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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Hakozaki and Nagato were judged to be the most menaced


Of course Kublai did not acknowledge this as a defeat at the hands of the Japanese. On the contrary, he seems to have imagined that the fight had struck terror into the hearts of the islanders by disclosing their faulty tactics and inferior weapons. He therefore sent another embassy, which was charged to summon the King of Japan to Peking, there to do obeisance to the Yuan Emperor. Kamakura's answer was to decapitate the five leaders of the mission and to pillory their heads outside the city. Nothing, indeed, is more remarkable than the calm confidence shown at this crisis by the Bakufu regent, Tokimune. His country's annalists ascribe that mood to faith in the doctrines of the Zen sect of Buddhism; faith which he shared with his father, Tokiyori, during the latter's life. The Zen priests taught an introspective philosophy. They preached that life springs from not-living, indestructibility from destruction, and that existence and non-existence are one in reality. No creed could better inspire a soldier.

It has been suggested that Tokimune was not guided in this matter solely by religious instincts: he used the Zen-shu bonzes as a channel for obtaining information about China. Some plausibility is given to that theory by the fact that he sat, first, at the feet of Doryu, originally a Chinese priest named Tao Lung, and that on Doryu's death he invited (1278) from China a famous bonze, Chu Yuan (Japanese, Sogen), for whose ministrations the afterwards celebrated temple Yengaku-ji was erected. Sogen himself, when officiating at the temple of Nengjen, in Wenchow, had barely escaped massacre at the hands of the Mongols, and he may not have been averse to acting as a medium of information between China and Kamakura.

Tokimune's religious fervour, however, did not interfere with his secular preparations. In 1280, he issued an injunction exhorting local officials and vassals (go-kenin) to compose all their dissensions and work in unison. There could be no greater crime, the document declared, then to sacrifice the country's interests on the altar of personal enmities at a time of national crisis. Loyal obedience on the part of vassals, and strict impartiality on the side of high constables--these were the virtues which the safety of the State demanded, and any neglect to practise them should be punished with the utmost severity. This injunction was issued in 1280, and already steps had been taken to construct defensive works at all places where the Mongols might effect a landing--at Hakozaki Bay in Kyushu; at Nagato, on the northern side of the Shimonoseki Strait; at Harima, on the southern shore of the Inland Sea; and at Tsuruga, on the northwest of the main island. Among these places, Hakozaki and Nagato were judged to be the most menaced, and special offices, after the nature of the Kyoto tandai, were established there.


Seven years separated the first invasion from the second. It was not of deliberate choice that Kublai allowed so long an interval to elapse. The subjugation of the last supporters of the Sung dynasty in southern China had engrossed his attention, and with their fall he acquired new competence to prosecute this expedition to Japan, because while the Mongolian boats were fit only for plying on inland waters, the ships of the southern Chinese were large, ocean-going craft. It was arranged that an army of 100,000 Chinese and Mongols should embark at a port in Fuhkien opposite the island of Formosa, and should ultimately form a junction in Tsushima Strait with an armada of 1000 Korean ships, carrying, in addition to their crews, a force of 50,000 Mongols and 20,000 Koreans.

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