Hideyoshi’s letter is critical in that it seeks to demonstrate the strength of his country. Writing to the Viceroy of the Indies, his letter was more than just informational. It was also full of self-praise, noting all the good things he had done and how he had been successful in shaping the country. His letter suggests boldly that he had used the right tactics in handling both the common people and the military men. In doing so, he argued, he had been able to cultivate the respect of people near and far. The letter is designed to intimidate and build a brand of strength for his country to those who might want to threaten it around the world.
The Memorandum on the Korean Expedition is also from Hideyoshi. It is all about how confident he was that the campaign was going to be a success. He specifically believed that he had the ability to will this into existence. He thought that his warriors were going to bring all of Asia under his control. This started with the difficult task of bringing China under his control. Because he could not conceive of the fact that any country could be more powerful or more capable, he was stating his unqualified belief that his armies would prevail in the conflicts and help him grow and consolidate his power.
The Sword Collection Edict was written by Hideyoshi to explain the ways in which he wanted to limit the power of people to rise up and challenge him. He had been a man of modern means who had been able to rise up to power. He knew that other people might be able to do this, as well. Because he knew this, he then wanted them to be denied these opportunities. One way of doing this was to strip from the peasants their weapons, making it more and more difficult for them to rise up against him. This was his way of consolidating his power on the inside of the country in addition to consolidation power on the outside, which he did with various campaigns.
“The Farce of the Wooden Hands” is a story about a traveler stumbling upon a royal family in Japan. That king and queen showed him and his men kindness after they had lost their bearings and ended up there. There was, during this entire encounter, an underpinning sense that the Christian God had led the writer and his men to the particular king who helped them out. The story is about the kindness dealt to them and about the way God would repay the king.
Suenaga’s report on the Mongol attack is an exhaustive listing of everything that took place during that particular time as they faced down a major attack from a worthy adversary. The author describes what actions he took with his men. He describes the things that threatened their livelihood. He describes, as well, the ways in which he believed he must thank God at the end of the ordeal because God had spared him from harm.
The one question that I would want to ask to the speaker is “To what extent did the leaders in Asia at this time need to appear strong because of the many threats all around them?” In reading the material, a theme emerges. Leaders not only had to be strong, but they also had to appear to be strong. Much of the puffery and posturing was to ensure that they were taken seriously. I want to know the speaker’s perception of just what threats these people faced and how their bravado might have protected them from attack.