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unmerged(53605)

The Ferret
Feb 4, 2006
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Chapter One: Twilight


tabi ni yande
yume wa kareno o
kakemeguru


Ill on a journey
All about the dreary fields
Fly my broken dreams
- Basho


The Muromachi era of Japan began in the mid-fourteenth century, and with its dawn brought new promise. Old imperial rites were revived, powers diversified through the many lords throughout the land. A few of the Ashikaga shoguns even showed greatness. It was Yoshimitsu who finally reunified the Northern and Southern Imperial Courts, ending countless years of division and strife. And it was he who built the golden temple on the western edge of Kyoto. Zen Buddhism and Shinto thrived side by side, and art and culture mingled amongst the imperial courtiers and shogunal samurai. In 1336, it had looked like a promise with foundation.

By 1453, the teenage Ashikaga Yoshimasa was left to reflect upon generation upon generation of what might have been. With the great maelstrom of chaos and anarchy still hovering just beyond the horizon, he mused over the plans for his Ginkakuji, the silver temple he had planned for Kyoto’s eastern hills. His new kanrei (shogunal deputy) had come up with the plan to give the young man’s reign an air of pomp. Historians have long argued whether Yoshimasa had any power to avert the coming disaster, while nationalists have argued that perhaps it was best that Japan was ripped asunder, like the bonsai which only properly grows after brutal pruning. At any rate, when the architectural plans were put forth that summer for the pavilion and garden, none could have predicted the crisis to come, least of all the young Ashikaga walking in the aged shoes of the Muromachi.

The kanrei, Ise Sadachika, was a courtier of the great Asian tradition, a mandarin more adept at bureaucratic intrigue than genuine administration. He was also the shogun’s father-in-law, and held great sway, both privately and at court. The mid-fifteenth century became noteworthy, as much as anything, for Kyoto’s insularity. When famine gripped the eastern Kanto Plain in December of 1458, the kanrei cautioned patience. It was, after all, no concern of the shogun what happened to distant farmers.

childshogun1ge1.jpg

The great question of the day was that of succession. Yoshimasa was heirless throughout the early years of his reign, and many called for his brother, Yoshimi, to be named successor. This was eventually done, only to be followed by the then calamitous birth of an heir. To the traditionalists, the son was the natural and rightful heir. To the strong-willed, Yoshimi was the logical choice. Too many of the later Muromachi years had been wasted on infantile shoguns. If Japan was to be strong, she needed a strong sovereign. Or so the thinking went.

The two great shugo clans of the day were the Yamana and Hosokawa, loyal retainers who propped up both emperor and shogun through troubled times. The succession crises brought them into direct conflict. When a succession dispute rose in their own ranks, the time to settle old scores seemed ripe. Ise Sadachika had long resented the great mercantile strength of the Hosokawa, and convinced his son-in-law to side with the less wealthy Yamana. It was time to break the power of Settsu.

shugosuccession5lz0.jpg

The war was brief. The imperial general, Sogo Sojun, marched his army from Yamashiro into Settsu, and laid siege to Naniwa. The Hosokawa had wealth, but had done little to prepare for what had seemed at first a diplomatic row. Naniwa fell in a matter of weeks, and Settsu was made a mercantile enclave, a vassal to the greater Ashikaga bakufu. It was an attempt to impose restrictions on the powerful Hosokawa clan. Instead, it created a microcosm in which their merchants could operate, sending a fraction of the former tribute on to Kyoto. Naniwa grew fat and wealthy, while Japan tightened its purse-strings.

The solution came a year later, when Shiba Daisuke, a lord from one of the Regent Houses, suggested creating a new mercantile centre. Anti-Hosokawan sentiment had reached strange and monstrous proportions by now, and the merchants of Japan, always seen as only a step above the untouchable eta, were now loathed. The decision was made to place them on the seemingly remote outcrop of Satsuma, the southernmost area of Kyushu. There the Shimazu clan ruled, a people with a decidedly more worldly outlook than their Honshu brethren. In time, the outer fringes of Japan came to conduct their trade there, while the more traditional Kansai continued to focus their wealth in Naniwa.

splittrade6fd1.jpg

Perhaps sensing weakness from the Japanese throne, perhaps merely to capitalise on their successes throughout Asia, Korea declared war in October 1465. In spite of the many crises unfolding at home, the Japanese navy was up to the job of keeping the seas clear of Korean ships. In April 1466, a decisive battle was fought in the Amakusa Sea, and two Korean warships were captured. These were designed for transport. For whatever reason, Korea had not committed her famous turtle ships to the battle.

