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Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson and Koreans in Wikipedia

June 20th, 2006 . by Matt

Lord Nelson
Lord Nelson – A mere peasant compared to the great Korean Admiral, Yi Sun Shin

It seems that Koreans are appearing in the most unlikely places trying to insert Korean nationalist issues into Wikipedia with Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson being compared unfavorably to the little known Korean naval hero, Yi Sun Shin.

Originally there was no reference to Yi Sun Shin on the Nelson article, but some person (99.99% likely to be Korean or ethnic Korean) made some changes.

Here is what it said originally.

Most military historians believe Nelson’s ability to inspire officers of the highest rank and seamen of the lowest was central to his many victories, as was his unequaled ability to both strategically plan his campaigns and tactically shift his forces in the midst of battle. He may have been the greatest field commander in history. Certainly, he stands as the greatest warrior afloat.

And here is the new Korea Manse 韓國萬歲 version.

Most military historians believe Nelson’s ability to inspire officers of the highest rank and seamen of the lowest was central to his many victories, as was his unequaled ability to both strategically plan his campaigns and tactically shift his forces in the midst of battle. Certainly, he ranks as one of the greatest field commanders in military history. Many consider him to have been the greatest warrior of the seas; others rank him equal with or below the 16th-century Korean admiral Yi Sun-Sin, and comparisons have been made between Trafalgar and the Battle of Noryang.

These “others” ranking Lord Nelson equal or below Yi Sun Shin do not exist outside of Korea, I would say.

I suppose there are millions of other alterations Koreans could make to Wikipedia to conflate their nationalist heros with people and events of historical significance. What are we to do? There is an army of Koreans out there that are treating Wikipedia like a soccer match, the goal being to win and place Korea right at the center of the universe.

Cheers to ‘Yooklid’ for finding the Lord Nelson article, and bringing it to my attention.

77 Responses to “Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson and Koreans in Wikipedia”

  1. comment number 1 by: GarlicBreath


    thanks for the informaion and links. I dont expect Koreans ever to do any real research on Koguro as they dont want to find out the truth.

  2. comment number 2 by: Errol

    Genes …. of the modern Japanese … a hybrid population between arriving Korean rice farmers and a prior Japanese population. …a Koguryo-like language may have been spoken by the Korean farmers arriving in Japan, may have evolved into modern Japanese, and may have been replaced in Korea itself by Sillan that evolved into modern Korean.

    Fascinating. The genetic case for Anschluss. Pyongyang, Seoul or Tokyo for Neo-Koguryo’s capital? It’s amazing how the cultures of the modern day successors of the three Korean genetic families have diverged.

  3. comment number 3 by: kojibomb


    wow…. great info

    but… my textbook for an elective course called “the human past” (about World prehistory and development of human societies) according to that basically… it shows greater Korean influence in Japan than vice versa.

    Ex) in the early ages ( no civilization country wtv) many graves in Japan in the western part have very Kimchi flavor to it(comparing to graves in Korea). That can mean anything but… these archaeologists suggest that many Korean people (people who lived in Korean region) prob migrated to Japan. They also say that this is how Japanese people started to domesticate animals and plants from the Korean people.

    about.. language… i dont know much about ancient language.. because Japan and Korean history are not really concentrated (maybe they are not so much important as .. ummm chinese history?)
    the book says

    the second dynasty of Yamato is named after its founder, Ojin, whose reign dates traditionally fall between AD 346 and 395. It was during his rule that Korean tutors brought literacy to Japan

    This book has some info about relationship btw korea and Japan.. i can look it up for you guys.. maybe about Kaya?? is it Japanese or Korean?? kind of thing

  4. comment number 4 by: kojibomb


    and I think Caucasians, chinese, people from all around the world already done studies in Korean land. But, many of them are controversy… like Kaya

  5. comment number 5 by: tomato

    Fascinating. The genetic case for Anschluss. Pyongyang, Seoul or Tokyo for Neo-Koguryo’s capital? It’s amazing how the cultures of the modern day successors of the three Korean genetic families have diverged.

    According to the report I posted, the three Korean kingdoms were not genetically related (except maybe for Koguryo and Paekche), and modern day Korea is decended from Silla, which was probably not ethnically related to Japan. Also, you mix up statehood with ethnicity…immigration to Japan predates any state in Korea…just like England is no heir of any German states, Japan (Yamato) is not decended from any of the kingdoms in ancient Korea. And even if there was ethnic relationship, cultures could be very different…like the example I gave…England and Germany. Or even Italy and England, or India, Iran and England (all same Indo-Europeans).

    Anyways, Japan does not endorse the view that being possibly ethnically related to old Korean kingdoms gives at any “glory” or some right of land…so my point was to show that even ancient history is distorted for the sake of Korean pride and territorial ambitions.

  6. comment number 6 by: tomato

    but… my textbook for an elective course called “the human past” (about World prehistory and development of human societies) according to that basically… it shows greater Korean influence in Japan than vice versa.

    Did I refute that? I pasted documents that basically say that Japan was settled by people from the Korean penninsula. No body denies that in Japan. And noody denies that Japan kept contact with Korean states and imported Chinese culture via Korea.

