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It is especially important to pay attention to the end of the story, because it reveals a lot of the high noble quality on the part of the people who were fighting the Spanish. In the sixteenth century, while the so-called Modern states were emerging in Europe, Japan still lived in a political and social status corresponding to the European medieval feudal society.


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To understand it, within that Japanese state noble lords lived called the shogun , who could even act as kings. These shogun were served by knights called samurai , who, in turn, were lower noblemen who had small personal armies. The same as it could happen to knights as El Cid used to be, a samurai could lose his master.

This, according to the Japanese chivalric code, could only happen in two ways: either by the death or by the disgrace of his master. The Japanese code had a name for these samurai who had lost their master. When a samurai went without his master, he became a " Ronin ". This situation was exactly El Cid 's when the King of Castile drove him from his kingdom. A Ronin , like El Cid had been in Spain, leading his small army of commoners, could become a mercenary in the service of other superior noblemen, or could be engaged in fighting or looting on his own.

He and his men could become bandits or pirates, and they even could manage to fight and overcome overlords. I gave all the above explanation with regard to consider the full extent of the events that I will narrate in the following lines. A ronin was a person whose life was war, just the same as what happened to a medieval European knight whose model could be called El Cid. As a start, I will state that some Spanish historians were interested in the historical events that follow and tried to investigate Japanese contemporary sources to see what they said about them.

Up to date known Japanese sources say that in those days, men reported that they had faced terrible barbarian demons coming out of the sea in large weird clashed black ships. Although those demons were far fewer in number, the ronin could not defeat them and suffered a great slaughter. Japanese sources call those demons literally Wo-cou "Lizard Fish". In the year , many of these Ronin masterless samurai leading their gangs formed by tens of pirates wokous harassed in piracy the ports in the Philippine Islands, among them Luzon. In those days, the Philippines were Spanish territory.

Obviously, such attacks could not be considered an official aggression from the shogun reigning in Japan at that time. But this does not mean at all those Ronin and wokous were unaware of the fighting techniques or lacked the technical means available to them at that time in their society. Thinking this would be the same mistake as thinking that El Cid and his men were disorganized and lacked the means to fight when, on their own, they boarded the conquest of Valencia.

In fact, wokous and Ronin together were very well organized and even came to have their own kingdoms. They became a problem which was not minor for the official feudal lords in Japan and China. But this is a different story.


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  4. During that year, the Spanish governor in the Philippines, Don Gonzalo de Ronquillo had news of the arrival of a strong contingent of the above mentioned "Japanese" pirates who were harassing and plundering the Filipino natives of Nueva Segovia, being these people under the Spanish administrative protection of the province of Luzon. In those days, there would be no more than European Spanish throughout the Philippine archipelago, so Ronquillo had to dip into the best men he could, who were an expeditionary contingent of one hundred men of the Marines Tercio of the Spanish Armada, and he sent them to Luzon.

    The first confrontation with the ronin samurai seems simple: the Spanish cannons make a Japanese pirate ship leave the area. But soon, native fishermen report to the Spanish that the Japanese were preparing the revenge with 10 ships. A ship with 40 Spanish soldiers was sent to oppose to the attack. The Spanish expedition met a Japanese ship that had just attacked the Philippine coasts brutalizing the Tagalog population under Spanish protection. Spanish soldiers were commanded to prepare the approach. The Spanish ship fired her guns against the junk, then charged with the ram bow against the side of the Japanese ship.

    The Spanish soldiers jump on the enemy ship. It is the first clash between Western soldiers and samurai. The operation is complicated and the Spaniards, greatly outnumbered, are forced to go back to their ship. Although those demons were far fewer in number, the ronin could not defeat them and suffered a great slaughter. Japanese sources call those demons literally Wo-cou "Lizard Fish".

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    In the year , many of these Ronin masterless samurai leading their gangs formed by tens of pirates wokous harassed in piracy the ports in the Philippine Islands, among them Luzon. In those days, the Philippines were Spanish territory. Obviously, such attacks could not be considered an official aggression from the shogun reigning in Japan at that time. But this does not mean at all those Ronin and wokous were unaware of the fighting techniques or lacked the technical means available to them at that time in their society.

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    Thinking this would be the same mistake as thinking that El Cid and his men were disorganized and lacked the means to fight when, on their own, they boarded the conquest of Valencia. In fact, wokous and Ronin together were very well organized and even came to have their own kingdoms.

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    They became a problem which was not minor for the official feudal lords in Japan and China. But this is a different story. During that year, the Spanish governor in the Philippines, Don Gonzalo de Ronquillo had news of the arrival of a strong contingent of the above mentioned "Japanese" pirates who were harassing and plundering the Filipino natives of Nueva Segovia, being these people under the Spanish administrative protection of the province of Luzon.

    In those days, there would be no more than European Spanish throughout the Philippine archipelago, so Ronquillo had to dip into the best men he could, who were an expeditionary contingent of one hundred men of the Marines Tercio of the Spanish Armada, and he sent them to Luzon. The first confrontation with the ronin samurai seems simple: the Spanish cannons make a Japanese pirate ship leave the area.

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    But soon, native fishermen report to the Spanish that the Japanese were preparing the revenge with 10 ships. A ship with 40 Spanish soldiers was sent to oppose to the attack. The Spanish expedition met a Japanese ship that had just attacked the Philippine coasts brutalizing the Tagalog population under Spanish protection. Spanish soldiers were commanded to prepare the approach.

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    The Spanish ship fired her guns against the junk, then charged with the ram bow against the side of the Japanese ship. The Spanish soldiers jump on the enemy ship. It is the first clash between Western soldiers and samurai. The operation is complicated and the Spaniards, greatly outnumbered, are forced to go back to their ship. Then, pikemen and halberdiers devastate the Japanese.

    In his way, he cannonades and defeats 18 Japanese champagnes ships and thus comes to Luzon. Once here, he disembarks troops and guns and requires the Japanese to abandon the town. The ronin seek compensation. Again, Japanese charged against the Spaniards, who endure without difficulty. Several Spanish, however, lose their long spears in battle snatched from their hands by the Japanese. The Spaniards recognized the boldness and courage of their enemies. And they will use that Japanese bravery to turn it into a weakness.

    The Japanese attack again, once more trying to snatch the pikes from Spanish soldiers. Again the Spaniards destroy the Japanese. The Japanese commander-in-chiefs land all their men in Luzon to move against the Spaniards. These ones are starting to run out of ammunition. All together are no more than a hundred men against Japanese. The ronin charged again. In the Spanish trenches they were waiting in silence.