The Shandong Peninsula in Northeast Asian Maritime History during the Yuan-Ming Transition

拙文“The Shandong Peninsula in Northeast Asian Maritime History during the Yuan-Ming Transition”, 发表于Crossroads – Studies on the History of Exchange Relations in the East Asian World , Vol. 11, pp. 63–83。

Abstract: In the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), the government encouraged people to conduct maritime trade with other countries, and the Shandong Peninsula of China, especially Dengzhou, was an important region of exchange for international trade, knowledge and culture as well as human beings between China, Korea, and Japan. However, Wokou (lit. Japanese bandits) began to raid Shandong in the late Yuan, when civil wars disordered commercial activities in China. The causes of Wokou raids are very complicated, and we should put our research into a wider context of the East Asian region to analyze it from different perspectives. Besides these traditional reasons, such as the turbulent situation in Japan and the weakness of coastal defence in Korea and China, the influence of natural disasters including droughts, typhoons, epidemics, pestilence and inundations, especially temperature change, should be considered seriously at the same time. In my opinion, there is a close relation between temperature changes and Wokou raids. In the early Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Wokou continued to raid its coastal regions, which had a bad influence on people’s life. In order to suppress Wokou, the Ming government initiated a maritime prohibition policy and strengthened its coastal defence in Shandong, and then Shandong became an important military base. From the above analysis, we can see the big different functions of Shandong Peninsula from an important commercial entrepôt in the Yuan to a crucial military base in Ming times. By studying the typical case of Shandong, which played a significant role in the development of the Northeast Asian maritime networks in ancient China, I hope my study can help scholars thoroughly understand the changes during the Yuan-Ming rupture in the larger geopolitical, global context of Northeast Asia.



The Shandong Peninsula in Northeast Asian Maritime History during the Yuan-Ming Transition


MA Guang 馬光, Ghent University and University of Salzburg


Historical Background and Problemstellung

The Shandong Peninsula 山東半島, the largest Chinese peninsula, leads off east, from Shandong Province, China. With the sea on three sides, the Shandong Peninsula faces the Liaodong Peninsula 遼東半島 in the north. It is separated from it by the Bohai straits 渤海海峽. To the west is the Korean Peninsula, separated from the Shandong Peninsula by the “Yellow Sea” (Huanghai Sea 黄海. Well-positioned as it was towards points north, the Shandong Peninsula also offered a number of excellent large ports, including Dengzhou 登州, Laizhou 萊州, Banqiaozhen 板橋鎮, Qingdao 青島, Zhifu 芝罘 (Chefoo), Weihai 威海, and so on. These ports provided access to the peninsula from nearly all directions.

Among the ports of the Shandong peninsula, Dengzhou has been a very important port and a strategic military base for maritime activities since the Han 漢 dynasty (206BC–220AD). Its commercial and military functions became more crucial from the Sui 隋 dynasty (581–618), and reached a peak in the Tang 唐 (618–907) and early Song 宋 (960–1279) dynasties. During the late Song, the commercial activities in Dengzhou were adversely influenced by the continuous wars between Song, Liao 遼 (916–1125) and Jin 金 (1115–1234). In 1227, Mongolian troops conquered the entire Shandong Peninsula, and in 1231 they established preliminary control over Korea, which later became Zhengdong Province 征東行省 (lit. Province for Attacking the East, i.e., Japan). In the course of the Yuan 元 dynasty (1271–1367), Dengzhou, by contrast, re-developed as an important commercial entrepôt because of growing river and ocean transportation of grains from south to north China.

Connections between China and Korea were subsequently very close during this period. Still more important, the Yuan government officially encouraged people to conduct international maritime trade with other countries. Thus, Dengzhou turned into a major port for the exchange of products, knowledge and culture as well as human beings between China and other countries, especially Korea and Japan. At the same time it served as the major port through which grains and military supplies were shipped to provision armies station on the Liaodong Peninsula.[1]

As well know, in 1371, the Ming Hongwu 洪武 Emperor (r. 1368–1398), Zhu Yuanzhang 朱元璋, unexpectedly initiated a “maritime prohibition policy” (haijin zhengce 海禁政策). It stood in direct contrast to the policies of the Song and Yuan dynasties. Hongwu’s policy has confused many historians seeking to understand his motivation when he and his successors prohibited people from pursuing maritime trade. Because of this change of policy, there was an abrupt switch from a very positive to a rather negative stance towards maritime trade. It henceforth became possible solely under the umbrella of official tribute relations. Historians have as a consequence, spoken of a break or, to put it bluntly, a rupture, with drastic consequences for all of the private merchants and their families, which had been obtaining their livelihoods from trade, some for centuries. In this context, the logical question arises upon a closer look, was the policy change really all that sudden, or was there instead a gradual process involved? What exactly was taking place, for example, in the waters of Northeast Asia at the time?

