Battle of Sacheon, 1592

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Yi Sun-sin versus various commanders: A Korean naval force under Yi aims to destroy a Japanese naval force under various commanders in its own harbour base. Will Yi be able to lure out the various commanders and use superior technology to overcome superior numbers?

sacheon preview 1


Sacheon is constantly overlooked by Western historians despite being the decisive battle of a titanic clash in an Asian war involving three great powers of the time. Korean naval victories forced Japanese withdrawals from Korea in 1593 and 1598, of which Yi was largely responsible:


With an admiral of genius in charge, Yi Sunshin, the Koreans repeatedly outmaneuvered and outfought the Japanese. Yi Sunshin used local knowledge of currents, tides, and winds to gain a huge advantage for his ships, even in situations where they were vastly outnumbered by the enemy. (Grant, 2008: 109)

Yi’s tactics allowed this battle to take place but his technological development of the Kobokson won it. While Yi was an excellent naval tactician, Sacheon is a poor example of his tactical ability; it is a much better example of his engineering ability. Nonetheless, this battle was the first recorded use of the Kobokson, and would be followed by many victories won by Yi, including the Battles of Hansando, Pusan, Myongyang, and Noryang.

sacheon preview 2


This was only the second naval animation so I do not feel guilty that it is a simplistic battle. The most bothersome part of naval battles is drawing a new ship symbol for every era and sometimes every class. However, I feel it is important to distinguish between them and continue to fulfill one of the goals of the site: making battles graspable and visually appealing.

– Jonathan Webb

Works Consulted

Grant, R.C. Battle at Sea: 3,000 Years of Naval Warfare. New York: DK Publishing, 2011.

McNab, Chris. “Sacheon, 1592.” In Battles that Changed Warfare 1457 BC – AD 1991, 108-117. London: Amber, 2008.

Turnbull, Stephen. The Samurai Invasion of Korea 1592-1598. Oxford: Osprey, 2008.


Japanese Atakebune:

Japanese Sekibune:

Korean Panokson:

Korean Kobokson:

Map of Korea:

Map of the world:

Yi Sun-sin:


If you enjoyed the Battle of Sacheon 1592 battle animation, you may also enjoy these other battle animations:


Battle of Sekigahara 1600, a land battle fought during the Sengoku Period of Japan:

sekigahara preview 1

Battle of Cape Ecnomus 256 BC, another naval battle in which innovative technology proved decisive:

cape ecnomus preview 1

Battle of the River Plate 1939, another naval battle featuring a contest of superior armour and firepower versus strength of numbers:

river plate preview 1Thank you for visiting The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps.

Readers Comments (7)

  1. Good afternoon,sir

    I´m here again to warn u about some things that need to review in description of thye context in this battle:

    I mean,Toyotomi Hideyoshi was the “kanpaku”(some kind of supreme Regent).And Hideyoshi tried to persuade the king of Korea to turn against China of dynasty Ming.In other words,after completing the total unification in Japan,Hideyoshi ,relying in the powerful and numerous army in the country,has demanded tributes from Korea ,his submission to help attck China.

    Hideyoshi have decided to expand away from Japan,not only because of this hungry of power,but in order to decrease the great amount of soldiers and thus avoiding a possible rebelion against him,who sujugated others daimyo recently.

  2. Thank you for the finer details. I will review the context in the next wave of edits.

    I plan to animate the Battle of Shanghai 1937 in the next few seasons. Are there any Asian battles you would suggest I animate?

  3. @Sanada Yukimura May 28, 2010 @ 12:24 am

    Listen, Yukimura,

    Listen carefully,

    I don’t care if Kanpaku idiot wanted China or moon.

    The people of the peninsula were peaceful people who did no harm to the people of the Japanese Island. The idiot Kanpaku disturbed a peaceful nation and killed and raped many innocent nation.

    Did you get it?

    OKay, let me put it this way.

    Imagine there are some strong people who decide to disturb your house and molest your whife and daughter and also kills your own mother… Did you get the picture… ? Good man!

    The idiotic 20th century kanpaku repeated the whole lunatic thing again and America justly gave a good justice.

    You, Yukimura, learn the history lesson. Teach your generation of true history. Of invasions your people has caused to innocent Korean people. And be apologetic!

    Then, perhaps, a brighter future will come. And we shall all leave this behind history. We shall then be good neighbors and good citizens.

  4. Here,@Sanada Yukimura? He’s not really Japanese because Sanada Yukimura is a dude in an anime and it’s common for Americans to use anime charachters as their names online. It’s understandable that your feelings are hurt but do remember us westerners are notorious among ourselves for being too focused on western history.

  5. @Jonathan Webb

    It’s been a time since the last time I’ve seen this website .It seems really good,I congratulate u again for this precious site ,that joins so much valuable treasures of military battles of all the world,INCLUDING ASIANS BATTLES.I liked that.

