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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Scars of Imjin Invasion, Part II: Seosaengpo Fortress, Ulsan Ulju-gun

Seosaengpo Japanese Fortress (hanja: 西生浦倭城) is a stone fortress typical of the Japanese style popular in the later part of the 16th century. Located at Seosaeng-ri 711-beonji, Seosaeng-myeon, Ulju County, Ulsan Metropole - it was built under the leadership of Japanese General Kato Kiyomasa in 1592-1593 at the beginning of the Japanese Imjin invasion (1592~1598). The main fortress is located on a mountaintop 200 meters above sea level, a second fortress is halfway down the mountain, and a third fortress is located at the bottom of the mountain. The whole fortress is rectangular shaped. The fortress wall is 6 meters high and slants at an angle of 15 degrees.

In 1594, a Buddhist monk named Samyeong-daesa came to Seosaengpo Fortress four times to negotiate for peace, but he failed each time. In 1598, the fortress was taken over by Korea with the assistance of General Ma Gwi of the Chinese-Ming Dynasty. A year later, Changpyodang Shrine was built in honor of the 53 Koreans who died during battles against the Japanese invading forces. However, the shrine was destroyed during the Japanese imperialism period (1910~1945) and no trace of it remains. It is possible to tell from Seosaengpo Jinseongdo (a map drawn up in 1872) that the fortress was also partially used by Korean forces.