    But this relationship did end very early, as Japan lost her allies in Korea (Koguryo and Paekche…interesting that these states may be ethnically related to Japan) and Silla and the later Koryo kingdom being essentially Japan’s enemy, Japan had to sail directly to China to learn advanced technologies and cultures of the day (which was very dangerous back in the 7th Centrury). So, the Korean claim on having cultural infulence on Japan is still much exaggerated. They shouldn’t be claiming that…they tried to block Japan from having contact with China, you know…what a contributor to Japanese civilization!

  7. comment number 7 by: Aki

    Tomato, thank you for the interesting links.

    Similarity between the words in old Koguryo and old Japanese are also described in the following PDF file. It also shows that the words used in Koguryo/Japan were radically different from Korean words.

    Old Koguryo: mir ; Old Japanese: mi

    Old Koguryo: ütsi ; Old Japanese: itu

    Old Koguryo: ku ; Old Japanese: k ú, kwo, ko

    ‘tree, wood’
    Old Koguryo: kir, key ; Old Japanese: kì, ki

    Old Koguryo: puk ; Old Japanese: puka- ; Early Middle Korean: kiph u˙n

    ‘level, flat’
    Old Koguryo: piar ; Old Japanese: pira- ; Early Middle Korean: ‘y o˙th o˙/ny o˙th o˙/’yath u˙n

    Old Koguryo: tan ; Old Japanese: tani ; Early Middle Korean: kolk o˙i

  8. comment number 8 by: Errol

    tomato Said:

    November 11, 2006 at 3:17 am

    Anyways, Japan does not endorse the view that being possibly ethnically related to old Korean kingdoms gives at any “glory” or some right of land

    Anschluss means political union not minor land grabs like the Liancourt Rocks.

  9. comment number 9 by: Errol

    Though in its original sense anschluss means connection.

    May I take this opportunity to once again thank Matt for providing a forum for Korean, Japanese and other peoples to make connections.

  10. comment number 10 by: tomato


    Yes. .I know what Anschluss means. It’s from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    I just don’t get it when Koreans claim that Japan was some offshoot of the old Korean kingdoms (I’ve seen claims that Paekche “begot” old Yamato)…if the linguisitic relationship is really true, then it’s more like brotherly relationship than a parent and offspring one (the latter the Koreans like to claim). And the Koreans are also overlooking the indigeneous influence on the Japanese…the Ainu share many heritage and culture with the Japanese (to be precise, with the Yamato people, as I rather think Ainu are fellow Japanese).

    About the cultural infuluence, Koreans also mix them all up to serve their goal of self-satisification. The very ancient Japanese had similar cultures because they were brother tribes with some tribes in the Korean penninsula. During the three kingdom period, cultural similarities are becuase the Japanese (the Yamato kingdom) imported Chinese-style civilization from the Korean penninsula. And there was another wave of Korean immigrants at this time too, but there is no proof that the immigrants overwhelmed the native population at that time (rather, they were absorbed). When Japan lost her allies Koguryo and Paekche, Japan was cut off from the Korean penninsula and had to cross the storm-infested East China Sea with primitive ships to get direct access. Many people were lost at sea, you know… So, whenever I hear Koreans saying that they taught the barbaric Japanese civilization, I would have to doubt how much they really know…and wonder where the arrogance comes from? Some Chinese risked their lives to give the Japanese enlightenment. The Koreans???

  11. comment number 11 by: Errol

    I agree with your point about the ethnic connections not preventing nation based enmity. As was seen in WW1 and WW2 between Germany and the UK. Even to the extent of the royal cousins King George V King George V and Kaiser Wilhelm.

    As the Korean military was emasculated by a Confucian caste system that didn’t want a strong military that might provide low-born soldiers an opportunity to overthrow the Korean aristocracy the war between Japan and Korea was less bloody than the wars between Germany and the UK.

    In modern times power is more economic than military and the struggle to keep low-born people (and all women and foreigners are low-born according to Korean males) from positions of power is a major hindrance to Korea’s move from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy.

    It is often claimed that modern Korean men do not believe such things but the wishful dreaming of female soap opera scriptwriters and what happens in real life are completely different.

  12. comment number 12 by: pekau

    Wow, this is some debate… and frankly, I love it!

