This article argues that advances in drilling techniques and the use of muskets—essential ingredients of the famous Military Revolution paradigm—were central to Korean military reforms following the Imjin War of 1592–1598. Drawing on recent work in East Asian military history that argues that guns also wrought deep changes in non-European ways of war, we use the Korean military of the Chosŏn dynasty, a fascinating nexus of Chinese, Japanese, and Dutch influences, as a case study to compare East Asian tactics with European ones. Using military manuals from the seventeenth century, we show that European drilling regimes—centered around musketry units—had striking analogues in Korea (as they also did in China and Japan). The very fact of these similarities in such far-removed societies should point us toward caution in making pronouncements about a “Western way of war,” making clear that there is a need for a truly global military history.


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pp. 51-84
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