Imjin War

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,681
United States
#61
Others were forced to care because of trade laws. The Chinese recognition of Joseon as prestieged member of the tributary system meant that Out of Northeast Asia, only Korea could trade with China. Japan and Manchuria could not trade with China because they were not deemed civilized enough. This is why British and Dutch played along with being tributary atates to China because only tributaries can legallly trade with china. Thus, if Korea could trade with china, Korea could trade with Japan/Manchuria, and Japan/Manchuria could not trade with china, Korea reaped great profit by playing the middleman between the China/Manchuria/Japan trade and taking a cut from all the transactions. Japan was very furious wih this arrangement because it left them impoverished. The Imjin war is sometimes analyzed to have the second objective of securing profitable trade routes with the biggest market in the world at the time(even today), China.
To have official trade with China, you had to become a "vassal". This along with political recognition for the ruler were probably the biggest incentives for a state to become a vassal of China. Korea was generally considered barbarian as far as I know (although they certainly didn't perceive of themselves as such), so it wasn't an issue of civilized vs barbarians in that way.

The idea was that the civilized state (the hegemonic power) would cultivate hierarchic relations with friendly barbarian states to create buffers between them and the hostile barbarians. The friendly peripheral state agreed to remain loyal to the hegemonic power in exchange for political legitimization and trade benefits. As long as the "vassal" did not work against the central state, they didn't really care what they did internally or even internationally, generally speaking (at least in the case of Korea). From a rhetorical perspective, this also boosted the emperor's prestige based how large his sphere of influence was, since his job as heaven's representative was to rule and civilize the earth. The hegemonic power also would rank its different "vassal states" based on various criteria which of course had implications for international diplomacy and rhetoric.

The tribute-investiture system was mutually beneficial, hence why most peripheral "vassal" states took the first step in establishing such relations.

So as far as I can tell the "vassals" were typically independent and fully sovereign in all but the strictly Westphalian sense (i.e. that the state is not part of an international system that has some formal influence their decisions in one way or another).
 
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#62
During Ming Joseon era, Ming court saw Joseon as on par with China in terms of confucian legitemacy. Cant say that about Goryeo however. This is part of reason why Ming came to Joseon's aid during the war. When Qing took over the Ming, Josein became the last bastion of confucianism.

To better understand the relation, one only needs to look at European kings relation to the Vatican, or even modern democratic nations' relationship to the United States. It was prestigious to be recognized as a democracy by rhe United states, and those that break the US imposed rules suffer from trade sanctions. In Medieval Europe, the Pope was the symbolic ruler of all the Christian world, and kings could become excommunicated if they insulted the Vatican, which hurt the moral legitamacy.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,681
United States
#63
During Ming Joseon era, Ming court saw Joseon as on par with China in terms of confucian legitemacy. Cant say that about Goryeo however. This is part of reason why Ming came to Joseon's aid during the war. When Qing took over the Ming, Josein became the last bastion of confucianism.

To better understand the relation, one only needs to look at European kings relation to the Vatican, or even modern democratic nations' relationship to the United States. It was prestigious to be recognized as a democracy by rhe United states, and those that break the US imposed rules suffer from trade sanctions. In Medieval Europe, the Pope was the symbolic ruler of all the Christian world, and kings could become excommunicated if they insulted the Vatican, which hurt the moral legitamacy.
Well not really. The Ming court saw the Choson court as legitimate, but it was the emperor who handed out recognition of legitimacy (which of course was rhetorical, but that doesn't mean it didn't play a role in politics)

Actually most Koryo rulers (until the Mongol annexation) called themselves emperors, used an imperial internal structure, and saw themselves as equals of the Song emperors. Kwangjong implemented a classic imperial system complete with era names, but it did not outlast him. Koryo riulers called themselves hwangje "emperor" or haedong ch'onja "son of heaven east of the sea", putting themselves on the same level as the Chinese emperors. Song doesn't seem to have protested, probably because they had more pressing concerns with Liao and later Jin pressing down from the north. Northeast Asia was essentially a tripolar world through much of the Koryo period.

