Japan a Great Power of the World by the 1600s?

What if Hideyoshi had conquered Korea? Apparently, he also thought about invading the Philippines if the Korean excursion had gone as planned, and even then, the Spanish Ambassador had to put up a facade about the Spanish Empire being much stronger than what it was for the plans to be discarded.

So if Japan takes Korea, it is forced to stay open, it had at the time a largest army than any European power, and it was intent on reverse engineering European guns and ships (they seemed to have a strange fascination with those). They set they sights in Phillipines. What happens?
 
Japan was already making improvements on firearms when Tokugawa shut down the country along with significant naval improvements, look at hte Red Seal Ships for examples. If Japan can take Korea and the Phillippines, it may also take Formosa, Sakhalin, Alaska, and expand its influence from Burma to Brisbane to OTL British Columbia. They may build the first true navy in the Pacific and though I doubt they will conquer China they could evolve into a colonial empire that could be a tough competitor by the 20th century.
 
Even if Japan builds ships, the Chinese Navy is still a formidable force and the main player in the Pacific in the 1600s, is it not?
 
Well, Japan may cut a real swath in the short term, but over a few generations, it's hard to see what might happen. Overgrown Japanese empire collapses into squabbling warlords? More aggressive Japan gets the Chinese off their butts and building navies again, culminating in a genocidal invasion of Japan? Japan becoming outward looking rather than closing off does not automatically mean "Japan PWNs everyone": a lot of the institutions and economic development that allowed Japan to modernize so quickly OTL took the two and a half centuries of the Tokugawa era to develop.

Bruce
 
Even if Japan builds ships, the Chinese Navy is still a formidable force and the main player in the Pacific in the 1600s, is it not?
Not in the 1600s. There was a fair amount of Chinese shipping in SE Asia, but it was private merchants and pirates, not government fleets.

Bruce

PS - although the Qing temporarily did build up a bit of a navy after the fall of the Ming to pursue holdouts to Taiwan, IIRC.
 
What if Hideyoshi had conquered Korea? Apparently, he also thought about invading the Philippines if the Korean excursion had gone as planned, and even then, the Spanish Ambassador had to put up a facade about the Spanish Empire being much stronger than what it was for the plans to be discarded.
This is virtually impossible. While Japan might have been able to hold the peninsula for a few years if things had turned out differently, the invaders would almost certainly be pushed out after the brief occupation. This was mostly because most of the Korean navy and army, which was scattered throughout the peninsula, operated independently of the weak government, and conducted numerous guerrilla operations in order to stall the Japanese for months, if not years. In other words, your scenario is technically possible only if the vast majority of the generals and admirals are assassinated or butterflied away, which is ASB in itself, and probably not even then, as others will take their place.

So if Japan takes Korea, it is forced to stay open, it had at the time a largest army than any European power, and it was intent on reverse engineering European guns and ships (they seemed to have a strange fascination with those). They set they sights in Phillipines. What happens?
It might have had a large army, but the fact that the Koreans matched them in terms of manpower within 1-2 years, despite the fact that it had half the population and was completely unprepared for an attack from the south, suggests that the Japanese would not be able to make significant progress, regardless of the situation. The Koreans had consistently maintained a standing military for centuries, although the fact that most of them were located in the north meant that the peninsula was initially overrun in the first year. In addition, the Koreans were vastly outnumbered in specific key battles, but won many of them, mostly due to the geography and stiff resistance.

Even if Japan builds ships, the Chinese Navy is still a formidable force and the main player in the Pacific in the 1600s, is it not?
Most likely not, as the military assistance by the Ming during the Imjin War was mostly conducted by a token force, and the navy was largely uninvolved.
 
Even if we do Have Nobunaga win out, whats supposed to happen the daimyo become like Norman lords and become adventurers conquering lands. The Shogunate system at the time would have to be greatly reformed at first.
 
Maybe not a great power but Japan could certainly be a bigger and much less isolated power if the war against the Koreans go well.
 
