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Encyclopedia > Yi Sun sin
Yi Sun-sin
Portrait of Yi Sun-sin
Korean name
Hangul: 이순신
Hanja: 李舜臣
Revised Romanization: I Sun-sin
McCune-Reischauer: Yi Sun-sin

Yi Sun-sin (15451598), was a famous Korean naval leader. As the Lord High Admiral of the Korean fleet under the Joseon Dynasty, Yi led the fight against the Japanese during their first invasion of Korea during April 1592 in the Seven-Year War. He turned back the enemy fleet of Japanese invaders with his innovative turtle ships, and became to many Koreans a national hero. He was shot by a sniper in the Battle of Noryang in 1598, and died. He was given the title Chungmugong(The Duke of Loyalty and the Arts of War) posthumously. Image File history File links A portrait of the Great Korean Admiral, Yi Sun Sin File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Korean language (한국말 / 조선말) is the most widely used language in Korea, and is the official language of both North and South Korea. ... Hangul (한글) is the native alphabet used to write the Korean language, as opposed to the Hanja system borrowed from China. ... Hanja (lit. ... The Revised Romanization of Korean is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea. ... McCune-Reischauer is one of the two most widely used Korean language romanization systems, along with the Revised Romanization of Korean, which replaced McCune-Reischauer as the official romanization system in South Korea in 2000. ... Events February 27 - Battle of Ancrum Moor - Scots victory over superior English forces December 13 - Official opening of the Council of Trent (closed 1563) Births April 2 - Elizabeth of Valois, Queen of Philip II of Spain (d. ... Events January 7 - Boris Godunov seizes the throne of Russia following the death of his brother-in-law, Tsar Feodor I April 13 - Edict of Nantes - Henry IV of France grants French Huguenots equal rights with Catholics. ... Admiral is a word from the Arabic term Amir-al-bahr (Lord of the bay). ... A rare occurance of a 5-country multinational fleet, during Operation Enduring Freedom in the Oman Sea. ... The Joseon Dynasty (alternatively, Choson or Chosun) was the final ruling dynasty of Korea, lasting from 1392 until 1910. ... Invasion is a military action consisting of troops entering a foreign land (a nation or territory, or part of that), often resulting in the invading power occupying the area, whether briefly or for a long period. ... Events January 30 - The death of Pope Innocent IX during the previous year had left the Papal throne vacant. ... The Seven-Year War was the conflict from 1592 to 1598 on the Korean peninsula, following two successive Japanese invasions of Korea. ... A Replica of the Geobukseon The Turtle Ship, which is also known as Kobukson or Geobukseon (거북선), is a galley that was remodeled in the 15th century. ... Sir Galahad, a hero of Arthurian legend In many myths and folk tales, a hero is a man or woman (the latter often called a heroine), traditionally the protagonist of a story, legend or saga, who commonly possesses abilities or character far greater than that of a typical person, which... The Battle of Noryang Point, also known as the Battle of Noryang, occurred on November 19, 1598 between the Japanese and Korean navies. ...

Contents


Early life

Yi was born in Geoncheon Dong (Korean: 건천동; 乾川洞) in Seoul. His courtesy name was Deoksu (덕수; 德水) and his posthumous name was Chungmu or Chung Mu (충무; 忠武). In the year 1576, Yi passed the military civil service examination and was posted to the northern border region for the next 10 years. In 1583,Yi lured the Manchurian chief Mu Pai-Nai to battle, defeated his army, and captured him. According to a contemporary tradition, however, Yi had to spend three years out of the army after hearing upon his father's death. After his return to the front line, Yi led a string of successful campaigns against Jurchen nomads. Yi's brilliance despite his short career made his jealous superiors to falsely accuse him of desertion. By the result Yi was demoted to the rank of a common soldier, whereas he was obliged to climb up the ranks once again. The effort rewarded when the Hermit Kingdom's Court 1591 assigned Yi to command the naval forces in Jeolla (전라도 (全羅道)),where he was able to undertake a massive buildup of the regional navy that was later used to confront an invading streak of the Japanese. Shortly after his assumption of the command, Yi began to strengthen the nation's navy with a series of unprecedented reforms. This process included the construction of the now-famous turtle ship, which was the first iron-clad battleship in history. Seoul (   listen?) is the capital of South Korea. ... Cha can also refer to a Latin American dance, also called the Cha-cha-cha. ... A posthumous name (Traditional Chinese: 諡號/謚號 Simplified Chinese: 谥号; Pinyin: shì hào; Romaji: shigō/tsuigō; Revised Romanization of Korean: siho) is a honorary name given to royalty in some cultures posthumously, that is, after the persons death. ... The Jurchens (Chinese: 女真, pinyin: nǚzhēn) were a Tungusic people who inhabited parts of Manchuria and northern Korea until the seventeenth century, when they became the Manchus. ... Events June - Capture of Zutphen by the Dutch under Maurice of Nassau. ... Jeolla (Jeolla-do) was one of the eight provinces of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. ...


