Yi Sun-sin (이순신 ; 李舜臣), Yi Sun-shin in McCune-Reischauer (1545 - November 19, 1598), was an admiral who led the resistance against the Japanese force in Korea, thus earning himself the honor of legendary hero.
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. These were the first ironclad warships, and played a significant part in the war against the Japanese invaders. On September 16, 1597, he led 12 turtle ships against 133 Japanese ships in the Myongnyang Straits. The Koreans sank 31 enemy ships and sent the others fleeing in this victory.
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.
Yi Sun-shin kept a careful record of daily events in a diary, and it is from these entries, along with the reports he sent to the throne during the war, that much about the man has been learned. These works have been published in English as Nanjung Ilgi: War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin, and Imjin Changch'o: Admiral Yi Sun-sin's Memorials to Court.
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. Chungmuro (충무로; 忠武路)--a street in downtown Seoul--is also named after him.
See also List of Koreans.