Prince Yi Kang bigraphy, stories - Korean noble

Prince Yi Kang : biography

30 March 1877 - 15 August 1955

Prince Yi Kang, the Prince Imperial Uihwa (also Euihwa), (born 30 March 1877 – 15 August 1955) was the fifth son of Emperor Gwangmu of Korea and his concubine, Lady Yang who was a court lady-in-waiting.

He received his given name of Yi Gang and was titled Prince Uihwa with the style of His Royal Highness in 1891. He married Lady Gim Sudeok, later known as the Princess Duk-in (22 December 1880 – 14 January 1964), a daughter of 1st Baron Gim Sajun.

He could not become the Crown Prince, even though he was older than his brother Prince Imperial Yeong, because the Japanese government (who selected the crown prince of Korea themselves) disliked his rebellious nature. Additionally, his mother had already died, weakening his claim to the throne.

He was appointed special ambassador to Japan for the celebration of Japan's victory in the First Sino-Japanese war in 1894. The next year, he visited six European countries as an ambassador extraordinary: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, Italy and Austria.

He went to the United States to study and was promoted to the rank of Prince Imperial Eui, styled His Imperial Highness, in 1899. He also served as the president of the Korean Red Cross from 1906 to 1910.

In 1919, he collaborated with Choe Ikhwan, a member of Daedongdan, who attempted to support him as the new leader of Korea. He tried to escape to the provisional government, but he was discovered in Manchuria, China and returned to his home country. After this, he cooperated and supported the Japanese government's occupation of Korea, and had continued this support until the end of the war.

He died in 1955, at the age of seventy-eight, at Seongrak Manor, Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea and is buried at Hongyu-reung in Namyang-ju near Seoul.


Prince Gang, a man with an active personality and handsome features, had 14 wives in addition to his lawful wife, Princess Duk-in. He had a total of 12 sons and 9 daughters.


  1. Yi Geon (이건 李键i geon) (1909–1991), his 1st son with his concubine, Lady Sugwan; m. Miss Matsudaira Yoshiko, a daughter of Captain Matsudaira Yutaka and his wife, a daughter of Marquis Nabeshima Naohiro, a maternal grandfather of Princess Bangja of Korea. He became a citizen of Japan in 1947.
  2. Yi Wu (이우 李鍝 i u) (1912–1945), his 2nd son with his concubine, Lady Suin; m. Lady Park Chan-ju, a granddaughter of Marquis Park Yeonghyo who was husband of Princess Yeonghye of Korea, a daughter of King Cheoljong. He was adopted by Prince Heung, his father's first cousin, so he inherited the Unhyeon Palace with a title of Prince Heung.
  3. Yi Bang (이방 李鎊 i bang) (1914–1951), his 3rd son with his partner, Cho Byungsuk.
  4. Yi Chang (이창 i chang) (1915-?), his 4th son with Cho Byungsuk. (Died in the United States.)
  5. Yi Ju (이주 李鑄 i ju) (1918–10 December 1982), his 5th son with Lady Suin.
  6. Yi Gon (이곤 李錕 i gon) (1919-1984), his 6th son with Lady Suin. He inherited the Sadong palace after death of Prince Yi Kang.
  7. Yi Gwang (이광 李鑛 i gwang) (1920–1952), his 7th son.
  8. Yi Hyun (이현 李鉉 i hyeon) (1922–1996), his 8th son with his concubine, Lady Sugyung. He was adopted into the Gyedong Palace.
  9. Yi Gap (이갑 李鉀 i gap) (born 1938), his 9th son. Some members of the Lee Family Council chose his eldest son, Yi Won as the next Head of Korean Imperial Household and they also made his title the Hereditary Prince Imperial (Hwangsason) in the meaning of inherited a title of Prince Gu (born 29 December 1931 – 16 July 2005).
  10. Yi Seok (이석 李錫 i seok) (born 1940), his 10th son with his partner, Hong Jeongsun. He is living in Jeonju, Korea and currently a professor of history, lecturing at University of Jeonju in the Korea.
  11. Yi Hwan (이환 i hwan) (born 1944), his 11th son with his partner, Kim Hyesu.
  12. Yi Jung (이정 i jeong) (born 1947), his 12th son with Hong Jeongsun.
Living octopus

Living octopus

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