Piracy has often been considered the cause of the Ming maritime prohibition policy but as recent scholarship has shown, the problem of piracy in fact emerged as a consequence of the maritime trade proscription, and was not the cause of it.[2] Shandong suffered from pirate attacks during the Yuan-Ming transition period (late thirteenth to early fifteenth centuries), yet these appear to have been fundamentally different than those of the sixteenth century, and thus of particular interest. Nonetheless, the causes of transition period attacks, and their exact natures, have thus far not been thoroughly and comprehensively investigated in relation to the political-economic and geographic-environmental circumstances of the Northeast Asia of the time, a focus here, for example.

In this broad context, we should not only attempt to understand Shandong within the larger geopolitical, and global framework of Northeast Asia, but must also thoroughly examine what lies below the surface by combining textual analysis with the investigation of archaeological relics, especially the contemporary shipwrecks found in the region.

In 1984, an ancient shipwreck was discovered at Penglai 蓬萊. Three further historical ships were discovered in 2005. Two of the four wrecks are considered to have been cargo ships built in and originating from Korea during late Yuan or early Ming 明 (1368–1644) dynasties. The other two ships were considered to be warships built in South China in the middle or late Ming Dynasty. In association with these ships, archaeologists found many relics, including ceramics, coins, goblets, and even weaponry. By examining such ancient vessels, we can obtain a more practical knowledge of China’s maritime policy at the time. Indeed, there are many unanswered questions relating to those ships as, for examples:

–Who were their owners of those ships? Where did they come from?

– Were these ships primarily engaged in commercial or military activities?

– Were they engaged in an official, semi-official, private or even “illegal” trade?

– What was the relationship between those ships and the political and economic developments taking place in China, Korea and Japan?

To answer these questions we must place Shandong maritime history into a global context.

In his famous The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Fernand Braudel (1902–1985) studied the history of the Mediterranean region in detail and in a broad context.[3] His research approach, involving macro-regions and human-environment history, has been borrowed by many other scholars to study similar macro-regions. These include the Indian Ocean, the South China Seas, the East China Sea, and so on. In stressing the vivid exchanges that took place in East Asian waters even during times of official prohibition of private trade, as well as the importance of maritime space and sea routes in general, the conception of an “East Asian Mediterranean” can be a very useful tool. However, as Sanjay Subrahmanyam and Wang Gungwu have pointed out, we should be careful about applying a Braudelian approach across the board.[4] When studying Shandong, and the Northeast Asian world we should also realize the limitations of the concept in terms of a specifically Northeast Asian maritime history, especially during early Ming times.

Piracy and Shandong in the Late Yuan and Early Ming Periods

The Shandong Peninsula, as already noted, served as a commercial entrepôt during the Yuan dynasty, which can be proven from historical relics. The remaining part of Penglai No. 3 ship excavated in 2005 measures 17.1 m in length, and about 6.2 m in width.[5] In the ship, archaeologists found two bowls, both of which were considered Koryǒ celadon bowls produced between 1350–1380.[6] During the period when the ships were built, ceramics were used by common people and no longer solely by the palace, or among officials. According to their basic structure, construction methods and relics in ships, both Penglai No. 3 and No. 4 wrecks are considered to have been cargo ships built in and originating from Korea during late Yuan or early Ming dynasties. The two wrecks together with Korean ceramics are archaeological evidences for the commercial exchanges between China and Korea at the time.

However, in late Yuan the particular maritime trade of Dengzhou was heavily influenced by civil wars. During the Ming dynasty, local and regional pirates, those later known as Wokou (倭寇, “Japanese Pirates”), frequently raided the coastal regions of Shandong Peninsula, causing considerable suffering to locals. In order to fight against Wokou, the area became a military base from the early Ming onwards.

The Wokou problem in Shandong in the early Ming was so serious that it influenced diplomatic relations, trade and military activities in Northeast Asia. Although this early period is of great importance in tracing the origins of the Wokou, most scholars in studying the Wokou focus almost exclusively on Wokou during the Jiajing 嘉靖 period (1522–1566). As a consequence they pay little attention to the Wokou problem during early Ming times, especially in Shandong waters. There is no doubt that the Wokou of Jiajing time were a most serious problem, one that is important and deserves our attention. But China’s Wokou problem persisted for almost four centuries (from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries) in Northeast Asia. For China, there are also important differences between the Wokou in the early period (1340s–1510s) and those in the latter period (1520s–1560s). Therefore, in order to obtain a complete picture of China’s the Wokou problem, it is necessary for us to study Wokou origins, and then make a comparative analysis of the early Wokou compared to those of later Ming.