    Well, I’d like to point some things out. Yi Sunshin being… coward? Really, who is biased now? Just because he did not have enough troops to fight Japanese invaders one by one does not mean that he is coward!!? Sad reality, but honor and glory is not what makes people great… it is power. No one in the world remember enormous sacrifice made by Soviet Union in World War II. Imagine, over half of troops died in WWII were Russian soldiers. They fought bravely, arguably the most brave army the world has ever seen. Yes, these soldiers were influenced by propaganda… but what kind of bravery would it require for a person with an outdated rifle, assuming that he had one, against professional German heavy fire? But no one in Western world cares! Why? Because Russians, part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (U.S.S.R.), became an enemy of America… and was defeated. History is made by winners. I repeat, HISTORY IS MADE BY WINNERS. We get seriously shocked at Hitler’s will to exterminate 6 million Jews… and yet, we do not give a damn about millions of Africans dying as we speak. I will be honest, I would be more concern about my future university than saving people in Africa. Cruel? Yes. I will not deny it. But that’s the reality. For those who disagree with me… well, you got a good heart. But then why not pack your bags and decide to become missionary in Africa right now? Allow me to make a fair guess, you are not going to help out. Sure, you could make some donations, and perhaps… you could visit Africa personally and help out a bit… but the fact is clear. You will still want to go back to comfortable civilization. I am not saying you people are all criminals. But, from my opinion, no one should have right to just simply conclude that a person was just crazy and demonic. Would Hitler be so bad if he won WWII? Students will be taught in history classes that Hitler was a greatest leader the world has ever seen. And he just did not hate Jews for fun, folks. He was constantly bullied by German Jews when he was in Jr. High. His mother got breast cancer and thought he doctor tried to operate surgery to prevent cancer… it costed Hitler’s mother a breast. Guess the race of the doctor? A Jew. When he got interested in painting, he applied to attend University of Paris. The person responsible to accept or reject the admission rejected Hitler. Guess who he was? A Jew. And the list goes on…

    Don’t get me wrong. Hitler was a good leader of German people, but as a human being, he was a horrible man. Not only that he persecuted Jews, he ignored all his best generals who helped Hitler to conquer Europe… and attacked Soviet Union for his obsession against Slavic people and Communists.

    Ask any leaders if they want to lose? Yi Sunshin’s main goal was to sink as many Japanese ships as possible. His loyalty to nation as Korean, his duty as soldier of Korea, his responsibility as head of family and his small army was not an easy task. As I have mentioned earlier, he never received any funds to strengthen his fleet.

    I do admit that ironclad turtle ship was not as effective as it was. It was, indeed, an over exaggeration made by Korea. There were very little turtle ships to show their true potential. They were mostly used as psychological warfare.

    Shooting arrows and cannons to merchant ship is coward? Please… do some research before making arguments and wasting my time! In Japan, most of their fleet were merchant ships! Why? As I have mentioned earlier, Japanese infantry was far more superior than Koreans. (Ex. Samurai. Do I need to say more?) Once the Japanese merchant ships surround and allowing Japanese troops to land Korean ships… Korea is doomed! Numerically disadvantaged and overwhelmed by skilled enemy infantry, Koreans used all their advantages that they had to defeat their enemy? If you are still imagining this glory and honor war that are often shown in Lord of the Rings and King Arthur… you are mistaken. Aragorn is considered hero since he won. If he lost, his significance, no matter how great or brave he is, would mean very little.

    And sorry to disappoint you Errol… It was indeed Koreans who were mainly responsible for the development of Japanese society. But I do admit that Korea was not the only influence. There was no distinctive Korean culture back then… it was really Chinese. Korean Buddhists, in the name of Buddha, sailed to Japan and taught advanced skills and culture. Korean influence began to diminish as Korea experienced internal war (Civil war) that lasted thousands of years. Ever since the great struggle of Korea, Japan began to become more independent. It began to shape its unique culture. Buddhism, spreaded by Koreans and Chinese, was soon being competed by Japanese religion: Shinto.

    Of course, I do understand that many Koreans would embarrassed our nation for sake of their pride. Let’s face it. Korea was unique and great nation, but it was never a formidable nation. (With possible exception of Goguryeo, since it repelled enormous Chinese armies many times.)

    To some extent, it is interesting to note some similarities between Italy and Korea. Both are very proud nations. They both had significant cultural and military strength in the beginning. However, they cannot understand that other races are unique and important as well. Many Koreans hate Japan not only because of long history, but due to Japan’s harsh rule in Korea during the Second World War. Though it was not as severe as Jewish holocaust, it was still violent, bloody, and brutal. My great grand father was among the peaceful protesters against Japan’s harsh policy, but many of the protestors were shot to death. My great grandfather was not so lucky. Instead of getting fatal shot, he got shot in the left eye which paralyzed his eyesight as well as face muscle tissues. He was arrested, electrocuted and beating, and died in cell due to lead poisoning. (Back in WWII, the ammunitions were not clean and were often contaminated with harmful substances.

    And about Queen Min… well, mein Gott in himmel… who in the right mind said she should be “mother of Korea”? Ah, such shame. I have done some extensive studies and, frankly, I am embarrassed to say that she was a Korean. She was Marie Antoinette of France and Tsaritsa Alexandra Fyodorovna of Imperial Russia. She welcomed many foreign powers to take over Korea and protect her as Queen of Korea. She was assassinated by Japan’s secret police, for she was welcoming China to interfering Japanese dominance over Korea.

    But hey, remember what I said? Winners make history. As a student who’s passion is science and history, I believe that it is my duty to understand the history from many sources. You have no idea how social textbooks used are so corrupted. Be careful with what other people say. Do not listen to the facts if it makes no logical sense. That’s why I dislike the belief of getting through social by memorization. What? You want to ace in propaganda class?

