Li Rusong

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Li Rusong
Chinese 李如松
(courtesy name)
Chinese 子茂
(posthumous name)
Chinese 忠烈

Li Rusong (1549–1598) was a Chinese general of the Ming dynasty who was from Tieling, Liaodong. He was the commander-in-chief of the Ming army in the first half of the Imjin War that took place in the Korean peninsula. Upon the request of the Korean King Seonjo of Joseon, the Ming Wanli Emperor sent reinforcements to support the Korean military in its war effort against the Japanese invasion masterminded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. [1] His father, Li Chengliang, who was also a Ming general, was known for defending Liaodong from the Jurchens.[2] Based on historical documents, Li Rusong's 6th generation ancestor Li Ying (李英) was originally from Chosan (초산군 / 楚山郡) in present-day North Korea, however there are historical documents which state that the further ancestors of the Li family were from central China who moved to Korea during wartime.[3]

Military career[edit]

Li Rusong's first rise of fame was in early 1592, when he managed to defeat a major rebellion at Ningxia. The Ming army had been unable to move the rebels holed up in the city for the first 6 months, but after Li arrived the city fell within 3 months. Li was able to divert the waters of the Yellow River directly into the city, which led to its fall. He was immediately appointed the chief general of the expedition into Korea after this; he led a force of some 36,000 into Korea in the last few days of 1592. Together with Ming administrator Song Yingchang, Li Rusong was generally successful in Korea, first retaking the city of Pyongyang in a direct assault within two weeks of setting off (on January 8 of 1593), and then took back the city of Kaesong a couple week later. As he marched south towards the Korean capital of Hanyang (漢陽) in later January, the Ming army clashed with the Japanese forces in the Battle of Byeokjegwan, which resulted in the Ming army being pushed back briefly. Within two months after this he succeeded in recapturing Hanyang. He ordered Chinese and Korean troops to refrain from killing all Japanese soldiers and grant them the right to retreat.


Li is also honoured as the inventor of a sword skill called jedok geom in Korean, which he presumably used during his stay in Korea. The Koreans published his sword-style in their martial arts manuals called Muyesinbo (1759) and Muyedobotongji (1791).


In April 1598, the Mongols invaded the Ming province of Liaodong from the north when Li Rusong was leading a small scouting group around its forests. Surrounded by thousands of Mongol cavalry, he could not escape, and was captured and subsequently killed. He was posthumously given the title of Zhonglie (忠烈) (Lord of Fidelity).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 冬十月壬寅,李如松提督蓟、辽、保定、山东军务,充防海御倭总兵官,救朝鲜。-《明史》
  2. ^!39f5412a-ad19-49c8-bffc-bceba1682122.html 成梁英毅骁健,有大将才。家贫,不能袭职,年四十犹为诸生。巡按御史器之,资入京,乃得袭。积功为辽东险山参将。隆庆元年,士蛮大入永平。成梁赴援有功,进副总兵,仍守险山。寻协守辽阳。三年四月,张摆失等屯塞下,成梁迎击斩之,歼其卒百六十有奇。-《明史》
  3. ^ 有考证说李如松祖籍为陇西,唐朝末年为避乱迁入朝鲜,祖上旅居朝鲜的先祖可以追查四代,名为:李哲根穗、李哈山、李厦霸努、李把图理。李把图理的儿子“李膺尼,洪武渡江 [李如松] 李如松 归附”明朝,归附后“授总旗”,高祖李英,授世铁岭指挥佥事,从此李氏便在铁岭安家落户。到了李如松的父亲李成梁这一代,李氏一门世袭官爵,族亲旺盛,成了明清以来铁岭著名的大户。