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Admiral Yi Sun-shin and Turtle Ships

Admiral Yi Sun-shin and Turtle Ships
The high value 500 mon design of the 1949 definitive
issue depicts Admiral Yi Sun-shin and Turtle Ships.

In April 1592, Toyotomi Hideyoshi led a Japanese invasion force against Korea. Admiral Yi Sun-shin, using "turtle ships," led his Korean fleet to a series of victories over the Japanese. His ships averaged 100 feet in length and were propelled by oars and sails. Although small, the ships were heavily armed with cannon and were protected by armour. The decorative turtle's head on the ship's bow could emit a smoke screen to conceal the fleet's movements. Admiral Yi was killed in 1598 during a second Japanese invasion.

Tortoise Ship Stamps of 1962
On August 14, 1962 Korea issued two stamps commemorating the 370th anniversary of Korea's
victory over the Japanese off Hansan Island in which "tortoise warships" were used.

Turtle Ship in the Korean War Museum
A turtle Ship in The War Memorial of Korea, Seoul

The War Memorial of Korea opened in 1994 and in 1994 it displayed 7800 items covering the history of national defense from ancient to modern times.


Grose, Derrick. History of Korea Stack. Ottawa, Ontario: Grose Educational Media, 1994.

Kloetzel, James E. ed. "Korea." Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. Sidney, Ohio: Scott Publishing, 2015. Print.

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