Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-sin

Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-sin (Korean불멸의 이순신; RRBulmyeolui I Sun-sin; lit. "The Immortal Yi Sun-sin") is a South Korean television series based on the life of Yi Sun-sin, starring Kim Myung-min in the title role. It aired on KBS1 on Saturdays and Sundays at 21:45 from September 4, 2004 to August 28, 2005 for 104 episodes.

Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-sin
Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-sin.jpg
Promotional poster
Also known asThe Immortal Yi Soon-shin
GenrePeriod drama
Based onThe Immortal Yi Sun-sin
by Kim Takhwan
Written byYoon Sun-joo
Directed byLee Sung-joo
Kim Jung-gyu
StarringKim Myung-min
Choi Jae-sung
Lee Jae-ryong
Choi Cheol-ho
Country of originSouth Korea
No. of episodes104
ProducerJung Young-chul
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running timeSaturdays and Sundays at 21:45 (KST)
Production companyKBS Drama Production Bureau
Budget35 billion[1]
Original networkKorean Broadcasting System
Original releaseSeptember 4, 2004 (2004-09-04) –
August 28, 2005 (2005-08-28)
Preceded byAge of Warriors
Followed byGenghis Khan
External links
Korean name
불멸의 이순신
不滅의 李舜臣
Revised RomanizationBulmyeolui I Sun-sin
McCune–ReischauerPulmyŏlŭi I Sun-sin

The series filmed on location at the actual battle sites. It made extensive use of rendered images and a reconstruction of a turtle ship. Due to the preparation needed, the show took many months to produce.


It is late 1598, shortly before the Battle of Noryang, the final confrontation of the Imjin War. The remnants of the Japanese invasion force are desperate to go home, but are also driven by personal motivation to beat their greatest adversary, Admiral Yi Sun-sin, once and for all. Self-serving Ming generals and Joseon officials also fear Yi's growing popularity and its impact on their personal base of power. These incidentally combining ambitions fan King Seonjo's paranoia and make him eventually fear that Yi might come after his throne, and after a series of what he calls acts of high treason, he decides to have Yi arrested.

Yi, on the other hand, is determined to teach the Japanese a lesson for the atrocities they committed on the Korean people, and despite orders to remain quiet while the Japanese are to pull out without anymore bloodshed, he rallies his naval force and prepares for the upcoming engagement. The battle commences and the Japanese are dealt a crippling blow, but Yi is fatally wounded by an arquebuse bullet. As he lies dying, the plot backtracks on the important events of Yi's life, from his boyhood to his military career, his efforts before and during the Japanese invasion, his disgrace at the hands of his king, and his reinstatement, back to the battle of Noryang, where he succumbs to his wound just as victory is declared.


Main charactersEdit

Supporting charactersEdit

Artistic license in the seriesEdit

The drama has been the focus of some attention due to historical inaccuracies, explained away with artistic license, though it concerns some that it may be promoting itself as based on fact.[2]

When Admiral Yi is portrayed as a boy, he is shown to be a weak, shy, and lonely boy though common belief is that he had leadership and creativity at an early age. Nevertheless, he is portrayed to display those qualities as a growing man, unable to avert his eyes from social injustice.

Instead of vilifying Won Gyun, a Korean admiral who contributed to the jailing of Admiral Yi for jealous reasons, Won Gyun is portrayed as a strong and smart, but very hot-tempered man who befriends and leads Yi throughout his early life. This deviates from the common belief that Won Gyun had always conspired against Yi. In the show, his jealousy and rivalry is portrayed in his later years as a veteran commander when he begins to show his arrogance as one of Joseon's strongest warriors, refusing to follow along with what he deems to be Yi's cowardly tactics and treachery to the king. His betrayal to Yi is explained through the show's ongoing politics and his inability to distinguish military merits from protection of the people. There is much debate about this positive portrayal of Won Gyun as recent research suggests that he may have been excessively vilified during the Park Chung-hee administration.[3] Reception and reviews have since been positive with much praise for the show's emphasis for humanity and their portrayal of Won Gyun.

Awards and nominationsEdit

International broadcastEdit

The series also aired in the United States and China in 2005 via KBS World.[4][5]


  1. ^ "KBS 대하사극이 어찌 이 지경이 되었단 말이더냐". Naver (in Korean). The Hankyoreh. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  2. ^ "Japan Journalist Takes Issue With Yi Sun-shin Drama". The Chosun Ilbo. 5 August 2005. Retrieved 2013-07-13.
  3. ^ Won Gyun#Legacy
  4. ^ "Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-shin Gains Popularity in China". KBS Global. 19 April 2005. Retrieved 2013-07-13.
  5. ^ "Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-shin gains popularity in the U.S." KBS Global. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 2013-07-13.

External linksEdit