Battle of Bun'ei
|Battle of Bun'ei|
|Part of the Mongol invasions of Japan|
Japanese samurai defending the stone barrier at Hakata.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|Light||Light (before the typhoon)|
The Battle of Bun'ei (文永の役 Bun'ei no eki), or Bun'ei Campaign, also known as the First Battle of Hakata Bay, was the first attempt by the Yuan Dynasty founded by the Mongols to invade Japan. After conquering the Japanese settlements on Tsushima and Iki islands, Kublai Khan's fleet moved on to Japan proper and landed at Hakata Bay, a short distance from Kyūshū's administrative capital of Dazaifu. Despite the superior weapons and tactics of the Mongols, who established the Yuan Dynasty in China in the early 1270s, the Yuan forces that disembarked at Hakata Bay were grossly outnumbered by the samurai force; the Japanese had been preparing, mobilizing warriors and reinforcing defenses since they heard of the defeats at Tsushima and Iki. The Japanese defenders were aided by major storms which sunk a sizable portion of the Mongolian fleets. Ultimately, the invasion attempt was decisively repulsed shortly after the initial landings.
The Yuan troops withdrew and took refuge on their ships after only one day of fighting. A typhoon that night, said to be divinely conjured wind, threatened their ships, persuading them to return to Korea. Many of the returning ships sank that night due to the storm.
- 1 The battle
- 2 Main Battles of Battle of Bun'ei
- 3 See also
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
At first, the samurai were hopelessly outmatched; accustomed to smaller scale clan rivalries, they could not match the organization and massed firepower of the invaders. The Mongols fought with precision, loosing heavy volleys of arrows into the ranks of the Japanese. The Mongols also employed an early form of rocket artillery, and their infantry used phalanx-like tactics, holding off the samurai with their shields and spears. Though unable to conclusively defeat the Yuan forces, the Japanese fought hard and inflicted heavy casualties.
Despite their initial victories, the Yuan did not pursue the samurai further inland to the defenses at Dazaifu. Nihon Ōdai Ichiran explains that the invaders were defeated because they lacked arrows.
More likely this was a result of their unfamiliarity with the terrain, the expectation of Japanese reinforcements, and the heavy losses already suffered. The Yuan force, which may have intended to carry out a reconnaissance in force rather than an immediate invasion, returned to their ships. That night, the Yuan lost roughly one-third of their force in a typhoon. They retreated back to Korea, presumably at the prodding of their sailors and captains, rather than regrouping and continuing their attack.
Main Battles of Battle of Bun'ei
Battle of Tsushima Island - Mongolian Victory
Battle of Iki Island - Mongolian Victory
On October 14, Taira no Kagetaka(平景隆), Shugodai of Iki led about 100 soldiers. They were defeated by the Mongolian army, and Shugodai committed suicide in Hidzume Castle(樋詰城). About 1,000 Japanese soldiers were killed there.
Battle of Hirato Island , Taka Island and Nokono Island - Mongolian Victory
Battle of Akasaka - Japanese Victory
Mongolian Army landed on Sawara District and encamped in Akasaka. On seeing this situation, Kikuchi Takefusa (菊池 武房) surprised the Mongolian army. The Mongols escaped to Sohara, and they lost about 100 soldiers.
Battle of Torikai-Gata - Japanese Victory
Thousands of Mongolian soldiers were awaiting in Torikai-Gata. Suenaga Takesaki(竹崎季長), one of the Japanese commanders, assaulted the Mongolian army and fought them. Soon, reinforcements by Michiyasu Shiraisi(白石通泰) arrived there and defeated the Mongolians. The Mongolian casualties of this battle are estimated at around 3,500.
Withdrawal of Mongolian army
Due to the defeat in the battle of Torikai-Gata, the Mongolian army was exhausted. So they withdrew to their own ships. On seeing this situation, the Japanese army did night attacks and killed many soldiers. Finally, Hong Dagu decided to withdraw to Yuan Dynasty. In the midst of the withdrawal, they met a typhoon, most of their ships sank and many soldiers drowned.
- This excerpt is taken from the narrative picture scroll Moko shurai ekotoba, which was painted between 1275 and 1293 -- see Mongol Invasions of Japan
- In the name "Battle of Bun'ei," the noun "Bun'ei" refers to the nengō (Japanese era name) after "Kōchō" and before "Kenji." In other words, the Battle of Bun'ei occurred during Bun'ei, which was a time period spanning the years from February 1264 to April 1275
- Davis, Paul K. (2001). 100 decisive battles: from ancient times to the present, pp. 145-147., p. 145, at Google Books
- Turnbull, Stephen R. (2003). Genghis Khan and the Mongol Conquests 1190–1400, p. 66., p. 66, at Google Books
- Davis, p. 145., p. 145, at Google Books
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, p. 262., p. 262, at Google Books
- Davis, p. 147., p. 147, at Google Books
- 『高麗史』 巻一百四 列伝十七 金方慶「入對馬島、撃殺甚衆」
- 『高麗史』 巻八十七 表巻第二「十月、金方慶與元元帥忽敦洪茶丘等征日本、至壹岐戰敗、軍不還者萬三千五百餘人」
- 『高麗史』巻一百四 列伝十七 金方慶「諸軍與戰、及暮乃解、方慶謂忽敦茶丘曰、『兵法千里縣軍、其鋒不可當、我師雖少、已入敵境、人自爲戰、即孟明焚船淮陰背水也、請復戰』、忽敦曰、『兵法小敵之堅、大敵之擒、策疲乏之兵、敵日滋之衆、非完計也、不若回軍』復亨中流矢、先登舟、遂引兵還、會夜大風雨、戰艦觸岩多敗、?堕水死、到合浦、」
- Davis, Paul K. (1999). 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514366-9; OCLC 45102987
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Odai Ichiran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691
- Turnbull, Stephen R. (2003). Genghis Khan and the Mongol Conquests, 1190-1400. London: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-96862-1