My study shows that the first Wokou had begun to raid the coasts of China as early as Yuan times. In Chinese historiography, the first use of the term Wokou 倭寇 can be found in a biographical sketch written by Cheng Duanli 程端禮 (1271–1345) between 1344–1345.[7]

The coastline of the Shandong Peninsula is approximately 3,000 kilometres long. There were six prefectures in Shandong in Ming, and four of them, Dengzhou, Laizhou, Ji’nan 濟南 and Qingzhou 青州, were adjacent to the sea. The coastal regions was so difficult to defend that it became easy pickings for Wokou raids. In September of 1363, Wokou raided Pengzhou 蓬州. The military officer Liu Xian 劉暹 led his soldiers and suppressed them successfully, but raids continued. It is clear, in fact, that, well before this event, after the eighteenth year of the Zhizheng 至正 reign (1358), Wokou had already begun to raid Shandong.[8] In 1366, more than eighty people were killed by Wokou at Tieshan 鐵山 in the Bohai Sea.[9] Tieshan was only about 70 nautical miles from Penglai in Shandong, so it is possible that these same Wokou also raided the coastal regions of Shandong. A second record relating to Wokou raids is from the first lunar month of 1369. Men and women were kidnaped in Shandong.[10] During the period between 1369 and 1374, almost every year Wokou raided the coastal areas of Shandong.[11] Wokou raided Shandong in 1389 and 1398 again, but except for the two years, there is no record concerning raiding activities by Wokou in Shandong between 1374 and 1402. It seems that Wokou raids abated  in Shandong during the period, as did Wokou activities in other coastal regions of China.[12] During the Yongle 永樂 period (1403–1424), Wokou did not raid Shandong frequently, but sometimes the raids were so serious that a number of army officials were killed in the battles. In the following century and a half, more or less, there took place only two raids by Wokou in Shandong, namely in 1440 and in 1506;otherwise it was mostly peaceful. For more details on these Wokou raids please see my full consideration in Appendix 1.

The reasons for Wokou raids are very complicated. To understand them we must look at a wider East Asian context, and analyze the raids from different perspectives. The turbulent situation in Japan was the most crucial factor. During the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, people of all classes fought against each other, and local, sometimes masterless, samurai began to proliferate. More and more lords of estates, village headmen, monks, farmers and merchants joined groups of pirates.[13]

Secondly, a series of natural disasters, e.g. droughts, typhoons, epidemics, pestilences and inundations, etc., damaged the domestic economy and society.[14] Also possibly a major influence was climatic change. Leading up to the Little Ice Age, the temperature grew colder in northeast Asia. This meant a reduction in grain yields. More and more people suffered from food shortage, and had to forage for food to survive. The temperature began to drop as early as the 1220s,[15] and possibly connected with this Wokou began to raid the Korean Peninsula. From the 1350s to the 1380s, the temperature reached an initial low point,[16] and simultaneously Wokou raiding activities in Korea and China reached an initial peak, suggesting that there may have been a relationship between temperature changes and Wokou raids.

Figure 1 Climate Change in Japan in 1–2000[17]

Weak coastal defence in Korea and China was another factor. In the early thirteenth century, the Mongols invaded Korea repeatedly, so Korea had to focus on the defence of its northern frontier regions. It could not pay attention to the defence of its southern coastal areas against Wokou.

Even later, in the 1370s and the 1380s, the coastal defence of Korea was very weak because of turbulent politics, a poor economy, and irresponsible coastal guards. During the early Ming dynasty, the Mongols still constituted a big threat in the north, and the remaining naval forces of former rebels Zhang Shicheng 張士誠 and Fang Guozhen 方國珍 fled to the sea after the establishment of Ming. After many years of wars, most coastal defence forts had been destroyed.[18] Such weakened coastal defences invited Wokou to seize the opportunity and raid Korea’s coastal regions.

Wokou Diplomacy: From Hope to Disappointment

During the early Hongwu reign, Wokou regularly raided the coastal regions of China including Shandong. At the time, after many years of civil war, the Ming government did not have enough money and the energy to strengthen coastal military defences to suppress the Wokou. Thus the Hongwu Emperor placed his hopes on diplomacy with the Japanese government. Diplomatic relationships between China and Japan in early Ming may, in fact, serves as a connecting link between the preceding Yuan dynasty and following periods, thus its importance.

As regards China’s relationship with Japan, I will apply “the tributary system model.” This model has been accepted for more than half a century by John K. Fairbank and others, but I will not confine the discussion here to this model.

