Battle of Jiksan

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Battle of Jiksan
Part of the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598)
Date September 7 1597
Location The area around Jiksan (modern day city of Cheonan)
Result Strategic Ming victory; Japanese advances towards Seoul are halted.
Japanese army Ming army
Commanders and leaders
Kuroda Nagamasa
Mori Hidemoto etc
Xie Sheng
Niu Boying
Yang Yinshan
Po Gui
Bai Sai
roughly 5,000 vanguard forces under Kuroda Nagamasa , 30,000 main body under Mori Hidemoto 4,000 Ming cavalry (2,000 on the first day, 2,000 reinforcement on the second day)
Casualties and losses
500 + Approximately 200 +

The Battle of Jiksan (직산 전투, 稷山之戰) was a battle fought on September 7, 1597, as part of the Imjin War, fought by Ming forces against the Japanese invaders.[1]

It was the turning point on land for the second Imjin war, as the Japanese had just overrun much of Southern Korea, topped off by the Siege of Namwon. Emboldened by their success, they moved towards the capital city of Seoul.

Although the Korean and Ming sources cite the Japanese as being led by Kato Kiyomasa, it was in fact led by Kuroda Nagamasa under the command of Mori Hidemoto.


According to the combined version of events recorded in the Annals of Seonjo and the Kuroda Kafu

The Ming forces were ordered to defend the Seoul area under the orders from the Administrator Yang Hao, commander Ma Gui ordered four of his generals, Xie Sheng, Nui Boying, Yang Dengshan and Po Gui, to lead an elite group of chosen cavalries, and decided to set up battle around the Jiksan area.[2]

Meanwhile, the forces under Kuroda Nagamasa were spearheading the Japanese forces northward; a small group of vanguard was sent out ahead of their forces, while the larger host under Mori Hidemoto was marching about a day behind them.

The Japanese scouting party spotted the Ming forces; while at first the Ming forces thought they were Korean insurgents, the Japanese scouting party calculated that by retreating now they would be giving up the key positions around the area to the Ming forces, thus they decided to open fire while notifying the main Kuroda forces.

The Ming forces launched a charge on the Japanese forces and were able to beat back the relatively small scouting party without much trouble. Kuroda Nagamasa ordered one of his generals, Goto Mototsugu, to relieve the scouting party. The main Kuroda forces reached the area by around sunset and the two sides set up for a showdown on the next day.[3]

The Ming then received a reinforcement of 2,000 cavalry under Bai Sai during the night. On the next day the two sides clashed again; from the Ming sources it appeared that they were able to outflank the Japanese forces with their superior mobility and eventually forced the Japanese to pull back, although the Ming forces did not give chase.[4]

The Japanese forces under Kuroda Nagamasa fell back and met up with the main host led by Mori Hidemoto. Upon seeing the large host approaching the area, the Ming forces retreated further back towards Seoul again. The Japanese army entered the Jiksan area but was unable to push further, and not long after decided to abandon the campaign and retreated back south.

Aftermath and implication[edit]

This battle marked the high-water mark of the Japanese army in the second invasion, as Jiksan was as far as they got and their only real chance to threaten Seoul; soon after this battle the latest exploits of Yi Sun Sin in the battle of Myeongnyang turned the tide against the Japanese again and they remained on the defensive for the remainder of the war.


  1. ^ 九月,經理楊鎬,使副總兵解生等,大拜賊兵於稷山
  2. ^ 先是,賊自陷南原, 乘勝長驅, 進逼京畿. 經理楊鎬在平壤聞之, 馳入京城, 朝提督責不戰之狀.於提督定記, 密選騎士之精勇者, 使解生牛伯英楊登山頗貴領之, 迎擊於稷山.
  3. ^ 諸軍及我人皆末知也. 解生等伏兵於稷山之素沙坪, 乘賊未及城列, 縱突騎擊之, 賊披靡而走, 死者甚多.
  4. ^ 又遣游擊擺賽, 將兩千騎繼之, 與四將合勢, 游擊又破之. 是日, 經理提督請上出視江上, 上不得已而行, 人心洶懼, 士庶接荷擔而立, 內殿壁兵西幸, 及捷報致,京中乃稍定。