Roaring Currents estimated to be most successful Korean movie, per gross receipts

The numbers are in and apparently “Myeongryang: Roaring Currents” will be the most successful Korean film made to date with admissions rates estimated to be well over 14 million after just 18 days of release.  The previous record was James Cameron’s “Avatar” in 2009 which had about 13.62 million admissions total, thus Roaring Currents will, excuse the expression, blow Avatar out of the water.  So far, the film has brought in gross receipts of W109.7 billion for CJ Entertainment.

(Image from Soopi.com)

Sure, a competently done movie about Korea’s greatest hero fighting a near impossible battle against that perennial Korean enemy the Japanese would certainly expect to do well.  It would appear that most critics believe the special effects to be quite good, even by Hollywood standards, however those same critics also believe the movie to have a healthy dose of nationalism.  At least one Korean critic lambasted the movie for overly playing to nationalistic heart strings.  However, the movie’s success may not be attributed to nationalism alone as some critics believe that the Korean population’s need for something inspirational after the Sewol disaster may be driving some of its admissions.

One half-Korean viewer took exception to the fact that many of the characters (both Korean and Japanese) took on familiar one dimensional caricatures.  Commander Bae Seol (who deserted Admiral Yi a day before the battle) was portrayed by an actor who had an untrustworthy ferret face.  The Japanese were, predictably a bit evil and/or crazy looking.  Admiral Yi, predictably was appropriately heroic, serious and savior-like.

(Image from FilmsMash.com)

Out of all the articles I read about the film I thought the interview with an historian on the film’s inaccuracies was most interesting.  Anyways, I saw the movie last week and I thought it was all right.  To me it wasn’t any less nationalistic than say Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot” or both the “300” movies.  The battle scenes were competently done and exciting in my opinion.  Listen, let’s not kid ourselves here.  I agree with Jay Seaver over at eFilmCritic.com.  It’s not going to be Academy Award winning material nor is it going to be a completely accurate historical documentary.  It’s going to be crafted as an effects-laden crowd-pleaser and like “The Patriot” or “300,” historical license is going to be taken.

  • Sumo294

    They got one thing right–his ship fought them alone–his own lieutenants would not fight–thinking the odds were too great. That battle where his ship took on half the imperial navy was a greater feat than any other single naval engagement and it convinced his naval commanders that the fight could once again be taken to the Japanese. Even if there were only 133 Japanese ships–it was one hell of a stand.

  • Phil Phakename

    Didn’t the Battle of Myeongnyang take place like, 30 miles from where the Sewon sank?

  • bigmamat

    The popularity of these kind of stories proves that people never really change. People love stories of underdogs and noble heroes. Even if in real life we aren’t anything more than a bunch of self interested pleasure seekers.

  • Joy Orbison

    “To me it wasn’t any less nationalistic than say … both the “300″ movies”

    I don’t think you can have nationalism for fictional nations.

  • Aja Aja

    I was hoping that this movie would have broken the same trap the way the war movies are made in Korea, but it sounds like it’s still the same formula – overly melodramatic, inaccurate historical details, overdone battle scenes (you know, where the crazy superhuman enemy horde charging wildly while the single lone hero cuts them all down by himself), and top it all off with overdose of nationalism. The war movie “Taegukki” perfect example. Korean movie makers really need to sit down and study the way Hollywood makes non-fictional war movies. It’s just too bad this movie didn’t break that cycle.

  • bumfromkorea

    Well… I wouldn’t use Hollywood war movies as examples.

  • redwhitedude

    “overly melodramatic, inaccurate historical details, overdone battle
    scenes (you know, where the crazy superhuman enemy horde charging wildly
    while the single lone hero cuts them all down by himself),”

    Sounds like any action movie. To be expected to make the movie more entertaining.

    “and top it all off with overdose of nationalism.”

    Remember Independence Day? The US saves the world. How about Pearl Harbor? At least the ending, they couldn’t end it at Pearl Harbor being bombed.

  • redwhitedude

    Really who goes to the movies and approaches it as a Historian?