Yeah when Qing replaced the Ming, Choson elites generally did not see Qing as a legitimate successor.

Yeah I have compared the East Asian world order to the Vatican or the modern-day American hegemony in the past. There are strong comparisons that can be made between these equivalent systems. Sometimes there were multiple hegemonic spheres (like Song and Liao or Jin). Korea even when it was a "vassal" of another state usually formed a sphere of polities on its own (T'amna, Usan, Tsushima, and the Jurchen were at various times "vassals" of Korean states).
 
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#64
It should be noted from my reading of the first hand Chinese records, the Ming was concerned that the Japanese would launch a surprise attack somewhere along the Chinese coast and spent some effort to raise defense levels , especially the Shangdong peninsula.

We should also point out that the it was also true that the full Ming forces pretty deliberately attacked during the dead of winter, as their previous encounter and scouting suggested to them that the Japanese were not accustom to harsh winter at all (that's kinda only partially correct, some were but those that came on the expedition generally weren't.) the Japanese lines were stalled partially because also of their own internal politics, and of course, the winter.

The Japanese army that came was still a collection of feudal armies, they divided up responsibilities of regions to take down, the problem with this setup is that then it isn't really in the interest of any of the daimyos to work together, hence when the Moris who were mostly responsible for taking down Jeolla were generally met with much trouble (they basically failed to take it during the first war.) they neither had the incentives to ask for help, nor were other daimyos incentivized to help them. so coordination between the forces were bad because each lord was only really looking out for the parts they were promised.

The Ming for example, were concerned in their march south that Kato Kiyomasa was going to rear end them, as it turned out Kiyomasa and Konishi Yukinaga were on really bad terms and he had no thought of helping him out and once PyongYang was lost his main concern was to first secure his own retreat back south.

It was only once everyone gathered in Seoul that some cooperation became possible, because obviously by then it became evident that if they didn't cooperate they might all die there.

Of course, internal politics was not just limited to the Japanese, it played major roles in what the Ming and Joseon generally did during the war, but it was probably most evident within the Japanese that the feudal nature of their forces prevented them from acting more coherently or even strategically.
 
Mar 2012
4,340
#65
Well not really. The Ming court saw the Choson court as legitimate, but it was the emperor who handed out recognition of legitimacy (which of course was rhetorical, but that doesn't mean it didn't play a role in politics)

Actually most Koryo rulers (until the Mongol annexation) called themselves emperors, used an imperial internal structure, and saw themselves as equals of the Song emperors. Kwangjong implemented a classic imperial system complete with era names, but it did not outlast him. Koryo riulers called themselves hwangje "emperor" or haedong ch'onja "son of heaven east of the sea", putting themselves on the same level as the Chinese emperors. Song doesn't seem to have protested, probably because they had more pressing concerns with Liao and later Jin pressing down from the north. Northeast Asia was essentially a tripolar world through much of the Koryo period.

Yeah when Qing replaced the Ming, Choson elites generally did not see Qing as a legitimate successor.

Yeah I have compared the East Asian world order to the Vatican or the modern-day American hegemony in the past. There are strong comparisons that can be made between these equivalent systems. Sometimes there were multiple hegemonic spheres (like Song and Liao or Jin). Korea even when it was a "vassal" of another state usually formed a sphere of polities on its own (T'amna, Usan, Tsushima, and the Jurchen were at various times "vassals" of Korean states).
As I stated in the past, Korea was treated as Little Zhonghua since the Song dynasty by China.

The earliest reference of the Song calling Koryo Hua dates to 1076, where the ambassador of Koryo was referred to as 小中华使; or the little Zhonghua embassy and the embassador's poem was made into a collection called "little Hua collection".

Song Huizong considered Koryo a Xia 夏 or "Chinese" state, and took policies in regard to them out of the Hong Lusi (bureau for foreign tributaries) and placed Korean policies under the Shu Miyuan (bureau for military), arguing that Korea was not an Yi (barbarian).
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,681
United States
#66
As I stated in the past, Korea was treated as Little Zhonghua since the Song dynasty by China.

