The King of Korea meanwhile personally paid a visit to Peking, and gave the assurance that he was raising 30,000 extra soldiers to serve in the Japan war.
Continuing Japan Repels the Mongols,
our selection from A Thousand Years of the Tartars by Edward H Parker published in 1895. The selection is presented in three easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Japan Repels the Mongols.
The Manchu Tartar envoy seems to have been a very sensible sort of man, for not only did he bring back with him full details of the names and titles of the Mikado and his ministers, descriptions of the cities and districts, particulars of national customs, local products, etc., but also strongly dissuaded Kublai from engaging in a useless war with Japan; and he also gave some excellent advice to the celebrated Mongol general Bayen, who was just then preparing to “finish off” the southern provinces of China. It may not be generally known, but it is a fact that Bayen himself, in the late autumn of 1273, had been originally destined for the Japanese expedition, and the prisoners captured at the first attack on Siaag-yang Fu (Marco Polo’s Sa-yan Fu) had already been handed over to him for service in Japan. The Mongol history also gives a full copy of the letter sent to Japan on this occasion. In it Kublai expresses his surprise at the persistent ignoring by Japan of his successive missions; he charitably suggests that “perhaps the fresh troubles and revolutions in Korea, which have now once more been settled, are more to blame than your own deliberate intentions.” The menace of war was a little stronger than in the letter of 1266, but was still decently veiled and somewhat guarded. Before starting, the Manchu had requested that the etiquette to be observed at his audience with the ruler might be laid down. The cabinet council, to be on the safe side, advised: “As the relative ranks prevailing in the country are unknown to us, we have no definite etiquette to specify.” On the other hand, both Kublai and his ministers were much too sharp to believe in the power of the “guard-house west of the Dazai Fu,” and they came to the sensible conclusion that the Japanese “envoys” were simply war-spies sent by the supreme Japanese government itself.
Chinese history does not explain why, amid the conflicting counsels exposed above, and others mentioned in biographical chapters, Kublai decided to attack Japan at the very moment when Bayen was marching upon South China; but, anyway, during the year 1274, large numbers of Manchus were raised for service in Japan, and placed under General Hung. (Sani-chin may perhaps stand for the Chinese word Tsiang-chun, or “general.”) It appears that, toward the end of that year, fifteen thousand men in nine hundred ships made a raid upon some point in Japan; but, although “a victory” is claimed, no details whatever are given beyond the facts that “our army showed a lack of order; the arrows were exhausted; we achieved nothing beyond plundering.” The three islands raided were Tsushima, Iki, and one I cannot identify, described in Chinese as I-man.
The Japanese annals confirm the attack upon Tsushima and Iki, adding that the enemy slew all the males and carried off all the females in the two islands, but were unsuccessful in their advance upon the Dazai Fu. The enemy’s general, Liu Fu-heng, was slain; the enemy numbered thirty thousand. The slain officer was, perhaps, a relative of Liu T’ung, who served again in China.
In the year 1275 two more envoys bearing Chinese names were sent with letters to Japan, “but they also got no reply.” The Japanese annals confirm this, and add that “they came to discuss terms of peace, but their envoy, Tu Shi-chung — whose name corresponds — was decapitated.” This is true, but he was not decapitated until 1280, and, as is well known to competent students, Japanese history is always open to suspicion when it conflicts with Chinese, and too often “touches up” from Chinese.
In 1277 some merchants from Japan appeared in China with a quantity of gold, which they desired to exchange for copper cash. The following year the “coast authorities” — probably meaning at Ningpo and Wenchow, where even now, as I found in 1884, immense quantities of old Japanese copper cash are in daily use — were instructed to permit Japanese trade. But preparations for war still went on, and the head-quarters of the army were fixed at Liao-yang, where General Kuropatkin fixed his more recently. Naval preparations were particularly active during 1279, and Korea was invited to make arrangements for boats to be built in that country, where timber was so plentiful — evidently alluding to the Russian “concessions” on the Yalu. Large numbers of ships were also constructed in Central China. During this year a defeated Chinese general in Mongol employ, named Fan Wen-hu, advised that the war against Japan should be postponed “until the result of our mission, accompanied by the Japanese priest carrying our letters, shall be known.” When this priest was appointed, by whom, and to do what, there is nothing to show. To a certain extent this enigmatical sentence is supported by the Japanese annals, which announce that “in the summer of 1279 the Mongol generals Hia Kwei and Fan Wen-hu came and sent aides-de-camp to Dazai Fu to discuss peace, but Tokimune (the regent) had them decapitated at Hakata in Chikuzen.”
Hia Kwei was certainly another defeated Chinese general, but I do not think he ever went to Japan. It is in the spring of 1280 that the Chinese record the execution by the Japanese of “Tu Shi-chung,” etc. But it is quite evident that Fan Wen-hu cannot possibly have been executed in 1279, for later on, in 1280, after Hung Ts’a-k’iu and others had been appointed to the Japan expedition, “it was decided to wait a little, and Fan Wen-hu was consulted as to the best means of attack; meanwhile prisoners of war, criminals, Mussulmans, etc., were enlisted, and volunteers were called for.” It is difficult to account for “Mussulmans” in such company, for the villanous “Saracen” Achmat was just then at the height of his power. The King of Korea meanwhile personally paid a visit to Peking, and gave the assurance that he was raising thirty thousand extra soldiers to serve in the Japan war. Fan Wen-hu was now placed in supreme command of one hundred thousand men. “The King of Korea with ten thousand soldiers, fifteen thousand sea-men, nine hundred war-ships, and one hundred and ten thousand hundred-weight of grain, proceeded against Japan. Hung Ts’a-k’iu and his colleagues were provided with weapons, Korean armor, jackets, etc. The troops were given strict instructions not to harass the inhabitants of Korea. Korean generals received high rank, and the King was given extra honors.”
In 1281 the generals Hung Ts’a-k’iu and Hintu (a Ouigour Turk) went in command of a naval force of forty thousand men via “Kin Chouin Korea.” Another force of one hundred thousand men was sent across the sea from modern Ningpo and Tinghai, the two forces arranging to meet at the islands of Iki and Hirado.
Alouhan (a Mongol) and Fan Wen-hu received in anticipation the honorary titles of “Left and Right Governors of Japan province”; and when they and the other generals took leave of Kublai, the Emperor said: “As they had sent us envoys first, we also sent envoys thither; but then they kept our envoys, and would not let them go; hence I send you, gentlemen, on this errand. I understand the Chinese say that when you take another people’s country, you need to get both the people and the land. If you go and slay all the people, and only secure the land, what use is that? There is another matter, upon which I feel truly anxious–that is, I fear want of harmony among you, gentlemen! If the natives of that country come to discuss any matter with you, gentlemen, you should join your minds for one common plan, and reply as though one mouth only had to speak.”
Marco Polo begins here.
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