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Imjin War Discussion: Warm-Up Questions
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heron
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
This is all so interesting (Where were you when we needed you during the Imjin War discussion? Very Happy ) I am away from home at the moment but would like to discuss this more when I get back. Thanks Smile
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RollingWave
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The mess that was known as the Ming emperors began first around their 6th emperor Zhengtong , who was talked into leading an expedition against the Mongols, the problem ofcourse , was that this emperor had 0 military experience, and what was already a very risky expedition turned even more ugly when they were surprised and he was captured alive.

The Ming court was basically on the brink at that point, since the Mongol Khan Esen taishi was then holding the emperor hostage and using him to threaten Beijing, however at the last moment they held firm and decided to name a new emperor.

But Esen taishi was very smart, upon seeing that Beijing wasn't going to give in to his threat. he did the most damaging move possible to the Ming... he let the captured emperor go back home.

Obviously, this immediately created a political firestorm. as now there are TWO emperors. which obviously didn't end well, the old emperor eventually started a coup and took the throne back from his brother, and in the process killed many of the officals that installed his brother in the time of crisis (thus effectively saving the empire, and probably the old emperor's live as well)


The two emperors after him though were relatively competent, and it was they who was started the process of trying to fight the way out of the monetary mess that the Ming was in... however...

the Emperor ZhengDe accedned the throne in 1505 at the age of 15, he would really mark the offical start of the Ming emperors going to hell, a free spirited teenager when accended, and he fits the general precption of what would happen when your typical teenager end up as emperor. aka do crazy things.

He was famous for slipping out of Beijing for months at a time, disguised as a commoner, and starting all sorts of trouble in various places, including leading military expeditions. (some more serious than others.) it makes good drama material, but obviously wasn't good for the empire's function.

However, in one of his trips he nearly drowned in a lake and ended up dieing young without a heir. thus his cousin took over as emperor.

however, Jiajing would go down as one of thw worst Ming emperor as well, if anyone pick a emperor comparably bad as Wanli, it would be him, and like Wanli, he unfortunately ruled for a long period.

It was during his reign that the pirate operations were at it's height, and Qi Ji Guang and others began tackling the issue, as well as forcing the Ming to loosen it's military policies.

Unlike Wanli who seem to be interested in state affair but simply got into a huge grudge over a single issue, Jiajing really seemed like someone who didn't care, and he gave most of the daily operation into the hands of his Eunich while he pursued Taoist alchemy and other nutty pursuits, but he was also very mean on the women in the court to the point where they even planed to assasinate him in his sleep.

Either way, after his long and dubious reign the Ming was really in terrible shape, made worse by the fact that his son died just 6 year after inheriting his throne, passing the throne to a young Wanli.

Though the early rule of Wanli and his father's would generally be considered more positive, as it started a series of transition that would finally bail the Ming out of the worst of the financial mess that it was in.
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Mr No-Dachi
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think one should always take into account that "bad emperors" in Chinese history also tend to be ones not liked by the confucian literi bureaucratic elite. And much of the narrative there doesn't

The collapse of the Ming (don't forget just how sudden it was) was almost half a century away still during the Imjin war, as with so many decline and fall narratives the centuries before the fall are blurred together in a continous negative narrative when the reality is somewhat less didatic.

Ming China's less than stellar performance during the war, is more likely a function of the fact that no army in Eastern Asia maybe the world matched the combined forces of Sengoku Japan in experience and they fought differently to the Ming army's usual foes from the Steppe.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mr No-Dachi wrote:
I think one should always take into account that "bad emperors" in Chinese history also tend to be ones not liked by the confucian literi bureaucratic elite. And much of the narrative there doesn't

The collapse of the Ming (don't forget just how sudden it was) was almost half a century away still during the Imjin war, as with so many decline and fall narratives the centuries before the fall are blurred together in a continous negative narrative when the reality is somewhat less didatic.

Ming China's less than stellar performance during the war, is more likely a function of the fact that no army in Eastern Asia maybe the world matched the combined forces of Sengoku Japan in experience and they fought differently to the Ming army's usual foes from the Steppe.


There have been significant modern research to try and look past the old convientional wisdoms on many of the emperors. But suffice to say that it is hard to make any justification on the reign of ZhengDe / JiaJing / Wanli , even if you could put them into a more human perspective, and not simply fault the problems based on charactor assasination.

As for the Ming performance in the Imjin war, it is difficult to say they did poorly , the numbers actually deployed into Korea was almost consistently only 1/4 - 1/3 of the Japanese forces until the later half of the final year. when the Japanese were already on the verge of withdrawing anyway. they were supported by very unreliable Korean allies. and their logistics in many cases were pretty screwed as well.

One of the biggest debate right before the second war started was the Ming demanding that Korea let them start a military farm garrison inside Korea, around the Seoul area (they have a lot of similar installaions in their northern frontiers). Something the Koreans obviously balked at due to the precieved threat on it's sovereignty, but gives obviously good insight into the logistical situation of the Ming.

