Eating Way Too Much Rice Almost Doomed Japan's Imperial Navy

War Is Boring
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War Is Boring

Security, Asia

Here's what occurred.

Eating Way Too Much Rice Almost Doomed Japan's Imperial Navy

After the war, the Emergency Beriberi Investigative Committee investigated the disease’s devastation of Japanese ranks. Worried about the composition of the committee and fully aware of Takaki’s success, the emperor stepped in. “The army’s beriberi problem can be effectively prevented if the army provides a staple of barley and rice,” the emperor stated.

In August 1882 in Incheon Bay near Seoul, four Japanese warships were locked in a tense stand-off with two Chinese warships that had brought troops to quell a revolt on the Korean peninsula.

On paper, the Japanese flotilla outnumbered the Chinese, but the hulls of the Japanese ships hid a deadly secret. Less than half of their crews could man their stations.

The Korean peninsula erupted into conflict on July 23. A soldiers’ protest against ill treatment, unpaid wages and poor provisions turned into widespread mutiny. Ousted from power, the former regent of the king set the mutineers upon the government—and against the Japanese advisers working to modernize the Korean army.

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