The Seven-Year War and the Japanese invasions

This Korean admiral played the most decisive role in beating off the Japanese invaders in 1592 and 1597. In 1592, Toyotomi Hideyoshi gave the order to invade Korea, planning to sweep through the peninsula and use it as a forward base to conquer China. (See Seven-Year War) Hideyoshi was fully aware of the need to control the seas during the invasion. Having failed to hire two Portuguese galleons to help him, he increased the size of his own fleet to 700 vessels, assuming that the Koreans would fight hand-to-hand and be overwhelmed. Events January 30 - The death of Pope Innocent IX during the previous year had left the Papal throne vacant. ... Events January 24 - Battle of Turnhout. ... Hideyoshi in old age. ... The Seven-Year War was the conflict from 1592 to 1598 on the Korean peninsula, following two successive Japanese invasions of Korea. ...


As expected, the invasion force landed at Busan without meeting any Korean ships, and the Japanese forces began a lightning march north, reaching Seoul within nineteen days on 2 May 1592. But the Korean navy was not idle. In May and June, in a series of actions, a small Korean fleet commanded by Yi Sun-shin destroyed several Japanese flotillas - in all ~72 vessels were sunk by the end of June. May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... Events January 30 - The death of Pope Innocent IX during the previous year had left the Papal throne vacant. ...


Yi and the Turtle Ships

Yi designed revolutionary ironclad ships called Geobukseon, or turtle ship. These were probably the first warships to use iron plates as defensive armour. About 33 metres long and 8 metres broad, their roofs were made of hexagonal metal plates, which made them impossible to board and also provided substanial protection against gunfire. A Replica of the Geobukseon The Turtle Ship, which is also known as Kobukson or Geobukseon (거북선), is a galley that was remodeled in the 15th century. ... A Replica of the Geobukseon The Turtle Ship, which is also known as Kobukson or Geobukseon (거북선), is a galley that was remodeled in the 15th century. ...


They were armed with twelve gunports and twenty-two loopholes per side for small-arms, plus four more ports at each end, and equiped with fire-pots and toxic smoke. Tactics varied: sometimes the turtle-ships would come up close, just like a modern torpedo boat, and fire broadsides; other times they would use their metal ram to hole the enemy, leaving the other warships to close in for the kill. Their armament outweighed that of the Japanese by about 40 to 1.


Turtle ships were first deployed at Sachun, where they helped destroy 13 enemy Japanese ships. Subsequently, Admiral Yi achieved tremendous victories in every battle he engaged. In the battles at Dangpo & Danghangpo, he sank 20 and 100 Japanese ships respectively and utterly routed the inexperienced Japanese sailors--remember, this is out of a main Japanese fleet of ~700 vessels. Then on 8 July, in a decisive battle,at the Battle of HansandoAdmiral Yi destroyed the main enemy fleet in Hansan Bay, sinking 59 out of 73 warships; and on the following day he defeated a relief expedition sailing up from Japan. July 8 is the 189th day of the year (190th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 176 days remaining. ...


