Toyotomi Strikes South

As I'm sure you all know, in 1592 Toyotomi Hideyoshi lead the newly-reunified forces of Japan in an ultimately unsuccessful invasion of Korea. The reasons for this invasion were many, but I think that the most important ones were political. There were a lot of armed samurai around who only knew how to make a living by warfare. Leaving them to hang around Japan was a recipe for disaster. It was much better to ship them off somewhere to fight for the nation. Secondly, the unification was new. Toyotomi needed to continue his military victories to secure his legitimacy.

However, none of this means that he needs to invade Korea. There was another plan, where instead the samurai would be sent south into Okinawa, Taiwan, and possibly Luzon.

What happens if Japan goes South?
 

Razgriz 2K9

Banned
While Okinawa is all well and good and out of radar, Formosa and Luzon? Not so much.

For one, you'll be dealing with the Ming Chinese and the Spanish respectively. I have no doubt in my mind that the Chinese would be able to hold their own against the Japanese, though the Spanish I find is a bit questionable, considering that any reinforcements and/or supplies are going to be a great ways away.
 
Well the Shimazu were able to vassalize Okinawa. Yet why would Hideyoshi want to attack Spain if their a trade partner to an extent, and possibly alienate the Christian Daimyo. Would attacking Taiwan even be worth it at this time?
 
Well the Shimazu were able to vassalize Okinawa. Yet why would Hideyoshi want to attack Spain if their a trade partner to an extent, and possibly alienate the Christian Daimyo. Would attacking Taiwan even be worth it at this time?
Taiwan was a shit. But hey, a reward of a fief of land is a reward of a fief of land. The samurai would probably go for it.
 
Why would Ming China care if Toyotomi attacked Taiwan? It wasn't part of the Ming Empire. It wouldn't be part of any China for the first time until almost a century later.

Honestly, I would expect the Ming to be more upset with him attacking Okinawa, since it was officially a Chinese vassal-state.
 
Would Hideyoshi have logistical problems with trying to attack Luzon and Formosa? I'm not sure if Japan even has a large fleet to conduct such an operation southwards, let alone hiring a couple of pirates to do the raiding as well.
 
I though it was under Ming control at this point. Although would Ming still try to react or just look at an invasion as the Japanese invading a worthless area.
 
The thing is - what exactly would Hideyoshi be trying to do, attacking south? His attack on Korea and China was meant to a) give the samurai someone ELSE to kill and b) conquer Korea and China, because Hideyoshi was a bit of a megalomaniac and, from his writings, he seems to have honestly thought he could take Beijing in a few years.

What would he get out of attacking south instead?

OTL, Hideyoshi asked the Ryûkyû (Okinawans) to help him in his invasion of Korea, and they refused, being subjects of Ming China at the time. The islands were conquered by the Satsuma clan in 1609. This shows us two things: Ryûkyû was conquered out of a sense of honor, and it could be conquered by just one clan. Not enough to sate the samurai's appetite for war. Also, if you're going to go to war with China, starting it here doesn't make sense.

Taiwan at the time is a bunch of hostile tribesmen on a rough, mountainous island with no trade resources. China didn't care about it yet, nor the Spanish.

If Hideyoshi attacks the Spanish, it's because he fears the spread of Christianity in Japan. OTL, he was hostile towards Christians and set a precedent for their persecution in Japan. There was a very real (if ridiculous) fear that the friars were just trying to build a base of native collaborators who would support a planned Spanish-Portuguese invasion. Perhaps if there's some diplomatic incident, Hideyoshi could go to war with Spain. And the Japanese would seize Ryûkyû and try to do the same in Taiwan in an effort to get closer to their objective in Manila.
 
Would Hideyoshi have logistical problems with trying to attack Luzon and Formosa? I'm not sure if Japan even has a large fleet to conduct such an operation southwards, let alone hiring a couple of pirates to do the raiding as well.
They managed to get the troops to Korea. Their eventual failure in Korea was due to Korean ships cutting off their supply lines, as the Korean ships were better than the Japanese, and the Korean admiral was quite skilled.

But here they wouldn't be facing that kind of opposition.
Honestly, I think the biggest problem that they would have in conquering Taiwan would be the deaths from illness--a lot of Japanese troops died of illness in Taiwan when they took over in 1895, and it would be no different here.

