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Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Kamakura, of course,
triumphed. After six months' retention the envoys were sent away
without so much as a written acknowledgment. The records contain
nothing to show whether this bold course on the part of the Bakufu
had its origin in ignorance of the Mongol's might or in a conviction
of the bushi's fighting superiority. Probably both factors were
operative; for Japan's knowledge of Jenghiz and his resources reached
her chiefly through religious channels, and the fact that Koreans
were associated with Mongols in the mission must have tended to lower
the affair in her estimation. Further, the Japanese had been taught
by experience the immense difficulties of conducting oversea
campaigns, and if they understood anything about the Mongols, it
should have been the essentially non-maritime character of the
mid-Asian conquerors.

By Kublai himself that defect was well appreciated. He saw that to
carry a body of troops to Japan, the seagoing resources of the
Koreans must be requisitioned, and on the bootless return of his
first embassy, he immediately issued orders to the Koma King to build
one thousand ships and mobilize forty thousand troops. In vain the
recipient of these orders pleaded inability to execute them. The Khan
insisted, and supplemented his first command with instructions that
agricultural operations should be undertaken on a large scale in the
peninsula to supply food for the projected army of invasion.
Meanwhile he despatched embassy after embassy to Japan, evidently
being desirous of carrying his point by persuasion rather than by
force. The envoys invariably returned re infecta. On one occasion
(1269), a Korean vessel carried off two Japanese from Tsushima and
sent them to Peking. There, Kublai treated them kindly, showed them
his palace as well as a parade of his troops, and sent them home to
tell what they had seen. But the Japanese remained obdurate, and
finally the Khan sent an ultimatum, to which Tokimune, the Hojo
regent, replied by dismissing the envoys forthwith.

War was now inevitable. Kublai massed 25,000 Mongol braves in Korea,
supplemented them with 15,000 Korean troops, and embarking them in a
flotilla of 900 vessels manned by 8000 Koreans, launched this paltry
army against Japan in November, 1274. The armada began by attacking
Tsushima and Iki, islands lying in the strait that separates the
Korean peninsula from Japan. In Tsushima, the governor, So Sukekuni,*
could not muster more than two hundred bushi. But these two hundred
fought to the death, as did also the still smaller garrison of Iki.
Before the passage of the narrow strait was achieved, the invaders
must have lost something of their faith in the whole enterprise. On
November 20th, they landed at Hako-zaki Gulf in the province of
Chikuzen There they were immediately assailed by the troops of five
Kyushu chieftains. What force the latter represented there is no
record, but they were certainly less numerous than the enemy.
Moreover, the Yuan army possessed a greatly superior tactical system.
By a Japanese bushi the battle-field was regarded as an arena for the
display of individual prowess, not of combined force. The Mongols, on
the contrary, fought in solid co-operation, their movements directed
by sound of drum from some eminence where the commander-in-chief
watched the progress of the fight. If a Japanese approached to defy
one of them to single combat, they enveloped and slew him. Further,
at close quarters they used light arms dipped in poison, and for
long-range purposes they had powerful crossbows, which quite
outclassed the Japanese weapons. They were equipped also with
explosives which they fired from metal tubes, inflicting heavy loss
on the Japanese, who were demoralized by such an unwonted weapon.
Finally, they were incomparable horsemen, and in the early encounters
they put the Japanese cavalry out of action by raising with drums and
gongs a din that terrified the latter's horses. But, in spite of all
these disadvantages, the Japanese fought stubbornly. Whenever they
got within striking distance of the foe, they struck desperately, and
towards evening they were able to retire in good order into cover
"behind the primitive fortifications of Mizuki raised for Tenchi
Tenno by Korean engineers six centuries before."

*Grandson of Taira no Tomomori, admiral of the Hei fleet in the
battle of Dan-no-ura.

ENGRAVING: REPULSE OF THE MONGOL INVADERS (From a scroll painting in
possession of the Imperial Household)

That night the west coast of Kyushu was menaced by one of those
fierce gales that rage from time to time in sub-tropical zones. The
Korean pilots knew that their ships could find safety in the open sea
only. But what was to be done with the troops which had debarked? Had
their commanders seen any certain hope of victory, they would not
have hesitated to part temporarily from the ships. The day's
fighting, however, appears to have inspired a new estimate of the
bushi's combatant qualities. It was decided to embark the Yuan forces
and start out to sea. For the purpose of covering this movement, the
Hakozaki shrine and some adjacent hamlets were fired, and when
morning dawned the invaders' flotilla was seen beating out of the
bay. One of their vessels ran aground on Shiga spit at the north of
the haven and several others foundered at sea, so that when a tally
was finally called, 13,200 men did not answer to their names. As to
what the Japanese casualties were, there is no information.