  • bumfromkorea

    I’m still going to see it because Choi Min Shik is in it. I was told it wasn’t a very good movie though.

  • Joy Orbison

    Agreed, nationalism in films is OK because a Will Smith movie from 20 years ago was pretty nationalistic.

  • Joy Orbison

    Hollywood has made awesome war films that don’t depend on crappy nationalism to appeal to half-wits. Apocalypse Now, Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket, The Deer Hunter…

  • bumfromkorea

    But three of them do depend on melodrama, and none of them are exactly known for their historical accuracies.

    And I had to google Paths of Glory (1957?!). Every one of these movies are older than I am – not a great comparison when we’re talking about a movie that is 27 years younger than the youngest film in the list.

    The criteria, as laid out in the OP, are
    1. Melodrama
    2. Historical accuracies
    3. Unrealistic heroism
    4. Nationalism

    Hollywood war movies typically fail at least 3 of these (as do most war movies in the world)… except, I guess, Tropic Thunder.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odd8Zdhuj9o
    1. Not melodramatic. No, not at all…
    2. Takes place in the present time, so no worries there
    3. No heroes in this movie.
    4. Absolutely no nationalism.

    Actually, Korean war movies should be more like Tropic Thunder.

  • bumfromkorea

    Why is nationalism in film not OK? It can be a reason for someone to not like a particular film, but that doesn’t mean it’s not OK to put nationalism in movies – a war movie, no less.

  • bumfromkorea

    Closer than that, wasn’t it?

  • Joy Orbison

    I’m not sure any of the films mentioned would really be described as melodramatic. When I think of melodramatic films, films like Taegukki and Haeundae (and Peal Harbour) come to mind. But that’s all subjective I suppose.

    Something else which is subjective is that historical inaccuracies for the sake of appealing to nationalism really piss me off. But on the other hand historical inaccuracies to make a interesting story or plot twist is personally acceptable (like Inglorious Basterds).

    Anyway, you should watch Paths of Glory. It’s a great film.

  • Joy Orbison

    Because nationalism isn’t OK.

  • Aja Aja

    At least Hollywood, while not perfect, has some excellent war movies that were really realistic, which is far better record than what Korea has ever produced. The same director, Kim Han Min, who directed this movie, is also the same director who did the movie “Broken Arrow”, which I thought was an excellent movie (minus the cheezy scene with that CGI made tiger) – this is the only Korean action film that I thought didn’t depend on melodramatics or the usual Korean action movie formula. Thus why I’m disappointed after reading the reviews of this movie.

  • Aja Aja

    Independence Day is a fiction, they are allowed to be nationalistic, stupid, wacky, or whatever you want to describe it as. They are not made to make you think, they’re just purely scripted to make you high in action.

    I’m talking about serious war movies based on non-fiction history, like Saving Private Ryan.

  • Aja Aja

    Look at the American movie “Tora! Tora!”, and see how well that was made. And they made this movie in 1972! They used real Japanese who spoke real Japanese, didn’t portray the Japanese as evil monsters, stuck mostly to historical facts but the scripts were still good enough to make the men behind the scenes look interesting, and it’s considered one of the all time classics.

    If Korean movie industry still can’t produce war movies that match what Hollywood did in 1972, they might as well pack it in.

  • wangkon936

    The Sewol sank on the other side of Chindo Island. However, even there the currents are still strong.

  • wangkon936

    Sparta and Athens were fictional?

  • wangkon936

    Those were all made in like the 70s (with the notable exceptions of Paths of Glory [50s] and Full Metal Jacket [80s]).

    What has Hollywood given us lately? A pile of stinking crap? Why, yes.

  • wangkon936

    I believe you mean “War of Arrows,” not “Broken Arrow.”

    Broken Arrow was a John Woo film:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115759/

  • wangkon936

    The fact that “Tora! Tora!” was a Japanese/American co-production kinda helped in the negative portrayals category.

  • Joy Orbison

    “Fictional nations” – they aren’t nations and they never were. I don’t think it’s possible to create nationalistic films for something that isn’t a nation (or ever was).