    As a human being, it is my nature to be biased… though I try to be least biased as possible. As Korean, it is natural for me to protect Korea’s pride. But I will not hide this… Korea is among the most corrupted and inefficient nations in the world. Look at Japan. They were literally barbaric while Korea was an advanced civilization. But look at Japan now. Her economy, military, scientific advancement, and her pride overwhelms Korea’s. Why? Japan knew that they were very disadvantaged, for they were isolated from other major civilization. But they learned from them. They set aside their pride, and treated Korean and Chinese as Gods. They learned their failure against Yi Sunshin, so they reformed their military. General Togo, known as the Nelson of the East for his brilliant victories against Britain in Sino-Japanese War, and demolishing the great Baltic Fleet of Imperial Russia in Port Arthur. Despite his overwhelming achievement, which astounded British (Since they held sea supremacy for long time) General Togo admitted that he could not be compared with Yi Sunshin. Japan may play dirty, and they may not be nice to everyone… but they respect people by skills and talents, not by age and experience as Korea dearly hold on to. Japan took good things and changed for Japan’s benefits. Korea, with her sinful pride, remain stubborn to change. That was the mistake that Imperial Russia, Austria-Hungary and China made.

    I have presented my opinions, my sense of justification and defense to Yi Sunshin, and attempted to be less biased as possible. Here is my sense of justice. I’d be looking forward to deeply thought critics. It is a crime for anyone to judge and influence other people’s opinion about a country with limited knowledge. I tried my best. I hope you would be as well. I hope that Korea’s pride would be respected. I also hope that Koreans would not cross the line and be reasonable in sense of our pride. Remember, many of the true genius are the modest ones.


    Future IB Revolutionist and eternal fan of Lord High Admiral Yi Sun-sin, the greatest navy admiral in history of mankind.

    P.S. I know that the sentence above is biased, but come on. I am Korean. Can’t I have some fun with my title?

    P.S.S. Garlicbreath, stop making generalization. Excuse me speaking frankly… but I have been blinded by my blood? That Koreans worship Yi Sunshin and Kim Jung Il? Please, you already sound like a propapganda minister. If you have a point to make, then give us reasons instead of mocking us. Furthermore, you stated that sources about Yi Sunshin is lacking. Who are you to judge which source is valid for invalid? Reading briefly translated English version of his diary is indeed very limited resource.. and that’s why you find them. It’s hard, for many historians do not care about Korean history as much as European and North American’s… but isn’t that what history is about? Finding out the truth? How long will you limit your knowledge just because Western civilization limit such history in the world you live in? If you simply do not care, than I am sorry to waste yours and my time. But do not limit other people’s knowledge by insisting your beliefs and values. I am NOT SAYING that you are totally wrong, for history is a tricky business..but talk about it. Reason your arguements. Use your logic to see if the source is accurate. I feel that our history should no longer be created by winners. Isn’t it about time for humanity to learn the truth?

    Who’s the blinded one now?

  13. comment number 13 by: tomato


    Future IB Revolutionist and eternal fan of Lord High Admiral Yi Sun-sin, the greatest navy admiral in history of mankind

    Well, that’s the problem…don’t make him a worldly figure!!! Even if Yi Sunshin did a good job, the conflict was regional at best, and Korea didn’t march into “world glory” thereafter. There is absolutely no worldly significance to the war except maybe for the fact that Ming China was weakened by the war efforts and soon was overwhelmed by the Manchus.

    And the question I’ve been aslking, is…did Yi Shunshin ever fight any decisive battle against the Japanese forces in the first place? He did cause trouble along the supply lines (not merchant ships, as you suppose), but the cold fact is, Japan’s leader died during the war, and since the Japanese Daimyos weren’t enthusiastic about his idea of conquering Ming China (by using Korea as a passage way), and left without any great losses (of course, without much achievenments, either). And the Japansese just went on fighting each other again to be ultimately unified by the Tokugawa clan with no recognizable adverse effect from the failure of the Korean invasion. I guess in Korea, they teach you that Japan became poor thereafter because it was cut-off from Korea…and that’s really silly.

    And do you really think Japan was backwards then? I think Koreans need to look into Japanese history more, as Japan was probably more richer and in fact more technologically advanced than Korea at the time. Unlike Korea, Japan had opened herself to European merchants at the time, and was manufacturing tons of firearms…bulding ships to trade with SE Asian countries (there was Japan towns in Thailand)…what was Korea doing at the time?

  14. comment number 14 by: pekau

    That’s why I said this… that Korea was definitely more advanced than Japan until the Korea became Joseon. Until then, Japan was hardly considered a civilization, according to China and Korea. And you have to understand… Japan was not stupid enough to simply send supply ships… only to be sunk by Koreans. They had warships, for Japan’s number of ships dwarfed the Spanish Armada at that time. The internal struggle of Japan after the death of Hideyoshi… so what? Japan decided to retreat… so what? That does not mean that Japan just left for sake of Koreans. If they lose the will to fight war, they retreat. Is that not, to extent, a victory? Furthermore, someone mentioned that Korea is not worth occupying…


    Why do you think Hideyoshi attacked it in the first place? Korea is valuable to Japan due to many reasons. Japan’s population is growing. Like commerical revolution in Europe, more population require more food production. Just look at Japan’s geography. Most of the Japan’s mainland is mountains, unsuitable to farm. Furthermore, Japan was still not unified. The fragile alliance formed by Hideyoshi was unstable… and Hideyoshi knew it. He needed to divert the Japanese attention to something else than internal struggle. What do warriors want? War for glory and honor, not to mention wealth since samurai cannot make a living without war. Lack of war later on in Japan caused some serious class struggle that weakened Japan. For instance, samurai were becoming a class higher than peasant because they were allowed to carry swords. But that was basically the only advantage.

