. However "foreign" rulers didn't sit well with the Chinese people, I think the descendent of Amaterasu would have to become the Son of Heaven chop chop of face the chop.

    European intervention at this point is an interesting question, This isn't the 19th century where European society has left the east for dead, AFAIK there's zero tech or administrative advantage to be had from European contacts that can't be had in China: however the problem isn't so much tech as resources. The Europeans (above all the Portuguese) bring a pragmatic aggressive colonising streak that Japan could learn from, and a slowly evolving world trade net that could supply Japan's resource needs, particularly metals.

    If manpower is a question then inclusion is the answer. Japanese society would have to open the doors to include foreigners in the fighting and administering castes. The English became extremely rich through the vehicle of Great Britain, and many a Scot and Irishman fought and administered in the Americas and India.
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    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    Korea yes but Ming China hell no. The conquest of Korea would also depend on the Chinese not intervening and the Korean populace defecting en masse to the Japanese. Although many Koreans defected because they did not wish to live in the extremely repressive Joseon kingdom due to their own Christian or Buddhist persuasions which were severely persecuted by the strictly Confucian Korean court. The peasants arguably fought more fervently than the Joseon armies for the Joseon cause (the Righteous Armies). Not to mention the fact that at the time the Chinese had superior naval technology, larger population, many times more production and a much better form of centralized government which the Japanese were not able to achieve because the feudal system feeds on those who even try (Nobunaga's death 1582, the closest to a centralized government like that of China that the Japanese had since at least the early Heian period). The Japanese also had no practical knowledge of China and its geography and size and would have had a hell of a time getting through Shanhai pass or Ningyuan (which if we will remember neither Hong Taiji nor Nurhaci could do).

    The Japanese also clearly tried to institute a feudal daimyo type of system where in for example Konishi Yukinaga would have received Pyongyang and Kato Kiyomasa would have been lord of Hamgyong, both of which were eternal enemies. For an extremely long time there was no centralized command of either the army nor the Japanese fleet. High ranking lords were given the top commands where as capable and battle tested admirals like Kuki Yoshitaka and Shimazu Yoshihiro were eating dust at the bottom of the command structure. Of course Kato Kiyomasa and Konishi Yukinaga proved to be capable commanders though (Konishi was better imo). But as long as Hideyoshi did not take command and a commander was appointed who did not gain the respect of his peers (which tbh Hideyoshi did appoint commanders in the second invasion).

    Though had it only been a one on one war then I have little doubt that the Japanese could have conquered the peninsula assuming they could pacify the populace. But their plan for China would likely have consisted of an equal feudal lord system which in my opinion could not have worked in China unless the Japanese integrated themselves into the Chinese culture. A Japanese daimyo ruling over a Chinese province they would probably be the victims of massive revolts, Chinese warlords and other Japanese daimyo. Though it would have been extremely interesting if a Japanese dynasty could have been established over China.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

  6. #6

    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    I could see Japan manipulating the Emperor and the upper tier of the "goverment" and holding vital coastal cities, but nothing more than that. Though maybe in the long run they could do something similar to the Mongols.
    Last edited by The Despondent Mind; September 18, 2015 at 03:52 PM.

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    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    I don't really see a way for Ningyuan and Shanhaiguan to be captured by the Japanese. Hence they can't actually take Beijing. I could probably see a Japanese fleet sailing to Zhejiang and then a joint army and navy operation to make their way to Nanjing. I could also see the same thing happening in Hebei so that the Japanese could bypass the Great Wall altogether and taking Beijing/Tianjin with a naval landing but then if they attempted that the Joseon navy could cut off their supplies from behind or intercept them before even getting there the same for a Ming fleet could be true.