  • redwhitedude

    Because it makes for not so entertaining movies.

  • redwhitedude

    It is still nationalism. That is Independence Day.

  • redwhitedude

    Just saw Lucy. It’s a okay movie.

  • Joy Orbison

    Yeah pretty much. I enjoyed Inglorious Basterds which was recent though (although I don’t know why the age of the films are being brought into the equation).

  • Aja Aja

    You’re right, my mistake.

  • wangkon936

    Well, I never said they were nations. Their views of culture, government and art were highly influential on the formation of Western civilization, no?

    Speaking to my Arab and Persian friends, they would very much beg to differ. In 300 the Persians were made to look exaggerated, grotesque, almost beastial. When one of the Immortals were unmasked and revealed to be a tooth sharpened monster my Persian friend said, “That’s effed up, man. I don’t look like that.”

    Here is some internet banter on the subject:

    http://www.racialicious.com/2009/02/27/frank-millers-300-and-the-persistence-of-accepted-racism/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/300_(film)#Depictions_of_Persians_and_Iran.27s_reaction

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Iranian_sentiment#300

    Perhaps you are too white to see the offense? Oh, well.

  • wangkon936

    U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

  • Aja Aja

    That’s what I mean. How awesome would this movie would have been, if it was co-produced with Japan? But then again, the political situation between the two countries is so bad, it wouldn’t have worked. Plus Japan probably has a totally different take on this war and this battle. But at least stop with the Japanese caricatures. It belongs in comic books, not in a supposedly historically accurate movie.

  • Joy Orbison

    I’m not saying 300 isn’t racist as fuck, I’m just saying it’s not nationalistic propaganda for Spartans – because Spartans don’t exist and even when they did, the modern concept of ‘nation’ didn’t.

  • wangkon936

    The age of these films are highly relevant because it represents a decline in quality over a period of time and the lack of likelihood that we will get similarly good quality in the future.

  • wangkon936

    300 is nationalistic in favor of Western Civilization. Nationalism doesn’t have to be squarely focused on a “nation,” per se:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_nationalism

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-nationalism

    You see, an organization like ISIS or Al Qaeda is not at all nationalistic towards a nation. They are Pan Islamic nationalists looking to establish a theocracy in the form of an old style Islamic caliphate. Thus, they collect radical Muslims from all nations and walks of life to achieve their stated goals.

  • wangkon936

    There are already talks of a Admiral Yi sequel. I’m guessing that would have to be regarding the Battle of Noryang, which was fought in conjunction with the Ming Chinese fleet.

    Sniff, sniff. I smell Chinese co-production!

  • Joy Orbison

    Well, I’d disagree that Pan-nationalism doesn’t require the end goal of creating a nation with borders and rulers etc.

    So, your reading of 300 is that it is Pan-Western nationalist. That’s interesting but I personally think that’s a bit of a stretch. I think it’s more accurate just to call it racist.

  • ChuckRamone

    It could also be considered an allegory for modern America vs. whatever outside threats. A lot of art addresses modern issues obliquely. Anything from any time period can be a metaphor for modern times.

  • bumfromkorea

    Yeah… but it’s a movie about 8 guys cutting through the Nazi-held Europe and holding a town with 5 or 6 paratroopers against a full company of SS + two tanks + armored car. Plus, the melodrama/nationalism factor is still significant (“Earn this. Earn it” + fade to a crying veteran at Arlington and a shot at the wavy flag).

    Actually, when Taegukgi had that younger brother cry at the end of the movie in front of the bones, I thought “Okay… did they do *anything* not ‘Saving Private Ryan’ in this movie?!”

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    A nation is a group of people sharing culture, history, ancestry,
    homeland, etc. I’m not an expert on the Greeks, but I think the
    Athenians and Spartans would have considered themselves separate nations by this definition.

  • bumfromkorea

    The ancient civilization that is considered the starting point of all Western Civilizations fighting against a Horde from the East? Come on, it’s not *that* subtle.

  • wangkon936

    However, Joy is technically correct. Athens and Sparta were not “nation states” by the definition of that term. The first “nation state” came into existence in 15th century Europe, although some East Asian History professors have some doubts to that.