Well, Japan may cut a real swath in the short term, but over a few generations, it's hard to see what might happen. Overgrown Japanese empire collapses into squabbling warlords? More aggressive Japan gets the Chinese off their butts and building navies again, culminating in a genocidal invasion of Japan? Japan becoming outward looking rather than closing off does not automatically mean "Japan PWNs everyone": a lot of the institutions and economic development that allowed Japan to modernize so quickly OTL took the two and a half centuries of the Tokugawa era to develop.

Bruce
I'm imagining an empire forming with some rough starts, that would eventually learn from its mistakes and then go about expanding. The Japanese probably couldn't conquer the entire Philippines, maybe most of the north, so they'd have to fight the Spanish and Moro again at some point if they wanted to solidify their conquest. And if they want to expand more they'd have to learn from all the mistakes they'd inevitably make trying to conquer an archipelago that even with their strength in WW2 they could barely manage to occupy.
 
Japan was already making improvements on firearms when Tokugawa shut down the country along with significant naval improvements, look at hte Red Seal Ships for examples. If Japan can take Korea and the Phillippines, it may also take Formosa, Sakhalin, Alaska, and expand its influence from Burma to Brisbane to OTL British Columbia. They may build the first true navy in the Pacific and though I doubt they will conquer China they could evolve into a colonial empire that could be a tough competitor by the 20th century.
The Japanese firearms were not particularly efficient, and the Korean bows largely negated their counterparts' advantages. Japanese and Korean ships' designs were also different regarding their hulls, and the latter versions were much more efficient along the Korean coastline as a whole, which Yi Sun-shin used to his advantage.

Maybe not a great power but Japan could certainly be a bigger and much less isolated power if the war against the Koreans go well.
How is the Imjin War going to go well in the first place? I already listed several reasons why the Japanese failed IOTL.
 
Korea might be too difficult, but maybe Japan could try to take the Philippines from the Spanish? If it wasn't for the Shimbara Rebellion in 1637, Matsukura Shigemasa might have continued his plans to attack Luzon (with a possible help from the Dutch.)
 
This is virtually impossible. While Japan might have been able to hold the peninsula for a few years if things had turned out differently, the invaders would almost certainly be pushed out after the brief occupation. This was mostly because most of the Korean navy and army, which was scattered throughout the peninsula, operated independently of the weak government, and conducted numerous guerrilla operations in order to stall the Japanese for months, if not years. In other words, your scenario is technically possible only if the vast majority of the generals and admirals are assassinated or butterflied away, which is ASB in itself, and probably not even then, as others will take their place.

It might have had a large army, but the fact that the Koreans matched them in terms of manpower within 1-2 years, despite the fact that it had half the population and was completely unprepared for an attack from the south, suggests that the Japanese would not be able to make significant progress, regardless of the situation. The Koreans had consistently maintained a standing military for centuries, although the fact that most of them were located in the north meant that the peninsula was initially overrun in the first year. In addition, the Koreans were vastly outnumbered in specific key battles, but won many of them, mostly due to the geography and stiff resistance.
Do you think it could have been possible from a military standpoint for Japan to achieve smaller, more limited aims? Say, take only Gyeongsang and/or Jeolla? I don't think this fits very well the mindset of Japanese leadership at the time though.
 
Do you think it could have been possible from a military standpoint for Japan to achieve smaller, more limited aims? Say, take only Gyeongsang and/or Jeolla? I don't think this fits very well the mindset of Japanese leadership at the time though.
Extremely unlikely. For one thing, the Japanese were unable to take Jeolla in the first invasion due to the harsh terrain, and this failure allowed the Korean navy to resupply from that region. The second invasion managed to take both Gyeongsang and Jeolla, but the invaders were overstretched after attempting to supply various scattered cities with minimal resources, and were unable to head further north, causing them to retreat from Jeolla altogether. As a result, the Japanese would either have to sweep through most of the peninsula, but bypass several key regions, allowing guerrilla forces to eventually wreck havoc, or take Gyeongsang and Jeolla, but allow the Korean army and navy to recover and eventually drive the Japanese out. In addition, the Japanese would be unwilling to limit themselves to the southern coast of the peninsula because the main goal was to eventually invade China, while Korea would certainly not be willing to compromise when many are still willing to fight in order to drive the invaders out altogether.

