Episode 393 – The Lords of the Sea, Part 4

This week, we’re wrapping up our month on piracy by looking at how the image of “Japanese pirates” became so prevalent in Korea and China, and what we actually know about all the pirating that was going on during this time.


Shapinsky, Peter. Lords of the Sea: Pirates, Violence, and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan

Antony, Robert J (Ed). Elusive Pirates, Pervasive Smugglers: Violence and Clandestine Trade in the Greater China Seas.

Ma, Guang. “Re-evaluating the Wokou Problem in East Asia in the 1220s and 1390s from the Perspective of Environmental History.” Journal of Asian History 54, No 2 (2020).

Andrande, Tonio, Xing Hang, Jerry Bentley, and Anand Yang. Sea Rovers, Silver, and Samurai: Maritime East Asia in Global History, 1550-1700.


Wang Wufeng built Ming-style buildings, including this hexagonal well, all around Hirado during his time there.
A Chinese coin used as currency in Japan.
The Minjindo, or Hall of the Ming People, is a reconstructed Chinese shrine in Fukue, Japan, intended to mimic the style of the sort that Wang Wufeng would have built in the area.
A depiction of the early stages of the 1419 Korean invasion of Tsushima.
A flag used by Japanese trade ships under the talley system to mark them as legitimate envoys.

1 thought on “Episode 393 – The Lords of the Sea, Part 4”

  1. I hate to say it, but it seems like the wakou’s reputation is well deserved, based on your description.
    I heard that Admiral Yi Sun-sin’s famous turtle ships were developed originally to fight the wakou, which is why they kicked Japan’s ass so thoroughly during the Imjin War.

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