Luzon--it's an open question. Spanish ships are much better than their Japanese counterparts, but how many can they spare for such a far-flung territory? I expect the Japanese would fail to stay supplied in Luzon, and thus lose the territory. But I think it's not impossible that they hold it for some short time.


I though it was under Ming control at this point. Although would Ming still try to react or just look at an invasion as the Japanese invading a worthless area.
No, it wasn't. It was never under Ming control, actually. A Ming loyalist* state was set up there (from 1661-1683) after the Ming fell in 1644, and the Qing would take it over (for the first time) later in order to eliminate that threat.

But before that, it wasn't a Chinese territory, and it wasn't considered at all important. I see no reason why the Ming Empire would care at all if Japan chose to attack it.

*The state was set up by Koxinga. He was a very interesting figure--for one thing, he was half-Japanese. It's interesting, actually. He is revered in both China and Taiwan. In China, he is revered as the man who made Taiwan "Chinese". But more many Taiwanese, he is remembered as exactly the opposite. He is remembered as the man who started the first independent Taiwanese state. He is remembered for being half-Chinese and half-Japanese, much like modern Taiwan. In Taiwan, he is seen as something of a nationalist Taiwanese figure.

It's fascinating how one man can represent opposite ideas...
 
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Well the question is how many troops can Toyotomi land in the northern part of Luzon before the Spanish Authorities in Manila react. The Spaniards are mostly concentrated in Manila and usually uses locally raised militia and religion to suppress revolts.
 
While Okinawa is all well and good and out of radar, Formosa and Luzon? Not so much.

For one, you'll be dealing with the Ming Chinese and the Spanish respectively. I have no doubt in my mind that the Chinese would be able to hold their own against the Japanese, though the Spanish I find is a bit questionable, considering that any reinforcements and/or supplies are going to be a great ways away.
I don't know about Spanish, but at that time China was no position to challenge Japan.
1. Ming Dynasty wasn't maritime power and they was isolationist, unless you are going in Mainland China proper. So they wont care if Japan invaded Taiwan or not.
2. Late 1500 Ming already started experiencing many problems. And starting 1600 they would be no longer challenge Japanese domination on sea.
3. After Ming, Qing won't challenge Japanese either since they will be busy consolidating their rule over China. By time Qing will have firm control over China, fighting against Japanese colonized Taiwan would be not best strategy.

As I'm sure you all know, in 1592 Toyotomi Hideyoshi lead the newly-reunified forces of Japan in an ultimately unsuccessful invasion of Korea. The reasons for this invasion were many, but I think that the most important ones were political. There were a lot of armed samurai around who only knew how to make a living by warfare. Leaving them to hang around Japan was a recipe for disaster. It was much better to ship them off somewhere to fight for the nation. Secondly, the unification was new. Toyotomi needed to continue his military victories to secure his legitimacy.

However, none of this means that he needs to invade Korea. There was another plan, where instead the samurai would be sent south into Okinawa, Taiwan, and possibly Luzon.

What happens if Japan goes South?
Maybe they could have become more open and more merchantalist. If they was more open maybe they could adapt Western technology much earlier and industrialize much earlier on par with US industrialization.
 
The later problem of the Hideyoshi would be the Bruneians, they will fight to regain Luzon once they found out that the Spanish are already weakened.
 
As much as people are raising the issue of the Spanish stopping Hideyoshi from taking Luzon how much could the Spanish really do? When Hideyoshi would be attempting this Spain was much more pre-occupied with Elizabethan England and the French Wars of Religion. Assuming the Spanish do something how much could they spare for a colony half a world away that doesn't come close to comparing to the wealth of the New World or the Caribbean? If Japanese forces succeed in taking Manila swiftly enough they could get into a position strong enough that any Spanish counter-attack would be too little, too late.
 
I'm not sure how much energy the Ming would want to spend building up a brand new navy just to deal with Taiwan...

But they certainly had the resource and technological base to do it if they wanted to. Their army also showed itself more than a match to the Japanese once they intervened in Korea.

Of course the intervention in Korea upset the balance of power back in the capital so much that it led to serious stability problems, and the costs in money were also non-trivial.