    The Japanese didn't even really employ artillery at this point because for some reason Hideyoshi seems to have completely neglected cannons.
    Now if the Japanese had an entire fleet made up of Caravels, Caracks, Galleons, O-Atake Bune, Junks and Cannon Bune then quite possibly the Joseon fleet would have been wiped out (though O-Atake Bune might be a problem in the high seas and a Chinese Junk would have to be equipped with cannon). Certainly a Chinese Junk was not out of reach for the Japanese because as the Shinchokoki book 11 tells us that Takikawa Sakon built a "Shirofune" (a Chinese Junk) and that this was considered one of the "Seven Great Ships" of the Oda fleet (most likely since the source only mentions 6 tekkosen or O-Atake Bune). Each O-Atake Bune was equipped with 3 large caliber Portuguese cannons known as "Destroyer of Provinces" and likely the so called Chinese "Shirofune" was too (also since this is considered a great ship then the Shirofune/Junk must have been quite large).

    Hideyoshi seems to have built more tekkosen or O-Atake Bune for the purpose of the Korean invasion but for some reason they never even set sail to Korea. Also Hideyoshi may have confiscated one or two ships from the Portuguese or Spanish but did not employ them.
    Last edited by Lord Oda Nobunaga; September 18, 2015 at 05:51 PM.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    This is mostly true about artillery. Nobody knows precisely what the Great Bow (O-yumi) was but most likely a large ballista. There are reports of complaints of lacking siege engineers to maintain them. The Japanese had traction trebuchet, unbelievably inefficient due to timed trigger under human power versus regular trebuchet. Cannon tech was first noted coming from China.

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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    China fell to outside conquerors several times, but generally only when the regime was already weak and defection was an appealing choice. Ming under the Wanli Emperor was gradually losing steam but on the whole was still a very solid regime and it would take a serious disaster for Japan to be able to make any inroads into Chinese territory. I agree with Nobunaga that they would have a very difficult time breaking through to Beijing and would be better served by landing in Jiangsu/Zhejiang, and it's just as much of a stretch that they would be able to defeat the Chinese navy first.

    Basically, it would take a near-perfect storm for Ming to actually be defeated by the Japanese.

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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    Quote Originally Posted by O'Hea View Post
    China fell to outside conquerors several times, but generally only when the regime was already weak and defection was an appealing choice. Ming under the Wanli Emperor was gradually losing steam but on the whole was still a very solid regime and it would take a serious disaster for Japan to be able to make any inroads into Chinese territory. I agree with Nobunaga that they would have a very difficult time breaking through to Beijing and would be better served by landing in Jiangsu/Zhejiang, and it's just as much of a stretch that they would be able to defeat the Chinese navy first.

    Basically, it would take a near-perfect storm for Ming to actually be defeated by the Japanese.
    In my personal opinion, I think the most they could do is snatch a province or two from the Ming, most likely Jiangsu further south as mentioned, but their control over it would be ephemeral. Or, if the Japanese had any lasting presence, it would be over a small territory that would take decades to assimilate and cement under their control. It would basically wind up bankrupting them with all the resources poured into defending their toehold on mainland China.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    In general, there is almost a ridiculous fawning sense of awe in samurai documentaries. Years of chambara and jidaigeki have created a false overestimation of the samurais' abilities. Probably through the incredulity at seppuku leading to an incorrect belief of superhuman fearlessness.

    The samurai were so busy with fighting to expand clan land holdings that one leader was nearly impossible, and one goal near implausible.

    The only way to achieve that is religion across multiple economic castes.

    It's more thrilling to see average devoted men devoted to Budo(traditional martial arts) and some devoted to Bushido (chivalry among the samurai) who then rise to the occasion with exemplary bravery or do the honorable thing, which typically causes their demise and foils their plans.
    Last edited by RubiconDecision; September 20, 2015 at 03:06 AM.

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    Quote Originally Posted by RubiconDecision View Post
    It's more thrilling to see average devoted men devoted to Budo(traditional martial arts) and some devoted to Bushido (chivalry among the samurai) who then rise to the occasion with exemplary bravery or do the honorable thing, which typically causes their demise and foils their plans.
    Sounds like an Akira Kurosawa movie.

    So, basically, any Japanese invasion of mainland China at the end of the 16th century would have been hampered if not utterly cancelled out by infighting back home. That makes sense, unless of course we are talking about the far more centralized Tokugawa regime that came soon after Hideyoshi and indeed managed to quell everyone in Japan.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Sounds like an Akira Kurosawa movie.

