Isabu was a military general and politician of Silla during the 6th century. According to Samguk Sagi, he is the fourth generation descendant of Naemul of Silla.[1] He was also known as Taejong. He is best remembered today for his role in subjugating the island nation of Usan-guk, which is believed to be the disputed Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo in Korean, Takeshima in Japanese). Usan-guk is the modern-day Ulleungdo, an island located in Sea of Japan (East Sea).[2] Although frequently referred to as "Isabu", his family name is written as Kim in the Samguk Sagi.[3] He was the 4th generation descendant of King Naemul, which also provides direct proof that his family name was Kim. But in Samguk Yusa, his name is Park I-Jong (朴伊宗).

Isabu
Hangul
이사부
Hanja
異斯夫
Revised RomanizationIsabu
McCune–ReischauerIsabu

AchievementEdit

During the reign of Jijeung, Isabu was first appointed as the governor (gunju) of Siljik province (실직주), modern-day Samcheok. Then, he was appointed as a governor of Haseulla, which is modern-day Gangwon.[4] This was when Silla, including its inland regions, was frequently exposed to the piracy of Usan-guk’s people. Due to the harsh geographical condition of Usan-guk, people of Usan-guk believed that Silla would not invade its island.

Still, Isabu decided to subjugate this island nation. However, such tough geographical condition was not the only obstacle. As Usan-guk is an island nation composed of independent tribes that rely on fishing for living, the people of Usan-guk turned out to be somewhat uncontrollable and aggressive and thus hard to conquer. In order to overcome such obstacles and conquer this island nation, Isabu came up with an idea to trick people of Usan-guk into surrendering. He made large wooden lions and loaded them on battle ships. He threatened the people of Usan-guk, saying that he would release the lions if they don’t surrender.[5] Eventually, his trick worked and the people of Usan-guk surrendered. Thanks to Isabu, Usan-guk was subjugated to Silla in 512.[6]

Isabu further expanded Silla's territory after gaining supreme military power in 541, as far as former Baekje and Goguryeo territory that reached far north of present-day Hamgyong. Isabu also subjugated Daegaya that put an end to the Gaya confederacy and thus, consolidated Silla's power on southeastern part of Korea.[7]

Research shipEdit

A flagship research ship of South Korea, Isabu, is named after him. Due to its name, researchers at Japan’s National Marimte Research Institute agency have been instructed by the Japanese government not to participate in any collaborations or cruises involving the ship.[8]

Popular cultureEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ 이명식, 「신라 중고기의 장수 이사부고」, 『이사부 활약의 역사성과 21세기적 의의』,삼척시·강원도민일보·(재)해양문화재단, 2008, p.108
  2. ^ Kim, Myung-Ki. (2010). A Study on the Legality of the Conquest over Usanguk by General Isabu of Shilla in International Law. The review of Isabu and east sea, 2, 5-37
  3. ^ "Isabu" in Samguk Sagi, Yeoljeon 4.
  4. ^ Kang, Bong-Ryong. (2010). Biography of Isabu and historical implications of his activities. The review of Isabu and east sea, 1, 241-273
  5. ^ Kang, Bong-Ryong. (2010). Biography of Isabu and historical implications of his activities. The review of Isabu and east sea, 1, 241-273.
  6. ^ Kim, Myung-Ki. (2010). A Study on the Legality of the Conquest over Usanguk by General Isabu of Shilla in International Law. The review of Isabu and east sea, 2, 5-37
  7. ^ Kang, Bong-Ryong. (2010). Biography of Isabu and historical implications of his activities. The review of Isabu and east sea, 1, 241-273.
  8. ^ "Marine scientists allege Japan has blocked researchers from joining South Korean ship". Nature. 2017-09-19.

See alsoEdit