George Alexander Ballard(1862-1948), a vice admiral of Royal Navy, complimented admiral Yi's winning streaks by the Battle of Hansando highly in his book like this;


"This was the great Korean admiral's crowning exploit. In the short space of six weeks(*actually about 9 weeks, May 7,1592 ~ July 7,1592) he had achieved a series of successes unsurpassed in the whole annals of marinetime war, destroying the enemy's battle fleets, cutting his lines of communication, sweeping up his convoys, imperilling the situation of his victorious armies in the field, and bringing his ambitious schemes to utter ruin. Not even Nelson, Blake, or Jean Bart could have done more than this scarcely known representative of a small and cruelly oppressed nation; and it is to be regretted that his memory lingers nowhere outside his native land, for no impartial judge could deny him the right to be accounted among the born leaders of men."(The Influence of the Sea on The Political History of Japan, 57p)


The Japanese response and demotion

But Hideyoshi and his commanders soon adjusted. At Busan, the surviving Japanese warships took abroad some heavier guns and iron plates, and clustered beneath the harbour's defences of heavy shore-mounted cannon. But above all, the Japanese knew, for a successful invasion of Korea, that Yi Sun-Sin must be eliminated. No Japanese fleet would be safe as long as his presence was commanding the sea.


Seeing how the internal court rivalries of the Koreans worked, the Japanese devised a plan. A Japanese soldier named Yosira was sent to the camp of the Korean general, Kim Eung-Su, and convinced the general that he would spy on the Japanese for the Koreans. Yosira spent a long time acting as a spy and giving the Koreans what appeared to be valuable information. One day he told General Kim that the Japanese General Kato would be coming on a certain date with the great Japanese fleet, and insisted that Admiral Yi be sent to lie in wait and sink it. General Kim agreed and requested King Son-Jo for permission to send Admiral Yi. The general was given permission, but when he gave Admiral Yi his orders, the admiral declined. Yi knew that the location given by the spy was studded with sunken rocks and was very dangerous. When General Kim informed the king of Admiral Yi Sun Sin's refusal to go, Admiral Yi's enemies at court insisted on his replacement by Won Kyun and his arrest. As a result, in 1597 Admiral Yi Sun-Sin was relieved of command, placed under arrest, taken to Seoul in chains, beaten, and tortured. The king wanted to have Admiral Yi killed but the admiral's supporters at court convinced the king to spare him due to his past service record. Spared the death penalty, Admiral Yi was demoted to the rank of common foot soldier. Yi Sun-Sin responded to this humiliation as a most obedient subject, going quietly about his work as if his rank and orders were totally appropriate.


With Admiral Yi stripped of any influence, when negotiations broke down in 1596, Hideyoshi again ordered his army to attack Korea. The invasion came in the first month of 1597 with a Japanese force of 140,000 men transported to Korea in thousands of ships. Had Admiral Yi been in command of the Korean Navy at that time, the Japanese would most likely never have landed on any shore again. Instead, the Japanese fleet landed safely at Sosang Harbour.


The spy Yosira continued to urge General Kim to send the Korean Navy to intercept a fleet of Japanese ships. When ordered to do so, Won Kyun gathered his 80 ships together and reluctantly set sail. This fleet was hardly recognizable as Lee Sun-Sin's former one. Won Kyun had eliminated all of the rules and regulations set up by Yi when he took command as well as purging the ranks of all who had been close to Admiral Yi. His inept manoeuvres almost destroyed the entire Korean fleet and alienated all his men. Also remember, through the spy Yosira, the Japanese fleet had the necessary information of the Korean fleet. Consequently, this battle ended in a complete defeat for the Korean Navy, while Yi Sun-Sin was being detained as a foot soldier. The Korean fleet scattered in a night storm and the main portion blundered upon the Japanese fleet the next day. On seeing the Japanese fleet, Won Kyun panicked and retreated. He beached his boats and took to the land but the Japanese overtook and beheaded him. The Korean fleet scattered was mostly destroyed.