The following November saw the western shores of Shikoku invaded by a Korean Army 3,000 strong. Sogo Sojun crossed the straits from Settsu, and within months the offensive was over, the first invasion of Japan from the Asian mainland since Mongol invasions had been devastated by the kamikaze winds of the late thirteenth century.

But the moments of peace following the campaign were fleeting. While a settlement was argued, war broke out within Kyoto proper. The Yamana and Hosokawa took their long rivalry, and their contradictory views over the succession, to the streets of the capital. The result was a bloodbath.

oninwar7pw6.jpg

The shogun, in a remarkable act of self-determination, declared both clans to be rebels. The replies were swift. Diplomacy would continue, not on the basis of lord and liege, but on the basis of distinct powers. The shugo were now the daimyos, the ‘great names’. And they would make their presence felt across the land in the ensuing decades.

Within months, other daimyos within the central Kansai region of Honshu had made similar proclamations, some loudly, some with wordless action. The Mori clan simply attacked the Yamana. It was months of bloodshed before a white peace was signed.

Meanwhile, Yoshimasa still had the Koreans to contend with. Indecisive naval skirmishes continued apace, while Sogo dashed his armies up and down the country, staving off various rebellions, many of which were led by the ikko-ikki, a conglomeration of lordless samurai, sohei (warrior monks) and angry farmers.

By November of 1469, Kyoto and its environs were cleared of rebellions. The daimyos generally seemed to be living peaceably, if not harmoniously. Two months later, Korea was attacked by the Jurchen Mongols of Manchu, and hastily agreed to peace with the Ashikaga. Daimyo further in the hinterlands continued to exercise greater independence, but there was an air of calm. With hindsight, this was merely the eye of the storm. The full fury was about to unleash itself.

In the spring, the Amago clan attacked the Yamana, and claimed a devastating victory. The once-proud clan was utterly destroyed. The daimyo committed seppuku , and his retainers obeyed the ancient practice of junshi, ‘following in death’. The Yamana, who only years before had sat at the right hand of the greatest power in the land, were no more. Amago Kiyosada now sat at the head of his conquering armies, with Yamashiro and Kyoto within easy reach. Perhaps he understood that it was too soon for a great unifying victory. Or perhaps, like Hannibal, he simply lacked follow-through. At any rate, he turned from the east, and sought to consolidate power against his local rivals, the Ouchi and Mori.

Ashikaga Yoshimasa died in November of 1471. His son, just ten years old, became shogun, yet another child to claim that title. Like his father, his rule was largely governed by his grandfather, Ise Sadachika. Unlike his father, his rule would shrink to a whisper, and vanish, within his brief lifetime.

In January 1475, the second daimyo aggrandisement occurred in Shikoku. The Chosokabe were destroyed by the forces of Miyoshi Nobuyasu. The Miyoshi now controlled the whole of Shikoku. Months later, the Shimazu followed in independence, cutting off the merchant wealth of Kagoshima. Now, only the Kanto plain retained any semblance of loyalty to the shogun, and to Kyoto.

The Sengoku jidai, the Age of Warring States, had begun.


sengokujidaigv4.jpg
 

Nikolai

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Subscribed. I have looked forward to this for a while now!
 

unmerged(59737)

Strategos ton Exkoubitores
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*Subscribes*
 

coz1

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Excellent, isca! It'll be great to see all the events put in there for Japan in MM Gold. So does this mean it is out? I need to head over and check. Looking forward to where you go with this and this first post was great! Keep it up.
 

unmerged(70701)

Second Lieutenant
Mar 3, 2007
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Ooh... this will be interesting!

It's quite convenient that you placed a COT in Shimazu lands before the civil war... heh heh.
 

dharper

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The Shimazu, hm? It should be interesting to see how your game progresses. I've never seen them played by a human before.
 

unmerged(53605)

The Ferret
Feb 4, 2006
781
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Chapter Two: Diffusion


shimajima ya
chiji ni kudakete
natsu no umi


Islands
Shattered into thousands of pieces
In the summer sea
- Basho


Between the summer and winter of 1475, Ashikaga Yoshisuke declared the great houses on the fringes of Japan to be traitors to his shogunal authority. With this, the Date, Hojo, Uesugi and Otomo left behind any pretext of allegiance to Kyoto. The Ashikaga bakufu was left with the Yamashiro province, whose name means ‘mountain fortress’. The solitude inherent in the name would prove fitting in the years to come.

