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Want to Learn Japanese History? Start with Sengoku

Hi Sebastian

Happy new year!

I am hoping you would share your resources for your reading on Japanese history. Book titles and/or urls would be very helpful.

K

I got that a week ago, and I kind of sat there staring at the email. Japanese history is some of the most confusing to start to learn, because different elements of Japanese history and culture all play on and influence each other. I could run you through the military history of Japan from The Battle of Okehazama to Sekigahara to the Boshin War, from there into Dai Nippon Tekoku Era, from there into defeat and the Occupation under McArthur, and then we could do a little post-war history.

The Failure to Execute Kobayakawa Hideaki, and the Fall of the Toyotomi

History shows us that we should not play things halfway.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was Undisputed Ruler of Japan. He had brought all the Japanese generals under his loyalty, set an extremely durable and efficient legal structure, and had achieved more than anyone in Japanese history - rising from a peasant servant to the height of command.

Unsatisfied with the fastest and largest ascent in all of Japanese history, Hideyoshi wanted to conquer all of Korea and China. In the year 1597, he launched the Second Korean Campaign.

In the most desperate times, strong cultures produce great heroes - and Korean Grand Admiral Yi Sun-Sin rose to the challenge, shattering the Japanese naval forces and cutting the supply lines. The Japanese forces pinned down in Korea had land superiority, solid defensive fortifications, and better artillery. But the Ming China/Joseon Korean alliance was winning the gradual war of attrition after establishing naval superiority.

Toyotomi had won basically every engagement he'd fought in throughout history. A scuffling defeat here and there, but he had seemed blessed by the gods themselves. He was, naturally, furious at the inability of his forces to conquer Korea.

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