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Yi Sun Shin was a leader with excellent creativity. He development of various innovative weapons including the Geobukseon battleship, outstanding naval tactics that become a part of world naval history, and effective ways to manage an army. For example is The Geobukseon. The Geobukseon as an assault battleship was designed by reforming the Panokseon battleship. It is designed with an upper deck that was shielded with a layer wooden panels to be suitable for againt Japan. Japanese force preferred hand-to-hand combat after boarding enemy ships. The Geobukseon rammed into the enemy, brook the formation of the fleet, and bombarded the enemy fleet with cannons. It fatally damaged the Japanese fleet. Japanese force were very afraid of the Geobukseon and calling it the bling ship.
Yi Sun Shin also develop a new weapons. He invented the Jeongcheol Chongtong, innovative firearms that combined the strengths of both Korean and Japanese firearms of the time. He is creativity was also utilized in his management of the navy during the Imjin War.
Yi Sun Shin is brilliance as a naval commander in his use of his creative naval tactic called ‘Hagikjin’ or crane-wing formation. Because of this tactic, he won battleship at Hansondo. By this time, Japanese forces were stuck in a quagmire due to the successive victories of the Korean Navy, the appearance of Korean militias (Uibyeong in Korean), and the intervention of the Chinese Army. Japan had no choice but to initiate tedious peace talks with Ming China that lasted for 45 months. The peace talks did not include Korea because of Korean opposition to peace negotiations with the invading forces of Japan.
X. Yi Sun Shin had to procure all the means necessary for the maintenance of the navy, including provisions and funds for the production of weapons and military training. For this purpose, he engaged in creative administration initiatives, including fishing, producing and selling salt, managing land called Dunjeon, and issuing certificates that charged a fee for the passage of coastal waters around the three provinces of Gyeongsang-do, Jeolla-do and Chungcheong-do. Using his experience as a Dunjeongwan, the officer in charge of managing Dunjeon, he gathered wandering people in Dunjeon to supplement the military personnel, and effectively procured provisions for the army.
Yin Sun Shin practiced justice without any compromise of his integrity throughout his life. As a military officer, he always strictly distinguished between public and private affairs, and had no hesitation in speaking plainly to superiors or those in power about injustice. Such uprightness caused him to go through several hardships during his lifetime, but despite all of those challenges, he remained faithful to his principle of justice. In practicing justice, he was stricter on himself than on others. The following excerpt is from his report to the King, asking for his own punishment after his navy lost a ship at the battle of Ungcheonpo in 1593. In fact, the cause of the ship’s capsize was his subordinate generals not following his orders, yet he took full responsibility as a commander.
He in lived all his life practicing justice by strictly adhering to his principles. He always led by example before he came to judge others. This attitude served as the foundation of his great achievements in saving the nation, highlighting his greatness.
Yi Sun Shin acted more bravely than anyone else in battle. The record is well known that he defeated 133 enemy ships with only 13 ships at the battle of Myeongnyang. When Korean Naval generals lost their fighting spirit and held back in going on to battle, he rebuked them and went forward to spearhead the battle. Encouraged by his brave initiative, the Korean Navy desperately fought against the Japanese at the risk of their lives, and triumphed despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered. Yi always led by example to encourage subordinates to do their best in battle.
Before every battle, he prepared thoroughly and devised effective strategies by using his remarkable insight in battle conditions. He is glorious record of all victories and no defeats was possible because he always took the lead in battle with distinguished bravery, despite the danger that would await him.
Yi Sun Shin devoted his entire life to protect the country that he belonged to and loved. Regardless of his military rank, he did his best in his duty. After the breakout of the Imjin War, he protected the territorial waters of Korea as the head of the Korean Navy at the cost of his life. He faced many challenges in serving his country as a military officer. Trapped in false accusations by his superiors, he was demoted several times and served as a commoner in battle (the punishment of Baegui Jonggun) in 1587 and in 1597. Despite his outstanding accomplishments in naval battles, he even faced the threat of the death penalty as a criminal. However, these ordeals never affected his patriotism. Until his death on a ship during the battle of Noryang in November of 1598, he was firmly determined to serve his beloved homeland.
His love for the country was consistent with his love for the people. Even dangerous and precarious situations, his first priority was always for the safety of the people. He sincerely cared about people suffering hardships and tried to comfort them.
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