The sudden and dramatic downturn in the fortunes of so many clans left the Imperial Army in a precarious state. Kyoto could no longer afford its services, and so it was officially ‘disbanded’. Sogo Sojun, the great general who had led his armies to countless victories in the build-up to the succession debacle, who had put down the rebellions sparked by the Onin War, and who had defeated the early incarnations of the Ikko Ikki, was a man defeated not by war, but by his own servitude. Unrivalled on the battlefields of the 1450-60s, he was left without a country or empire to defend. He committed seppuku on a stark, clear day in January 1476. His followers did not join him in junshi. Rather, they turned to Sogo’s successor, Toyotomi Kazuji.

Kazuji was a member of the Shimazu clan, from Satsuma. He quickly moved with the Imperial army to the northern shores of Yamashiro, where the Imperial Navy was moored, awaiting orders. Most of Japan’s great sailors were from the west, and many of them boasted ties to the Shimazu, so it was little trouble convincing them of their new loyalties. But instead of heading for Kyushu, Kazuji made immediately for Settsu, and the rich mercantile enclave of Naniwa. There, he made clear where the future lay, and Naniwa swore allegiance to the Shimazu.

By the end of February 1476, the armies had debarked in Nagasaki, and quickly made their way to the border with Hizen. Pausing scarcely to catch their breaths, the army spilled over into the Ryuzoji lands. The war was more a single battle than a long struggle, and many expected the Ryuzoji to suffer the same fate as the Yamana before them.

annexryuzojiwv6.jpg

But Toyotomi Kazuji was not made from the same mould as Amago Kiyosada. Ryozoji Yasuhide kept his lands and his title in return for fealty. It was a difficult bargain to turn down given the circumstances, and would prove the model for the coming decades of Shimazu expansion.

The Otomo put up resistance throughout 1476, but were defeated and similarly brought into the fold in February 1477. Kyushu was secure, and the Shimazu could look at extending their power into neighbouring Shikoku, or into Honshu itself. The question of objective did not wait long for an answer. The old Imperial Navy sailed out into the seas of western Honshu, ferrying troops into Nagato. The Ouchi were caught unawares, and called upon their old ties to the Ashikaga. The shogun responded diplomatically, but not militarily, dismissing the rise of the Shimazu as the Seinan (Southwestern) War, a regional dispute at best. The Ouchi fell quickly, and some have argued what the effect might have been had the shogun become more directly involved. Some have argued that the entire Sengoku jidai might have been brought to a sudden and abrupt halt within a decade of the Onin War’s commencement. But the shogun held back, and his next decisions would influence Japanese history to the present day.

Shimazu expansion continued with a war against Amago Kiyosada himself, the first of the bold ‘great names’. While Kazuji rode into Izumo, armies from Hosokawa flooded into Harima, ancestral home of their foes the Yamana.

amagopincerix6.jpg

With the submission of the Amago, the great obstacle in the west was cleared. In the east, the Hojo, old keepers of the shogunate themselves, were attempting to revive forgotten glories. The Imagawa were wiped off the map in June 1479, illustrating once again the difference between the Shimazu way of doing business, and the method preferred by other daimyo.

That same year was crucial for the future of the west when a dispute erupted between the Ouchi and Hosokawa, two of the greatest clans of the Muromachi period. Strictly speaking, the war was between two of the Shimazu vassals. Kazuji had three options: side with the Ouchi, and opportunistically raid the great wealth of Naniwa; side with Hosokawa, who were adjudged by most to be in the right; or to abjure, leaving the two vassals to determine a winner amongst themselves. It is probably worth remembering just how prevalent the Hosokawa had been during the decline of the Ashikaga bakufu. Theirs was a name associated with both the corruption of the Kyoto court, as well as the nihilism and debauchery of the mercantile districts of Japan. Hosokawa was not a name to engender warmth or compassion amongst either the mighty samurai or the lowly farmer. Kazuji invaded Settsu with over twenty thousand troops.

