The Japanese invasions of Korea comprised two separate yet linked operations: an initial invasion in 1592, a brief truce in 1596, and a second invasion in 1597. The conflict ended in 1598 with the withdrawal of the Japanese forces from the Korean Peninsula after a military stalemate in Korea's southern coastal provinces.
The invasions were launched by Toyotomi Hideyoshi with the intent of conquering the Korean Peninsula and China, which were respectively ruled by the Joseon and Ming dynasty. Japan quickly succeeded in occupying large portions of the Korean Peninsula, but the contribution of reinforcements by the Ming, as well as the disruption of Japanese supply fleets along the western and southern coasts by the Joseon Navy forced a withdrawal of Japanese forces from Pyongyang and the northern provinces to the south, in Busan and nearby southern regions. Afterwards, with guerrilla warfare waged against the Japanese with righteous armies (Joseon civilian militias) and supply difficulties hampering both sides, neither the Japanese nor the combined Ming and Joseon forces were able to mount a successful offensive or gain any additional territory, resulting in a military stalemate. The first phase of the invasion lasted from 1592 until 1596, and was followed by ultimately unsuccessful peace negotiations between Japan and the Ming between 1596 and 1597.
In 1597, Japan renewed its offensive by invading Korea a second time. The pattern of the second invasion largely mirrored that of the first. The Japanese had initial successes on land, capturing several cities and fortresses, only to be halted and forced to withdraw to the southern coastal regions of the peninsula. The pursuing Ming and Joseon forces, however, were unable to dislodge the Japanese from their remaining fortresses and entrenched positions in the southern coastal areas, where both sides again became locked in a ten-month long military stalemate.
With Hideyoshi's death in 1598, limited progress on land, and continued disruption of supply lines by the Joseon navy, the Japanese forces in Korea were ordered to withdraw back to Japan by the new governing Council of Five Elders. Final peace negotiations between the parties followed afterwards and continued for several years, ultimately resulting in the normalization of relations.
In Korean, the first invasion (1592–1593) is called the "Japanese (倭 wae) Disturbance (亂 ran) of Imjin" (1592 being an imjin year in the sexagenary cycle). The second invasion (1597–1598) is called the "Second War of Jeong-yu" (丁酉). Collectively, the invasions are referred to as the Imjin War.
In Chinese, the wars are referred to as the "Wanli Korean Campaign", after the then reigning Chinese emperor, or the "Renchen War to Defend the Nation" (壬辰衛國戰爭), where renchen (壬辰) is the Chinese reading of imjin.
In Japanese, the war is called Bunroku no eki (文禄の役). Bunroku referring to the Japanese era name of Emperor Go-Yōzei, spanning the period from 1592 to 1596. The second invasion (1597–1598) is called "Keichō no eki" (慶長の役). During the Edo period (17–19th centuries), the war was also called "Kara iri" (唐入り "entry into China"), because Japan's ultimate purpose at the commencement of the invasion was the conquest of Ming China, although with the reality that the conflict was largely confined to the Korean Peninsula for the duration of the war, the armies of Toyotomi Hideyoshi would alter their immediate objectives during the course of the campaign.