Yi Gu

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Yi Gu
Yi Gu.jpg
Gu as a young boy
Emperor of Korea
Pretend 1 May 1970 – 16 July 2005
Predecessor Crown Prince Yi Un
Successor Disputed
Prince Yi Won or Prince Yi Seok
Spouse Julia Mullock (1959-1982)
Father Yi Un
Mother Masako Nashimoto
Born (1931-12-29)29 December 1931
Kitashirakawa Palace (now Akasaka Prince Hotel), Kioicho, Kojimachiku, Tokyo, Japan
Died 16 July 2005(2005-07-16) (aged 73)
Akasaka Prince Hotel, Kioicho, Kojimachiku, Tokyo, Japan
Religion Roman Catholicism
Yi Gu
Hangul 이구
Hanja 李玖
Revised Romanization I Gu
McCune–Reischauer Yi Ku
Imperial title
Hangul 황태손
Hanja 皇太孫
Revised Romanization Hwangtaeson*
McCune–Reischauer Hwangt'aeson
Posthumous title
Hangul 회은황태손
Hanja 懷隱皇太孫
Revised Romanization Hoeeun Hwangtaeson**
McCune–Reischauer Hoeŭn Hwangt'aeson
  • meaning "Prince Imperial"
    **meaning "Prince Imperial Hoeun"

Prince Yi Ku (29 December 1931 – 16 July 2005) was a Korean prince. He was pretender to the throne from 1970 until he died in 2005. He was the grandson of Gojong of the Joseon dynasty.

Gu was born in Kitashirakawa Palace (now Akasaka Prince Hotel), Kioicho, Kojimachiku, Tokyo, Japan; his father was Crown Prince Eun of Korea, and his mother was Princess Bangja, born Masako Nashimoto, a Japanese princess.

Gu attended the Gakushuin Peers' School in Tokyo. He later attended Centre College, Danville, Kentucky and studied architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology both in the U.S.. He was employed as an architect with I.M. Pei & Assocs, Manhattan, New York from 1960 to 1964. Made stateless by Japan in 1947, Gu acquired United States citizenship in 1959, and Korean citizenship in 1964. He married Julia Mullock (b. 1928) on 25 October 1959 at St George's Church in New York, and they adopted a daughter, Eugenia Unsuk.

After the fall of Syngman Rhee, he returned to Korea in 1963 with the help of the new president Park Chung-hee, moving into the new building in Nakseon Hall, Changdeok Palace with his mother and wife. He lectured on architecture at Seoul National University and Yonsei University and also managed his own airline, Shinhan. When that went bankrupt in 1979, he went to Japan to earn money. In 1982, his family forced him to divorce his wife because she was sterile; his mother died in 1989. He started living with a Japanese astrologer, Mrs. Arita.

In November 1996, he made what he hoped would be his permanent return to Korea but, showing signs of a nervous breakdown, he was unable to adjust to life in Korea.[citation needed] Restlessly going back and forth between Japan and Korea, he eventually died of a myocardial infarction, a heart attack, at the age of seventy-three, on 16 July 2005 at the Akasaka Prince Hotel, the former residence of his parents in Tokyo, Japan. His funeral was held on 24 July 2005 and his posthumous title decided as "Prince Imperial Hoeun of Korea" by the Lee Family Council.

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Yi Gu
Born: 29 December 1931 Died: 16 July 2005
Preceded by
Yi Un
— TITULAR —
Emperor of Korea
1 May 1970 – 16 July 2005
Reason for succession failure:
Empire abolished by Japanese annexation 1910
Succeeded by
Yi Won