Yi Won

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Yi Won, Hereditary Prince Imperial
황사손 이원
皇嗣孫 李源
Yiwon 08JongmyoDaeje.jpg
Emperor of Korea
Pretend 16 July 2005 – present
Predecessor Gu, Prince Imperial Hoeun
Born (1962-09-23) 23 September 1962 (age 54)
Hyehwa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Spouse Cho Tŭng-hak
Issue Two sons
Full name
Yi Sang-hyŏp
Father Yi Gap
Mother Unknown
Yi Won
Hangul 이원
Revised Romanization I Won
McCune–Reischauer Yi Won
Claimed Imperial title
Hangul 황사손
Revised Romanization Hwangsason*
McCune–Reischauer Hwangsason
  • meaning "Hereditary Prince Imperial"

Yi Won, the Hereditary Prince Imperial (born 23 September 1962) is a descendant of the Joseon Dynasty (a.k.a. Yi Dynasty) and one of several who claim to be head the House of Yi.[1] He worked as a general manager of Hyundai Home Shopping, a Hyundai Department Store Group company, until Prince Yi Gu died on 16 July 2005. He was born as the eldest son of Prince Gap of Korea, the 9th son of Prince Yi Kang by his wife at Hyehwa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul and became the adopted son of Prince Yi Gu, the twenty-ninth head of the Imperial house, though the legality of the adoption is contested.[2]


Those who dispute the legitimacy of the adoption point out that consent for the adoption of Prince Won was not given by other members of Imperial House, including Prince Yi Seok, the younger half-brother of Prince Gap, and Princess Yi Hae-won, the eldest surviving member of the house. Also, according to present Korean law, the traditional adoption after death of a foster parent to continue the line has been outlawed by legislation as of 2004.

Another problem arises over whether Prince Won or his father Prince Gap is the senior member of the house. While the line of Prince Gang is the senior line following the death of Prince Gu, there are descendants of the elder sons of Prince Gang. Barring the descendant of Prince Geon, the eldest son who had been naturalised as a Japanese after World War II, some members of the House insist that the Headship of House should pass to the descendants of Prince Wu, the second son of Prince Gang. In this case, the rightful Head of the House is Yi Chung, Prince Wu's eldest son.

Prince Won attended the Sangmun High School during 1979-1981 and completed studies in broadcasting at the New York Institute of Technology, United States. He and his wife have had two children, the eldest son born in 1998; the other son born in 1999.

On 16 July 2005, following the death of Prince Gu, some members of the Lee Family Council chose him as the next Head of Korean Imperial Household and they also made his title the Hereditary Prince Imperial (Hwangsason) in the meaning of inherited a title of Prince Gu. His claim is contested by Princess Yi Haewon of Korea who was crowned Empress of South Korea by 12 descendants who felt that she should be Empress, not Prince Won. In spite of this, he is annually called on to take the place of the Sovereign at the Jongmyo jerye ceremonies performing sacrifices to his royal ancestors.

He currently lives in an apartment in Wondang, Goyang, Gyeonggi province, Korea with his family.


  • 16 July 2005 – present: assumed to be His Imperial Highness Won, Hereditary Prince Imperial of Korea.[3]



  1. ^ "Reviving Joseon", Invest Korea Journal, Mar-Apr 2010.
  2. ^ Royal Ark
  3. ^ Royal Ark

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Yi Won
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Gu, Prince Imperial Hoeun
Emperor of Korea
Korean Empire
16 July 2005 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Empire abolished in 1910