Impervious horrors of a leeward shore (arpad) wrote,
Impervious horrors of a leeward shore
arpad

“Japanese” pirates.

O, famous Japanese pirates that held all Chinese coastline in horror for more than a century. I read about them in several books. And I wondered - why Japanese invasion in Korea (1592-1598) failed?

It was just in the end of “pirate epoch”, but Japanese forces demonstrated their utter inability to fight a naval combat. Korean fleet sunk their ships, ruined communications, stopped shipping of more than 2/3 of invasion army and supplies for the vanguard. The war ended with disaster.

So where Japanese maritime achievements disappeared to?

Junk

Well, looks like I found the answer. It fits.

“For about two centuries from 1371 to 1567, when the Ming government again authorized Chinese ships to sail to foreign lands under suitable regulations and with official permissions, Chinese seamen and merchants had, therefore, to go outside the law to continue their way of life. Enough of them did so to constitute a nuisance to the Ming government. The officials called them “Japanese” pirates, thereby excusing themselves for not being able or willing to suppress them effectively. A few Japanese did join the pirates ranks, but most of the seamen operating illegally off the Chinese coast in the fifteenth and sixteens centuries were etnic Chinese. Like Wang Ko the ironmaster and his work force, these Chinese pirate-traders lacked enough popular support ever to challenge the organized might of Ming government seriously. After 1567, when a more or less satisfactory modus vivendi between officialdom and overseas entrepreneurs was achieved, piracy subsided and the crisis passed. But two centuries of illegal operation obviously hindered the development of Chinese overseas trade prior to that date and made it much easier for European merchants to gain a foothold in the Far East”
W.H.McNeill The Pursuit of Power

Something to tell about ways of old China.

It is possible that this model of “government control” is still exercised in a modern China. Indeed, how can the post-communist command bureaucracy can really be in command of THAT lot of people.

What do you think?
Tags: history
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