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May 15, 2014

"Battle of Myeongnyang"

This wasn't covered in my college history course: in 1597 thirteen Joseon (Korean) ships defeated 133 Japanese ships. The Japanese supposedly lost 31 ships while the Koreans lost none. 


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John Thacker

Yes, it's a key part of Japanese history. Japan was fragmented in the Sengoku (Warring States) period, and was unified by the successive actions of three great leaders, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nobunaga did the initial step, and then was assasinated. Hideyoshi then completed most of the job, and with Japan nearly unified for the first time in a bit over a century, his eyes turned to Korea.

The complete failure of the invasion of Korea was responsible for Hideyoshi's rival, Ieyasu, taking over, and establishing a dynasty of Shoguns for the Tokugawa family that would last centuries, along with a policy of isolation for Japan (destroying their advanced gunpowder weapons that had helped the upstarts unify Japan), until the Meiji Revolution. The Revolution itself partially inspired by Commodore Perry's ships showing how backwards in technology isolation had left Japan, and possibly vulnerable to foreigners.

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