    The Athenians and Spartans certainly weren’t “nations” per the modern definition, but they certainly had nationalism (i.e. enough pride in their city states that many would certainly die for it). It’s the narrow definition of “nationalism” that I take issue with. The narrow definition is not its standard usage.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism#Varieties

  • wangkon936

    How about this one?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKu5lGfRBxc#t=136

    That’s Brad Pitt in an “Easy Eight” Sherman going head to head against the deadly German Tiger tank. Gee… I guess who’s gonna win, huh?

  • Aja Aja

    I have doubts about the Chinese co-production. Would they allow the movie to show their Ming commander Chen Li being bribed by the Japanese to unblock the naval blockade of Japanese forces? Would they allow the movie to show Chen Li’s foolish tactic to engage the Japanese (who were master swordsmen) with hand to hand combat that got him into trouble twice, forcing Yi Sun Shin to come to Chen’s rescue and forcing the Koreans (who always used the tactic to stay away from engaging in a direct melee with the Japanese) to fight hand to hand as well? I doubt the PRC would allow the Ming forces to look poorly on screen. They would either expect a script change which would then go against what was recorded in the Najung Ilge, to make the Chinese forces to look better than what the movie would have portrayed. Chinese sees this naval victory as a Chinese Ming defeat of the Japanese. The Japanese sees this war as a minor skirmish ending in Japanese victory followed by orderly retreats. As long as the three countries have three totally different recounts of the events, I don’t think there will be a consensus that would allow them to work together on historic movies like these.

  • wangkon936

    Hahahaha…. Dear Aja Aja,

    The account of the Battle of Noryang wasn’t in the Nanjung Ilgi. Admiral Yi was too dead to finish that entry in his journal.

  • Aja Aja

    You don’t think the American Sherman tank could defeat the Tiger tanks? But seriously, that battle scene despite the questions of realism, still looked more real than the movies, “Taeguki” or “My Way”. The battle scenes from those movies were just laughable. All those men bunched together to be slaughtered in mass. That would never be in real life.

  • Aja Aja

    Good point. But that only beefs up my comment. The Korean point of view of that battle could be argued by the Chinese and Japanese, that it’s biased and without proper evidence.

  • wangkon936

    At 2:17 a shell from the Tiger’s 88mm gun bounces off the Easy Eight Sherman. WTF? Unless you suspend the laws of physics that would be impossible. An 88 can rip through Sherman like a hot knife through butter.

    Hollywood Golden boyBrad Pitt then has several opportunities to fire into the Tiger. Obviously, he his using his superior Yankee ingenuity and American nerves of steel (and perhaps some Irish luck?) to outmaneuver the Tiger and pour round after round into her. Oh, yeah, that’s uber realistic!

  • Joy Orbison

    Yeah I can see the allegorical angle. Avatar is another obvious example.

  • wangkon936

    Aja Aja,

    Just like the memorial to Ahn Jung-geun this will be an opportunity that will be hard for the Chinese to ignore. First of all it is a joint naval operation, at a time when most land disputes between the them and the Japanese are marine in nature. It also highlights a key portion of Xi Jinping’s speech in Korea where he states:

    Both countries’ nationals … walked shoulder to shoulder to battle grounds together 400 years ago,” Xi said, speaking through an interpreter.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/05/china-japan_n_5560440.html

  • bumfromkorea

    I think there was a Call of Duty level like that.

  • djson1

    What’s with male actors wearing eyeliner these days? I see from the movie ad, the samurai with heavy eyeliner. Also, was thinking of War of the Arrows, where the Manchurian general had heavy eyeliner. Xerxes in 300 had heavy eyeliner…Johnny Depp in Pirates…and so on. It just takes away realism for me. Did warriors wear eyeliner?

  • djson1

    THAT would be pretty awesome. But I bet they won’t.

  • redwhitedude

    I know one thing. I don’t trust Chinese history lessons or Chinese “human rights”.

  • djson1

    I still want this movie on blu-ray.