Ritual and trade were the crucial factors in the tributary system, so they have been emphasized in the literature.[19] Nonetheless, we should also realize that the most important thing for any country is its national security.[20] This too has to be a principal component in the international relations. In fact, national security, rather than ritual and trade, was the primary element of Northeast Asian diplomacy during early Ming. The Wokou were a big threat to China’s security, and this threat was the most important influence on relations of China and Japan during the Hongwu reign.

Why did Hongwu repeatedly dispatch envoys to Japan? In my opinion, it was, above all, because he wanted the Japanese government to suppress the Wokou. If the Japanese authorities could easily suppress the Wokou, as he thought they could, Hongwu would like to keep good relations with Japan, and reward Japan with more money, silk and other things desired in Japan. As an alternative, Hongwu could exclude Japan from the China-centered tributary system as he strove to safeguard Chinese national security.

In this connection, scholars have always paid much attention to Chinese attitudes and activities in the tributary system from a Sinocentric perspective but few show interest in the perspectives of the tribute countries, the other countries participating in China’s tribute system. In 1368, the first envoy from China to Japan was killed.[21] Another five envoys were killed in 1369.[22] This had a most adverse impact upon relations between China and Japan. Why did Japanese authorities dare to do this? In my opinion, it is because the ruler of Japan knew little about the new Ming dynasty and mistook it for the Yuan government, what had launched major invasions against Japan on two occasions at the end of the thirteenth century.

Envoys to Ming China from Japan sometimes presented a memorial to the throne (biaojian 表箋) indicating their submission, but sometimes they did not offer any memorial at all to the throne. Did they wish to present tribute to China sincerely, or were they just under the powerful pressure from Ming China? Studying what happened from a Japanese perspective, I discovered that the main reason why Prince Kanenaga 懷良親王 (1329–1383) paid tribute to China in 1371 is that he happened to be under great military pressure from the Northern Court of Japan, and he wanted to ask Ming China for support in solving his crisis. After the crisis, he changed his mind and dared to challenge the Hongwu emperor’s authority. [23] Thus in order to understand the so-called tribute system comprehensively, there needs to also be a discussion not only of China’s activities, but also the attitudes and internal politics of Japan, in this case, its neighbour.

In any case, relations between China and Japan were very complex. Besides the constraints of the tributary system, there were also non-government trade and cultural exchanges, and also severed diplomatic relations, conflicts and even wars in different periods.[24] For example, after Hongwu halted diplomatic relations with Japan, and refused Japanese tribute, Wokou continued to raid the coasts of China. Nonetheless, non-governmental exchanges between China and Japan did not stop. If we ignore other patterns of international relations, in this case, the result will be a misunderstanding of Northeast Asian history.

Although many works on the relations between China and Japan have been published, because former scholars have either misunderstood the meaning of their source material, or failed to use new kinds of sources, there are many misunderstandings in their studies, and basic issues remain unclear. Let me offer two examples. Did Zhao Zhi 趙秩, for example, sent by the Hongwu Emperor to Japan, together with Japanese envoys, return to China in 1371, or did he remain in Japan until 1374? Was Zhao Zhi dispatched to Japan twice? This is unlikely but Murai Shōsuke 村井章介 still argues that Zhao Zhi did not return to China in 1371 and remained in Japan until 1374.[25]

In this connection some Japanese scholars, for example, Kimiya Yasuhiko 木宮泰彥, declare that it was impossible for Prince Kanenaga to bow his head to Hongwu in 1371 because his attitude towards Ming China was always hostile, therefore Zhao Zhi had to return.[26] Nonetheless, based on historical records including evidence offered by contemporary witnesses, including Song Lian 宋濂 (1310–1381), a literary and political adviser to Hongwu, and Zongle 宗泐 (1318–1391), abbot of the Tianjie Temple 天界寺 in Nanjing 南京,[27] it can be shown that in fact Prince Kanenaga submitted a memorial and paid tribute to Ming China to express his sincerity as a vassal, otherwise Hongwu would not have welcomed and awarded his envoys and in the end specially dispatched people to escort them to Japan. Zhao Zhi in fact did go back to China in 1371, and was re-dispatched to Japan in 1372.[28] His case illustrates the complexity of the relationships involved.

The Coastal Defence of Shandong in Early Ming

In early Ming times, the Wokou frequently raided the coastal regions of Shandong, burned houses, plundered grain and treasures, and harmed, kidnapped and even killed people. In order to fight the Wokou, the Ming government had to fortify and strengthen its coastal defences in Shandong as part of its overall military system.