Meanwhile back in the Satsuma capital, Kagoshima, a young daimyo was coming of age. Kazuji had served as military leader, and de facto regent, but now Shimazu Motohisa was ready to take charge. He was a fiery young man of irrepressible energy, quick of both sword and wit.

shimazumotohisatz6.jpg

While Motohisa was busying himself adjusting his finances in anticipation of impending wealth, Kazuji was in Naniwa securing that wealth. The Hosokawa surrendered in February 1480. In a rare act of vengeance, Motohisa ordered the lords of the clan to all commit seppuku. While many gawped at his youthful audacity, few mourned the loss of the Kansai powerhouse. Few appreciated the new reality, which saw both the great centres of Japanese trade in the hands of a far-flung western clan about whom few had ever given much thought. They were, to most, still Japan’s ‘potato farmers’, too poor even to cultivate rice.

What had begun under the rule of Kazuji continued under the rule of Motohisa. Miyoshi and Ichijo fell to a daring simultaneous war, securing the whole of Shikoku in a single, brief conflict.

shikokuxo0.jpg

With the western half of Japan nominally under Shimazu control, it was time to consolidate. The years of incessant war had ground down the morale of the troops, as well as the spirit of the people. In spite of innumerable military victories, Satsuma was still only taking in the direct incomes of its own farms and mercantile districts, and the rich chinaware trade from Naniwa. It was wealth, to be sure, but nothing like that of Japan as a whole. The vassals, of ever dubious loyalty, sent their tithes and stipends on to Kagoshima, but there was an army desperate for reinforcements, and markets desperate for stability. Motohisa had accomplished more than any other daimyo since the beginning of the Sengoku jidai, but it was built on a foundation of paper and straw.

In Kyoto, Ashikaga Yoshisuke wondered what to do about his fractured empire. While ministers and officials had spent years trying to convince him that all was well, at last it was time to see reality. He dismissed his aging father-in-law, Ise Sadachika, and searched vainly for a new administrator, a new compass for his own erratic decision-making.

That was when Japan’s second rupture exploded. The Ikko Ikki went from a movement of disaffected peasants and monks to a dispersed, roaming army of thousands. Shimazu Motohisa did what he could to get their numbers under his mon (daimyo banner), but the sitting shogun was going to do no such thing. It was beneath contempt to placate rural dross.

ikkoikkiqm2.jpg

What the shogun did do was to open a Pandora’s Box worthy of Faust. In the early days of the Japanese Empire, it had been customary for the Emperor to entreat the Chinese Emperor. Subsequent Emperors had often been referred to by Chinese sovereigns as King of Japan, denoting the special status of the Dynastic Ruler. It was a form of kowtowing most Japanese deplored. It was a symbol of past disgrace. China would not stand for two Asian Emperors, and the shame had been that some Japanese monarchs had agreed to the ‘courtesy’.

So when a small Japanese ship set sail in 1483 for Nanjing, there was no pomp, no ceremony, none of the usual symbols of an imperial embassy. Ming China had been a sleeping giant, peacefully ignoring the calamities which were befalling her sister empire. But she was about to wake up to find the sun rising in the east over a country in flames – a country, perhaps, ripe for the taking.

 

dharper

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Never disappointing, Isca.

Let me tell you, you keep coming up with strategies I would never have thought of. Using the Hosokawa rivalry to create a second COT, then seizing both in the first years of the Sengoku? Methinks this will be a short, and very one sided, era of warring states.

PS: Be aware that there's a potential downside to choosing to support the Ikko Ikki...
 

germanpeon

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Are you vassalizing everyone instead of annexing for story purposes or is there some MM mechanic that makes it the best option?
Very cool update by the way.
 

BBBD316

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Really great AAR, my Japanese history is pathetic at worst so I am having some trouble sorting out all the clans and people but is still really well written.
 

stnylan

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Well, all's gone to hell in Japan that's for sure. Will follow what results with great interest.
 

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The Ferret
Feb 4, 2006
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germanpeon said:
Are you vassalizing everyone instead of annexing for story purposes or is there some MM mechanic that makes it the best option?
Very cool update by the way.

If I annex, I get LOTS of BB. I would have had to stop after two daimyos (i.e. just Kyushu). Daimyos in the Sengoku have BIG armies. I decided it was better to get as many of them on-side as possible, rather than just annex a couple. Given that I start in Kyushu, which is the poorest bit of Japan, it was also good to get vassal incomes coming in early.

