Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Let your light so shine" - Foreign Wars of Japan

Around Tokyo

Foreign Wars of Japan

The overview of the history of the concept of national security of Japan is as follows:

First of all, no countries had ever invaded Japan till the US military occupied Japan after WWII in 1945.  Japan is situated at the eastern end of the world as you can confirm it on the map.  No countries except China had had ability to launch war to invade Japan till the modern era.  Japan is an isolated island country with a size roughly twice the Great Britain's or equal to California.

Accordingly, war against a foreign country had been a very remote and vague concept not only in the general public but also in the elite class of the Japanese people till the start of modernization of Japan in the middle of the 19th century since the beginning of the nation Japan around the first century when a king of Japan, called Wa at the time, sent a mission to a Chinese imperial court.

The major three wars before WWII and after the Meiji Restoration of the imperial authority after the samurai era, meaning the start of Japan's westernization, around 1860s were the Japanese-Sino War (1994 to 1895), the Japanese-Russo War (1904-1905), and the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).  Modernized and westernized Japan used modern military forces in these wars to win them all, though the Second Sino-Japanese War was ended with the surrender of the Empire of Japan to the US in 1945.

This era of the three major wars was very different from the current one.  Most parts of Asia were colonized or subject to Western powers.  Japan could avoid being colonized by any Western powers, including Russia.  But to make the country strong militarily and advanced economically and industrially, Japan opted to put surrounding regions under its control.

To cope with advancement of Russia from the north, Japan had to secure neutrality and then subordination of Manchuria and Korea through the Japanese-Sino War and the Japanese-Russo War.  To defend mainland Japan from Western colonialists, Japan obtained and ruled Taiwan after the Japanese-Sino War.  However, China was invaded by Russia, the UK, France, etc.; the Philippines was colonized by the US; Vietnam and Cambodia were ruled by France; the UK also colonized India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.; and the Netherlands ruled Indonesia.  It was not only the Empire of Japan that was aggressive in territorial ambition.

From the start of modernization of Japan, namely the Meiji Restoration, Japan had to defend itself from Western colonialists.  The Japanese public therefore supported the policy of the Imperial Government to build up strong military.  However, this too much emphasis on military capability led to the tragic war with China in 1937 and the fatal war with the US in 1941.

Before the Meiji Restoration, the last overseas war Japan had been engaged in was the war against the Ming Dynasty of China accompanied by the war with Korea.  This war was fought from 1592 to 1598 mainly in the Korean Peninsula.

The then samurai head of Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi launched this war, since he thought that he had been insulted by the Imperial Ming court of China.  To punish Ming, Hideyoshi mobilized more than 150,000 samurai troops equipped with matchlocks, trying to invade Ming through the Korean Peninsula.  The battles were so fierce, but Hideyoshi could neither decisively defeat Ming troops and the Korean military subject to Ming nor occupy the Korean Peninsula on the permanent base.  When Hideyoshi died of illness and old age in his castle in Osaka, Japan, this great campaign was abandoned by other samurai leaders.  However, the Ming dynasty consumed too much resources in this war, so that it became one of major factors of the collapse of Ming in 1644.

Before Hideyoshi's military invasion of the Korean Peninsula in the late 16th century, Japan experienced one big defensive war against the Yuan Dynasty of China.  Yuan was established by Mongolians, or descendants of Genghis Khan, the great founder of the Mongolian Empire in the 13th century.  They requested the then samurai government to bring a tribute to the Yuan Emperor and become a client country to Yuan.  Samurais of Japan refused it bravely, so that Yuan sent huge troops transported by big fleets consisting of about 1,000 ships in 1274 and 4,000 ships in 1281.  Japanese samurai could expel about 40,000 Yuan troops in 1274 and 150,000 troops in 1281 successfully with help of big typhoons (called "kamikaze" in Japanese meaning god wind).

However, before this defensive war against Yuan, which was fought in Kyushu Island of Japan, Japan had not been engaged in any war against foreign countries for 600 years.

The oldest foreign war for Japan was called "Haku-sukinoe no tatakai" in Japanese.  The then Yamato Imperial court of Japan sent more than 40,000 troops to a sea-coast river area called Hakusonko in the Korean Peninsula to help and support a pro-Japanese Korean kingdom in 663.  It was an international war between a coalition of Japan and friendly-associated Korean forces and an ally of the Tang Dynasty of China and anti-Japanese Koreans.  The Yamato court of Japan lost this war.  This defeat had a grave influence on the seventh and eighth century Japan.

The Tang dynasty did not invade Japan, though Japanese were prepared for the worst case building many fortresses in Kyusyu Island and the area between Kyusyu and Yamato, the center of the Yamato Dynasty located south of Kyoto.  However, after this Hakusonko war, the Yamato court aggressively introduced the legal system and the governmental structure of Tang.  Japan imported advanced Chinese civilization in a large scale just like Japan introduced many American advanced democratic systems after WWII.

These are almost all the foreign wars the Japanese race has experienced in the history.  The concept of war against foreign countries is not inherently rooted in the Japanese culture and history.  Truly it came to grow after the Meiji Restoration or the start of the industrialization of Japan in the late 19th century while facing Western colonizing powers.

Japan is surrounded by the seas.  No foreign countries could easily invade Japan.  Japan could not also send huge troops overseas easily.  And, luckily there were no strong and aggressive empires around Japan.  Moreover, the nature of Japan is rich and its cultural level was reasonably high even in the past.  There was basically no need to invade other countries to enrich people's life of Japan.  Accordingly, the Japanese people have not been keen to matters of national security.

So, the current Pacifist Constitution of Japan fits the Japanese people.  It is unlikely that Japan would abolish it in any near future.
Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Finally, the current national security of Japan is not entrusted only to Japanese Self-Defense Force, but US military forces stationed in Japan under the Japan-US Security Treaty take a large part in it, though a situation where US troops have cooperated in Japan's defense battles has never happened since the Treaty became effective originally in 1952 (renewed in 1960), because there have been no such battles after WWII.  

The Mongolian Invasion of Japan in 1274/1281

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Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.