The guards and battalions system (weisuo 衛所) of Shandong was part of a hierarchy that began with five chief military commissions in the central government, and then went through regional military commissions, guards, and battalions, down to companies, platoons and squads. As part of this system, the entire coastal military defence system was set up in an orderly manner and strictly managed.[29] The soldiers making up the system at the lowest level also farmed state lands. The grain and cloth that these lands provided reduced the heavy burden on government and thus the military state farm system (tuntian 屯田) was popular and important in early Ming times.[30] Civil officials were also appointed as part of coastal patrol and military defence circuits were set up to supervise the military offices.

The coastal guards and battalions were equipped with a variety of heavy weapons including bronze cannons and warships. According to Ming shilu, in the first lunar month of 1380 it was regulated that one company should have ten, twenty, thirty and forty soldiers to separately use blunderbusses, swords and shields, bows and arrows, and spears.[31] So, it seems that about ten percent of soldiers used firearms at the time. It is worth mentioning that bronze cannons were equipped provided to the Laizhou guard. Two similar bronze cannons were excavated at Penglai in 1988. The first cannon has a length of 61 centimeter and a weight of 73 kilograms, and the second one has a length of 63 centimeter and a weight of 73.5 kilograms. According to the inscription on the two cannons, both of them were dapaotong 大砲筒 made by the metropolitan Coinage Service 寶源局 in the second lunar month of 1375. The shape of the head of two of the cannon looks like bowls, so they are also called bowl cannon (wankou pao 碗口炮).[32] One of them is no. 7, and the other is no. 29 of the Laizhou guard, so it is obvious that there must be other many similar cannons with the guard.

Two of ship types employed, surviving as wrecks Penglai No. 1 and Penglai No. 2, are considered to have been official warships built in the south of China in the middle or late Ming Dynasty. Penglai No.1 ship wreck was discovered when Penglai County began to dredge the Xiaohai 小海 (Small Sea) at Penglai Water City in 1984. The remaining part of the ship wreck measures 28.6 m in length, 1.1 m in the narrowest width and 5.6 m in the widest width, and 0.8 m in depth. The remaining part of the Penglai No. 2 ship wreck was discovered in 2005, and it is 21.5 m in length, and about 5.2 m in width. Both of them have a long and slender design with the length-beam ratio approaching to 5:1, and so they perhaps represent the so-called “daoyu” 刀魚 warships used to patrol along the coast.[33]

Figure 2 No. 7 A bronze cannon of the Laizhou guard (1375)[34]

Figure 3 The Penglai No. 1 Wreck[35]

Although the military system of Shandong was similar to that found elsewhere, it still had several distinguishing features that seem particularly noteworthy. For example, more than half of the coastal guards in Shandong were understrength and had only three rather than a full five battalions. Even those guards with five battalions were not always fully manned. For instance, the Dengzhou guard had five battalions, but it only had 2,000 soldiers, which was less than the half of the establishment of 5,600. Secondly, coastal guards and battalions were organized in a flexible manner, rather than strictly adhering to regulations whereby “one county should have one battalion, and several counties should have one guard”. Thirdly, while normally, battalions and companies in the same county were headed by the same guard, at Matingzhen 马亭镇, the battalion, and at Huanghezhai 黄河寨, the company, although both in Huang County, were controlled by the Laizhou 莱州 and Dengzhou guards respectively.[36] Fourthly, most coastal guards in Shandong were associated with their own towns, not always located at the same city with the prefecture or county government offices. Such exceptions help us understand the real facts of the local military system in Ming China.

As many as twelve guards and seven independent battalions had been established in the coastal regions of Shandong in the Hongwu reign, but it was not convenient for these guards and battalions to support each other quickly because they were were scattered. In order to strengthen the cooperation between different garrisons and their mobile warfare capacity, the three coastal defence divisions, Dengzhou, Wendeng 文登 and Jimo 即墨, were established starting from Yongle to Xuande 宣德 (r. 1426–1435) times. There were about 3,902 officers and soldiers in the three coastal defence divisions,[37] which separately took control of coastal defense affairs in different regions: The Dengzhou division was responsible for security in the north, the Wendeng division controlled the east coastal regions, and the Jimo division prevented Wokou attacks from the south. Under the direction of the anti-Wokou regional military commission, the three divisions could support each other easily if there was a need and were, thus able to effectively prevent Wokou from raiding in Shandong.[38]


During the Yuan dynasty, the government encouraged people to conduct maritime trade with other countries. In this context, the Shandong Peninsula, especially Dengzhou, was an important region of exchange in several domains between China, Korea, and Japan. Two shipwrecks, Penglai No. 3 and No. 4, witness the great commercial prosperity during the period.