The earliest reference of the Song calling Koryo Hua dates to 1076, where the ambassador of Koryo was referred to as 小中华使; or the little Zhonghua embassy and the embassador's poem was made into a collection called "little Hua collection".

Song Huizong considered Koryo a Xia 夏 or "Chinese" state, and took policies in regard to them out of the Hong Lusi (bureau for foreign tributaries) and placed Korean policies under the Shu Miyuan (bureau for military), arguing that Korea was not an Yi (barbarian).
So how common was the view from Song on that Korea was civilized (hua or xia instead of yi)?
 
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Jul 2015
282
Japari Park
#67
Also I don't think the Hideyoshi respected (or even understood very well) the tribute-investiture system, or cared about which states China recognized as superior. They were planning on conquering China, after all.
The most likely case is that Hideyoshi knew but didn't care. During the ceacefire talk Hideyoshi did agree to be recognized by Ming as "King of Japan" (so Japan became an equal to Korea in the tributary status), although the talk ultimately failed due to other factors.

I can't recall any instances of Hideyoshi and Sonjo during the war performing formal diplomacy, but I could have forgotten something. Do you have any examples?
None that I can recall. Formal diplomatic exchange between Korea and Japan ceased after the war broke out AFAIK.

The invasion of Korea was perhaps the only part of the plan that was actually planned in detail, but Korea was just a stepping stone to China. China was the big prize.
This I can agree with.

On the topic of what Hideoyshi's goal for conquest was, his plan was basically, 1. Conquer Korea. 2. conquer China. 3. Conquer Phillippines. 4. Conquer Southeast Asia. 5. Conquer India. 6. Conquer Europe.
You can say that was Hideyoshi's plan for the First Invasion/Imjin Waeran.

By Second Invasion/Jeong-yu Jaeran, Hideyoshi's plan had become much more limited/conservative - just conquer a few parts of southern Korea and loot what they could and call it a day.
 
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Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,681
United States
#68
The most likely case is that Hideyoshi knew but didn't care. During the ceacefire talk Hideyoshi did agree to be recognized by Ming as "King of Japan" (so Japan became an equal to Korea in the tributary status), although the talk ultimately failed due to other factors.


None that I can recall. Formal diplomatic exchange between Korea and Japan ceased after the war broke out AFAIK.


This I can agree with.
I thought Hideyoshi didn't know he was agreeing to submit to China because of Shen Weijing and Konishi Yukinaga's deceptions?
 
Jul 2015
282
Japari Park
#69
I thought Hideyoshi didn't know he was agreeing to submit to China because of Shen Weijing and Konishi Yukinaga's deceptions?
No, the part about Hideyoshi tearing up Ming proposal in rage and condemned Ming diplomat/refused to bow was fabrications of later period, while first hand accounts from both Ming and Korean envoys recorded that Hideyoshi gladly accepted the proposal. He later restart the war because Ming ONLY recognize him as King of Japan, but still ban him from sending tribute mission to China.

(There were definitely deceptions involved, however, although Shen Weijing/Konishi Yukinaga shouldn't be blamed for all of it.)
 
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Mar 2012
4,340
#70
So how common was the view from Song on that Korea was civilized (hua or xia instead of yi)?
Considering policies in regard to them was moved from Hong Lusi to Shu Miyuan, its formal and not just an honorary title, at least under Song Huizong, I haven't looked up the policy of the Southern Song. However, Koryo was still registered under Yi in the Song Shi, albeit the Yi there might just be geographical (the same way the Qing emperors accepted they were geographically Yi originally, but were civilized (Hua). During the early Qing (at least until Qianlong), there will be some Chinese officials who silently agreed that Chosun was the real remnant of Chinese civilization, and China itself have became Yi (although this was from Korean sources); Korean ambassadors would often feel a degree of pride in the fact that they were the inheritors of Ming clothing and maybe even a slight distain for the Chinese literary and their Qing clothing and often mocked them. However, the Koreans duly noted that this was very different in regard to northeastern Han people as well as some officials, who thought Qing clothing was legitimately Hua, and the Korean style of clothing resembling Ming was now Yi, and even mocked their clumsiness.
 

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