    So, basically, any Japanese invasion of mainland China at the end of the 16th century would have been hampered if not utterly cancelled out by infighting back home. That makes sense, unless of course we are talking about the far more centralized Tokugawa regime that came soon after Hideyoshi and indeed managed to quell everyone in Japan.
    Pretty much this.
    Tokugawa succeeds and so fails the samurai. The samurai lose their ability to self-govern, and have to justify expenses, creating a very inefficient bureaucracy. Samurai feel they're irrelevant. Castles fall into disrepair. Tokugawa allowing a new attempt to conquer Korea would make him unable to control those lands. It would be a major security issue to deploy good combat troops and give unwelcome ideas to his neighbors.
    Last edited by RubiconDecision; September 20, 2015 at 07:48 AM.

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    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Sounds like an Akira Kurosawa movie.

    So, basically, any Japanese invasion of mainland China at the end of the 16th century would have been hampered if not utterly cancelled out by infighting back home. That makes sense, unless of course we are talking about the far more centralized Tokugawa regime that came soon after Hideyoshi and indeed managed to quell everyone in Japan.
    I think most of the troops that Hideyoshi sent to Korea were from the western daimyo. Meaning that easterners like Tokugawa Ieyasu took like no casualties.
    Though the cannon thing is bothering me because pre-Momoyama period clans such as Mori, Otomo and Oda had ammassed huge arsenals of cannons most of which were Chinese or Portuguese (both kinds cast by the Portuguese and almost exclusively distributed by them from Macao). Tokugawa Ieyasu had also amassed a large arsenal by Sekigahara, even Takeda Shingen probably had a few which I believe he used to bombard the enemy camp in one battle. Hideyoshi however doesn't really seem to have put much attention to the cannons. There are not too many references to them in any of his campaigns and I think there were references of him using traction trebuchet in some sieges.

    Overall though I can't shake the impression of Hideyoshi as an over glorified military commander. His service to the Oda clan was quite good but afterwards he never really had a chance of losing. Akechi Mitsuhide was in a horrid position where he found himself being ganged upon by Hideyoshi, Niwa Nagahide and Oda Nobutaka so essentially it was impossible for Mitsuhide to come out one top as his own allies the Hosokawa among others ignored him. The Shizugatake campaign had the same problem where the forces of Oda Nobutaka and Shibata Katsuie were basically split in half by the entire distance of Omi priovince. Nobutaka being the aggressive bull headed fool that he was decided it was smart to fight Hideyoshi in the winter/early spring when his major backers Shibata Katsuie and Maeda Toshiie were in Echizen province and couldn't even get through the passes because of the winter snow, their third army in Omi was led by an insubordinate who also made poor decisions, given the circumstances there was no way Hideyoshi could lose since Nobutaka delivered his own head on a golden platter. To be honest an even battle between Shibata Katsuie and Hideyoshi would have been interesting to see or even what if Shibata had his Echizen and Kaga armies backing up his Omi army and he was in command at Shizugatake instead of that idiot Sakuma Morimasa.

    There was also the major political strategy where Hideyoshi basically bribed over key generals and lords during wars and then offered amnesty to the defeated party which basically caused them to surrender rather than fight to the death. This is the more prevalent from Shizugatake (key Oda vassals like Niwa Nagahide, Shibata Katsuie and Maeda Toshiie defected to his side), to Shikkoku (over 100,000 trained soldiers against like 30,000 Chosokabe part time farmers), to Kyushu (over 100,000 trained soldiers and more local warlords against maybe 50,000 Shimazu; the entire islands was at war with the Shimazu) basically the same for the Hojo except that they were starved out. But 1584 Nagakute is a battle that barely receives mention where a smaller Tokugawa force halted Hideyoshi's advance and killed an important Oda vassal (Ikeda Tsuneoki, Nobunaga's "adopted" brother). There's really no risk in any of it, at what point could Hideyoshi have even lost. To be fair to Hideyoshi he wasn't at all a bad general and his strategic decisions were all extremely sound given the situation. But Hideyoshi was either the master of siege works or the zerg general who gets like 200,000 dudes and steam rolls all of the tinier players, great strategist (someone who manipulates and maneuvres everything to their advantage to win the easiest way possible, according to Sun Tzu this is perfection in strategy/art of war) but I'm not so sure he lives up to his hype as (allegedly) the greatest Samurai commander. I mean at least Tokugawa Ieyasu could have lost the Sekigahara campaign (and for the record I don't consider him that great of a commander either).
    Honestly I think that Shibata Katsuie was a better general than both of them but that's a story for another time (though tbh he probably didn't have much of a head for strategy).

