Park Ui-jang’s Defence of the Left Gyeongsang Province during the Japanese Invasion in 1592
Among Korean scholarly circles research on the Japanese Invasion in 1592 has centered on the righteous troops resistance. This is because of the negative understanding that government troops did not react properly during the early stages of the war and also because interest has centered on the righteous troops who voluntarily rose up and defeated the Japanese.
The Left Gyeongsang Province, the area this paper covers, was the first area that the Japanese had invaded and the outcome of the war during the early stages could have changed depending on how the government troops confronted the Japanese. Despite this, during the early stages of the war the government troops of Left Gyeongsang Province did not put up much resistance, abandoned their posts and were defeated in battle. It would not be an exaggeration to say that such activity of government troops caused the struggle against the Japanese Army in the Left Gyeongsang Province to be viewed solely through the activities of the righteous troops.
But in contrast to other government troop commanders of the Left Gyeongsang Province, Park Ui-jang despite being defeated in battle by the Japanese Second Army of Kato Kiyomasa, did not abandon his post of Gyeongju and reassembled his ranks in Jukjang prefecture. Before recovering Gyeongju Castle, Park Ui-jang distinguished himself by uniting with righteous troop leader Kwon Ung-su and recovering Yeongcheon Castle. In the end, Gyeongju Castle was recaptured and the defence of the Left Gyeongsang Province continued.
Even during the peace negotiation period when engagement with the Japanese was forbidden, Park Ui-jang, Pajam in Daegu, distinguished himself by defeating a Japanese Forces of 2,000 with a small, crack unit. This battle of Pajam is significant in that muskets, which became known through exchanges with the surrendered general Kim Chung-seon, were actually utilized in battle. During the second invasion Park Ui-jang distinguished himself also, but his superior officer of the Left Gyeongsang Province Commander Seong Yun-mun represented the news falsely. Thereupon, Park Ui-jang bypassing Seong Yun-mun, reported directly to the Office of Military Merit, actively protesting against Seong Yun-mun's conduct.
This paper turns attention to the activities of the government troops of the Left Gyeongsang Province under Park Ui-jang, which has until now been neglected by scholarly circles. What differentiates this paper from previous research is that, firstly, this is the first full-scale examination of the activities of government troops of the Left Gyeongsang Province under Park Ui-jang during the Japanese Invasion in 1592. Secondly, although Park Ui-jang lost the battle of Gyongju Castle, unlike the other commanders of government troops of the Left Gyeongsang Province, Park Ui-jang recaptured his place of appointment, and through continuous warfare brought about a change in the strategy and tactics of the Japanese army. Through the above points it is expected that this could become an occasion to re-examine the activities of government troops of the Left Gyeongsang Province, different from the previous examination of the activities of the righteous troops of the Left Gyongsang Province.