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Old December 2nd, 2016, 07:23 AM   #61

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Afaik, it was the portuguese and later other europeans that introduced true firearms warfare to the japonese, that doesn't mean that single pieces of earlier guns, gunpowder or canons didn't arrived earlier from China. What i really can add to this speculative discussion is to try and unravel the number argument. As someone already said european "armies" or "Armadas" in Asia and India at that time were pretty small in numbers they relied on superior naval and military technology and organization and tactics, with support from local powers, that they intimidated, bribed or convinced to join them, so they could compensate a little the lack of manpower.

This is pretty well illustrated in the Naval Battle of Diu fought in 1509.

You have reports that estimate on the side of the Gujarat Sultanate fleet (supported by the Mamluks and to lesser extent Ottomans and venetian supplies and ships) with great numbers. 12 major ships 80 small warboats, 4000-5000 men and the Port's fortress's canons support.

The Portuguese had:

12 Major ships and 6 smaller caravels. 1300 portuguese mariners and 400 Indian Allies.

Even so the portuguese outgunned them and took a decisive victory with heavy casulaties on the other side. There were firearms and canons on both sides, but the ships and the quality, number and training of the artillery crews were simply much better on the portuguese side.

Of course a full land invasion by the europeans in Japan would be quite a different matter, most probably an impossible task, but controlling the most important Japonese ports and surronding waters would cripple an Island empire like Japan, i really don't know the full capacitiy of the japonese naval military of that time. China's fleet for example remained an unnassailable "obstacle" to some naive earlier probing portuguese military expeditions. Regardless the Europeans were only interested or capable of taking over major ports and islands not full scale continent or large islands invasions. The main objective was always mantaining trade.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 10:32 AM   #62

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but controlling the most important Japonese ports and surronding waters would cripple an Island empire like Japan, i really don't know the full capacitiy of the japonese naval military of that time. China's fleet for example remained an unnassailable "obstacle" to some naive earlier probing portuguese military expeditions. Regardless the Europeans were only interested or capable of taking over major ports and islands not full scale continent or large islands invasions. The main objective was always mantaining trade.
Japan of the 16th century wasn't a country that relied on external trade. Internal trade was mainly between the 3 home islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, which lie across easily navigable stretches of water, which is why the Japanese tended to be poor seafarers in open water, because they didn't need to be.

The Portuguese could perhaps have caused some damage by bombarding ports but to actually occupy them, or even blockade them for an extended period of time is another matter, particularly given the prevalence of bad weather.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 12:01 PM   #63

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The Portuguese could perhaps have caused some damage by bombarding ports but to actually occupy them, or even blockade them for an extended period of time is another matter, particularly given the prevalence of bad weather.
If there was intention and money available for such a project, in the XVI century, Portugal had the capacity to conquer, occupy and maintain a coastal city for a long time… until the money run out… at the period Portugal had such enclaves in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean.

On another perspective the arrival of the Portuguese to Japan gifted us with the spectacular Nanban Art panels, for instance here the one in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, in Lisbon:

Biombos Namban | Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 01:31 PM   #64

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The Portuguese could perhaps have caused some damage by bombarding ports but to actually occupy them, or even blockade them for an extended period of time is another matter, particularly given the prevalence of bad weather.
I agree, what history tell us is that in the 16th century neither portuguese or spanish had interest, nor the capability to conquer Japan, so it would be a futile and most probably impossible task. As i said earlier the iberian kingdoms (specially Portugal) were more concerned in taking control of sea trade routes. The portuguese, for a time, were especially adept at taking the role of mediators or foreign representatives in the trade between China, Japan and the rest of the world, the main conquering aspirations were the control of key Ports around the indian ocean and sea of china, not the conquest of established local dynasties or nations.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 01:57 PM   #65

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If there was intention and money available for such a project, in the XVI century, Portugal had the capacity to conquer, occupy and maintain a coastal city for a long time… until the money run out… at the period Portugal had such enclaves in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean.
Maintaining an occupation in a technologically equivalent country is quite different from doing so in a sparsely populated enclave. Landing a force large enough to gain a foothold would be an endeavour in itself, never mind keeping it adequately supplied and up to strength. The Japanese had the capacity and knowhow to maintain sieges for years if required.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 02:00 PM   #66

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I agree, what history tell us is that in the 16th century neither portuguese or spanish had interest, nor the capability to conquer Japan, so it would be a futile and most probably impossible task. As i said earlier the iberian kingdoms (specially Portugal) were more concerned in taking control of sea trade routes. The portuguese, for a time, were especially adept at taking the role of mediators or foreign representatives in the trade between China, Japan and the rest of the world, the main conquering aspirations were the control of key Ports around the indian ocean and sea of china, not the conquest of established local dynasties or nations.
That's true, although that role was eventually assumed by the Dutch.

The Portuguese also wanted to spread their religion, which the Protestant Dutch weren't, which was why they were allowed to trade after the country closed.

