At the heart of Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square stands the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin. The statue was erected on April 27, 1968.
The placement of the statue in Gwanghwamun Square in April 1968 originated from a directive by President Park Chung-hee, who suggested, “Restoring the distorted central axis of the Joseon Dynasty’s roads from the Japanese colonial period would require too much money. Instead, let us erect a statue of the figure that Japan fears the most at the intersection of Sejong-ro.”
Thus, the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin, guarding the center of Gwanghwamun Square, has maintained its position to this day. While some may point out potential issues with the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin at Gwanghwamun, it is hard to deny the symbolic significance he holds in the minds of the Korean people, much like Admiral Nelson in the United Kingdom.
- Hankyoreh “Five Issues with the Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin at Gwanghwamun” Link
While there may have been challenges in the initial process of erecting the statue, it is unlikely that any concerns would diminish the symbolism associated with Admiral Yi Sun-sin. The continuous production of dramas, movies, and other media depicting his achievements is a testament to the enduring legacy of Admiral Yi Sun-sin. It leads one to consider that his presence in the heart of Gwanghwamun Square, arguably the center of Seoul or even South Korea, is only fitting.
“Seoul Gwanghwamun Square: Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin”
- Address: 1-68 Sejong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul