by Ken Liu
read by Shawn Robertson
In 1590, the daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi completed the dream of his dead liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and unified Japan by conquest. As kampaku to the figurehead Japanese Emperor Go-Yozei, Toyotomi was ruler of all Japan. Seeking to engrave his name eternally in history, he turned his eyes west to the glory of Joseon Korea and the beauty of Ming China.
In 1591, Toyotomi demanded Korea’s surrender and aid in the conquest of China. King Seonjo refused, as Korea was a close ally of China. Toyotomi raised an army of 160,000 veterans hardened by decades of battle in Oda’s and Toyotomi’s domestic campaigns, and invaded Korea in 1592. It was the largest army ever deployed until then in Northeast Asia.