    And so….I would like animations and explanations about some other battles:

    – Battle of Okehazama(Oda x Imagawa-Tokugawa)
    -4th Battle of Kawakanajima(Takeda Shingen x Uesugi Kenshin)
    -Siege of Osaka ( Toyotomi Allies x Tokugawa Allies)
    -Battle of Miyajima ( Mori clan x Sue clan)
    -Battle of Mikatagahara ( Takeda Shingen x Tokugawa Ieyasu)


    Take it easy… grandpa is from Japan,he’s already on grave now(He fled Japan to Brazil some time before WW2) ,and I have nothing to do with this.I’m Brazilian,u know?

    But I’m a lot interested in military affairs and in Japan History too.

    Then I’ve never intended to hurt feelings of patriotism of chineses or koreans.I ‘ve only said about what happened,nothing more.

    And how can we judge,in the moral point of view,what Hideyoshi or Hirohito Emperor have done?How can we blame their intentions?There are so many similar cases in History that they’ve made a invasion for expansions reasons…

    U blame Japanese people for rapes and killing old people….but
    do u think the japanese were the only one “bad guys” in a war? How about Americans,Germans(Nazi),English?How about vikings??
    Do u think all these nations teach they children they’ve done that?

    Unfortunatly koreans and chineses were victims of these atrocities in WW2,but in History we see that there aren’t so few incidents like these to people who were defeated.

    All these brutalities happened and will happen anywhere in the world as long as there will be war ,revolution or some sort of “disorder”.

    That’s t just a sad side of human reality/condition where we are inserted.

    So think about it and get free of the blindness that the national policy/midia impose on ur people’s mind..or at least try to see in another point of view…doesn’t all that speech hide some sort of politics interest ?

    Sanada Yukimura was a great hero and general in the final of Sengoku Period TOO.

  6. This is way too funny. I didn’t even really read into the article, but it is very funny when people are commenting in such extreme ways.

    It seems like Sanada is justifying Japan’s action to attack Korea. And it seems like another person with post name Sanada got upset because previous poster Sanada tried to justify it.

    Eatern or Western, either way, there is no such thing as justified wars. It is rather a posteriori within my argument that if Japan’s intention to attack China is justified, then any reason to attack another nation ‘in any circumstatnces or any nations’ is simply ethical and fully justified. Anything wrong with that? I hope you see a problem there…

    Heroes are made from wars and Yi was one. No doubt that it is common sense for a nation to defend itself from external aggression. And as a defender, as long as you can neutralize external aggression, you can call yourself a hero, at least within your own nation. However, if the external aggressor wins the war and brings lasting peace to the nation, then the aggressor can equally call him or her self a hero.

    In a comparison, Alexander the Great had no justified reason to attack other nations, but he did and triumphant throughout his campaigns. Within his short life, the brought peace to many parts for regions. Also, he brought fear. Today, he is known to have been a great general and ruler. But that does not mean that he had justified reason to attack other nations.

    Of course, Sanada has right to explain why Japan took action to attack Korea. However, it does not justify it, but only explains why such decisions were made. It is a historical fact and a helpful one. Only thing that I’m doubting is that whether Japan wanted cooperation from Korea or rather they wanted to take over Korea. There is no reason for Japan to cooperate with Korea when later on they are going to attack China. Cooperation from Korea means that Korea needed to submit to Japan’s ruling. Meaning that if Korea did cooperate, then Korean people would had required to fight against China by providing logistical and military support to Japan. Why would Korea do that? If Korea did cooperate, but lose the war against China, then Japan can simply cross the strait and return to their home while Korea would continuously defend their lands against China.

  7. Benjamin Alcaide January 22, 2011 @ 1:14 am

    @Yukimura Sanada

    After this little argument, I would just like to say why you might be critisized for “justifying” Hideyoshi’s decisions. The WWII saw some atrocities commited by the Japanese to Chinese and Korean. Now someone said that those are a part of war, and that is true. Nonetheless, I read account of said atrocities, and so far the one that has the most shocked me and horrified me, is the rape of Nankin, in 1937, where not only 95% of the population was killed, or wounded, and tortured, but where there were undescriptible savagery. For instance, two Japanese officers, those who are arguably in charge of maintaining discipline, had a contest, in which whoever had decapitated the most person would win. This was publicized in a Japanese newspaper, and commentated as a joke by the Japanese high command.

    Also, there are still tensions to this day, between Japan and China over this.

    PS: This is not to say that Japanese are worse than other people who commited similar atrocities. The article where I read it, blamed poorly enforced discipline, as well as high command for letting ideology guiding over strategic and moral decision, and given the absence of any other sources that looked at the cause, I have to agree with that

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