  • Phil Phakename

    Jarhead and Three Kings were pretty nationalism-free, iirc.

  • djson1

    Gawd…that CGI tiger scene really made me hold back from liking the movie too much. That scene was waaay under-budgeted.

  • bigmamat

    Those are pretty much anti war movies though aren’t they? How about Saving Private Ryan that might be a better example.

  • bigmamat

    Actually it’s fictional but it piggy backs on the Sullivan brothers story.

  • bigmamat

    So what do you want a documentary? Then watch PBS.

  • bigmamat

    Wait a minute. Jang Dong gun did make another war movie with a Japanese guy, My Way. That was supposed based on a true story. Poor man was without a doubt the unluckiest Mo Fo ever other than the dead guys.

  • bumfromkorea

    I think you’re losing track of who’s saying what.

  • wangkon936

    Saving Private Ryan. Not nationalistic, but unabashedly melodramatic.

  • bigmamat

    Yeah I’d agree. If you want realism try documentaries.

  • bigmamat

    yeah maybe…my eyes are tired

  • wangkon936

    Yeah. A two hour flick based on this guy:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2153688/Second-World-War–German-Japanese-soldier-stories-change-perception-ever.html

    A Korean documentary team tried to find this so called Yang Gyeong-jong, but couldn’t.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpFRJqcawsQ

    They did, however, find evidence of Korean troops in the service of the Wehrmacht and in POW camps in the U.S., Germany and Russia.

  • bigmamat

    So the story isn’t true? Well damn.

  • Wedge1

    “The only way I got to keep them Tigers busy is to let them shoot holes in me!”

  • wangkon936

    Not necessarily. Not verified does not mean not true.

  • Bob Bobbs

    Saving Private Ryan creates the impression that the US was the only nation fighting the Germans in Normandy. There are almost no references to other Allied nations, and certainly no visual representations. That is nationalistic.

  • kaizenmx

    China has no beef with that specific part of history. It would be japs who would have tremendous amount of problem with this movie’s historical facts, considering they lost about half of Toyotomi’s fleet during that battle.

  • Sumo294

    There were no ideas back then that would conveyed the idea of a nation–they were both essentially city–states. There is convincing argument that the Greeks understood the idea of a Pan-Hellenic culture.

  • Sumo294

    Hahaha that will be fun indeed!

  • Sumo294

    No the Japanese admire Admiral Yi–he is the only person of Korean descent besides the modern day Bae-sama whom the Japanese respects.

  • wangkon936

    They do not respect Chae Bae-dal (Mas Oyama) or Son Jeong-ui (Masayoshi Son)?

  • Sumo294

    They consider them as persons who contributed to Japanese culture or economy–they are considered as part of the Japanese system regardless of how they might have felt. Bae and Admiral Yi are undeniably Koreans outside of the Japanese system. They are admired and acknowledged despite being from in their eyes an inferior culture. The British are the Japanese equals–just different in appearances–only the Americans are superior–however American culture is seen as too disharmonious to suit Japanese tastes.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    100% agree. The last thing the world needs is more nationalism. It’s a step backward in human development.

  • bigmamat

    I really liked War of Arrows I thought it was a very well done action movie. I’m also not inclined to pick at every little thing in a movie because I watch so many. I’m just looking to be entertained. I don’t really understand you guys and the problem with melodrama in a movie. If you want realism watch a documentary. Films don’t have to be completely accurate to be entertaining.

  • bigmamat

    You obviously haven’t been watching Korean movies much.

  • RElgin

    You are *so* right about the 88mm. It was feared by all and the Sherman was reportedly fire prone, especially after taking a hit from an 88.

  • redwhitedude

    I felt the plot of the movie was somewhat lacking. The special effects part didn’t bother me.

  • redwhitedude

    It was feared and generally you can count on sacrificing some of the shermans so that other shermans can use superior mobility to hit the german tanks on the side or rear.

  • redwhitedude

    Or National Geographic.

  • redwhitedude

    How about the founder of Lotte?