And after my first diplo-annex (read in a few installments!), the story has taken yet another interesting turn...

David, my war exhaustion is about 40% after YEARS of peace, and my manpower has only just recovered. I'm not sure this will take 150 years, but there's some fight in Eastern Japan left! ;)
 

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MM Dev Team
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Excellent read as always! :)


I suppose an increase in maximum badboy would help the particular case of Sengoku in Magna Mundi.
 

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Chapter Three: Red Giant


morokoshi no
ame shita to ya
tsurakaran


Does not China also
Lie beneath this selfsame sky
Bound in misery?
- Iio Sogi


Okyaku-san. That was the term used for the Ming Chinese army which arrived in Yamashiro in May 1484 – ‘guest’. They were visitors to the imperial court. Nothing more. The fact that the shogun had needed to alert coastal sentries that it was not an invasion force does something to dispel whatever illusions Ashikaga Yoshisuke might have had about his turning to Ming China for support. The ‘guests’ arrived in two waves, the first consisting of 16,000 mounted troops. More were on the way.

While the foreign army was assembling outside Kyoto, a separate legation was headed for Harima, where Shimazu Motohisa had come to inspect his troops. The Ashikaga representative was wearing a horo, the broad stiffened cape of a battlefield messenger. The meaning was clear enough. He presented two options: the Shimazu could back a restoration of the shogunate, or such a claim would be secured through Chinese arms. Motohisa was both worldly and fiercely nationalistic, and saw in the threat the ruin of both Shimazu hopes and Japan itself. He sent the legate’s head back to Kyoto, wrapped in his horo.

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An irony of the situation was that the Shimazu needed money, unimaginable sums if they were to fend off Ming China single-handedly. The vassals, who had grown in number and strength, might intervene, but Motohisa knew he had few true allies. So, instead of sending his armies to the mainland, he sent his merchants. Within months, great inroads had been made in Nanjing, and a small piece of the wealth of China began to flow into Japanese coffers.

In September 1484, the other great foreign threat to Japan made itself known for the first time. Sechen Khan had done much to reunify the Mongol hordes north of China, and in a Byzantine bit of diplomacy every bit as worthy of jingoistic contempt as the Ming alliance, Hojo Soun had thrown in his lot with a mainland empire. The Mongols had made quick work of the northern island of Hokkaido, and started landing troops around the old capital of Kamakura. No kamikaze wind blew that day, and once again foreign ‘guests’ were welcomed onto Japanese soil.

Amago Kiyosada, still proud and defiant as ever, decided to escalate tensions with the foreigners. His lands were hundreds of miles west of the Hojo, but it was a gesture with a design, to force the Shimazu to the forefront of the battle to preserve a Japanese polity. Finally, the Hojo obliged and declared war.

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But even Motohisa would have trouble accessing Hojo lands. The seas were filled with Mongol vessels, and the Oda stood between, declaring their neutrality openly. The Shimazu would not be permitted to pass. Motohisa, always more of a general than a diplomat, took the rebuke as a new opportunity. Kii was invaded in September. By February, the Oda had submitted, and the road was now open into Hojo lands.

Soon the Ashina were involved, and the war was engulfing much of the Kanto Plain of eastern Japan. The war in the east ended in June 1487. The Ashina were made vassals, while a white peace was signed with the Hojo and Mongols. The Hojo on their own were stoppable, but with a seemingly limitless supply of reinforcements from overseas, Motohisa decided to bide his time. A few weeks later, and mopping up operations in the west of Honshu saw the Mori eventually brought into the fold.

Then the Miyoshi decided to follow Kiyosada’s lead. They stirred up tensions with the Ashikaga.

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While this was ostensibly a war against the former shogun, the cold reality was plain to see. The war was with China. Yamashiro would merely serve as a battlefield. Motohisa reflected for two weeks before joining his allies. There has been much debate about what occupied this time, as the famous daimyo was renowned for quick action. Whether it was organisation, contemplation, or some combination of the two, it was the greatest delay the Shimazu lord had ever, and would ever show.

