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Yi Sunsin

Yi Sunsin (이순신 ; 李舜臣), spelled Yi Sun-shin in McCune-Reischauer[?] (1545 - November 19, 1598), was a general that led the resistance against the Japanese force in Korea, thus earned himself the honor of legendary hero.

Yi Sunsin was born in Gae___ (개__ ; 開豐), Gyeonggi-Do (now Seoul). His courtesy name was Deogsu (덕수 ; 汝諧), and sobriquet Yeohae (여해 ; 德水).

The Korean admiral was responsible for defeat of Japanese invasions in 1592 and 1597. In 1592, Toyotomi Hideyoshi gave the order to invade Korea, planning to sweep through the peninsula and then conquer China.

Admiral Yi designed iron-roofed ships called Geobukseon or turtle ship. His guerrilla attacks severed Japanese logistics lines and he played a significant part in the war against the Japanese invaders.

In spite of his remarkable service, he was entrapped by his colleague Won Gyun and imprisoned. However, Since the Won Gyun-lead navy was immediately exterminated, he was reinstated, which proved that victories were owed to his personal ability. On September 16, 1597, he led 12 turtle ships against 133 Japanese ships in the Myongnyang Straits. The Koreans sank 31 enemy ships and forced a Japanese retreat.

On November 19, 1598, Admiral Yi was shot during the final battle of the war when he broke an armistice agreement and attacked Japanese remnants at Noryang. His posthumous title, Lord of Loyalty and Chivalry (Chungmu-gong, 충무공 ; 忠武公) is used in Korea's third highest military honor, the Order of Chungmu.

There is a prominent statue of Admiral Yi Sunsin in the middle of Sejongno in central Seoul.

There was another Yi Sunsin (李純信) contemporary of Admiral Yi Sunsin. The second Yi Sunsin (1554-1611), however, has a name written in different Hanja.

See also List of Koreans.



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