Friday, January 18, 2013

Japan and Alternate History Friday

Here is another alternate history for your reading pleasure. #alternatehistory #alternatehistoryfriday

Divine Wind

 In 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the son of a woodcutter, unified Japan for the first time in over a hundred years. His next project was the invasion of Ming China. But first he had to get through Korea. The Korean king refused to let them cross through his country peaceably. In 1592, Hideyoshi's troops invaded Korea and in six months had captured Seoul and P'yong-yang, and had briefly stepped foot in Manchuria six months after that. But pressure from Chinese troops and a weak naval campaign forced them to retreat to the southern region of the country by the end of 1593. After four years of peace negotiations and another doomed invasion in 1597, the Japanese retreated to home soil.

In this Quantum 5 timeline, enough Japanese gold and displays of superior military technology convinced the Korean king to grant the Samurai free passage (and much needed supplies) through his kingdom to the Manchurian border. Also, Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of Hideyoshi's main generals and later Shogun on our Earth, realized the need for better naval strategy and was aided by a shipwrecked English navigator, Will Adams, who arrived nine years earlier than in Homeline. (This historical event was originally novelized in Shogun by James Clavell.) With katana, muskets, and cannon against Chinese short swords and cannon, as well as a better navy and Korean complicity, Hideyoshi conquered Manchuria in two years and died a year later outside the gates of Beijing. His five generals took Beijing and invested Hideyoshi's five-year old son as the new Emperor of China under their regency. In a reflection of our Earth, Tokugawa, played the other generals off each other until he grabbed power two years later and had the Emperor pronounce him Shogun.

With the military genius of Tokugawa as the real power of the throne, the Japanese subjugated most of China by 1603. The current year of this timeline is 1865 and the Tech Level is 5. The problems of administering a country as huge as China have kept the Tokugawa Shogunate busy, though they did have time to conquer Southeast Asia to the tip of the Malay Peninsula, and break European trading monopolies. Japanese trading vessels range as far as Africa. American history has remained mostly the same as our timeline, though British hegemony of the Far East was spoiled by the presence of a militarily-adept Japanese-Chinese naval power. They hold India, but no further east.