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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The Koreans naturally looked to her for succour


"It

is true that Konishi Yukinaga, who commanded the first division, desired to continue his northward march from Pyong-yang without delay. He argued that China was wholly unprepared, and that the best hope of ultimate victory lay in not giving her time to collect her forces. But the commander-in-chief, Ukita Hideiye, refused to endorse this plan. He took the view that since the Korean provinces were still offering desperate resistance, supplies could not be drawn from them, neither could the troops engaged in subjugating them be freed for service at the front. Therefore it was essential to await the consummation of the second phase of Hideyoshi's plan, namely, the despatch of re-enforcements and munitions by water to Pyong-yang. The reader has seen how that second phase fared. The Japanese commander at Pyong-yang never received any accession of strength. His force suffered constant diminution from casualties, and the question of commissariat became daily more difficult. . . . Japanese historians themselves admit the fact that no wise effort was made to conciliate the Korean people. They were treated so harshly that even the humble peasant took up arms, and thus the peninsula, instead of serving as a basis of supplies, had to be garrisoned perpetually by a strong army."* Korean historians give long and minute accounts of the development and exploits of guerilla bands, which, though they did not obtain any signal victory over the invaders, harassed the latter perpetually, and compelled
them to devote a large part of their force to guarding the lines of communication.

*Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition; article "Japan," by Brinkley.

CHINESE INTERFERENCE

Having suffered for their loyalty to China, the Koreans naturally looked to her for succour. Peking should have understood the situation thoroughly. Even without any direct communication from Japan, the Peking Court had cognizance of Hideyoshi's intentions. A letter addressed by him in the year 1591 to the King of Ryukyu stated clearly his intention of extending Japanese sovereignty throughout the whole Orient, and the ruler of Ryukyu had lost no time in making this fact known to Peking.* Yet it does not appear that the Chinese had any just appreciation of the situation. Their first response to Korea's appeal was to mobilize a force of five thousand men in the Liaotung peninsula, which force crossed the Yalu and moved against Pyong-yang, where the Japanese van had been lying idle for over two months. This occurred early in October, 1592. The incident illustrated China's confidence in her own superiority. "The whole of the Korean forces had been driven northward throughout the entire length of the peninsula by Japanese armies, yet Peking considered that five thousand Chinese braves would suffice to roll back this tide of invasion."

*There is still extant a letter addressed by Hideypshi in June, 1592, to Hidetsugu, his nephew, and then nominal successor. In this document it is distinctly stated that the attention of the Emperor of Japan should be directed to the Chinese capital, inasmuch as the Japanese Court would pay a visit to Peking in 1594, on which occasion the ten provinces surrounding the Chinese capital would be presented to his Majesty, and out of this territory the Court nobles would receive estates.


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