    Korea did not welcome European traders. Japan did, but only for while. Japan was suppose to get the Portugese help, but Japan shut them down before Chirstianity and liberalism could tear Japan apart. Only few Dutch and Chinese trades were allowed in Nagasaki (Not sure which city…) Until American fleet came to force Japan for free trade, Japan was in same position as Korea.

    Japanese infantry, indeed, was a formiddable force in Far East. The basic firearms was one thing… but many of Japanese soldiers had formation of European mdeiveal war. Knights and mass of conscripts folllowing from the back. Samurai knights, considered as among the best infantry found in Far East at that time. Like the Romans, Japanese dominated most of land warfare which nearly destroyed Korea.

    Chinese reinforcement was not too significant. It was Chinese cannons that made a huge difference. Chinese cannons were still more advanced than European cannons at that time, and Koreans began to realize that in terms of artillery, Korea had advantage. Interestingly enough, this is how Prussians defeated French in Franco-Prussian War. French guns had longer range and its reloading speed was shorter than Germans. German, however, had artilleries made of steel. Knowing that Germans could not win with sheer number alone, Germans used superior numbers and greater number of strong artillery to surround the French force and eventually bombard French position until French troops move out… then German infantry numerically overwhelmed the French that ran away from the cover and positions.

    Same concept here. Except the Japanese retreated before such tactic could be fully used.

  15. comment number 15 by: Two Cents

    Hideyoshi’s invasion of the Korean peninsula in contemporary documents is referred to as “唐入,” meaning “entering China.” He wasn’t interested in Korea. He was interested in becoming the king of the three countries (Japan, China, and India). It was Nobunaga who initially had the aspiration, according to letters sent to the Vatican by a missionary close to Nobunaga.

  16. comment number 16 by: ponta

    I think Yi Sunshin was a brave guy.
    Likewise Katō Yoshiaki was a brave guy; he fought bravely with Korean troop,
    But I am not brave enough to call Kato a worldly figure.
    The point is why some Koreans want to make Yi Sunshin a world figure.

    My great grandfather was not so lucky. Instead of getting fatal shot, he got shot in the left eye which paralyzed his eyesight as well as face muscle tissues. He was arrested, electrocuted and beating, and died in cell due to lead poisoning. (Back in WWII, the ammunitions were not clean and were often contaminated with harmful substances.

    I am really sorry to hear that. I hope the prosecutor was not one of infamous KoreanProsecution Clerk. who tortured Korean people more cruelly than Japanese boss.

    And about Queen Min… well, mein Gott in himmel… who in the right mind said she should be “mother of Korea”?

    Many young Korean people and Kyopo

    Ah, such shame. I have done some extensive studies and, frankly, I am embarrassed to say that she was a Korean

    You are the first Korean person I’ve ever heard to tell the truth about Min. I am really glad.

  17. comment number 17 by: tomato


    The internal struggle of Japan after the death of Hideyoshi… so what? Japan decided to retreat… so what? That does not mean that Japan just left for sake of Koreans. If they lose the will to fight war, they retreat. Is that not, to extent, a victory? Furthermore, someone mentioned that Korea is not worth occupying…

    I’m just pointing out your overglorification of Korean history. Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea was done not by any necessity except that Hideyoshi wanted to prove himself as the strongman in East Aisa. It’s kind of amusing how you try to make sense out of it, but in fact there wasn’t any sense in it at all, like Two Cents puts it out well. The invasion had little impact on Japan, because Japan was strong enough to absorb it (it seems that Korea was not), and of course, the Japanese casualty was minimal at best. Just name any great Daimyos that were lost in the war…Yi Sunshin was killed, but was Shimazu? Kato Kiyomasa? Konishi?. …I don’t see how you don’t get this…I think it’s because you overglorify your so-called great victory.

    You really do seem to lack basic knowledge about Japanese history and development during the ages…you have only the view based on the belief and bias that the Koreans were superior and advanced than Japan until Japan came to administer in 1910. If that’s what you want to believe, that’s OK.

    But it’s true it looks like overglorification, which is usually ridiculous looking from foreigners, all the more when you look at the fact that Korea was never was a worldly power in any respect. Why can’t you guys just be humble? I think it’s OK to brag that Yi Shunshin did a good job, but a worldly renouned general? That’s not true, and you should know it.

  18. comment number 18 by: pekau

    Heh, I hope that when I used this as title…

    Future IB Revolutionist and eternal fan of Lord High Admiral Yi Sun-sin, the greatest navy admiral in history of mankind

    I was not serious. I know that no man/woman could possibly be considered as the best. There are so many different factors.

    Let me make something clear to you about war, tomato. I like your ideas and your persistence… and I like it! It’s what makes history and debate so fun!

