A Dragon’s Head and a Serpent’s Tail: Ming China and the by Kenneth M. Swope

By Kenneth M. Swope

The invasion of Korea through jap troops in may possibly of 1592 was once no traditional army day trip: it was once one of many decisive occasions in Asian historical past and the main tragic for the Korean peninsula till the mid-twentieth century. eastern overlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi predicted conquering Korea, Ming China, and finally all of Asia; yet Korea’s attract China’s Emperor Wanli for tips caused a six-year battle related to millions of infantrymen and encompassing the complete area. For Japan, the struggle used to be “a dragon’s head by means of a serpent’s tail”: a magnificent starting without actual ending.

Kenneth M. Swope has undertaken the 1st full-length scholarly learn in English of this crucial clash. Drawing on Korean, eastern, and particularly chinese language assets, he corrects the Japan-centered point of view of earlier money owed and depicts Wanli now not because the self-indulgent ruler of bought interpretations yet particularly one actively engaged in army affairs—and involved specifically with rescuing China’s purchaser country of Korea. He places the Ming in a extra energetic gentle, detailing chinese language siege battle, the improvement and deployment of leading edge army applied sciences, and the naval battles that marked the climax of the conflict. He additionally explains the war’s repercussions outdoor 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 effect to the chinese language mainland and an army revival of China’s dedication to protecting its pursuits in Northeast Asia. Swope’s account deals new perception not just into the background of conflict in Asia but in addition 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

Sample text

The mutineers killed Dang and a subordinate, burned and looted government offices in the city, and quickly seized some forty-seven outlying frontier fortresses. 37 The rebellion was reported to the throne on April 19, 1592, by a Shaanxi surveillance official, who reported that the entire province was in an uproar and only a single official (Xiao Ruxun at Pingluo) was resisting the mutineers with any degree of success. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Wanli immediately called for a meeting with Minister of War Shi Xing (d.

This practice continued throughout the Ming period, with troops en route to Korea first going to Beijing for training under firearms drill instructors. Yet because of a bewildering number of factors—including corrupt officers who used their soldiers as construction gangs, oppressive and duplicitous officers, old or weak men hindering the training of younger recruits, and the improper observation of rotation schedules—the military capacity of the hereditary forces declined precipitously. 20 Therefore, when the Mongol chieftain Altan Khan invaded in 1550, the minister of war could muster only about 60,000 troops, who then fled at the sight of the Mongols.

But this only angered Dang more and fed into his insecurities. Thus in the spring of 1592, Pubei found himself swept into a troop mutiny of the Ningxia garrison instigated by a Chinese officer named Liu Dongyang (though the rebellion is usually attributed to Pubei and his sons, most likely because of their Mongol ancestry). The mutineers killed Dang and a subordinate, burned and looted government offices in the city, and quickly seized some forty-seven outlying frontier fortresses. 37 The rebellion was reported to the throne on April 19, 1592, by a Shaanxi surveillance official, who reported that the entire province was in an uproar and only a single official (Xiao Ruxun at Pingluo) was resisting the mutineers with any degree of success.

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