Wokou began to raid Shandong during the late Yuan, when civil wars put Chinese commercial activities into disorder. It is clear in any case that the Wokou as such emerged well prior to the maritime proscription initiated by Zhu Yuanzhang from 1372 onwards. So, the argument that Wokou were the result of this maritime prohibition is not correct.

During early Ming, Wokou continued to raid coastal regions, with a highly negative impact. The causes of these Wokou raids are very complicated, and we need analyze them from a broad East Asian perspective. The traditional explanations are the turbulent situation in Japan and weaknesses in the coastal defences in Korea and China. Also important were natural disasters including droughts, typhoons, epidemics, pestilence and inundations, possibly including the climate changes leading up to the Little Ice Age. These causes have to be taken seriously, in particulate, climate change.

In order to suppress the Wokou, the Hong Emperor made a major effort to deal with the Japanese government through diplomatic channels. At the time the dominant paradigm for international relationships was the so-called tributary system, of which Japan was a part, but looking at the relationships involved suggest that analysis based on the assumptions of the tributary system alone has major weaknesses. A new approach would be useful.

After the failure of Wokou diplomacy with Japan, the Ming government had no choice but to strengthen coastal defences in Shandong. By studying the unique characteristics of coastal defence in Shandong, we can not only understand the actual situation there but also the China’s military system of the time.

From my analysis, we can see clearly the changing functions of the Shandong Peninsula as it moved from being primarily an important commercial entrepôt in the Yuan to being a crucial military base during Ming times. Through my case study of Shandong, which played a significant role in the development of the Northeast Asian Maritime Silk Road in China, I hope scholars can better understand the changes that took place during the Yuan-Ming rupture in a larger geopolitical and global context of Northeast Asia.

Appendix 1: Wokou Raiding Activities in Shandong in the Ming Dynasty

YearWokou raiding activities in Shandong
1369Wokou raided Dengzhou, Laizhou and other coastal regions in Shandong, and kidnapped men and women in the first lunar month.[39] Wokou raided Shandong again, and raided Wenzhou 溫州, Taizhou 台州, and Mingzhou 明州 in Zhejiang Province 浙江, and then moved to the coastal regions of Fujian Province 福建. [40]
1370The Ming government decided to strengthen coastal military power against the Wokou in Shandong, Liaodong, Fujian and Zhejiang in the fifth lunar month. [41]

Wokou raided Shandong in the sixth lunar month, and then raided Wenzhou, Taizhou, Mingzhou, and Fujian Province.[42]

1371Wokou raided Jiaozhou 膠州 of Shandong and the coast in the sixth lunar month.[43]
1373Wokou raided Dengzhou and Laizhou, and Yu Xian 於顯 was appointed as commander to fight against Wokou in the third lunar month.[44]

Wokou raided Jimo, Zhucheng 諸城, Laiyang 萊陽 and other counties of Shandong in the seventh lunar month, and many coastal inhabitants were killed. The Hongwu Emperor ordered coastal soldiers to capture Wokou.[45]

1374Wokou raided Jiaozhou Bay,[46] and Xu Zhang 許彰, the local Company Commander, tried to capture Wokou, but was killed in the sixth lunar month.[47]

Wokou raided Jiaozhou, Dengzhou and Laizhou, but were defeated by Chinese soldiers in the seventh lunar month.[48]

The Jinghai Marquis 靖海侯, Wu Zhen 吳禎 (1328–1379), led naval forces to pursue the Wokou. He successfully captured many Wokou with their ships. This was in the seventh lunar month. [49]

1386Hongwu asked Tang He 湯和 (1326–1395) to build castles to strengthen military power in the coastal areas.[50]
1389Wokou with twelve ships raided Shandong, and Wang Zhen 王鎮, Assistant Commander of the Ninghai 寧海 guard, killed three Wokou and seized their weapons. In the winter, Liu Xing 劉興, Military Inspector of Chishanzhai 斥山寨 military inspectorate, killed four Wokou.[51]
1398Wokou raided Ninghai Sub-prefecture of Shandong from the the mouth of the Baishahe 白沙河, and killed prisoner Lu Zhi 盧智 (?–1398). Not long before this raid Wokou killed He Fu 何福 (?–1398), Company Commander. The problem of the Wokou was so serious that Hongwu immediately ordered soldiers in the Dengzhou and Laizhou guards to capture and suppress Wokou.[52]
1406Wokou raided Weihai. The commander Hu Ning 扈寧 led soldiers and common people to fight against the Wokou. Three days later, reinforcements helped to defeat the Wokou.[53]

Chen Xuan 陳瑄 (1365–1433), the Earl of Pingjiang 平江伯, defeated and killed Wokou near Shamen Island 沙門島, and pursued them to Korea, and burned their ships.[54]

