Yi Geon

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Yi Geon
Prince Yi Geon 01.jpg
Prince Geon when serving Japanese Army
Born (1909-10-28)28 October 1909
Seoul, Great Korean Empire
Died 21 December 1990(1990-12-21) (aged 81)
Yono, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Spouse Matsudaira Yoshiko
Maeda Yoshiko
Issue 3 sons, 1 daughter
Father Prince Imperial Ui
Mother Lady Jeong
Occupation Small business owner, farm manager, German-language translator
Military career
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1930–1945
Rank Colonel
Commands held Instructor of Horsemanship at the Imperial Military Academy
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Grand Cordon of the Order of the Auspicious Stars
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure
Showa Enthronement Medal (1928)
Tokyo Earthquake Rehabilitation Medal (1930)
Japanese Red Cross Order of Merit

Colonel Prince Yi Geon (October 28, 1909 – December 21, 1990), also Ri Ken and Kenichi Momoyama (桃山 虔一, Momoyama Ken'ichi), was a Korean prince and a cavalry officer in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War. The first son of Prince Yi Kang of Korea by Lady Jeong, he was a grandson of Emperor Gwangmu.[1] His Korean name was Yi Geon (이건 李鍵 I Geon), and his birth name was Yonggil (용길 Yonggil).

He was brought to Japan in 1918, and entered Gakushūin Primary School.[2]

In 1930 he was commissioned in the Imperial Japanese Army as a second lieutenant of cavalry. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1932 and to Captain in 1936. He served as the instructor of horsemanship at the Imperial Military Academy. He received further promotions to Major in 1940, and to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1943. With the end of the Second World War in 1945, he concluded his military career with the rank of Colonel.

He married Yoshiko Matsudaira (松平 佳子, Matsudaira Yoshiko, 6 October 1911 - 28 June 2006), a maternal cousin of Crown Princess Bangja, on October 5, 1931, in Tokyo.[3]

After World War II, he was not allowed to go back to Korea. After he lost royal status by order of the SCAP in October 1947, he was naturalized as a Japanese citizen in 1950. Then he changed his name to Kenichi Momoyama.[4] When he met his future second wife Yoshiko Maeda (前田美子, Maeda Yoshiko) in 1951, he divorced his first wife. In 1990 he died; Prince Mikasa attended his funeral.


  1. ^ 황세손 이구·이방자 여사 참배 chosun.com
  2. ^ 일본에 인질로 간 의천왕의 두 아들 arirang21.com
  3. ^ 小田部雄次 四代の天皇と女性たち 978-4166602735 2002 "その間、虔一とも離婚し、松平佳子となった。つまり、佳子は、戦前から戦後の時代の変遷の中で、松平誠子、広橋誠子、李誠子、桃山佳子、松平佳子と、五度も改名したのであった。"
  4. ^ 小田部雄次 四代の天皇と女性たち 978-4166602735 2002 "李鍵は戦後に桃山虔一と改名した。虔一の妻の佳子は旧高松藩主松平伯爵家の一族の娘で誡子といい、広橋家の養女となつて李家に嫁いだ。"