    War is not a chess game. Many leaders do not wish a war, and history already proved that war in long run is disastrous. Look at Napoleon, Hitler, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan (Check the spelling)… they were brilliant leaders, but they failed. Why? They have to understand that it takes more than grand army to take over the world. That’s why my favorite leaders include people like Bismarck, Nelson, Rommel, etc… and guess who else? Yi Sunshin!

    These leaders were not just conquerors. They knew their strength and their weakness. They knew when to provoke war, and when to prevent it. Bismarck is a perfect example. He struck Austria-Hungary with superior professional Prussian armies which brought overwhelming victory. Right after he got what he wanted, he offered peace with Austria-Hungary. Other great powers did not even had chance to interfere. Bismarck was able to conquer all Germanic areas without risking a costly and hopeless war against Germany’s enemies. Divide and conquer.

    I am not saying Nelson was pathetic and insignificant compared to Yi Sunshin. He was another great leader who knew what he was doing. Instead of having direct attack against Napoleon’s forces, he waited behind the harsh current of English Channel. When Napoleon and much of his invading forces left to suppress Austria-Hungary and Prussia… Nelson struck quickly, and hard. By carefully positioning his ships, distracting the strong spots and advocating weak spots… Nelson broke the central formation of French-Spanish fleet and his famous “Divide and conquer”. Thanks to Britain’s extensive funds and experienced sailors, Britain got stronger, faster and more efficiently working ships. Plus, Britain got better and longer ranged cannons. Though he was killed in the final battle, his brilliance would soon become the pride of emerging British Empire.

    From both of my Western and Eastern sources, it was quite obvious that Japan was not a nation of advancing civilization. Tomato, if I do lack the basic history of Japan… could you give me example and… perhaps reference. Who knows? Maybe all of my references are all wrong. (Highly unlikely, but it’s a possibility”

    Why can’t Koreans be humble about this issue? Simple. Because, as you pointed out tomato, that Korea is not a superpower. We never had great influence over any nation ever since the rise of Sillas… and to be honest, Korea does not have a lot of things that we could be proud of. Our government is still corrupted as ever, and many Koreans are busy surviving. Our educational system is not even funny… (Explains why very few Koreans won Noble Prize) and our passion for foreign goods is destroying our economy. Korea is also experiencing serious language transformation. No brands in Korea are Korean! (If there are some, I never seen it…) Many popular signs and slogans are English, and more people are eager to learn English. Our Korean studies are so basic that our essays and writings are barely above formal essays. The romantism, enlightment, and other Korean value are slowly dying. Korea may have ok standard of living… but Korea is dying. East Sea, which is agreed by UN, Harvard University, and treaties made in WWII clearly agrees that Sea of Japan should be East Sea, which bears Korean sovereignty. But as we all know, over 98% of maps in the world mark East Sea as Sea of Japan. Now, almost everyone acknowledge that Sea of Japan is, according to the name, belongs to Japan.

    But in the early days (From the beginning to the decline of Joseon period) Korea was the bridge of the Far East. Its culture and technology rivaled China, and was beyond compare to Japan. Check when Japan reached Iron Age. Now check Korea’s. I did not say that Japan became more superior in 1910… it was long before that. Our government is corrupted; all the gifted people are in hiding to escape political persecution, and large attention to keep China out… etc.

    Americans can be humble. Canadians can be humble. British can be humble. Well, at least you have enough achievements so that it still looks impressive. Korea has few achievements. How much must we humble? Someone mentioned that the conflict is becoming like a soccer game. Guess what? That’s true. Why do you think Koreans cheer for their soccer team much better than other nations? Koreans see hope that they could become a special nation. Hoping for other nations to say, “Korea? Oh yeah, I know that country. Isn’t that a nation that has good…so on, so on?” When Korea entered the semi-final… you have no idea. Koreans all glued themselves to the TV. I am hard-working student… and yet I missed half of the school in order to watch the Fifa world cup. Yes, it makes more than a headache and annoyance to foreigners, but Koreans see this as patriotism, as nationalism, as a hope of acceptance from other powerful nations, that Korea is a nation that matters, and the fact that Korea belongs to the world.

    Could you understand it? Our cry for the soil that we were born in? Could you really say that we are just simple arrogant Korean bastards? Isn’t fighting for the pride of Korea for more than 5000 years not what we could brag about? Koreans gave everything they got for 5000 years, and it resisted the powerful neighbor’s assimilation. Is that not something worth to talk about? Isn’t that what makes it worth for Koreans to talk about it to foreigners? Isn’t that worth dying for? (Ex. Resistance against Japanese Empire during Second World War)

    But I do agree that Koreans went too far to change whole bunch of facts in wikipedia. That is disgusting.

  19. comment number 19 by: pekau

    Forgot to say this, since I was bein emotional. War is expensive. Japan would not foolishly declare war against Joseon and China at the same time.

    Check the casualty number again for Japanese. It wasn’t as if Koreans were simple minded apes. We knew how to resist. I am too tired to do that right now. Gotta finish up my Group 4 project…

  20. comment number 20 by: tomato

    Forgot to say this, since I was bein emotional. War is expensive. Japan would not foolishly declare war against Joseon and China at the same time.