The second invasion came before there was any conclusion to the debate though, and obviously by then it was too late to plan for that , so the Ming again had to make do with what they have.
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Bethetsu
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mr No-Dachi wrote:
I think one should always take into account that "bad emperors" in Chinese history also tend to be ones not liked by the confucian literi bureaucratic elite.
Of course historians of different backgrounds/ periods will give different weight to different qualities and there are differences in knowledge. But surely even the confucian literi bureaucratic elite can dislike an emperor because he is bad.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
As for the Ming performance in the Imjin war, it is difficult to say they did poorly , the numbers actually deployed into Korea was almost consistently only 1/4 - 1/3 of the Japanese forces until the later half of the final year. when the Japanese were already on the verge of withdrawing anyway. they were supported by very unreliable Korean allies. and their logistics in many cases were pretty screwed as well.


I think we need to put in account that nearly half of the Japanese force were composed of non-combatants like servants and sailors. Do we know how much of Ming army composed of non-combatants?
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Juggernaut wrote:
I think we need to put in account that nearly half of the Japanese force were composed of non-combatants like servants and sailors. Do we know how much of Ming army composed of non-combatants?


Well, at times it seemed like 100% of the Ming army were non-combatants, and the Koreans too Laughing Laughing Laughing .

Yes, I realize I'm being far too harsh. Very Happy


Last edited by Tatsunoshi on Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Juggernaut wrote:
Quote:
As for the Ming performance in the Imjin war, it is difficult to say they did poorly , the numbers actually deployed into Korea was almost consistently only 1/4 - 1/3 of the Japanese forces until the later half of the final year. when the Japanese were already on the verge of withdrawing anyway. they were supported by very unreliable Korean allies. and their logistics in many cases were pretty screwed as well.


I think we need to put in account that nearly half of the Japanese force were composed of non-combatants like servants and sailors. Do we know how much of Ming army composed of non-combatants?


If by non-combatant you mean not combat worthy due to lack of equipment or training .... then..

January 5th 1593 : Song YingChang to Yuan Huang (one of the chief administrator send into Korea and stationed at Uiji at the time)

今日勢事難有一一盡吾輩之意者,各兵老弱未經練習...

"We can't have everything our way, many of the soldiers are old and weak with very little practice"

Feburary 16th 1593 : A purposal ot the court for reinforcements

已到兵丁三萬八千五百三十七人員分隸三營副將,且內多疲弱不堪臨陣,所選精銳不過兩萬。 "total troops arrived in Korea, 38537,distributed under three major generals, many of whom are weak and uncombat worthy, the selected combat worthy troop does not exceed 20,000" (there's a pretty detailed list of all the troops so this seem like a pretty precise account)
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Bethetsu
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
RollingWave wrote:
If by non-combatant you mean not combat worthy due to lack of equipment or training .... then..
No, a "non-combatant" is someone whose duties do not involve fighting in the first place. So from your quote the army had about 20,000 combat-worthy combantants, and about 18,537 non-combat-worthy combatants.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Carlo,

Good question, but I don't want to elaborate too much on that now as I'm going to start a specific thread on Hideyoshi's invasion motives very shortly. Please feel free to re-address this issue then. Ok?

Heron,
Good post! Very Happy Does anybody else have something more to say about the general situation in China or about the other conflicts that were preoccupying Beijing on the eve of the Japanese invasion?

Did not catch this part in the past, but a couple things to add.

There was actually a very serious rebellion in China from 1589 to 1592, essentially, the Ming army was divided up to 9 major garrison sectors spread across the northern front (obviously, some were more important than others, but theoretically they were equals).

In 1589, one of these major military sector rebelled until a Mongolian born general, now that there is a Mongolian general in the Ming army is an interesting topic of it's own, but for another time, of course, the Ming took this event with the upmost caution, not only did they never had an entire military sector rebelling since early dynasty, that this man have Mongol roots doesn't take much of a strategist to see the possible implication.

So a huge army was sent out and after a year or so of fighting, managed to drive the rebel all back into their home base, the city of Ning Xia.

However, they had serious trouble taking NingXia, which had gigantic walls (to give an idea, here's the walls of another one of these major northern garrison city, reconstructed from the Ming era)


The siege dragged on for over a year and the main official leading it was sacked as a result.

The Ming brought in a new main official and Li Ru Song (yes, the guy that lead the Ming in 1593) to finish off this siege, and they went with a radical plan to redirect the ENTIRE FING YELLOW RIVER ONTO THE CITY.

Suffice to say, even Constaninople would have a major problem if one of the largest (and most silted) river in the world is suddenly put on your head, which was what happened, soon after the water attack started, many in the city began to change their minds and soon infighting began in the city and it was taken without much effort.

The war ended in the later half of 1592, by then the Korean court was already cowarding on the Yalu river, so that was another major reason why reinforcement didn't come until 1593.
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