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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Mangu Park, Daegu Dong-gu: A Park which is Dedicated to the Red-robed General Kwak Jae-woo

Martina is a part of Pantaloni Rossi a.k.a Red Pants. No wonder that she's related to this Red-robed General.
General Chung-ik Kwak Jae-woo (Hangul/Hanja: 충익 곽재우/忠翼 郭再祐; Born: August 28th 1552 – Died: April 10th 1617) was a Korean military general and patriot, hailed from Segan-ri, Yugok-myeon, Uiryeong County, Southern Gyeongsang Province. In fact, he was coming from Hyeonpung Kwak Clan, originated from the commune of Hyeonpung-myeon, Dalseong County, Daegu Metropole.

He was called the "Red Robed General" (천강홍의장군/天降紅衣將軍) after his habit of wearing red costumes and riding a white horse in battle. In 1592, nine days into the Japanese Imjin Invasion, he formed a militia to fight against the Japanese army. He was originally a commoner, but King Seonjo of Joseon granted him a government position.

General Kwak disrupted Japanese supply lines around the Nakdong River in many guerrilla actions. Kwak also had the distinction of winning Korea's first land victory of the war in the Battle of Uiryeong (General Kwak's birthplace). 

In part of a two-pronged offensive into Jeolla Province, Ankokuji Ekei led 6th division men from the south. Ankokuji needed to cross the Nam River to reach Uiryeong, an objective. He had his men find the shallowest parts of the river and mark them with stakes. While Ankokuji's army slept, Kwak's men moved the stakes to deeper sections of the river. When the crossing began, the Japanese soldiers foundered in the deep water, and Kwak's army attacked them. 

In multiple attempts to cross the river, Ankokuji suffered many losses, and was forced to abandon his attack on Uiryeong. The battle gave the Korean government respect for Kwak's abilities, and he was placed in command of the Korean forces in and around Uiryeong and the nearby Samga (present day Hapcheon, Southern Gyeongsang).

General Kwak spent his latter years after Imjin Invasion at his mansion, Mangujeong/망우정 - located at ChangAm-ri, Gilgok-myeon, Changnyeong County, Southern Gyeongsang. After his demise in 1617, Yeyeon Seowon (예연서원/禮淵書院) was constructed according to King Gwanghae's royal decree in order to enshrine and commemorate the red-robed general. 

About Mangu Park
Mangu Park (Hanja: 忘憂公園), located at Hyomok-dong san 234-35 beonji, Daegu Dong-gu, along the Geumho River, is dedicated to General Kwak Jae-woo (pen name: Mangudang/망우당/忘憂堂) who fought against the Japanese army during Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Imjin Invasion (1592). General Kwak was the first militia leader to successfully resist the Japanese army. His brilliant tactics and guerilla strategies won him many battles. He wore red costumes and rode a white horse in battle, earning him the name "Red Robed General." The park contains a statue of him atop his horse. Next to the statue is the Mangudang Memorial Museum containing many belongings and artefacts from his period. The park contains many varieties of plants and flowers.