In the thirteenth century, the influence of the Mongols was not limited to Europeans only. Twice, in 1274 and 1281, they clashed with the Japanese.
In December 1237, the Mongols captured Ryazan, and then Moscow, Vladimir and Suzdal. A year later, they plundered Sudak, and then spent almost the next two years uniting the army and consuming their previous conquests. In December 1240 they moved again: they took Kiev. At the next stage of conquests, the army of Batu Khan reached Eastern Europe: in February 1241 Sandomierz fell, then Krakow, and on April 9 Henry II died in the Battle of Legnica. After several decades, it’s time for the East. But it was not easy for the Mongol hordes there. Nature came to the rescue of the islanders.
The Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century, which was at the peak of its territorial development, included, among others, the regions of Central Asia, southern Siberia, northern China, Russia and the Middle East. The area of the empire was about 33 million square kilometers. The Mongols also managed to subjugate the ruling Goryeo kingdom in Korea. After numerous campaigns from 1231-1257, Korea’s role was reduced to that of a vassal to the Mongols. In the early 1360s, Kublai Khan (died 1294), son of Tolui and Surcaktepeka, and grandson of the legendary Genghis Khan, became the Great Khan of the Mongols. He received a comprehensive education and took an interest in the development of crafts, sciences and arts, including war. After assuming power, he soon moved the seat of his empire from the Karakoram to Dadu (today’s Beijing, the capital of China). The city was still in ruins after Djed Kublai destroyed the city in 1215 and allowed the bloody killing of its inhabitants in its streets. Kublai Khan set about rebuilding the city, which also became an important trading center. According to historians, to this day in Beijing there are many buildings erected during the reign of Kublai Khan. In 1270, the Mongolian ruler proclaimed the founding of the new Chinese Mongol Yuan dynasty.
Japan stood in the way of the continuous expansion of the empire of Kublai Khan, where representatives of the Hojo family had quite stable power. In 1221, the position of the dynasty was strengthened by the defeat of Emperor Go-toba, who wanted to limit the power of the shogunate, that is, the rulers in practice, and reform the administration. Khan sent his first embassy to Japan in 1266, but received no response. Two years later, a Mongol envoy, accompanied by a Korean envoy, managed to reach Japan demanding tribute. Masamura Hōjō refused on behalf of the Japanese, not even wanting to open the letter. In 1270 and 1271, Kublai Khan again sent an embassy, this time by the regent Tokimon Hōjō. This practically means going to war. Kublai Khan organized an invasion force that numbered approximately 30-40,000. The warriors arrived – as evidenced by historians – on nearly 800 ships. In turn, thanks to the supportive Koreans, the Japanese quickly obtained information about the invasion, giving them time to take defensive action. At the request of the Tokimune Hōjō along Hakata Bay, a long defensive wall, intended to make it difficult for invaders to develop landings, was erected. But their weakness was the army, which numbered only several thousand.
It is known that Kublai Khan’s invasion force set out from Habu (modern Masan, South Korea) on November 2, 1274. Two days later, the Mongol army launched an amphibious assault on the island of Tsushima, which lies halfway between Korea and the third of Japan. The largest island of Kyushu. Soon the Mongols, who had such a formidable advantage, captured the island. On November 14, they also captured the island of Iki. A few days later, Kublai Khan’s army landed on the island of Kyushu in Hakata Bay, near the city of Dazaifu. There was also the first battle in which the opposing armies clashed. The outcome of the conflict seemed inevitable, but the weather came to the rescue of the defenders. Stormy and rainy weather conditions turned into a massive hurricane which caused chaos in the Mongolian army. The command decided to wait for the element’s attack on the high seas to drive them off the rocky shore. However, it was a disastrous decision, which resulted in the destruction of many Mughal ships and crews. Tens of thousands died in the water. the Warriors. The remaining forces withdrew to Korea, suffering numerous losses from the Japanese fleet in the process. Because of the popularity of Zen Buddhism among samurai, the intervention of nature was called the “divine wind”. It was said that the god Raijin sent storms against the Mongols.
After the first invasion, the Japanese wisely built walls six feet high to protect them from future invaders. Additional fortifications were built, coastal garrisons erected, provisions collected, and—under Tokimune Hōjō’s leadership—prayers were made to the cities’ deities for prosperity. The preparations were not in vain, for the Mongols returned after seven years. Prior to this, Kublai sent another embassy demanding Go-Uda, Emperor of Japan, to Dadu. For the Japanese, this was a great insult, so the envoys were taken to the capital Kamakura (a city on the island of Honshu) and publicly beheaded. In 1279, Kublai Khan sent another embassy. The envoys were again beheaded shortly after their arrival. In the summer of 1281, the invasion force numbered about 100,000-140,000 people gathered in about 3 thousand. He launched the second invasion of Japan. The landings landed on several islands off the coast of Kyushu. As in 1274, the islands of Tsushima and Iki fell. The Mongols reached Hakata Bay on 23 June. Another battle began off the Japanese coast. The fight was very fierce and prolonged.
In James L. McLean’s book Japan: A Modern History, we read: “In both cases, the Mongols gained a foothold in Japan, but immediately afterwards the ‘kamikaze’, the ‘divine wind’, supposedly caused by the guardian deities of Japan, swept in invading The fleet and forced the Mongols to retreat to the mainland. As you can see, Maclean is satisfied with the miraculous intervention of the gods, however, other historians are looking for more rational arguments. Perhaps he could not find a good place to land because of the walls defending the shore, he stayed The fleet is at sea exhausting supplies and looking for a good place to launch the invasion.Finally, after months at the mercy of the elements, the fleet is destroyed by an unprecedented massive typhoon.The Japanese call it “Kamikaze”.According to researchers’ analyzes, most of the ships were sunk in two days, and about 120 died A thousand people, soldiers.
Historians say that the disgraced Kublai Khan planned a third expedition to Japan, but his death in 1294 thwarted these plans. Like another invasion of Vietnam and the invasion of Java. Japan emerged from the wars weak and economically ruined, although the Hojo dynasty remained in power. Caste of warriors – samurai demanded a reward for hardships in battles, which in the future were to end in internal strife and even civil war. On the other hand, Buddhist monasteries demanded financial offerings in exchange for answered prayers to the gods. Let us add that for Japan, the Mongol invasions were the first moment of contact with a foreign culture. For the next seven centuries, no one dared attack their archipelago. In 2015, the results of research by geologists Kinuyo Kanamaru and Jonathan Woodruff from the University of Massachusetts were published. The researchers decided to search for traces of ancient typhoons in the sediments at the bottom of Lake Daiga, 120 kilometers from the place where the Mongol fleets were to be destroyed. Studies of strontium isotopes showed that from the 3rd to the 17th centuries there were much more frequent storms and hurricanes than there are today. According to the researchers, the reason for this was a weather phenomenon that appeared in the Pacific Ocean called El Nino, which centuries ago was more violent than it is today.