To sum up the situation, the quote in my sig roughly translates to "(Your majesty), I still have 12 ships," which was stated by Yi Sun-shin in response to the government's order to scuttle the navy and join the army in 1597. Won Gyun, after being pressured by the government to enact flawed strategies if he didn't want to be imprisoned for treason, had recently lost virtually his entire navy in the Battle of Chilcheollyang on August 27th, which left Yi Sun-shin to confront around 333 Japanese ships on October 26th with a barely functioning navy. In other words, the Koreans are going to fight to the end regardless of the situation, which means that even if the Japanese managed to gain de facto control over a significant part of the peninsula, the numerous guerrilla campaigns and holdouts will eventually force the invaders to retreat within a few years.
 
Korea is definitely iffy, as while Japan's armies were far superior, it constantly had problems supplying its troops because the expertise of the Korean Navy. Their turtle ships were equivalent or in many cases superior to any European made vessel of the time, while the Japanese still used galleys that relied upon boarding the enemy vessel.

In fact, part of the reason Hideyoshi invaded Korea in the first place was not necessarily an eventual conquest of China, but because of the recently concluded civil war there were still so many samurai sitting around restlessly within Japan that would have de-stabilized his rule, and that a way to divert their attention was to send them off to war in Korea.
 
Korea is definitely iffy, as while Japan's armies were far superior, it constantly had problems supplying its troops because the expertise of the Korean Navy. Their turtle ships were equivalent or in many cases superior to any European made vessel of the time, while the Japanese still used galleys that relied upon boarding the enemy vessel.
The Japanese armies were certainly superior as a whole, but numerous guerrilla forces stalled the advance on land, even though the Koreans were greatly outnumbered in specific battles, while the Korean ships consistently harassed the supply lines. In other words, the combination of both suggests that even if the Japanese somehow managed to occupy most of the peninsula, it would eventually be forced to withdraw altogether due to stiff Korean resistance, along with eventually overextending the supply lines.

In fact, part of the reason Hideyoshi invaded Korea in the first place was not necessarily an eventual conquest of China, but because of the recently concluded civil war there were still so many samurai sitting around restlessly within Japan that would have de-stabilized his rule, and that a way to divert their attention was to send them off to war in Korea.
I'm not sure what this means. Hideyoshi first sent a message to Tsushima in 1587, which asked the island to convince Joseon into eventually attacking the Ming. Although the first few attempts were refused due to the geopolitics involved, a messenger from Tsushima finally arrived in Joseon in 1591, with specific orders condensed into "假道入明," roughly translating into "Open the way for our troops into Ming territory (so that we can attack it)." Joseon curtly refused because of its experience with the wokou raids, not to mention that it did not want to risk severing its cordial relations with the Ming. As a result, Hideyoshi decided to respond strongly by attacking the peninsula in the following year. The fact that there were many samurai lying around was certainly a huge factor for the resulting war, but it was certainly not the only nor the most important one.
 

Cyan

Banned
Assuming Japan conquers and holds Korea. It is a massive manpower drain for a very long time including but not limited to killing a great chunk of the Japanese nobles and leaders as assasinations are the order of the day for people that lose the large field battles continuously (as would be neccesary for this to happen).

Eventually this gets out of hand and the surviving Japanese generals in Korea just start a general policy of Mongol-like behavior and just put everyone with a hint of resistance on the peninsuela to the the sword. If this doesnt attract the chinese to intervene then nothing will. If it does then the Japanese are, to be polite, f****d three ways to sunday.

