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RollingWave
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:59 pm    Post subject: Question on the Imjin war . Reply with quote
Here's something that I have never been very clear about.

in 1592, why did the Japanese made limited attempted to fully conquer Jeolla province? initially I can see the reason being that their strategy was to rush towards Seoul (which was very successful), but after Seoul's quick fall and PyongYang's fall afterward, why did the Japanese still leave Jelloa province there?

I know there were obviously attempts to take it, which resulted in the first battle of Jinju in July of 92, but why didn't they seem to have made more commitment to that? they weren't exactly crushed in Jinju (in fact it seems they had only limited losses but were kinda fooled into giving up.)

So was the mentality at the point simply that the 6th division was on their own in Jelloa?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think that was it-the focus was on pushing forward into China, and that the forces left behind to mop up pretty much had to operate with what they had. It didn't make much sense, particularly after Yi proved to be such a pain in the ass-taking the province would have went a long way towards denying his navy of bases and if nothing else push him farther away from the main Japanese staging area and supply lines. Of course, the Japanese forces were not particularly noted for their strategic wisdom during the invasions. So they ended up with a narrow corridor into the north of Korea that was susceptible to partisan attacks at virtually every point. If I'm remembering correctly, Jelloa (Cholla) also seemed to be a hotbed of guerrilla activity and the Righteous Armies in the area were particularly well organized and sizable.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Right, but after they pulled out of Seoul in mid 93 they then decided to literally steam roll Jinju into oblivion. which seems like a real "why the hell didn't you do this earlier!" moment.


From what I read in some of the text, it seems that what happen was that because Sin Rip was defeated so quickly and Seoul fell so fast, almost all the mobilized troops of all other provinces were still just moving when Seoul was lost, for other Provinces they kinda just dispersed northward in an uncordinated fashion but for the onces in Jelloa they had no where left to run as their northernly path has now been cut off and obviously their Eastern neighbor were long taken. So they were all trapped in the province, which kidna turned into a larger version of the "Back against the river" strategy.


The funny thing reading the Annals of Sejeon was that the Korean Court while running north had continously hoped that the "Souther Army" (Army from Jelloa) would come to their rescue... that is when they're not busying bickering. The entire May entry of the Annal was amazing, the vast majority of the entry showed that the Court's primary concern during that month appear to have been half of the court trying to sack the then Prime minister.... because he purposed for them to run from Seoul... He was eventually just replaced but boy that was realllly the best way to spend your time in the moment of upmost crisis!

It was only after the battle of Imjin River was lost that the thought of this being REALLY REALLY bad seem to have dawned upon the court. That's when they even considered seriously of asking the Ming for help.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
RollingWave wrote:
The entire May entry of the Annal was amazing, the vast majority of the entry showed that the Court's primary concern during that month appear to have been half of the court trying to sack the then Prime minister.... boy that was realllly the best way to spend your time in the moment of utmost crisis!
That doesn't happen only in Korea.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
True, the Ming dynasty after the fall of Beijing was like that, the remenant bicked amongst themself despite a huge life threatening situation. or the case of South Vietnam in it's last days...


The more amazing part of course, is that typically very few of such regimes actually live to see past those points, but the Yi dynasty inexplicablly managed to live for 300 more years Shocked
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
What I was actually thinking of was May 2011 in Japan. There was a no-confidence vote in the Diet on June 2, though the prime minister survived it. Of course, Japan's current crisis, though severe, cannot be compared with the Korean situation then.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Not to meantion, Nato Kan's not likely going to serve that much longer anyway Just Kidding
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
RollingWave wrote:
Not to meantion, Nato Kan's not likely going to serve that much longer anyway Just Kidding


Well, that's part of why he survived the no-confidence vote--he agreed to leave voluntarily in the fall.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
To finalize this question (and to give this forum some more traffic Wink)

I guess that one aspect is that the first invasion was split into 8 armies BECAUSE THERE IS 8 PROVINCE IN KOREA, so the plan all along was basically , hey we all work together more or less to take the beach head and head towards Seoul, after that we split up and each army is responsible for their own province (and thus implying that the land would probably be divided for those daimyos in that army.)

So no one wants to ask help from other guys, implying weakness and possibly conceding future gains to them. that probably explain why even though Jeolla was not cleaned up and was badly hurting the entire operation, there was never a plan to concentrate on wiping out that province in a coordinated effort until it was far too late (after early 1593, when the Ming counter attack forced them to work together.) indeed even Konichi's defense of PyongYang, you'd figure it might have been a good idea for other near by Daimyos to all send some help defending such a strategic front line city.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
There were plans to reinforce Konishi, but he turned them down, stating in letters that it made no sense to send more soldiers he couldn't feed. What he really needed was supplies to bring his garrison up to par (not just food but gunpowder and ammo) but there was very little to send and even less of it was able to reach him.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
There were plans to reinforce Konishi, but he turned them down, stating in letters that it made no sense to send more soldiers he couldn't feed. What he really needed was supplies to bring his garrison up to par (not just food but gunpowder and ammo) but there was very little to send and even less of it was able to reach him.


Ahh, but wasn't the reason that Ōtomo Yoshimune was removed in 1593 given that he DIDN'T help Konishi? (granted, if that really was what it was about about a dozen other guys should have been removed too.)
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, SOMEBODY has to get blamed after the fact Wink


While it's been a LONG time since I've read any Imjin material (although I hope to rectify that when Routledge finally gets out their new edited omnibus), wasn't Yoshimune mainly disenfranchised for hearing about the Chinese/Korean victory and abandoning a fort along the line of Konishi's retreat (ie, after the fact of the Chinese/Korean victory at Pyongyang)? Not because Konishi had requested his presence inside the city and he refused.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
All so convenient that it's the Christian getting canned Very Happy and of course, a Christian hang out to dry a hundred KM from help in the middle of a freezing winter .
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
At the conference at UVA this weekend, I was asked if I had thought about diving into the Imjin War. The person I asked had worked with Nam-lin Hur at UBC, and was a scholar of Korea (American, but worked on Korea), and liked what I was doing with Nagashino enough that he thought I should look into that.

