The Blue Wolf: A Novel of the Life of Chinggis Khan

The Blue Wolf: A Novel of the Life of Chinggis Khan

INOUE YASUSHI
TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE BY Joshua A. Fogel
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/inou14616
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  • Book Info
    The Blue Wolf: A Novel of the Life of Chinggis Khan
    Book Description:

    One of the world's most ruthless warriors, Chinggis Khan conquered nearly all of Asia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, transforming the scattered and impoverished Mongols into an exceptionally proud and powerful nation. In this riveting and thoroughly researched portrait, Japan's celebrated epic novelist drives at the root of the khan's great desires and insatiable appetite for supremacy.

    Beginning with his birth in 1162, The Blue Wolf follows the crucial alliances that led to Chinggis Khan's great campaigns in North China, Bukhara, and Samarkand, as well as the state of Khorazm. The khan was obsessed with his ancestry, not knowing whether he was the descendent of the blue wolf (mythical progenitor of the Mongols and the noble Borjigin line) or merely the bastard son of a Merkid tribesman. For Inoue Yasushi, Chinggis's ancestral anxiety lies at the center of his relentless push for empire. He struggled with his paternity as intensely as he fought his battles, and his victories stood as proof that the brave warrior was a true Mongol.

    The question of paternity also formed the largest wedge between Chinggis and his eldest son, Jochi, a boy born in captivity and of similarly questionable heritage. Hailed for its sophistication and rich imagining of a remote world, The Blue Wolf puts a human cast on a legendary force that changed Asia and the world.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51791-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Translator’s Note
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Joshua A. Fogel
  4. Map
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. 1 Earliest Years
    (pp. 1-36)

    THE YEAR WAS 1162. A baby boy was born in the chieftain’s yurt in a settlement of the nomadic Mongols who lived in the grassy plains and forests by the Amur River, which, along its upper reaches, splits into the two tributaries of the Onon and Kherlen rivers. The mother was a beautiful young woman still several years shy of twenty by the name of Ö’elün. As was often the case, at this very time the men of the settlement had all left to launch an attack against the Tatars of a neighboring area, a tribe with whom they had...

  6. 2 The Merkid Massacre
    (pp. 37-76)

    AFTER THE MISFORTUNE OF BEING abandoned by all of their other kin, Ö’elün and her children lived for two years in their small yurt in the northern foothills of Mount Burqan. Temüjin was now sixteen. Physically, he was considerably stronger than his father Yisügei had ever been, even in his most formidable years, with a far more robust build. Insofar as there was nothing pressing to attend to, he remained taciturn to the point of only rarely speaking, but the entire family had taken shape around him and in this way lived harmoniously. In any business matter or family affair,...

  7. 3 Overlordship on the Mongolian Plateau
    (pp. 77-130)

    TO’ORIL KHAN AND JAMUGHA kept their troops stationed at their campsites for about one month longer, with no apparent desire to withdraw. Although they had divided up all the women and possessions equally and nothing of pressing urgency remained to be accomplished, there were reasons for avoiding an earlier pullout. Temüjin was from the start suspicious of the attitudes of these two armed forces, but on reflection felt the situation was only natural for people engaged in battle. Had one side departed earlier and borne malicious feelings toward those who remained, there was the strong possibility that they would be...

  8. 4 Temüjin Becomes Chinggis Khan
    (pp. 131-158)

    TEMÜJIN’S TRIUMPHAL RETURN TO his camp following the conquest of the Naimans took place in the spring of 1206. The Naimans’ defeat meant that he had now fully pacified all of the peoples who built their settlements across the entire Mongolian plateau. He was literally the sole power holder, the sole king, on the plateau.

    Soon after his return home, Temüjin set up a great banner with nine white tails—nine being a divine number to the Mongols and white considered an auspicious color—outside their camp on the upper reaches of the Onon River. It was essential to declare...

  9. 5 Attack on the Jin
    (pp. 159-182)

    WHEN CHINGGIS RETURNED TO his camp on the Mongolian plateau at the end of the year, he introduced into Mongol military training all the new knowledge he had acquired in the fighting with the first truly alien people of an alien state he had confronted, the Xixia. The group battle formation was largely altered, with military units all incorporated into the cavalry. As for weapons, they abandoned short spears and adopted longer ones, at the same time introducing the basilisk and cannon in place of bows and arrows. Day by day, battle training grew more strenuous and more strict. Aside...

  10. 6 Fall of the Jin Dynasty
    (pp. 183-206)

    EARLY IN THE FOURTH MONTH OF THE YEAR 1213, when the falling snow had gradually tapered off and the spring sun had begun to shine, Chinggis issued orders to his entire army to cross the Great Wall a second time and invade the state of Jin. Messengers were dispatched to the camps of the various military units, as well as to those of Muqali, Jebe, and Sübe’etei, who were not going to start operations yet.

    Over the course of the following half month, Chinggis’s base camp was in a constant state of disorder as troops came together and set off...

  11. 7 The Destruction of Khorazm
    (pp. 207-242)

    IN THE SUMMER OF 1218, Chinggis placed Jebe in command of an army of 20,000 men and had him march on the kingdom of Kara Khitai. The divination performed by Yelü Chucai with a ram’s scapula at the time of his first audience with Chinggis, indicating that there would be war drums in the southwest, was now becoming reality. The objective of invading Kara Khitai was to bring down the Naiman King Küchülüg, and by taking over his territory, establish a border with the state of Khorazm, with its highly esteemed culture. Chinggis maintained friendly relations and a high volume...

  12. 8 Return to Mount Burqan
    (pp. 243-268)

    IN EARLY 1224, CHINGGIS ANNOUNCED to his entire army his plan to launch an attack against India. The grand design was to traverse either the Hindukush or the Qara-Qorum range, enter India, conquer the major Indian strongholds, and when the fighting came to an end, attempt to return to the Mongolian plateau by way of Tibet. Neither Chinggis nor any of his commanders could surmise how many months or years it might take to achieve these ends.

    When the forthcoming battle was announced, a number of army units began to organize themselves into heavy and light units. Numerous captives of...

  13. Author’s Afterword (1960)
    (pp. 269-278)

    IN 1924 A BOOK BEARING the long and ponderous title Chingisu Kan wa Minamoto no Yoshitsune nari (Chinggis Khan was Minamoto no Yoshitsune)¹ was published and then immediately reprinted eleven times in the same month, fast becoming a best-seller for that year. The author was a man by the name of Oyabe Zen’ichirō(1867–1941). In the spring of the following year, a dozen or more scholars took up their pens to contest the ideas laid out in this bestseller in the journal Chūō-shidan put out by the National History Institute. The eminent scholars Kindaichi Kyōsuke (1882–1971), Ōmori Kingorō(1867–1937),...

  14. Dramatis Personae
    (pp. 279-282)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 283-283)