李如松

Names
Chinese: 李如松
Pinyin: Lǐ Rúsòng
Courtesy Name: 子茂 (Zǐ Mào)
Posthumous Name: Lord of Fidelity
忠烈(Zhōngliè)

Li Rusong (Chinese: 李如松; pinyin: Lǐ Rúsòng) (1549–1598) was a Chinese general of the Ming empire who is from the town of Tieling, Liaodong province. He was the Commander-in-chief of the Ming Empire's army in the first half of the Imjin War that took place in Korea peninsula. The war was ordered by the Wanli Emperor[1] to protect Korea from the Japanese invasion masterminded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, upon the request of the King of Korea - Seonjo of Joseon. His father Li Chengliang was also a famed army commander of Ming empire, known for his accomplishment of defending Liaodong province from Manchus.[2] Based on historical documents, Li Rusong's 6th generation ancestor Li Ying (Chinese:李英) was originally from the Korean town of Chosan in present-day North Korea (Hangul: 초산군, Hanja/Chinese: 楚山郡). But there are also historical documents which state that the further ancestors of the Li family were from central China who moved to Korea during war time.[3]

Military career

Li Rusong's first rise of fame was in early 1592, when he managed to defeat a major rebellion at Ningxia. The Ming army had been unable to move the rebels holed up in the city for the first 6 months, but after Li arrived the city fell within 3 months. Li was able to divert the waters of the Yellow River directly into the city, which led to its fall. He was immediately appointed the chief general of the expedition into Korea after this; he led a force of some 36,000 into Korea in the last few days of 1592. Together with Ming administrator Song Yingchang, Li Rusong was generally successful in Korea, first retaking the city of Pyongyang in a direct assault within two weeks of setting off (on January 8 of 1593), and then took back the city of Kaesong a couple week later. As he marched south towards the Korean capital of Hanyang (漢陽) in later January, the Ming army clashed with the Japanese forces in the Battle of Byeokjegwan, which resulted in the Ming army being pushed back briefly. Within two months after this he succeeded in recapturing Hanyang. He ordered Chinese and Korean troops to refrain from killing all Japanese soldiers and grant them the right to retreat.

Sword

Li is also honoured as the inventor of a sword skill called jedok geom in Korean, which he presumably used during his stay in Korea. The Koreans published his sword-style in their martial arts manuals called Muyesinbo (1759) and Muyedobotongji (1791).

Death

In April 1598, the Mongols invaded the Ming province of Liaodong from the north when Li Rusong was leading a small scouting group around its forests. Surrounded by thousands of Mongol cavalry, he could not escape, and was captured and subsequently killed. He was posthumously given the title of Zhonglie (忠烈) (Lord of Fidelity).

Notes

See also

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