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Peacemaking

Posted March. 13, 2007 03:16,   

한국어

“Ah, the ravages in the year of the dragon were terrible. The heavens helped us to overcome and become what Korea is today. The ‘Shikyoung’ says, ‘Be careful and punish yesterday’s sins to ward off misfortune,’ and this is why I am writing the Jingbilock.” This is an excerpt from the introduction of Yoo Seong-ryong’s “Jingbilock.”

During Japan’s invasion of Korea in 1592, “Seo-ae” Yoo Seong-ryong (1542-1607), who stayed in Yeonguijeong, commanded Korea’s military and appointed Admiral Lee Sun-shin when war broke out. When the war ended, he returned to his hometown in Hahoi Village, Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, and penned the Jingbilock (National Treasure no. 132), depicting the war.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of Seo-ae’s passing. The descendants of Seo-ae, Pungsan Yoo, and Admiral Lee Sun-shin’s descendant Deoksu Lee will get together on the 400th anniversary and hold a commemorative historical service.

In preparation for the service scheduled for early May, Seo-ae’s 14th generation grandnephew Yoo Yeong-ha (81) and Admiral Lee Sun-shin’s 13th generation direct descendant, former Chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection Lee Jong-nam (71), met on March 9 in Andong for the first time. They toured the Byeongsanseowon where Seo-ae’s memorial tablet rests, then went to Seo-ae’s final home in Chunghyodang (National Treasure no. 414), Hahoi Village, Pungcheon-myeon, where they rekindled the 400 year-old friendship between the two families.

“Without Seo-ae’s recommendation for the post, how would our country been saved? If it weren’t for Admiral Lee Sun-shin leading the war to victory, Seo-ae would not have been honored so today.”

The two discussed how to proceed with the 400th anniversary service of Seo-ae’s passing away.

With both offering the seat of the chairperson to another, the position finally went to former chairman Lee. The service was to mourn Seo-ae, but was to be all the more meaningful now that Admiral Lee Sun-shin’s descendants were supervising. Lee said, “To think that Admiral Lee Sun-shin saved our country during its crucial hour in front of Seo-ae’s ancestral tablet in Byeongsanseowon, I feel sadness in my heart. I wish that the patriotism that Seo-ae expressed in the Jingbilock will live long in the hearts of our citizens.”

The two families and the city of Andong will hold an artifact exhibit from May 10-20 at Chunghyodang, the National Museum of Korea, Busan Museum, Jinju National Museum, and the Korea Military Academy. Seo-ae’s biography publication, the play “Rewriting the Jingbilock,” and other events will also be held.

The Jingbilock, which has been preserved at Chunghyodang, has been moved to the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan for the exhibit.

The service is to be a reconciliation as well.

The descendants of Yukinaga and Kiyomasa, who led the war against Joseon, and the descendants of Ming general Yi Yeo-song who aided Joseon will participate. The descendants of General Yi Yeo-song were discovered living in Tieling and Liaoning. Hideyoshi Toyotomi is not yet known to have any descendants.

On the day of the opening ceremony, performers from the Yamagata, Japan, will show a traditional dance under the theme, “Reconciliation after 400 Years,” and performers from Qufu, China, will show some traditional Ming Dynasty arts.

Yoo Young-ha said, “The Japanese descendants will be invited only if they apologize. They will apologize because they invaded harmless Joseon due to their own internal affairs, and we wish to make peace for the future of all three countries.”



boriam@donga.com