  • redwhitedude

    Not sure if Bae-sama would at the same level of Admiral Yi.

  • redwhitedude

    But it didn’t do well as hoped. That is the movie.

  • redwhitedude

    Well here are some oldies. Going way back. Korean movies now days feel a little like watching hollywood movies. Production values have gone up, they are more adept at stunts and so forth.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/KoreanFilm

  • bigmamat

    Yeah but at the same time they have lost a lot of their indie appeal and grittiness that everyone found so attractive a decade ago. I think you’re right they are about as watered down, slick and politically correct as Hollywood now.

  • wangkon936

    Eh, the Commonwealth seceded the right to be represented by virtue of being slower than molasses at taking Caen. Monty was so slow that the U.S. Army essentially flanked and entrapped the German Army all by themselves (while Monty was still stuck at Caen), creating the Falaise pocket (which trapped 50k Germans).

    Then, when butthurt Monty wanted to make it up through Operation Market Garden, it only took resources away from Patton’s successful offensive to the Rhine to Monty’s unsuccessful offensive to Arnhem.

    .

  • wangkon936

    It flopped. $40M budget, $25M gross receipts.

  • redwhitedude

    That’s what I lament. Whenever I feel like watching an indie or foreign movie I just don’t turn to Korean films like I used to. I watch older Korean movies or movies from another country that is noncommunist.

  • redwhitedude

    $15M gap. About the budget of the Korean blockbuster. Far cry from the blockbuster movies in the US which are $50M+

  • wangkon936

    Because of the gas vs. diesel engines. Gas burns faster than diesel. The Germans called the Sherman the “Tommy cooker.”

    “Tommy” is the German nickname for Brits.

  • redwhitedude

    The only thing the Shermans had going for them against these tigers was superior mobility and sheer weight in numbers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fKrjMMQkLE

  • Bob Bobbs

    I hope you are being facetious. You have bought into the nationalistic narrative hook, line and sinker. Typical Yank. Or whatever you feel you are today.

  • wangkon936

    Mr. Bobbs,

    You have reading comprehension problems.

    I said what I said as an American!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E3QiOgZPJ4

    “That guy’s overrated”

    Gee, I wonder who the hell they are referring to, eh?

  • namepen

    That was the greatest weakness of the film. Instead of focusing on
    how Korean science, firepower and tactics were lightyears ahead of the
    Japanese they depicted scene after scene of Korean soldiers ripping
    through massed ranks of Japanese LOTR style.

    The Koreans didn’t beat the Japanese with Asterix and Obelix style strength. They beat them with their scientific superiority.

    This parallels with the way England’s much smaller technologically
    advanced navy was able to fend of the Spanish until the elements
    finished them off. Only in Korea’s case their navy was so superior they
    didn’t have to rely on the winds.

  • ccmontgom

    I cannot love this quote any more deeply – it is not possible.^^

  • Sumo294

    Tech had some bearing–but before Yi the Koreans got their asses handed to them and after Yi died the Koreans got their asses handed to them. Do you think it is possible that Yi might the reason why the Koreans won every time with him in command?

  • Sumo294

    Girls in Japan could care less about Admiral Yi and the guys there could care less about Bae. If a Japanese guy killed Bae–those older gals in Japan would kill his murderer within a week. There is a reason why anyone who is anti-Bae in Japan has to go publicly apologize to him. I was also a skeptic but seeing is believing–those women are scary.

  • wangkon936

    I don’t know if ramming a bunch of fire ships into the Spanish Armada proved England had better “tech” than the Spaniards.

  • wangkon936

    Korean level of weapons technology wasn’t necessarily better than the Japanese at that time. The Koreans did have better bronze and iron casting technology, but the Japanese had better forging technology than the Koreans. So, the Japanese had awesome swords. The Koreans actually imported many of them.

    Due to the large amount of experience in huge bronze bells for Buddhist temples during the Goryo era, the Koreans had very good metal casting technology, which enabled them to build better cannons. The Japanese captured many Korean cannons during the war, but couldn’t use too many on their ships. Their ships were never designed to handle the recoil of cannon and their ships lost structural integrity if there were too many of them on their boats. Thus a large Japanese ship (atakebune) only carried three or four and a medium sized ship (sekibune) only carried one. A Korean main capital ship, a panokseon, could carry 20-30 cannons.

