|This park in western downtown Namwon City was part of the Namwon-seong Fortress, no longer extant.
The authorities established a large tomb here in 1964 for the remains of the many defenders that died
here during the second phase of the Imjin War, in 1597, as the Japanese invaders overwhelmed
their bravery. The Korean army battalion and three Chinese battalions that were stationed here were
defeated and massacred, but they are lionized for their no-surrender and fight-to-the-last spirit.
Besides the tomb and its Neo-Confucian shrine-building, the park features several monuments
both old and new, two ponds, and a museum with relics and battle-paintings.
I visited this site for my first time while guiding an R.A.S. tour of western Jiri in November 2014.
|Jiri-san Namwon City
|a site commemerating Korean Resistance
during the Imjin War, the 1592-98 Japanese Invasion
near the the Baekdu-daegan MainRange
in the Inner-Northwest Sector of Jiri-san
|A simple turtle is carved on the square-block base,
instead of making a turtle-base like the Buddhists do!
The monuments next to the Museum
|a Cheon-Ji-In themed pond near the entranceway
About 55,000 Japanese troops invaded on the south coast at Gangjin in late September of 1597,
and marched up through Gurye-gun County towards Namwon, then the capital of the one Jeolla
Province. They were first resisted by local militias led by aristocrats in Gurye; after the war the
"Shrine for Seven Righteous Men" was built by the Joseon government to memorialize the slain
leaders (it is still there, reconstructed, in NE Gurye just north of the Seomjin River and National Highway 19).
In addition, three hundred monks of Hwaeom-sa monastery who joined in that battle died fighting,
and are memorialized there; the Japanese burned Hwaeom-sa down in revenge.
This modern Maninui-chong Shrine was established by the national government under President
Park Chung Hee [Bak Jeong-hui] to replace what little remained by then of the mass-grave of those
killed during and after the heroic defence of Namwon Fortress by about 3,000 Chinese troops,
some 1000 Korean soldiers and a large number of citizens.
They refused ultimatums to surrender, and the fortress fell
after a siege lasting four days; the Japanese finally got into
the castle by making a ramp against the wall using dampened
rice straw. The Chinese commander Yang Yuan escaped to
Seoul with 100 of his men, losing 200 while fighting his way
out of the city. The Japanese then massacred all remaining
defenders and sent back a total of 3,726 salted noses to
Japan. After returning to China, Yang Yuan was executed for
his failure to fight to the death.
|Man-in-ui-chong Tomb of 10,000 Righteous Warriors, designated as National Historic Site #272.
|The title "Man-in" for this shrine denotes "ten-thousand victims"' -- this is meaningful but only partially
literal. Koreans use "man" / 10,000 to mean "so many" or "beyond countable," as in speaking poetically
of "the 10,000 crags of Geumgang-san" or somesuch. In this case it meant the entire "uncountable"
group of victims of this war, regardless of their status as aristocrats, commoners or slaves, both women
and men, etc -- really, the entire nation. Thus this title has a deep evocative sorrowful resonance.