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

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    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    By my undead Samurai powers I resurrect thee!

    I would be far more interested in knowing if and why Oda Nobunaga wanted to invade Korea and China and what his goals were. For all we know he intended this as a minor campaign to gain popularity with the Kyoto court, get some kind of tribute or trade rights from Ming and Joseon or some kind of recognition from the mainland and then run back home and rule those islands his way.
    We know that Nobunaga may have been some kind of a Sinophile as he named his first castle in Mino province "Gifu" which is the Japanese transliteration of Mount Qi the name of an ancient castle built by the "Zhou Emperor" which conquered China. In his construction of Azuchi castle he employed Chinese architectural concepts and seemingly used the imagery of a dragon (being the symbol of the heavens or the Chinese Emperors) and putting the image of a "lucky" Chinese coin on his banner. He also used the slogan "Tenka Fubu" meaning something like to conquer the land or to rule the whole land.

    The fun part of this game is find the source, where I basically run around looking at sources (mostly primary) who seem to imply or flat out claim that Nobunaga wished to invade China at some point. Of course he died a full decade before Hideyoshi would go on his own mainland conquest campaign so we can't know what Nobunaga wanted as his plans never came to fruition. Perhaps he really was crazy enough to want to conquer Ming and Joseon as Hideyoshi sort of tried to do (Hideyoshi seemed to constantly flip flop between conquering just Joseon or both Joseon and Ming or just southern Korea).

    As far as books on the topic of the Imjin War I have Stephen Turnbull's book (Japanese perspective), Samuel Hawley's book (Korean perspective) but I don't have Kenneth Chase's book (Chinese perspective). Though I think neither of these books are beyond reproach and I have heard criticism on all of these.
    Last edited by Lord Oda Nobunaga; February 19, 2016 at 07:53 PM.

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  16. #16

    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    We know he was ambitious, but Japan could have also gone the Norman way, in that clans might have expanded on the mainland and carved out pocket empires, had resistance been unable to organize themselves, as compared to a really coordinated invasion.
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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    I think if the timing had been different there may have been a real chance of it- the army that Hideyoshi invaded Korea with was definitely larger and more powerful than the one Nurhaci had. But if you can't win defections from Chinese generals you don't have a chance of taking the country.

  18. #18
    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Did Momoyama Japan have any chance of conquering Ming China after Korea?

    ^Any foreigners who have conquered China always did it by bringing the Chinese over to their side (even if just as cannon fodder, Chinese administrators would also be required to establish a successful state).

    @Condotierre: That's actually a really interesting suggestion. I would laugh if an independent clan actually carved a piece out of China as it would be quite the job. But with the collapse of Ming in 1648 who really knows.

    Of note though is that as Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu sent two expeditions to Taiwan which ended up getting destroyed (in 1609 and 1616). Tokugawa Ieyasu's first expedition under Arima Harunobu was to try and obtain tribute from the tribes in Formosa (Taiwan) and to try and establish a permanent base and trade port on the coast. The second one was in attempt to conquer and subjugate the island and to establish trade on the seas and epic profit, led by Murayama Toan with 13 ships they were destroyed by a storm and the survivors that reached Taiwan were killed by the native tribes.
    However other clans were given privileges to own and operate trading networks and bases on the islands of Hokkaido and Sakhalin during the Edo period. So I suppose it could be feasible, perhaps even with the Shogun's blessing so long as they did not fear conflict with China.
    Last edited by Lord Oda Nobunaga; February 18, 2016 at 01:27 AM.

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