5 min

1597 to 1598

Chongyu War: Second invasion

by Something Something

After the failed peace negotiations of the inter-war years, Hideyoshi launched the second invasion of Korea. One of the main strategic differences between the first and second invasions was that conquering China was no longer an explicit goal for the Japanese. Failing to gain a foothold during Katō Kiyomasa's Chinese campaign and the near complete withdrawal of the Japanese forces during the first invasion had established that the Korean peninsula was the more prudent and realistic objective.

  Table of Contents / Timeline



1597 Jan 1 -

Gyeongsang Province

Soon after the Chinese ambassadors had safely returned to China in 1597, Hideyoshi sent approximately 200 ships with an estimated 141,100 men under the overall command of Kobayakawa Hideaki. Japan's second force arrived unopposed on the southern coast of Gyeongsang Province in 1596.

from the movie "The Admiral: Roaring Currents"


Japanese arrive in Korea in batches

1597 Mar 1 -

Busan, South Korea

Mar 1 - Katō Kiyomasa lands at Jukdo with 10,000 men Mar 2 - Konishi Yukinaga arrives at Busan with 7,000 men


Ming General Ma Gui arrives at Hanseong with 1,000 troops

1597 Aug 15 -

Seoul, South Korea

from the movie "The Admiral: Roaring Currents"


Battle of Chilcheollyang: Destruction of Korean fleet

1597 Aug 28 -

Battle of Chilcheollyang

Prior to the battle, the previous naval commander Yi Sun-sin, had been removed from his post . The less experienced Won Gyun was promoted in Yi's place. Won Gyun set sail for Busan on 17 August with the entire fleet, some 200 ships. The Korean fleet arrived near Busan on 20 August in 1597. As the day was about to end, they met a force of 500 to 1,000 Japanese ships arrayed against them. Won Gyun ordered a general attack on the enemy armada, but the Japanese fell back, letting the Koreans pursue. After a few back and forth exchanges, with one chasing the other, one retreating, the Japanese turned around one last time, destroying 30 ships and scattering the Korean fleet. His ships were overwhelmed by arquebus fire and the traditional Japanese boarding attacks, which largely resulted in the destruction of his entire fleet. Bae Seol shifted 12 ships to an inlet farther down the strait and managed to escape.

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from the movie "The Admiral: Roaring Currents"


Total Japanese forces in Korea reach 141,900

1597 Aug 30 -

Busan, South Korea


Siege of Namwon

1597 Sep 23 -


Ukita Hideie arrive on Namwon with around 49,600 soldiers. On 24 September, the Japanese filled the trench with straw and earth. Then they took shelter in the burned out houses in the city. On 25 September, the Japanese asked the defenders to surrender, but they refused. On the night of 26 September, the Japanese bombarded Namweon for two hours while their men climbed the walls and used fresh straw to create a ramp to the top. Unable to burn the moist rice stalks, the defenders were helpless against the Japanese onslaught and the fortress fell.

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The Japanese take Hwangseoksan

1597 Sep 26 -


Hwangseoksan Fortress consisted of extensive walls that circumscribed the Hwangseok Mountains and garrisoned thousands of soldiers led by generals Jo Jong-do and Gwak Jun. When Katō Kiyomasa laid siege to the mountain with the Army of the Right, which he attacked at night under the full moon, the Koreans lost morale and retreated with 350 casualties. The successful siege did not, however, lead to a subsequent advance from beyond Gyeongsang Province.


The Japanese take Jeonju

1597 Sep 30 -



Turning Point: Battle of Jiksan

1597 Oct 16 -

The area around Jiksan

On 16 October 1597, Kuroda Nagamasa's force of 5,000 arrived at Jiksan, where 6,000 Ming soldiers were stationed. Kuroda's forces charged the enemies and was soon joined by the rest of the army, bringing Japanese forces to 30,000. Although heavily outnumbering the Ming, the Japanese were unable to do much damage due to the Ming's superior armor. According to Kuroda and Mōri Hidemoto, their firearms could not penetrate the iron shields used by Chinese soldiers, and their armor was at least partially bulletproof. The battle continued until dusk when the two sides withdrew. Jiksan was the furthest the Japanese ever got towards reaching Hanseong during the second invasion. Although they were forced to withdraw at Jiksan, it was not a major loss, and resulted in an orderly retreat south by the Japanese.