1408Wokou attacked the Baifengtou 白峰頭 and Luoshan 羅山 garrisons of the Chengshan 成山 guard, Caoniaozui 草鳥嘴 of the Dasong 大嵩 guard, and Yangshan 羊山 and Yujiazhuang 于家莊 garrisons of the Aoshan 鰲山 guard. Two company commanders, Wang Fu 王輔 (?–1398) and Li Mao 李茂 (?–1398), were killed. Wokou raided Taohuazha 桃花閘 garrison and a company commander Zhou Pan 周盤 (?–1398) was killed.[55]

Wokou launched a major raid on the Ninghai guard. Zhao Ming 趙銘, Guard Commander, and other military officials did not try their best to defend their posts, and after the battle they deceived the central government. The Yongle Emperor was so angry that he ordered to the officers to be publicly executed by cutting in half.[56]

In the same year, a Shandong anti-Wokou regional military commission was established to control all the guards and battalions in the coastal areas of Shandong.[57]

1409In the third lunar month, it was reported that the Earl of Anyuan 安遠伯, Liu Sheng 柳升 (?–1427) had defeated Wokou in Lingshan 靈山 of Shandong, and that the Earl of Pingjiang, Chen Xuan, had pursued Wokou to Baishan Island 白山島, and that a Company Commander Tang Jian 唐鑑 had chased Wokou to the frontier of Korea.[58]
1416Wokou operating thirty-two ships raided the Jinghai guard, and Cai Fu 蔡福, Vice Commissioner-in-chief, leading soldiers of Shandong, had fought against them in the sixth lunar month.[59]
1418In the fifth lunar month, the Yongle Emperor ordered coastal soldiers in Fujian, Shandong, Guangdong 廣東 and Liaodong to strengthen defences against Wokou.[60]
1419Yongle ordered coastal soldiers of Shandong to tighten security against Wokou because there were more than ninety Wokou ships around the Jinshan 金山 guard. [61]
1440Wokou raided Mozhikou 抹直口 of Dengzhou, and plundered in the coastal regions of Shandong.[62]
1448Xu An 徐安 (?–1481), Marquis of Yongkang 永康侯, began to take control of military forces mobilized against the Wokou from the eleventh lunar month.[63]
1451In the twelfth lunar month, Xu An submitted a memorial to the throne to request that guards and battalions of Ninghai, Dengzhou, Laizhou, Aoshan and Jiaozhou should be refitted and strengthened.[64]
1461Twenty-three towns of coastal guards and battalions in Shandong were refitted under the direction of Xu An in the ninth lunar month.[65]
1516Wokou operating about 1,000 ships raided Shamen, Dazhu 大竹 and Guiji 龜磯 islands of Dengzhou.[66]
1544Wokou arrived at Weihai from Jiaozhou, but they were captured by Ming government soldiers.[67]
1552Wokou raided the Jinghai guard and Yizhou 沂州 Prefecture of Shandong, but they were defeated by Ming government soldiers.[68]
1554Wokou raided Qingzhou of Shandong in the third lunar month.[69]

About 6,000 soldiers recruited from Shandong were moved to Jiangsu Province to fight against Wokou in the eight lunar month.[70]

1555About sixty Wokou operating one ship raided Rizhao 日照 County, but they were defeated by soldiers of the Andong 安東 guard, together with militiamen of Rizhao, in the fifth lunar month.[71]

Wokou encountered a storm and were captured by soldiers of the Weihai guard.[72]

1556Wokou raided the Lingshan guard, the Haiyang battalion, and the Jinghai guard, but were defeated by Ming government soldiers in the fourth lunar month.[73]
1557Wokou raided Taizhou 泰州, and then moved to Yangzhou 揚州, Xuzhou 徐州 and Shandong, and Ming government soldiers were defeated by Wokou in the fifth lunar month.[74]

Wokou were defeated by an army of the Andong guard in the sixth lunar month.[75]

Wokou operating ships raided Qingzhou again, but were defeated although they then escaped.[76]

1594Wokou raided and burned Shamen Island, and then escaped.[77]

[1] Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 22.219-220.

[2] Li Kangying (2010), 1-20.

[3] Braudel (1972).

[4] Subrahmanyam (1998), 21-43; Wang Gungwu (2008), 7-10.

[5] Penglai Guchuan, 35.

[6] Yuan Xiaochun (2006), 78.

[7] Weizhai ji.6.13.

[8] Yuanshi 46.964.

[9] Jiuling shanfang ji 27.20.

[10] Ming Taizu shilu 38.781.

[11] Riben guo kaolue: Buyi, I:84; Ming Taizu shilu 53.1056; Ming Taizu shilu 66.1248; Mingshi 322.8342; Mingshi 2.24, 28; Ming Taizu shilu 83.1487.