Reinstatement and death

With the news of Won Kyun's disastrous defeat, a loyal advisor of the king called for Yi Sun-Sin's reinstatement. Fearing for his country's security, the king hastily reinstated Yi Sun-Sin as the naval commander. In spite of his previous unfair treatment, Lee immediately set out on foot for his former base at Hansan. As he travelled, he met scattered remnants of his former force. By the time he arrived at Hansan, he had only twelve boats but no lack of men, for the people along the coast had flocked to him when they heard of his reinstatement. Yi drew up his fleet of 12 boats in the shadow of a mountain on Chin-Do Island off the Myongyang straits. On the night of September 16, 1597, his scouts reported the approach of a Japanese fleet. As the moon dropped behind the mountain, the Korean fleet of 12 ships was shrouded in total darkness. When the Japanese fleet of 133 ships sailed by in single file, Admiral Yi's forces gave a large shout and fired point blank. Lee employed one of his tactics, the use of two salvo fire, that resulted in a continuous barrage, causing the Japanese to think that they had run into a vastly superior force. Their fleet scattered in all directions in a total panic. The next day several hundred more Japanese ships appeared and Admiral Lee, fearless as ever, made straight for them. He was soon surrounded, but sank 30 Japanese boats. The remainder of the Japanese fleet, recognizing the work of the famous Admiral Yi Sun-Sin, turned and fled. Admiral Yi gave chase, decimated the enemy, and killed the Japanese commander Madasi. This battle would come to be known as the Battle of Myeongnyang. September 16 is the 259th day of the year (260th in leap years). ... Events January 24 - Battle of Turnhout. ... In the Battle of Myeongnyang, in October 1597, the Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin fought the Japanese navy at sea in the Myeongnyang Strait, near modern-day Jindo Island. ...


In November, the Japanese fleet was lured by Yi into a tide-race where the oar-driven turtle ships caused wholesale destruction. The Japanese never recovered from this blow: lacking naval support and a sea-borne supply line, their land armies were unable to advance very far from their base in Busan and the survivors gladly returned home in 1598. On November 19, 1598, Admiral Yi was shot during the final battle of the war when he attacked retreating Japanese remnants at Noryang. He is said to have asked his son to cover up his body with a large shield, and keep on fighting. The Korean turtle ships did not go into action again after the Admiral's demise, on the orders of incompetent ministers that neglected the country's interests, under the influence of Confucian views discouraging warfare. November 19 is the 323rd day of the year (324th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Events January 7 - Boris Godunov seizes the throne of Russia following the death of his brother-in-law, Tsar Feodor I April 13 - Edict of Nantes - Henry IV of France grants French Huguenots equal rights with Catholics. ...


Legacy

Yi Sun-Sin was considered a master naval tactician and was largely responsible for the defeat of the Japanese in 1592 and 1598. He has been compared to Sir Francis Drake and Lord Nelson of England. And G.A.Ballard considered Yi Sun-Shin as a great naval commander comparing to Lord Nelson of England like this;


"It is always difficult for Englishmen to admit that Nelson ever had an equal in his profession, but if any man is entitled to be so regarded, it should be this great naval commander of Asiatic race who never knew defeat and died in the presence of the enemy; of whose movements a track-chart might be compiled from the wrecks of hundreds of Japanese ships lying with their valiant crews at the bottom of the sea, off the coasts of the Korean peninsula...and it seems, in truth, no exaggeration to assert that from first to last he never made a mistake, for his work was so complete under each variety of circumstances as to defy criticism...His whole career might be summarized by saying that, although he had no lessons from past history to serve as a guide, he waged war on the sea as it should be waged if it is to produce definite results, and ended by making the supreme sacrifice of a defender of his country."(The Influence of the Sea on The Political History of Japan, 66-67p)


In order to fully understand Admiral Yi's legacy, one must first understand how the navy operated in Korea at the time. During the time of the invasion, it was up to the admiral to find the supply for his fleet. Admiral Yi's navy was cut off from any helping hand from the king's court and had to fend for itself. Admiral Yi often wrote in his war diary how concerned he was about the food supply during winters. His enemy was fully supplied, and always outnumbered him, yet Admiral Yi never lost a battle.


Admiral Yi himself had never been trained as an admiral. Korea, called Chosun at the time, did not have any naval training facility. Admiral Yi used to be a general, fighting foreign Jurchen tribes invading from Manchuria. In fact, Okpo Battle, his first victory against the Japanese fleet, was also his first sea battle ever. None of his subordinates, including his own staff, had ever fought at sea before. The Jurchens (Chinese: 女真, pinyin: nǚzhēn) were a Tungusic people who inhabited parts of Manchuria and northern Korea until the seventeenth century, when they became the Manchus. ...


One of the biggest factors in Admiral Yi's success was his foresight to develop new weapons, even before the war. His cannons and guns had longer range than the enemy. His turtle ship, which actually had first set sail the day before the invasion, was very effective in leading the attack and breaking the enemy's formation. For other uses, see Cannon (disambiguation). ...


