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- Chris Glenn
A long time Japanophile, Chris Glenn first came to Japan in 1985 as a Rotary Exchange Student. On his return to Australia in 1986, he commenced working as a radio DJ. In 1992 he returned to Japan, where he remained working in radio, TV and as a newspaper columnist and writer.
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Samurai Capture of Pyongyang
Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s forces captured Pyongyang on this day, July 20, 1592.
During the Fist Korean Invasion, (1592-1596) the city of Pyongyang fell easily to the combined
samurai forces of Konishi Yukinaga and Kuroda Nagamasa. Nine battalions of Japanese invaders
had swept across the Korean Peninsula, with the intent of conquering both Korea and China.
Working his way northward, Konishi Yukinaga leading the First battalion attacked and captured
Pyongsan, Sohung, Pungsan, Hwangju and Chunghwa, advancing as far as the Taedong River
that bordered Pyongyang city. Kuroda Nagamasa’s Third Battalion had caught up with Konishi
at Chunghwa, and together they made a force of 30,000 samurai. 10,000 Korean troops defended
the city. To prevent the Japanese from crossing the river and entering the city, the Korean forces
either hid or destroyed any vessels that could have been commandeered.
On the night of June 18th, the Korean forces crossed the river and attacked the Japanese camp.
The surprise attack simply alerted the other nearby samurai contingents, which soon came to the
aid of the Konishi forces, by attacking the rear of the Korean troops, destroying them as they
crossed the river. Instead of chasing them back to Pyongyang, the samurai simply held back and
watched and observed the retreating Koreans fording the shallower parts of the river.
The following day, the samurai troops used the same routes across the river. This put fear into
the Korean defenders, who abandoned the city in droves, allowing the Japanese invaders under
Konishi Yukinaga and Kuroda Nagamasa to enter and claim a near deserted Pyongyang on
July 20, 1592.
The city yielded 100,000 tons of military supplies and provisions.
Although the Japanese were able to rapidly occupy much of the Korean land, reinforcements
from China’s Ming Dynasty and the disruption of Japanese supply fleets along the south and
western coasts of Korea eventually forced the Japanese invaders to withdraw to the southern
regions. The second invasion would be launched in 1597, and all troops would be withdrawn
a year later upon the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
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