Episode 513 – The Specter of the Continent

This week: why did the Mongols invade Japan? How did a seemingly invincible military machine falter in its assaults on the island of Kyushu? And why, in the long term, did the Mongol invasions begin the process of bringing down the Kamakura shogunate?


Conlan, Thomas D. In Little Need of Divine Intervention: Takezaki Suenaga’s Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan

Ishii, Susumu. “The Decline of the Kamakura Bakufu.” Trans. Jeffrey P. Mass and Hitomi Tonomura in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol III: Medieval Japan


Samurai and Mongol vessels engage in Hakata bay. From the Takezaki Suenaga scrolls. 
Japanese forces arrayed along the new defensive walls of Hakata. The walls proved invaluable to holding the city and preventing a large scale Mongol landing.From the Takezaki Suenaga scrolls. 
Another shot of the Hakata walls, giving you a better sense of what their height at the time would have been.
Remnants of the defensive walls of Hakata, still visible today.

1 thought on “Episode 513 – The Specter of the Continent”

  1. Hi Isaac, love the episode as always. I listen when I’m at work in between podcasts on learning Japanese-historical context is important for learning languages and you provide that quite well! I would like to add that this episode and the last few have had some weird audio quirks, in that the audio cuts out occasionally-only for the length of a syllable, but that does occasionally cut words in half.

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