However, Admiral Yi's real legacy lies in the fact that he was a brilliant strategist. The more advanced weapons might have given him the edge, but it was his strategy that made him invincible. He used many different formations according to the situation, and capitalized on tides and ocean currents. Many times he lured the enemy to a place where his fleet would have advantage. Admiral Yi's expertise on naval strategy is apparent in the fact that his successor Won Gyun, even with all of Admiral Yi's ships and trained crew, could not defeat the enemy fleet of similar might. In fact, Won lost all but 12 of 300 ships that Admiral Yi left him, and was killed himself in the battle.


Yi Sun-shin kept a careful record of daily events in a diary, and it is from these entries, along with the reports he sent to the throne during the war, that much about the man has been learned. These works have been published in English as Nanjung Ilgi: War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-shin, and Imjin Jangcho: Admiral Yi Sun-shin's Memorials to Court. His posthumous title, Lord of Loyalty and Chivalry (Chungmu-gong, 충무공; 忠武公) is used in Korea's third highest military honor, the Cordon of Chungmu of the Order of Military Merit and Valour. He was posthumously granted the title of Prince of Deukpoong. Chungmuro (충무로; 忠武路)—a street in downtown Seoul—is also named after him. The city Chungmu, later renamed to Tongyeong, on southern coast of Korea is named in honour of his posthumous title and the site of his headquarters respectively. There is a prominent statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin in the middle of Sejongno in central Seoul. Reputedly, he never lost a single ship under his command yet he destroyed around a thousand ships of the enemy; a remarkable testment to his tactical skills and knowledge of when to retreat. A posthumous name (諡號/謚號 Pinyin: shì hào; Romaji: shigō/tsuigō; Revised Romanization of Korean: siho) is a honorary name given to royalty in some cultures posthumously, that is, after the persons death. ... Tongyeong is a city in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. ... Tongyeong is a city in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. ... Seoul (   listen?) is the capital of South Korea. ...


Two motion pictures have been made based on his life, both entitled Seong-ung Yi Sun-sin ("The Saintly Hero Lee Sun-shin"), the first a 1962 black & white movie, the second, based upon his war diaries, in color in 1971. There is also a documentary airing on Korean television called "Bulmyeolui Lee Soon-shin" ("The Immortal Yi-Soon-Shin"), which shows the events of his life. It premiered on September 4, 2004 in Korea and has become popular in China and the USA as well.


See also

This is a list of Wikipedia articles on Korea-related people, places, things, and concepts. ... This is a list of famous Koreans or famous people of Korean descent. ... This article is about the history of Korea. ... The Seven-Year War was the conflict from 1592 to 1598 on the Korean peninsula, following two successive Japanese invasions of Korea. ...

References

  • The Influence of the Sea on The Political History of Japan(1921) ISBN 0-8371-5435-9

External links

  • http://www.tkdtutor.com/10Patterns/09ChoongMoo/ChoongmooInfo.htm
  • http://english.kbs.co.kr/spotlight/1330268_3178.html
  • http://www.koreanwiz.org/at/drama-leesoonshin.html
  • http://www.toolkitzone.com/blog.php?mode=view&entry=2822

  Results from FactBites:
 
Yi Sun-sin Summary (6149 words)
Yi was born in Geoncheondong (Korean: 건천동; 乾川洞), Hanseong (present-day Seoul).
Yi is said to have impressed the judges with his swordsmanship and archery, but failed to pass the test for several years when he broke a leg during the cavalry examination.
Undoubtedly, Yi is a supreme naval commander even on the basis of the limited literature of the Seven-Year War, and despite the fact that his bravery and brilliance are not known to the West, since he had the misfortune to be born in Joseon Dynasty.
Yi Sunsin: Information from Answers.com (4656 words)
Yi was tortured almost to the point of death, by using simple torture tactics such as whipping him, flogging, burning, the cudgel, or even the korean classic technique of leg breaking torture.
Yi’s expertise on naval strategy is apparent in the fact that his successor Won Gyun, even with all of Yi’s ships and trained crew, could not defeat an enemy fleet of similar might.
Yi kept a careful record of daily events in his diary, and it is from these entries, along with the reports he sent to the throne during the war, that much about the man has been learned.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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