It’s been a while since I have heard about the name Admiral Lee Sun Shin (a.k.a Admiral Yi). He was a great naval commander during the Joseon Dynasty, famous for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Imjin War which broke out in the year 1592.
The monument of Admiral Yi stood firmly at 17 meters high erected in the middle of Gwanghwamun Square, with a sword in his right hand depicting his brave and strong personality as though protecting the city from harm like he used to when he was in charge of the navy fleet.
One of the biggest accomplishment was resurrecting and improving the Geobukseon (거북선) or Turtle Ship. A dragon figurehead was constructed at the front of the ship, the purpose is to emit smoke that will shield them from the enemies, it is also said that it could even fit a cannon inside the mouth of the dragon.
Loaded with 11 cannons portholes on each side, in addition to the metal spikes on the top cover discourages enemies from boarding the ship to engage in a hand to hand combat. Despite it’s heavy and bulky outlook, the Turtle ship is said to possessed great speed as it was built with 10 oars on each side, appropriate for ramming into enemy’s ships.
However, Admiral Yi was later shot by an enemy which brought him to his deathbed, his last words was one of the most heartbreaking yet honorable ones that I have ever seen or heard.
“The war is at its height — wear my armor and beat my war drums. Do not announce my death.” – Admiral Lee Sun Shin
While searching for more information about Admiral Yi, I came upon a website which I think is worth a visit as it talks about his life history, victories and all things just about him.
To get there:
Take subway line 5 (purple) and get off Gwanghwamun Station, Exit 5 to Cheonggyecheon, you will be able to see Gwanghwamun Square just across the Spring of Cheonggyecheon stream.