Memories of Admiral Yi
are told by a humble wandering monk, a quiet Buddhist meditator. By chance this priest, who is skilled in Japanese,
and Chinese as well as his native Korean, becomes a loyal aide to a great hero. He becomes a trusted helper
to the man who became Korea's greatest hero and one of the greatest military commanders the world has ever seen--
Admiral Yi Sun-Sin.
Admiral Yi has been credited with inventing the Ironclad warship, designed his own cannon,
and took the tactics and strategies from Sun Tzu's Art of War and the other Chinese classics and improved on them.
In doing so, he saved his country and beat the renowned and ferocious Samurai of what would soon be the
Admiral Yi was more than just a fantastic military hero. He was was also a renowned athlete and
scholar who during the war risked his rank and even his life in order to help refugees find homes and land to grow food. He
led from in the midst of battle, and maintained the highest standards of honesty even in the land of Choson Korea, one of
the most corrupt dynasties in Asia.
Admrial Yi's biographer, the Priest Wonho, is an old man when asked to
write of the great hero. Near death at a forest temple in the hills above the sea, he puts his story onto scrolls which after
completion were then lost for 365 years. Found by accident, this surprising and previously unknown Buddhist's words have been
verified by those of the Admiral himself (in his War Diary and his Memorials to Court), by the biography of the Admiral by
his nephew, Yi Pun, and by many other sources.
It is time for those of us in the West to know what Koreans and
even many Japanese and Chinese have known for centuries-- Admiral Yi Sun-Sin is a man fo the ages. He is a stalwart whose
name deserves to rank with Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan the supreme conqueror, and Admiral Horatio Nelson. Along with
these demigods of warfarre, Admiral Yi also ranks as one of the most superb leaders a soldier or sailor could ever hope
to have as his (or, nowadays, her) leader.
|Mark Sawyer in 2013.
SINKING THE SAMURAI
The Priest Wonho's Memories of Admiral Yi