When battle was joined, it was swift. The Shimazu rode their cavalry at lightning speed into Yamashiro, and devastated the Ming army stationed there. The Ming had long been accustomed to war on the continent, which was quite different from Japanese practices. The Shimazu were masters of the false retreat, and used their tactics to full advantage in the First Battle of Yamashiro. The early war was a tale of heroic Japanese victories. While the samurai cavalry were dispatching the Chinese on land, the Shimazu sailors were scoring a brilliant victory at sea. Their short-lived supremacy is memorialised to this day at a shrine in Fukuoka. Outnumbered five-to-one, the Shimazu navy turned back the first wave of Chinese reinforcements. The leaderless armada was comprised mostly of old Woku, pirates who had plagued China and Korea in the past, and who had made something of a comeback with the demise of central shogunal authority.

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With the dramatic fall of Kyoto came a moment of tremendous import. Would Shimazu Motohisa follow convention and rule through the Ashikaga as a shogunal puppet, or would the new victor declare himself the head of state? Whatever may have motivated Motohisa before the war with China and Yamashiro, the sting of defending his native land from Chinese invaders left little room for negotiation. The Ashikaga were removed from power, the twenty-six year old shogun unceremoniously executed, and the Proclamation of Unity declared. The truth was very clear to Motohisa: the shogun had betrayed the country to the old enemies, the Chinese and the Mongols (that it was the Hojo who had invited the Mongols seems to have mattered little). It was time for a reunified Japan to obey a new slogan, Sonno Joi, ‘Revere the emperor and expel the barbarians’.

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That the call went out is clear from records. That no one answered is equally plain. The emergent Shimazu and tiny Miyoshi would serve as the Japanese bulwark to Chinese aggression. In July 1488, a massive Ming fleet sailed up the Sea of Japan coast of Honshu. Once again, the much smaller Shimazu fleet sailed to meet it. This time, however, the Chinese were ready. The Japanese were annihilated to a man. The first news of the defeat arrived in Yamashiro in the form of 24,000 more troops. By October, Kazuji was in full retreat to Settsu. The following July, Satsuma itself was invaded. After the first landing was driven off, a small army was raised to protect Kyushu. These became the Southern Army, or Shujakutai, the Red Sparrows.

The war raged for four more years. Kazuji took to guerrilla tactics, unable to confront the Chinese in open battle. When a region had been lost, the Ming would vacate it, or leave a small garrison whilst the bulk of the army went on to the next target. Kazuji would lead his force of approximately 6,000 from vassaled lands, relieving previously besieged cities. They were not the tactics of victory, but merely of survival.

In a vain attempt to draw more support to his cause, Motohisa declared war on China’s allies in the south of Asia, Annam and Champa. While little fighting occurred in this theatre, and the move stirred no new allies to action, the Ryuzoji did manage to capture the spice port of Bin Tri Thien. This would appear at the time to be a footnote to the war, but would grow in significance in future years.

Fortunately for the Shimazu, the Ming army on Honshu was too immense to be wieldy. The Ashikaga had invited them over without providing for adequate logistical support. Numbers were lost to desertion, to disease, and to the predatory tactics of Toyotomi Kazuji. There was probably little chance of Motohisa ever winning the war, but he could ultimately prevent Ming from forcing an unconditional surrender. Eventually, it became clear that a resolution might be reached. While Motohisa appeared compliant, ceding any Japanese lands to China was strictly off the table.

What was eventually decided was the restoration of Ashikaga rule in Kyoto, a bitter pill for the Japanese, but an absolute requirement of any peace. Further, the aggressors Miyoshi would be released from their vassalage, as would the Ashina clan of Shimotsuke, bringing back the furthest eastern thrust of Shimazu expansion.

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Technically, the terms were a defeat for Shimazu Motohisa. His armies had lost far more battles than they had won. His navy was at the bottom of the Sea of Japan. His forces on land were in disarray. His coffers were dwindling. He had lost two loyal servants in the Miyoshi and Ashina, and faced a resurgent Ashikaga. But to the people of Japan, not only in the west and south, but throughout the nation, from Kyushu to the northernmost tip of Hokkaido, Motohisa was the man who had kept the wolves from the gate, who had saved Japan from that fate which had befallen so much of Asia in one form or another. He had defied Ming China, and lived to tell the tale. And so it is that he is remembered as the grandfather of the Japan, and so it is that his famous words have lived on. 'Sonno Joi!’