[12] Fan Zhongyi, Tong Xigang (2004), 18.

[13] Taiheiki 39.no page number; Hazard (1967), 261; Li Changzhi (1998), 16; Zheng Liang-sheng (1985), 281.

[14] Hzard (1967), 260, 269-270.

[15] Shusaku Goto, Hideki Hamamoto, Makoto Yamano (2005), 314-325.

[16] Hiroyuki Kitagawa, Eiji Matsumoto (1995), 2157.

[17] Bruce L. Batten (2009), 19.

[18] Mingshi jishi benmo 3.843.

[19] Fairbank (1942), 129-149; Fairbank, S. Y. Teng (1941), 135-246; Fairbank (1953); Hamashita Takeshi (2003), 17-50; Hamashita Takeshi (2002), 59-87.

[20] Wills (1988), 225-229.

[21] Tōkyō Daigaku Shiryō Hensanjo (1976), 349-350.

[22] Minoru Yutani (1983), 28-29.

[23] Mingshi 322.8342-8344; Ming Taizu shilu 68.1282.

[24] Hae-jong Chun (1997), 12-14.

[25] Murai Shōsuke (1988), 240.

[26] Yasuhiko Kinomiya (1980), 512.

[27] Song xueshi wenji 27.1; Rinkō chōsho, 1.2.82.

[28] Wuxi ji 7, no page number.

[29] Hucker (1998), 99-102.

[30] Chen Wenshi (1997), 177-203; Taylor (1969), 23-40; Cheng Weichung (2013), 12-13.

[31] Ming Taizu shilu 129. 2055.

[32] Yuan Xiaochun (1991), 91–92.

[33] Penglai Guchuan, 14-15, 25-35; Xi Longfei (2012), 1-3.

[34] It is kept in the Dengzhou Ancient Boat Museum, Penglai of Shandong. Photo by the author.

[35] Penglai Guchuan, figure 2, no page number.

[36] Kangxi Huangxian zhi 2.4; Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 12.125.

[37] Ming Yingzong shilu 101.2037-2038.

[38] Chouhai tubian 7.587.

[39] Ming Taizu shilu 38.781; Ming tongjian: Mulu 1.12.

[40] Mingshi 322.8342.

[41] Riben guo kaolue: Buyi, 84.

[42] Ming Taizu shilu 53.1056; Mingshi 2.24.

[43] Ming Taizu shilu 66.1248.

[44] Mingshi 322.8342; Mingshi 2.28.

[45] Ming Taizu shilu 83.1487.

[46] Ming wokou shimo 2.

[47] Ming tongjian: Mulu 1.32.

[48] Ming Taizu shilu 198.5; Mingshi 2.29.

[49] Ming wokou shimo 2; Daoguang chongxiu Jiaozhou zhi 34.1351.

[50] Ming wenheng 74.13-14.

[51] Ming Taizu shilu 198.2975.

[52] Ming Taizu shilu 256.3699; Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138; Guangxu Wendengxian zhi 8.678.

[53] Qianlong Weihaiwei zhi, 1.57; Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138.

[54] Ming wokou shimo 3.

[55] Taichang Dengzhoufu zhi 10.932; Mingshi 154.4236; Chouhai tubian 7.584; Kangxi Dengzhoufu zhi 10.3; Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138.

[56] Jiajing Ninghaizhou zhi 3.771; Chouhai tubian 7.584.

[57] Taichang Dengzhoufu zhi 10.887.

[58] Ming Taizong shilu 89.1184; Mingshi 154.4236; Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138.

[59] Ming wokou shimo 3; Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138; Ming Taizong shilu 177.1932; Mingshi 7.96.

[60] Ming Taizong shilu 200.2082-2083.

[61] Ming Taizong shilu 213.2141.

[62] Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138.

[63] Mingshi 10.137; Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 36.345.

[64] Ming Yingzong shilu 211.4537.

[65] Ming Yingzong shilu 332.6815.

[66] Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138.

[67] Qianlong Weihaiwei zhi, 1.58.

[68] Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138; Qianlong Yizhoufu zhi 4.64.

[69] Mingshi 18.242; Jiajing dongnan pingwo tonglu 163-164.

[70] Ming Shizong shilu 413.7186.

[71] Ming Shizong shilu 422.7318; Qianlong Yizhoufu zhi 4.64.

[72] Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138.

[73] Chouhai tubian 7.584.

[74] Ming Shizong shilu 447.7615; Mingshi 18.245.

[75] Mingshi 18.245.

[76] Qianlong Yizhoufu zhi 4.64.

[77] Guangxu zengxiu Dengzhoufu zhi 13.138.


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