[THIS WEEK IN HISTORY]A sea hero and a pop star die; son of a president strugglesNov. 19, 1598
Pass through Gwanghwamun in central Seoul and you cannot miss the big copper statue of Admiral Yi Sun-shin. Born in 1545, Admiral Yi was killed in action on this date during the Battle of Noryang on the South Sea. The battle put an end to the 7-year-long war fought during the Joseon Dynasty against Japan. Commanding his army from a ship, Admiral Yi was hit in the chest with an enemy arrow. Not wanting to discourage his men with news of their fallen leader, a dying Admiral Yi instructed those with him to "never let the others know about my death" -- these proved to be his final words. His men, left unaware, fought on, and Korea was victorious.
Nov. 20, 1995
Everything seemed to be going right for Kim Seong-jae, the sought-after 23-year-old hip-hop singer -- at least until he was found dead in his Seoul hotel room. His solo debut album was released four days after his death. The circumstances are hazy: Kim was staying at a hotel with his entourage, which included his girlfriend, Kim Yu-seon. Ms. Kim said she left her boyfriend asleep in the hotel room around 3:40 a.m. At about 7 a.m. the next morning, Mr. Kim's manager found him dead. Investigators found 5 grams of zoletil, an animal narcotic, on Ms. Kim, which led to her being accused of the murder. She was found not guilty: 5 grams of the narcotic is not enough to kill a human being. But to further complicate matters, 27 hypodermic needles were found in Mr. Kim's belongings. Who bears responsibility for the death of Kim Seoung-jae? Thus far, even time has not told.
Nov. 24, 1996
The former president of Korea, Park Chung Hee, who used military might in his rule from the 1960s to the late 1970s, had only one son, Park Ji-man. The junior Park, who saw both his father and mother assassinated, has been taken in repeatedly on drug charges. On Nov. 24, 1996, he was arrested for the fourth time, for taking pilopon, a methamphetamine. Now 44, Mr. Park was arrested for the sixth time earlier this year, and has been sentenced to two years in prison.
"This Week in History" appears Mondays in the JoongAng Daily.
by Chun Su-jin