    The Japanese, in desperation, tried to tie cannons on the upper structure of their ships to keep the recoil from reverberating through the hull. Japanese ship hulls were built of cedar and the planks put in place with iron nails. Continuous recoil absorbed by the hull loosened the nails and splintered the cedar.

    Korean ships, in contrast were made of pine and the planks put in place with oak pegs. The planks also had interlocking teeth so in some cases pegs were not needed. In the sea, the planks absorbed the water and expanded, which created greater structural integrity, thus Korean boats could handle the recoil of many cannons. The Korean boats were also better at ramming too. Korean ships had thicker wood planking because pine is an oily wood with a lot of naturally occurring knots in it. It avoid splitting, the pine had to be cut in thick planks, at least 4 inches in width. This was thicker than the cedar plankings used on Japanese boats which averaged about 2 inches. This also, in effect, made Korean boats impervious to Japanese arquebus fire.

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ Kuiwon

    “Human development” (i.e., evolution) is precisely the reason why you see nationalism. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_selection

  • Aja Aja

    Which all makes Won Gyun’s disastrous defeat at the battle of Chilchonryang, which wiped out hundreds of Korean ships (practically the entire navy minus a dozen ships), all the more bewildering. How in the world could you be that incompetent to lose that bad with that kind of naval advantage?

  • wangkon936

    You know what’s worse than Won Gyun’s tactical incompetence? The incompetence of the Joseon court that imprisoned and nearly killed Yi Soon-shin and put an idiot like Won Gyun in charge in the first place.

  • Aja Aja

    Come to think of it, Adm.Yi was surrounded by incompetence and cowardice. The name Bae Seul comes to mind. The same man who ran away with 13 ships at the Battle of Chilchoryang. That act of cowardice salvaged the Korean navy by accident. But then he pulls the same stunt again, running away at the Battle of Myeongryang, taking his lone ship with him, leaving Yi to fight himself with a lone ship. Reminds me of the Sewol captain Lee Jun Seok. What is it with the act of running and cowardice that seems so prevalent throughout Korean history. Just shows how much of a great leadership Yi Sun Shin had, when he didn’t have much men of competence and mettle to work with. And shows how important to have good leadership.

  • wangkon936

    Bae Seol ran away a day before the battle not during as you imply. Yi’s other commanders at Myeongrang were Kim Eok-chu, Kim Ung-ham and Ahn Wie. In his diary he said Kim Eok-chu was unqualified to be an admiral (nominal commander of Jolla Right navy, the redoubtable Yi Ok-ki’s old command, but Ok-ki was killed at Chilcheollyang) but was recommended by his buddy Kim Ung-ham for the post.

    Ahn Wie was always a cowardly fellow too. Although he eventually joined Yi’s sole ship at Myeongrang, his battle record afterwards was a bit sketchy. The movie depicted Ahn Wie as brave and loyal, but in real life he wasn’t. I think he was ultimately relieved of command before the Battle of Noryang.

    With the commanders he had on hand, if I was Yi I would not have fought that battle at Myeongrang. On paper it was suicide. Good thing for Korea I wasn’t in command that day.

  • redwhitedude

    As I said they are not at the same level, and/or can be put in the same sentence.

  • Bob Bobbs

    It’s still pretty douchey.

  • Aja Aja

    Was the movie’s depiction of the lone Yi’s ship facing off the hundreds of Japanese ships and starting the battle, while all of Yi’s commanders were sitting further back in safety, really true?

  • wangkon936

    According to the Nanjung Ilgi, yes. However, unlike the movie, Yi’s ship was never boarded.

  • bumfromkorea

    I’m still going to see it because Choi Min Shik is in it. I was told it wasn’t a very good movie though.

    😀 See what I did there?

  • redwhitedude

    I found the plot to be somewhat wanting. Choi Min Sik did fine in the film.