Prince Geon when serving Japanese Army
28 October 1909|
Seoul, Great Korean Empire
|Died||21 December 1990
Yono, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
|Issue||3 sons, 1 daughter|
|Father||Prince Imperial Ui|
|Occupation||Small business owner, farm manager, German-language translator|
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Years of service||1930–1945|
|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. His Korean name was Yi Geon (이건 李鍵 I Geon), and his birth name was Yonggil (용길 Yonggil).
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.
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. 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.
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