imjin war hideyoshi korea kumsan


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Samuel Hawley is a writer of narrative nonfiction. His books are highly eclectic. He has written about 16th-century East Asian history, 19th-century Korean-American relations, Olympic sprinting and land speed racing and a circus elephant named Topsy who was electrocuted in 1903. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.


imjin war haengju
Walking up to the summit of Haengju sansong, "Haengju mountain fortress." (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

haengju sansong
The stone cenotaph that tops the hill at Haengju sansong. (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

kwon yul haengju
Statue of Kwon Yul, the commander who led the Korean defenders in the Battle of Haengju, March 1593. (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

kuroda nagamasa
Kuroda Nagamasa, Christian leader of the third contingent in the invasion of Korea and one of the Japanese commanders who led the attack on Haengju. His forces made the second assault on the fortress. Kwon Yul and his men drove them back.

imjin war ukita hideie
Ukita Hideie, the nominal supreme commander of all Japanese forces in Korea and another of the commanders involved in the attack on Haengju. His men penetrated the fortress's outer palisade of stakes in their assault, the fourth.

haengju sansong
The earthern wall built by the Koreans at Haengju can still be seen today. (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

imjin war haengju
Another view of Haengju's ramparts. (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

haengjusansong ramparts
Still another view of Haengju's ramparts. (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

battle of haengju
A bas relief near the entrance to Haengju sansong showing Korean government troops engaged in the battle. (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

haengju monk soldiers
Another bas relief at Haengju sansong, this one showing Korean monk-soldiers repelling a Japanese attack. (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

battle of haengju imjin war
The Battle of Haengju, Korean commander Kwon Yul with sword at upper right, government troops and monk-soldiers on the left. One of the women in the center foreground is throwing a rock. Another woman just behind her is carrying rocks in her gathered-up skirt - a type of skirt that would come to be known as a "Haengju chima" after this battle. (Military Academy Museum, Seoul)

imjin war haengju sansong
Detail from another painting depicting the Battle of Haengju, the Koreans at right defending the fortress's outer palisade of stakes. (Korean War Memorial, Seoul)

imjin war haengju battle
A third painting of the Battle of Haengju. Here we see Kwon Yul commanding from horseback on the right, government troops along the ramparts in the foreground, monk-soldiers further back. Just in front of Kwon Yul is a hwacha, a wagon-mounted rack of pigeon holes from which up to 100 gunpowder-propelled arrows could be simultaneously fired in one deadly fusillade. Indicating the desperation of the Korean defense, at the bottom right a man can be seen heaving a stone.

haengju sansong
Even though Seoul now extends all the way to Haengju and the surrounding region has been completely transformed, it is still easy to image the fear the Korean defenders must have felt standing here atop Haengju sansong back in 1593, seeing that immense Japanese force marching toward them along the banks of the Han River. (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

imjin war haengju
Another view from atop Haengju sansong, looking east toward what is now downtown Seoul. In 1593 the Korean defenders would have seen the walls of the capital far in the distance, with only a single dirt road leading out from Seoul's Great West Gate.(Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

seoul haengju
Still another view from Haengju sansong, looking east toward downtown. (Samuel Hawley photo, 2003)

hawley imjin war

copyright 2011 Samuel Hawley