I have absolutely no intention of doing so whatsoever, for a variety of reasons, but he mentioned this article by Nam-lin Hur, and I thought I'd bring it here for discussion. Thoughts?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I haven't come across that article before (and don't have the time to read it right now), but I've skimmed parts of Nam-lin Hur's book on "Prayer and Play in late Tokugawa Japan," and found some of it quite interesting and enjoyable.

He's also done some work on the Korean missions to Edo which looks great for my research, but I haven't gotten around to reading those either yet...
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I didn't have time to read the whole article either (hopefully later) but it looks quite good from a skim. I did read the entire bit they did on Swope's book and it's excellent-it brought up the same points I did in my review for the Shogun-ki on the book-the multitudes of factual errors, the faulty statistical methods and analysis, the shoehorning of evidence to fit the thesis rather than letting evidence lead to one, using grossly outdated 'Japanese' sources (secondary ones in English at that) when they were used at all, and pointing out that Swope ignores the fact that the Chinese lost every battle they were in besides Pyongyang (and that battle was a gimmee, against an isolated, undersupplied, disease ridden and starved force). In fairness, I would add Jiksan to Chinese victories (along with a few assorted skirmishes) even though tactically it was inconclusive.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I read it on the Shinkansen this evening and while an interesting read with some very good observations and stinging commentary, Nam Lin-Hur had me squirming in my seat very early in to it. That's because he states that the Korean invasions directly led to regime change in Japan, bringing an end to Toyotomi rule. I find this awfully debatable and felt that with a statement like that baked in half-truth and conjecture, Nam was falling into the same dirty river that he accuses both Hawley and Swope of washing their Imjin history laundry in.

Nam accuses them of not using proper primary sources and blatantly regurgitating falsehoods as well as making improper conclusions. Many of Nam's points deserve to be explored much further, almost wanting to make me jump back into studying this conflict. However, in the end, I felt that there is just still a lot of snobbery, fear and loathing going around in the field of Imjin War scholarship. It left a bad taste in my mouth that I intend to wash away with some miso oden and sake as soon as I arrive in deep Mikawa.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Okay, my quick read through of it (I'll go back and read more closely on the plane next week) sort of gave me the same impression. I thought the idea that the Imjin War led to regime change ludicrous. While it certainly played a part in the instability of Hidyori's regents after Hideyoshi's death, and animosities over events in Korea led to some of the personality conflicts we saw play out (Kato joining the Tokugawa side despite being a staunch Hideyoshi loyalist, because he hated Konishi and Ishida, Shimazu's dislike of Ishida, Kobayakawa's dislike of Ishida, basically errahboday hatin' on Ishida...), to say that it led to regime change is stretching like Elastigirl from the Incredibles.

This speaks a bit as to why I'm so reluctant to touch it. Only the most ridiculous scholars would come close to having the linguistic chops to tackle documents in 3 (or 5, if you go with variants) languages, and the sheer volume of stuff he mentions means that even if people did have that ability, they wouldn't finish READING things for decades. Bottom line, no one person can do this. It would have to be a group of people, and good luck rounding up Korean, Japanese, and Chinese scholars (including Westerners who study those countries) and getting them to reach a consensus.

My job, as I see it, is to describe the forms and changes in Japanese warfare from 1477 to 1590 with the fall of Odawara, taking over from where Friday and Conlan leave off. Frankly, warfare changes enough, and my interactions with scholars over the last few years show me, that there's no one out there who can bring the approach I do and get at the details with a tactical understanding. That may sound self-aggrandizing (and it is), but the fact of the matter is no one who does Japanese history in any sort of focus on actual warfare (rather than social effects, etc.) has looked at the Sengoku besides Turnbull, and...well...Turnbull. And no one in military history has a clue about Japan during this time. So that's the void I'm trying to eventually fill.

Quite the digression, but my point is that's a large enough task for me, and who knows if I'll ever make a dent in it. But when asked "hey, why don't you jump into the Imjin War?" my answer is decidedly NO THANK YOU. My contribution will be to examine how the Japanese forces that fought in it took shape over the previous century, and someone else can take it from there. Last thing I want is to worry about other professors trolling my book's entry on Amazon.

Also, I'll be in Mikawa on the 1st of Feb, so we'll talk via other means to set up some hoppy and teba at Yama-chan! I still gotta get you to come out with me in Higashi-Okazaki again.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
lordameth wrote:
I haven't come across that article before (and don't have the time to read it right now), but I've skimmed parts of Nam-lin Hur's book on "Prayer and Play in late Tokugawa Japan," and found some of it quite interesting and enjoyable.

He's also done some work on the Korean missions to Edo which looks great for my research, but I haven't gotten around to reading those either yet...


When I asked Conlan who else he would suggest I consider working under (a question that took him aback, by the way--it was hilarious) he suggested Nam-lin Hur at UBC. I don't disagree overall with what he's saying, because he's right--but I also see the same things that I see in other scholars, as Obenjo pointed out.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
Also, I'll be in Mikawa on the 1st of Feb, so we'll talk via other means to set up some hoppy and teba at Yama-chan! I still gotta get you to come out with me in Higashi-Okazaki again.


Definitely! I will be in deep Mikawa at least 2 or 3 times in Feb and also have to attend that shindig in Nagoya on the 26th and 27th like before. We will meet up, feast and do a J-history nerd out.
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