Yuk Young-soo

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Yuk.
Yuhk Young-soo
First Lady of South Korea
In office
24 March 1962 – 15 August 1974
Acting until 17 December 1963
President Park Chung-hee
Preceded by Gong Deok-gwi
Succeeded by Park Geun-hye (acting)
Personal details
Born (1925-09-29)September 29, 1925
Okcheon-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do, Japanese Korea
(now Okcheon County, North Chungcheong Province, South Korea)
Died August 15, 1974(1974-08-15) (aged 48)
Seoul, South Korea
Spouse(s) Park Chung-hee (1950–1974)
Children Park Geun-hye
Alma mater Baehwa Women's High School
Religion Buddhism
Korean name
Revised Romanization Yuk Yeong-su
McCune–Reischauer Yuk Yŏngsu

Yuk Young-soo (Korean pronunciation: [juɡjʌŋsʰu] November 29, 1925 – August 15, 1974) was the wife of the 3rd South Korean president Park Chung-hee and the mother of incumbent South Korean president Park Geun-hye. She was assassinated in 1974.

Early life[edit]

Yuk was born in Okcheon County, Chungcheongbuk-do, South Korea in 1925, the second of three daughters of a prosperous self-made landlord.

She graduated from Baehwa Women's High School.

In August 1950 she meet Park Chung-hee through a relative who was serving under Park.[1] On 12 December 1950 she married Park Chung-hee. While her mother supported her choice of husband, Yuk's father was against the match, so she married without his blessing.[2]


At 10:23 a.m., 15 August 1974,[3] South Korean Independence Day, Yuk was shot and killed by Mun Se-gwang, a North Korean sympathizer Zainichi Korean, during an attempt by Mun to assassinate President Park Chung-hee.[4]

The assassination occurred at the Seoul National Theater of Korea during an Independence Day ceremony. Mun intended to shoot Park in the theater lobby. However, his view was obstructed, and he was forced to enter and be seated near the back of the theater. During Park's address, he attempted to get closer to the President but inadvertently fired his Smith & Wesson .38 revolver prematurely, injuring himself. Having alerted security, he then ran down the theater aisle firing wildly.[5] His second bullet hit the left side of the podium from which Park was delivering his speech. The third bullet was a misfire. His fourth bullet struck Yuk Young-soo in the head, seriously wounding her. His last bullet went through a flag decorating the rear of the stage. A bullet fired by Park Jong-gyu one of the President's security, in response to Mun's attack, ricocheted off a wall and killed a high school student, Jang Bong-hwa. Immediately following the capture of Mun, Park ever disciplined, resumed his scheduled speech despite the wounding of his wife and her being carried from the stage. Following its completion he picked up his wife's handbag and shoes and left.[6]

Yuk was rushed to the hospital in Wonnam-dong, central Seoul. Dr. Shim Bo-seong who was chief of the hospital’s neurosurgery department began operating on Yuk at 11 a.m. and which lasted for over 5 hours.

The bullet damaged the largest vein on the right side of her brain and remained lodged within the brain. Yuk’s blood type was AB, which is a rare blood type and was in short supply in Korea. As a result hospital staff had to obtain additional blood from other nearby hospitals and the Red Cross Blood Service. The surgery was unable to save her life and she died at 7:00 p.m. that same day.[7]

She was buried in a state funeral on 19 August 1974.[8]

Yuk Young-soo is buried next to her husband at the Seoul National Cemetery.

Park composed the following poem the day after Yuk's state funeral.[9]

Like a Long Magnolia Blossom Bending to the Wind
Under heavy silence
Of a house in mourning
Only the cry of cicadas
Maam, maam, maam
Seem to long for you who is now gone
Under the August sun
The Indian Lilacs turn crimson
As if trying to heal the wounds of the mind
My wife has departed alone
Only I am left
Like a lone magnolia blossom bending to the wind
Where can I appeal
The sadness of a broken heart

Personal life[edit]

Yuk Young-soo and Park Chung-hee had three children: daughters Park Geun-hye the current president of the Republic of Korea as well as Park Seo-yeong and a son Park Ji-man.

Yuk Young-soo was a devout Buddhist and a devotee of Doseonsa in Seoul.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keon, who was at the time a Lieutenant Colonel in the South Korean military. Page 195.
  2. ^ Jager. Page 415.
  3. ^ Keon. Page 199.
  4. ^ Jager. Page 415.
  5. ^ Oberdorfer. Page 53.
  6. ^ Keon. Page 199.
  7. ^ Keon. Page 199.
  8. ^ Keon. Page 192.
  9. ^ Jager. Page 414.
  10. ^ Johnston, William M. (2000). Encyclopedia of monasticism 1. Taylor & Francis. p. 724. ISBN 978-1-57958-090-2. 


  • Jager, Sheila Miyoshi (2013). Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea (Hardback). London: Profile Books. ISBN 978-1-84668-067-0. 
  • Keon, Michael (1977). Korean Phoenix: A Nation from the Ashes (Hardback). Prentice-Hall International. ISBN 978-013-516823-3. 
  • Oberdorfer, Don (1997). The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History. Reading: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0-20140-927-7. 

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Gong Deok-gwi
First Lady of South Korea
Succeeded by
Park Geun-hye