Yi Sun-shin (이순신) (1545-1598)

Munnae-myeon, Haenam-gun, Jeollanam-do, 18 May 2016, 4:30pm. The battle of Myeongnyang, in October 1597, was Yi Sun-shin’s penultimate victory, and the last one that he came out of alive. His final victory, the Battle of Noryang, came in December 1598 in the narrow strait between Namhae and the mainland, when a stray bullet killed him. […]

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2012 Travel Diary 7: Yi Sun-shin — military genius, hero, poet

by Philip Gowman 24 May 2012
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Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do, Monday 26 March 2012. The brief ferry ride from Tongyeong to Hansando traverses the sheltered sound where Admiral Yi Sun-shin won a famous victory over the Japanese navy on 14 August 1592. On the day I crossed, it was difficult to imagine the tumult of a battle in which 47 Japanese ships were […]

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2012 Travel Diary 6: Tongyeong harbour

by Philip Gowman 9 May 2012
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Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do, Monday 26 March 2012. It’s another beautiful, crisp spring morning. The sea is calm, the sky is cloudless, but the temperature out of the sun is not far above freezing. The light is perfect for a few early photographs of the view from the hotel and from its waterside terrace, though it’s tricky […]

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The Turtle Ship

by Matthew Jackson 25 October 2009
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There is a story that when the nascent Korean shipping industry was attempting to raise capital, Barclays asked what the Koreans could provide in the way of security for the loan. The Korean executive is said to have taken a 500 won bill from his pocket, which featured the turtle ship of Yi Sun-sin, and […]

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Book Review: Admiral Yi Sun-sin

by Philip Gowman 18 May 2006
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A quick and easy read setting out the achievements of Admiral Yi in the Imjin war against Japan. As well as telling Yi’s story (sometimes using Yi’s own war diary and memorials to the throne), the book tries to compare his achievements with events which might be familiar to foreign readers — Nelson at Trafalgar; […]

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Stephen Turnbull: Samurai Invasion – Japan’s Korean War 1592-98

by Philip Gowman 17 April 2006
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Shows how factionalism in the Korean court, complacency and incompetence led to the easy conquest of Korea by Japan in 1592. Well illustrated, with maps and photographs, this book plots the course of the 6-year occupation of Korea at the end of the 16th century, and the brutal modes of warfare (Korea’s misfortune was to […]

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