So China CAN defeat Japan, it's just that it may be that the price would be too high.

As much as people are raising the issue of the Spanish stopping Hideyoshi from taking Luzon how much could the Spanish really do? When Hideyoshi would be attempting this Spain was much more pre-occupied with Elizabethan England and the French Wars of Religion. Assuming the Spanish do something how much could they spare for a colony half a world away that doesn't come close to comparing to the wealth of the New World or the Caribbean? If Japanese forces succeed in taking Manila swiftly enough they could get into a position strong enough that any Spanish counter-attack would be too little, too late.
And cut off the Manila Silver Trade?

It was a major leg of their global strategy. They would certainly be back. They might even bring other Europeans in (the Portuguese for example) to make sure Japan gets the point.

Of course that could mean Japan might get European allies of its own :p

Pirates of the Marianas, 1600? :p
 
Based on my albeit limited knowledge, Okinawa, the Ryukyu islands, and even Taiwan all appear to be beggars' prizes next to Korea, which is much larger, and far richer (As a matter of fact, I'm not even certain the Ryukyu islands are even big enough to provide fiefdoms to more than a handful of retainers, or at the time, exported anything of significant value). With regards to transportation, I couldn't say much about, but it seems to me that it would be far easier to get a lot of soldiers on an expedition to Korea than it would be to the Ryukyu islands or Okinawa, and especially the Philippines. You probably need to reach the Philippines to get anything which comes even close to matching Korea in value, and the journey is nearly six times as long.

Finally, there's the fact that a big part of the motive for conquering Korea was as a springboard for invading Ming China. This part of the plan was completely hare-brained, but anyhow, a supply line which goes through Korea into Manchuria and Northern China is a lot easier to use and defend than one which goes through Taiwan into Southern China. And there's simply no way any Pacific archipelago can match the Chinese prize, so it would be hard to justify taking some far off islands like the Philippines instead of China.
 
Wasn't Japan's navy composed mainly of off-the-shore galleys ??
Especially the Toyotomi era ?

IF so... Formosa and the Philippine Islands are out of reach....

The Philippine Islands are also under the Spanish sphere of influence and colonization at this time....
 

elkarlo

Banned
Wasn't Japan's navy composed mainly of off-the-shore galleys ??
Especially the Toyotomi era ?

IF so... Formosa and the Philippine Islands are out of reach....

The Philippine Islands are also under the Spanish sphere of influence and colonization at this time....

they could make some sea worth vessels. Be cheaper than invading Korea. Also, Taiwan was prolly a pretty easy target, as well as being a good place to give out some new fiefs.
 
they could make some sea worth vessels. Be cheaper than invading Korea. Also, Taiwan was prolly a pretty easy target, as well as being a good place to give out some new fiefs.
But it still wouldn't be as worthwhile a prize as Korea. If he thought he could take Korea, there's no reason he'd decide to head south.
 
But it still wouldn't be as worthwhile a prize as Korea. If he thought he could take Korea, there's no reason he'd decide to head south.
Maybe he sees sense after losing a few battles in Korea and concludes a white peace as quickly as possible before going for less heavily defended prizes? Doesn't seem too likely, but it might be possible.
 
They managed to get the troops to Korea. Their eventual failure in Korea was due to Korean ships cutting off their supply lines, as the Korean ships were better than the Japanese, and the Korean admiral was quite skilled.

But here they wouldn't be facing that kind of opposition.
Honestly, I think the biggest problem that they would have in conquering Taiwan would be the deaths from illness--a lot of Japanese troops died of illness in Taiwan when they took over in 1895, and it would be no different here.

Luzon--it's an open question. Spanish ships are much better than their Japanese counterparts, but how many can they spare for such a far-flung territory? I expect the Japanese would fail to stay supplied in Luzon, and thus lose the territory. But I think it's not impossible that they hold it for some short time.
Taiwan would be easy as long as they can hold themselves from the Chinese.

Luzon though is suicide. Spain has way better ships, and along with the locals, had more experience in dirty Guerrilla warfare, while Japan fights in a attrition-intensive medieval tactics. Remember, during WWII, the Japanese learned the hard way the abilities of the Filipinos in fighting dirty, that they called them: "A race of Assassins.".
 
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