Sunday, August 25, 2019

A 1632 War Between the Spanish and Tokugawa Japan?

Although I'm self-banned from the alternate history forum to keep myself from wasting too much time online, I do drop in the public forums to check for interesting new material. Here's one new story, "Reconquista Basara: A 1632 Spanish-Tokugawa War TL."

It diverges from real history in 1632 when Matsakura Shigemasa, a strongly anti-Christian daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) escapes an assassination attempt that might have been ordered by the Shogun due to his misrule and brutalization of the peasantry. Per the Wikipedia article he was planning to launch a maritime invasion of the Spanish colony of Luzon in the Philippines!. Not being dead this time around, he's able to launch the campaign with the assistance of the Dutch, who would welcome the chance to open up another front against the Spanish and don't like the Jesuits much more than he does. Luzon falls, but the Spanish (and the Portuguese, with whom they were in a dynastic union at the time) strike back, landing an army in Japan proper and gaining  support from the Catholic peasants and ronin (masterless samurai), who in real history would soon launch the Shimabara Rebellion.

Some highlights of this timeline include:

*Early modern Japanese expansion outside of the Home Islands, which with the weakening Ming Dynasty in China and the relatively weak European presence elsewhere in Asia would have been something they'd have a strong chance at pulling off. Yes, they failed in real history to conquer Korea the first time, but Korea was a well-organized state backed up by Imperial China. The Philippines are farther away, but the Spanish and their local allies are far weaker on the ground. Although the Shogun knows there's going to be hell to pay for this, the other lords of Japan view Matsakura as a hero and Japan as whole is now in on this for reasons of saving face if nothing else. That in turn has consequences--see below.

*When the Iberians strike back, the Shogunate gets what is coming to it for its mistreatment of Japanese Christians and squeezing of the peasants more generally. Although I have a fairly high tolerance for movie violence, one film I'm not interested in seeing is Silence because based on the trailers it looks like a cavalcade of "Japanese Christians getting tortured and murdered by the Shogun." The near-genocide of Japanese Christians is proof that one can kill an idea (although "hidden Christians" survived here and there until the end of the Shogunate Christianity was effectively obliterated) and the fact that some idiotic modern people view this as some kind of anti-colonial campaign or an attempt to protect traditional Japanese religion from the Inquisition is even more galling. This time around Japanese Catholics might be on "the right side of history" and the Shoguns on the wrong, even though as a Christian I'm inclined to think Judgement Day will see the Church's ultimate vindication.

*This additional front in the worldwide war between the Spanish and the Dutch and the Protestants and Catholics in turn has some major effects in Europe. Although globalization is typically viewed as a modern phenomenon, even then the world was very interconnected--silver from the Americas funded Spain's wars against the Ottomans and Protestants and purchased luxury goods from Asia via the Manila galleon. I'm not going to go into detail for reasons of spoilers.

The last update on the timeline was last Thursday, August 22. I hope the author keeps up the good work.

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