    Well, I think the Japanese historians pretty much agree that Hideyoshi went wacko when he decided to invade Korea. Kind of like Hitler invading Russia for “lebensraum”…plain ol’ crazy. The Japanese warlords went with him because Hideyoshi was too strong to resist or they worshipped him. Curious that Koreans don’t see it as this way (you guys just have to think that the Japanese were somehow desperate for land or something- this “underestimation” of Japan I often see among Koreans seems like a mirror image of the Korean self-overglorification). People do act foolishly. Look how the Japanese Empire collapsed.

    And, pekau, I think if some of you people stop being obsessed with greatness, you will have much better peace of mind and get better sleeps- too much nationalism will poison you, just look at Yugoslavia… When nations start to self-glorify too much, it’s usually a yellow sign… and it does look embarassing when you overdo it, because foreigners quickly realize that it’s plain old bragging…or will be cautious about Nazification.

  21. comment number 21 by: ponta

    Japan is just an fragile country. And Hidyoshi sucks. Nobunaga sucks!
    Kato sucks! So just forget Japan.

    I think Yi Sun Shin is great, he won when the enemy, realising enormous Chinese reinforcement was coming, was retreating.
    Even when Chinese general agreed to make the truce negotiation with Japan, he kept attacking.
    His tactics is truly praiseworthy.
    Still I am afraid people outside of Korea might not think that he is a worldly figure.

    in the early days (From the beginning to the decline of Joseon period) Korea was the bridge of the Far East. Its culture and technology rivaled China, and was beyond compare to Japan

    Does Korea rival China? Is that why the Chinese and Korean clothes are similar

    Maybe did Chinese people imitate Korea?

  22. comment number 22 by: tomato


    Reminds me of 夜郎自大.

  23. comment number 23 by: pekau

    Actually, Yugoslavia did not overglorifty themsleves. The reason was not nationalism that led to the end of Yugoslavia, but the fact that delcine of Yugoslavia was… there was no nationalism. Yugoslavia is made of whole bunch of different people wtih different culture, language and such… that they all wanted independence. Like Austrias-Hungary, it failed because few people wanted Yugoslavia… they wanted their own nation. The Balkan regions is still in chaos due to that.

    And yes. Anything too much or too small is not good. I am merely saying that from Korea’s point of view, You gotta read and understand what I put down before you ask same question over and over again… I did not say that Nelson not good enough to beat Yi Sunshin. It is impossible to see who did better due to so many factors.

    Koreans could argue that Yi Sunshin did better due to the number of ships sank… but that’s not true. Most of the Japanese ships were transporters and supply ships, and while Japanese warships still dwarfed the Korean ships all combined… it may have been different.

    English could say that Nelson’s better because he is well more popular. That’s not true. Accomplishments are often misunderstood as the time passes by. If Nazi Germany won the WWII, I doubt that we would see Hitler as crazy and cruel man. We would view him as liberator, as hero, as the greatest leader the world has ever seen. Winners easily corrupt history, and for this case… it is Western power that won the Cold War.. Western nations are more powerful and influential than Eastern nations. Gotta be careful about opinions.

    Anyways, I know that overglorification (Is that even a word!?) is bad… but doing some would be great for sake of our nation. I did not exaggerate that Yi Sunshin is better by fact. My opinion that Yi Sunshin did more impressive job still stands. This is glorification, not overglorification. At least I reasoned myself with facts on my articles. All you did was argue. Prove it. Don’t manipulate the history to and overglorify Japan just because Japan trades more with Western world than Korea. Now you are not being fair.

    Althougn the factors vary… but look at the ratio! Yi Sunshin’s ship vs. Japanese ship in the last battle only is 13:333. (133 warships, 200 logistical support ships)


    “Yi responded powerfully. In October, 1597 (September, according to Chinese Lunar Calendar), Yi lured the Japanese fleet consisting of 333 ships (133 battle ships, 200 logistical support ships) and a crew of 100,000 within the Myongryang Straits and defeated them with only 13 battleships he had. Admiral Yi crushed the Japanese Navy, which lost a staggering amount of at least 120 battleships (31 battleships were completely destroyed and more than 90 were damaged beyond repair). Using his traditional tactics of peppering cannonballs and fire arrows into Japanese ships, Admiral Yi kept the Japanese fleet at a distance giving no chance to board. Thousands of Japanese sailors drowned and many more were killed by Korean arrows. The Japanese general Kurushima Michifusa was inevitably killed by archers who got close enough to his flagship. Admiral Yi’s victory at the Battle of Myeongnyang demonstrated his effectiveness as a strategic commander. Today, the Battle of Myeongnyang is celebrated in Korea as one of Yi’s greatest victories. Legend holds that he used iron chains to hold the Japanese ships back until the tide of the sea turned. He also supposedly used a popular traditional dance on land to distract the Japanese from noticing the iron chain. As the close-packed Japanese got stuck in the narrow straits, the tide eventually turned, sending Japanese ships crashing into one another with no way out. 50 ships did pass the iron chains, but the Japanese commander supposedly said, “What will you do with only 50 ships? The enemy is Yi Sun sin!”

