The Mongolian Invasion and the Kamikaze (1274 & 1281)

Utagawa Yoshitara (1863) The Defeat of the Mongol Invasion Fleet (Môko zokusen taiji no zu)
  • Two Mongol invasions were repulsed during the Kamakura period. This bolstered the image of the samurai class and people started believing that the Japanese were undefeatable.
  • 1st Mongol Invasion (1274): 40,000 men and 900 ships versus 10,000 samurai in Northern Kyushu. The Mongolian fleet were destroyed because of the typhoon.
  • 2nd Mongolian Invasion (1281): 140,000 men and 5000 ships versus 40,000 samurai in northern Kyushu. The Mongolian army was once again destroyed by the typhoon.

  • Religious people claimed that the land of Japan was sacred and protected by gods. They called the typhoons kami-no-kaze, the sacred wind.
  • Mongols, under the leadership of Kublai Khan, used paper bombs and iron balls which was the first introduction of “gun powder” in Japan.
  • After the mongol invasion, the spear (yari) started becoming more popular because the Mongol units were attacking in larger units and swords were ineffective and heavy.
  • After the mongol invasion the tachi (long swords with curved blade and curved handle) got shorter and thicker and the katana was born.

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