Until now Japan has been "that messy island off the coast" that seems to occasionally raid and not do much else but trade and have civil wars. It has now turned into a power that actively tries to occupy and genocide Chinese puppets. This would result in a "at first opportunity" invasion of Japanese mainland by china + Korea + everyone else they can get to sign on after the massacre in Korea. Which would be quite a lot of people for the required scale of the massacre to pacify korea for real.

Assuming the Chinese dont get involved, no one else has the manpower to do it alone and Japan takes it, and rightfully so, as a blanket check to continue expanding. If Japan goes WW2 era expansionist they'll grab everything they can in a Empire building exercise similar to all major powers and proceed to genocide the populations of their conquered areas, like most major powers do. If they are genocidal enough they'll hold onto their conquests due to ethnic similarities and strong central rule, if not and the Japanese breed with the locals, the different ethnic/local culture tradition as separate from pure Japanese cultural tradition will cause an eventual breakaway from Japan and formation of various new countries.

It depends on what level of crazy / genocidal you want ATL japanese to be, because the only way they can conquer, let alone hold Korea to begin with, is to be genocidal and crazy on a scale not seen after the mongols and before WW's.
 
I don't think conquering the Phillipines and Korea would even qualify as Japan as a world power in the 1600's. But I do think it is possible, especially during this time period I think the best target for Japanese conquests would be the control of the Spice Islands of Indonesia and a powerful enough navy would allow them to maintain a monopoly and directly affect the spice trade throughout the world.

Maybe a Muslim Japan or Christian Japan could see the importance of sailing south instead of getting involved in an unprofitable conquest of Korea.
 
Assuming Japan conquers and holds Korea. It is a massive manpower drain for a very long time including but not limited to killing a great chunk of the Japanese nobles and leaders as assasinations are the order of the day for people that lose the large field battles continuously (as would be neccesary for this to happen).

Eventually this gets out of hand and the surviving Japanese generals in Korea just start a general policy of Mongol-like behavior and just put everyone with a hint of resistance on the peninsuela to the the sword. If this doesnt attract the chinese to intervene then nothing will. If it does then the Japanese are, to be polite, f****d three ways to sunday.

Until now Japan has been "that messy island off the coast" that seems to occasionally raid and not do much else but trade and have civil wars. It has now turned into a power that actively tries to occupy and genocide Chinese puppets. This would result in a "at first opportunity" invasion of Japanese mainland by china + Korea + everyone else they can get to sign on after the massacre in Korea. Which would be quite a lot of people for the required scale of the massacre to pacify korea for real.

Assuming the Chinese dont get involved, no one else has the manpower to do it alone and Japan takes it, and rightfully so, as a blanket check to continue expanding. If Japan goes WW2 era expansionist they'll grab everything they can in a Empire building exercise similar to all major powers and proceed to genocide the populations of their conquered areas, like most major powers do. If they are genocidal enough they'll hold onto their conquests due to ethnic similarities and strong central rule, if not and the Japanese breed with the locals, the different ethnic/local culture tradition as separate from pure Japanese cultural tradition will cause an eventual breakaway from Japan and formation of various new countries.

It depends on what level of crazy / genocidal you want ATL japanese to be, because the only way they can conquer, let alone hold Korea to begin with, is to be genocidal and crazy on a scale not seen after the mongols and before WW's.
I would generally agree, although both the Koreans and Japanese would be much worse off. As a comparison, it took the Mongols 40 years and seven campaigns to pacify the entire peninsula, including major revolts even after the court had initially surrendered due to the chaos. However, the Mongols they had access to more resources from their possessions elsewhere, and generally left Goryeo politically and militarily alone for the duration of the Yuan Dynasty, which lasted for around a century. In other words, the Japanese would be bled dry even after attacking Korea for a decade or so. Even if they were somehow determined to continuously invade for several decades, which would be suicidal in itself, the invaders would ultimately be forced to leave the peninsula alone for the most part, with a puppet ruler in control. However, this state of affairs would eventually change within 50-100 years after Korea manages to consolidate and throw off foreign rule, which would just revert the situation to what it was before the war.
 
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