Even when they had local allies, like the Arima or Otomo, the Portuguese weren't able to render decisive assistance to those allies.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 02:11 PM   #67
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I'm still baffled that this question comes up time and time again. The Japanese had a minimum troop capacity of 300,000. Scholarly estimates based on economic and administrative capabilities go up to 1.5 million troops ready-able in case of home defence. Portugal's whole population during the 16th century was about 1 million. Even if the Portuguese had successfully landed their entire fighting population, they would have been annihilated quickly. And that is ignoring the Dutch who had pledged allegiance towards the Japanese in case of an Iberian attack.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 02:58 PM   #68

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I'm still baffled that this question comes up time and time again. The Japanese had a minimum troop capacity of 300,000. Scholarly estimates based on economic and administrative capabilities go up to 1.5 million troops ready-able in case of home defence. Portugal's whole population during the 16th century was about 1 million. Even if the Portuguese had successfully landed their entire fighting population, they would have been annihilated quickly. And that is ignoring the Dutch who had pledged allegiance towards the Japanese in case of an Iberian attack.
How much was the Spanish population in 1574? Was it 6 million? The whole of the Japanese population in the late 1500s was 8 million. The same would apply to the Spanish in that if they had somehow managed to land their entire fighting population, they too would have been annihilated.

Anway defeating indiginous populations in the Americas that were armed with stone aged weapons was one thing, but defeating an entirely more sophisticated civilization armed with guns and steel is something altogether different.

Then again to Martin76, victory and superiority is a foregone conclussion just by virtue of being Spanish.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 03:02 PM   #69

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Maintaining an occupation in a technologically equivalent country is quite different from doing so in a sparsely populated enclave. Landing a force large enough to gain a foothold would be an endeavour in itself, never mind keeping it adequately supplied and up to strength. The Japanese had the capacity and knowhow to maintain sieges for years if required.
In siege warfare I have doubts that there was technological equivalence. But what is your reference o a sparsely populated enclave? And in my previous post I wasn’t thinking in any large force, unless you consider some 1000 men a large force.

On the other hand maintaining an enclave is not an impossible mission. Portugal did that is several places, under constant attack, and even, a couple of centuries later the British could maintain Gibraltar against a technological equivalent country. Anyway in this case is as possible as speculative. The motivation would be the principal issue, and as Medieval pointed out there wasn’t.

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I'm still baffled that this question comes up time and time again. The Japanese had a minimum troop capacity of 300,000. Scholarly estimates based on economic and administrative capabilities go up to 1.5 million troops ready-able in case of home defence. Portugal's whole population during the 16th century was about 1 million. Even if the Portuguese had successfully landed their entire fighting population, they would have been annihilated quickly. And that is ignoring the Dutch who had pledged allegiance towards the Japanese in case of an Iberian attack.
Didn’t read any post here defending that Portugal would conquer Japan. Even if war is not only a question of numbers. The Europeans proved that in their colonial conquests. Besides the title thread was about Spain in 1570. But could you develop your last sentence? I quote “And that is ignoring the Dutch who had pledged allegiance towards the Japanese in case of an Iberian attack.”
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 03:28 PM   #70

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In siege warfare I have doubts that there was technological equivalence. But what is your reference o a sparsely populated enclave? And in my previous post I wasn’t thinking in any large force, unless you consider some 1000 men a large force.
The Japanese were experienced with siege warfare. There was more than adequate technological equivalence.

The point of the large force was exactly that. An invader would need a large force to take and hold a port. Even 1000 men was beyond the capability of the Spanish, or Portuguese at that distance - IIRC, most battles were fought with a few hundred Europeans and a much larger proportion of native troops.

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On the other hand maintaining an enclave is not an impossible mission. Portugal did that is several places, under constant attack, and even, a couple of centuries later the British could maintain Gibraltar against a technological equivalent country. Anyway in this case is as possible as speculative. The motivation would be the principal issue, and as Medieval pointed out there wasn’t.
It's not just about motivation, it's about capability, and the Spanish and Portuguese didn't have it. And if your argument centres on motivation, then even if the invaders had succeeded in gaining a foothold, if the Japanese had the motivation to regain it, they would have.

Gibraltar is a false comparison. The British had already been in occupation for ten years after the Treaty of Utrecht, ample time fortify the defences, and it took weeks for reinforcements to arrive from Britain, not months.

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Didn’t read any post here defending that Portugal would conquer Japan. Even if war is not only a question of numbers. The Europeans proved that in their colonial conquests. Besides the title thread was about Spain in 1570. But could you develop your last sentence? I quote “And that is ignoring the Dutch who had pledged allegiance towards the Japanese in case of an Iberian attack.”
The colonial conquests were largely done with large numbers of local allies fighting enemies with technology considerably inferior to that possessed by the Spanish. That was not the case with Japan. At sea, perhaps. Not on land.

The Portuguese Jesuits tried the same tactics by converting a large number of local lords, particularly in Kyushu, but were never able to make any decisive intervention to further their cause. They were even granted the port of Nagasaki and administered it - for a while, it was a Catholic colony. Hideyoshi had 26 Jesuits crucified and eventually Ieyasu had the rest and the traders expelled, and the Portuguese were unable to stop it happening. Their place was taken by the Dutch.

That sentence about the Dutch was made by Entreri, so I will let him expand on it.

But the Portuguese tried to get Ieyasu to execute Will Adams and the Dutch crew on the Liefde, claiming that they were pirates. Ieyasu refused. and in fact retained Adams as his adviser for a time.
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