THE SECOND MONGOL INVASION

Of course Kublai did not acknowledge this as a defeat at the hands of
the Japanese. On the contrary, he seems to have imagined that the
fight had struck terror into the hearts of the islanders by
disclosing their faulty tactics and inferior weapons. He therefore
sent another embassy, which was charged to summon the King of Japan
to Peking, there to do obeisance to the Yuan Emperor. Kamakura's
answer was to decapitate the five leaders of the mission and to
pillory their heads outside the city. Nothing, indeed, is more
remarkable than the calm confidence shown at this crisis by the
Bakufu regent, Tokimune. His country's annalists ascribe that mood to
faith in the doctrines of the Zen sect of Buddhism; faith which he
shared with his father, Tokiyori, during the latter's life. The Zen
priests taught an introspective philosophy. They preached that life
springs from not-living, indestructibility from destruction, and that
existence and non-existence are one in reality. No creed could better
inspire a soldier.

It has been suggested that Tokimune was not guided in this matter
solely by religious instincts: he used the Zen-shu bonzes as a
channel for obtaining information about China. Some plausibility is
given to that theory by the fact that he sat, first, at the feet of
Doryu, originally a Chinese priest named Tao Lung, and that on
Doryu's death he invited (1278) from China a famous bonze, Chu Yuan
(Japanese, Sogen), for whose ministrations the afterwards celebrated
temple Yengaku-ji was erected. Sogen himself, when officiating at the
temple of Nengjen, in Wenchow, had barely escaped massacre at the
hands of the Mongols, and he may not have been averse to acting as a
medium of information between China and Kamakura.

Tokimune's religious fervour, however, did not interfere with his
secular preparations. In 1280, he issued an injunction exhorting
local officials and vassals (go-kenin) to compose all their
dissensions and work in unison. There could be no greater crime, the
document declared, then to sacrifice the country's interests on the
altar of personal enmities at a time of national crisis. Loyal
obedience on the part of vassals, and strict impartiality on the side
of high constables--these were the virtues which the safety of the
State demanded, and any neglect to practise them should be punished
with the utmost severity. This injunction was issued in 1280, and
already steps had been taken to construct defensive works at all
places where the Mongols might effect a landing--at Hakozaki Bay in
Kyushu; at Nagato, on the northern side of the Shimonoseki Strait; at
Harima, on the southern shore of the Inland Sea; and at Tsuruga, on
the northwest of the main island. Among these places, Hakozaki and
Nagato were judged to be the most menaced, and special offices, after
the nature of the Kyoto tandai, were established there.

ENGRAVING: HOJO TOKIMUNE

Seven years separated the first invasion from the second. It was not
of deliberate choice that Kublai allowed so long an interval to
elapse. The subjugation of the last supporters of the Sung dynasty in
southern China had engrossed his attention, and with their fall he
acquired new competence to prosecute this expedition to Japan,
because while the Mongolian boats were fit only for plying on inland
waters, the ships of the southern Chinese were large, ocean-going
craft. It was arranged that an army of 100,000 Chinese and Mongols
should embark at a port in Fuhkien opposite the island of Formosa,
and should ultimately form a junction in Tsushima Strait with an
armada of 1000 Korean ships, carrying, in addition to their crews, a
force of 50,000 Mongols and 20,000 Koreans.

But before launching this formidable host, Kublai made a final effort
to compass his end without fighting. In 1280, he sent another embassy
to Japan, announcing the complete overthrow of the Sung dynasty, and
summoning the Island Empire to enter into friendly relations.
Kamakura's answer was to order the execution of the envoys at the
place where they had landed, Hakata in Chikuzen. Nothing now remained
except an appeal to force. A weak point in the Yuan strategy was that
the two armadas were not operated in unison. The Korean fleet sailed
nearly a month before that from China. It would seem that the
tardiness of the latter was not due wholly to its larger dimensions,
but must be attributed in part to its composition. A great portion of
the troops transported from China were not Mongols, but Chinese, who
had been recently fighting against the Yuan, and whose despatch on a
foreign campaign in the service of their victors suggested itself as
a politic measure.



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