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from the movie "The Admiral: Roaring Currents"


Battle of Myeongnyang

1597 Oct 26 -

Myeongnyang Strait, near Jin

With only 13 ships remaining from Admiral Won Gyun's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Chilchonryang, Admiral Yi held the strait as a "last stand" battle against the Japanese navy, who were sailing to support their land army's advance towards the Joseon capital of Hanyang (modern-day Seoul). The dense formation of Japanese ships crowded in the narrow strait made a perfect target for Joseon cannon fire. By the end of the battle, approximately 30 Japanese warships were sunk. The immediate results of the battle were a shock to the Japanese command. Joseon and Ming armies were able to regroup.

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The Allies meet

1598 Jan 26 -


Yang Hao, Ma Gui, and Gwon Yul met up at Gyeongju on the 26 January 1598 and marched on Ulsan with an army of 50,000.


Siege of Ulsan

1598 Jan 29 -

Ulsan Japanese Castle

The battle began with a false retreat that lured the Japanese garrison into a frontal attack. They were defeated with 500 losses and were forced to retreat to Tosan fortress. The allies occupied the city of Ulsan. On 30 January the allies bombarded the fortress and then took the outer wall of Tosan. The Japanese abandoned much of their food supplies and retreated into the inner fortress. The allies assaulted the inner fortress, at one point even taking a portion of the wall, but suffered heavy casualties. On 19 February the allied forces attacked again and were repelled. Seeing Japanese reinforcements arrive, Yang Hao decided to lift the siege and retreat, but the disorganized movement led to many stragglers being cut down by the Japanese, leading to heavy casualties.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu


Death of Hideyoshi

1598 Sep 18 -

Fukuoka, Japan

The Council of Five Elders, in late October, issued orders for the withdrawal of all forces from Korea. Hideyoshi's death was kept a secret by the Council to preserve the morale of the army.


Battle of Sacheon

1598 Nov 6 -

Sacheon, South Korea

The Chinese believed that Sacheon was crucial to their goal of retaking the lost castles in Korea and ordered a general attack. Although the Chinese made initial progress, the tide of battle turned when Japanese reinforcements attacked the rear of the Chinese army and the Japanese soldiers inside the fortress sallied from the gates and counter-attacked. The Chinese Ming forces retreated with 30,000 losses, with the Japanese in pursuit. According to Chinese and Korean sources concerning the battle, the forces led by Dong Yi Yuan had breached the castle wall and were making progress in capturing the castle until a gunpowder accident caused an explosion in their camp, and the Japanese took advantage of the situation to rout the confused and weakened troops.

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Yi sun fatally wounded during the Battle of Noryang


Battle of Noryang Point

1598 Dec 16 -

Noryang Strait

The Battle of Noryang, the last major battle of the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), was fought between the Japanese navy and the combined fleets of the Joseon Kingdom and the Ming dynasty. The allied force of about 150 Joseon and Ming Chinese ships, led by admirals Yi Sun-sin and Chen Lin, attacked and either destroyed or captured more than half of the 500 Japanese ships commanded by Shimazu Yoshihiro, who was attempting to link-up with Konishi Yukinaga. The battered survivors of Shimazu's fleet limped back to Pusan and a few days later, left for Japan. At the height of the battle, Yi was hit by a bullet from an arquebus and died shortly thereafter.

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  • Ha, Tae-hung; Sohn, Pow-key (1977), 'Nanjung Ilgi: War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin, Yonsei University Press, ISBN 978-89-7141-018-9
  • Hawley, Samuel (2005), The Imjin War, The Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch/UC Berkeley Press, ISBN 978-89-954424-2-5
  • Li, Guang-tao [李光濤], The research of the Imjin Japanese crisis of Korea [朝鮮壬辰倭亂研究], (Central research academy) 中央研究院
  • Qian Shizheng (錢世楨), The Records of the eastern expedition (征東實紀)
  • Yi, Sun-sin. Nanjung Ilgi: War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin. Trans. Tae-hung Ha. Ed. Pow-key Sohn. Seoul: Yonsei UP, 1977.

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