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In the summer of 1281, Kublai Khan sent a massive fleet of over 4,000 vessels carrying more than 140,000 soldiers to invade the Japanese archipelago — the second such attempt by the Mongol ruler after a previous mission in 1274 failed.

Intense maritime battles ensued on the seas and islands of northern Kyushu, with fierce resistance from the Japanese eventually leading to a military stalemate. Legend has it that as the Mongol forces docked in Imari Bay, a monstrous storm stirred up hulking waves and devastated the ships. The typhoon has since been mythologized as kamikaze, or “divine wind.”

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