2016 travel diary 15: Song of the Sword and Roaring Currents – the two sides of Myeongnyang

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. […]

2012 Travel Diary 6: Tongyeong harbour

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 […]

The Turtle Ship

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 […]

Book Review: Admiral Yi Sun-sin

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; […]