    What the… there was no such thing as battleship at that time!!!?

    And allow me to make this “false knowledge”… many Japanese generals died in the battle. (Especially at sea, for Japan still possessed infantry superiority)

    Firearms were not huge factor. The Portugese sold the outdated firearms that required several minutes to reload. Firearm, like turtle ship, was just a psychological warfare. As many might know, most of the battle formation was to have elites in front, and mass of conscripts behind. Firearms ususally killed many Korean and Chinese elites before actual battle took place… and morals for Korean army scattered. But knowing that Japanese could be defeated (News of Yi Sunshin’s victory in sea was quickly spreaded in Korea) Koreans changed the battle tactic. Elites would be mixed with common soldiers, so that there would be elites to control and maintain positions in close combat.

    And who made this comment that Korea is equal to China? Koreans, how much must you lie to foreigners? China is huge! Korea was a barbaric tribes until China spreaded theri culture. China could have crushed Korea into pieces, and they did often in the late-Joseon period. Don’t mess with China. Even Americans is smart enough to know that.

    Quick note: China did not send a lot of reinforcement. They sent good cannons that was superior to Japanese cannons. China was struggling internal conflicts, and wanted to keep their armies in case if another coup.

  24. comment number 24 by: PericlesofAthens

    Hi, Eric from the States, college student, history major,

    First off, the bit on Yi Sun-sin in Nelson’s article is somewhat unneccessary and should be minimized (or re-worded). Not because Yi Sun-sin wasn’t a great admiral for his time and nation, but because he doesn’t have much to do with Nelson or even the Napoleonic era (completely different game altogether).

    Second of all, I have to say, I am most impressed with pekau’s extent of knowledge and passion for history. If only there were more men like him in any nation (not just Korea, or Canada now, lol)! I’ve always been a fan of both, Horatio and Sun-sin, but it is quite impressive that Yi lost not one confrontation he was engaged in, despite several circumstances where he was greatly outnumbered. Of course, this had some to do with his tactical genius, and in many circumstances superior cannon-fire range won the day. On the other side, the Japanese relied on close-hand grapple-and-hook, along with close-proximity arquebus rifle fire in mass, which was ineffective when fired out of range.

    One of the most critical points of Yi’s defensive campaign was denying Hideyoshi’s overall forces the essential supply routes for Konishi Yukinaga to advance farther than Pyongyang. Admiral Yi also denied them from establishing secure waterways through the Yellow Sea (eventually to China) with the critical battle of Hansando. In the aftermath of this battle, not only was one of Hideyoshi’s “Seven Spears” Wakizaka Yasuharu forced to retreat (after nearly being killed after being hit by several arrows), but they had lost an estimated 47 out 73 ships, 12 of which were also captured, and had a loss of some 9,000 men (including commanders Wakizaka Sabei, Watanabe Shichi’emon, and Manabe Samanosuke). This was compared to the losses of the Korean side, where reportedly not one ship was lost out of 56 (incredible, but thanks to the crane formation of Yi’s that enveloped and surrounded the Japanese who fell into a trap of a leading ruse), 19 Koreans were dead, and 114 were wounded.

    Although I don’t think Yi belongs in Nelson’s article, people on here have been bashing him a bit unfairly (in my opinion, comparing him to Kim Jong Ill). It doesn’t matter whether he was Korean or not, he should be admired for his brilliance as a commander, much like Nelson.

    My input,

  25. […] I would say the most important of the 4 points there is number 3, the one about informing foreigners about the truth of the matter. Koreans are quite aggressive about spreading their point of view everywhere, so if it is not corrected, all these things will come to be popularly thought of as Korean. […]

  26. comment number 26 by: pekau

    Wow, it’s been some time since I came back….

    Thanks for comment, Eric. I do wholeheartly agree that we should separate Nelson and Yi-Sunshin issue separately. We are going in circle, people. We are comparing two things that should not be compared. Debating whether Yi-Sunshin is better or Nelson is better is like asking if Spartans were better soldiers than SEAL. These two commanders fought in the different type of battle, in different political background and in different era at that time.

    It pains me to hear that lots of members in Occidentalism are quite biased against Koreans. (I wonder why, really. Maybe I will look into the origin of Occidentalism or something…)There are Muslim extremists in Middle East. There are neo-Nazists in Russia. There are White supremacists in USA. There are Japanese self-glorifying idiots who call themselves historians. Koreans are, just like everyone else, people. We are not designed to be perfect. Instead of arguing pointless argument and blaming who’s responsible, why can’t we just do something about it? Instead of pointing out the errors, find out why people think of this way. Find out why you are right. And when arguing, give the logical reason and apply ref. for those that are in doubt. And for God’s sake, don’t make such generalization to Koreans as a whole!

  27. comment number 27 by: pekau

    And look at the title of this argument…

    Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson and Koreans in Wikipedia

    You specifically state the British admiral, but the contrast of him is not Yi-Sunshin… it’s the Koreans. This is often found in propaganda, where they find it easy to convince their arguement by displaying two solid difference between good and evil. Why am I not surprised, after reading all the articles?