Yuk Young-soo

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Yuk Young-soo
Yuk Young-soo.jpg
Yuk Young-soo in 1960s
First Lady of South Korea
In role
24 March 1962 – 15 August 1974
Acting until 17 December 1963
PresidentPark Chung-hee
Preceded byGong Deok-gwi
Succeeded byPark Geun-hye (acting)
Personal details
Born(1925-11-29)November 29, 1925
Okcheon-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do, Japanese Korea
(now Okcheon County, North Chungcheong Province, South Korea)
DiedAugust 15, 1974(1974-08-15) (aged 48)
Seoul, South Korea
Resting placeSeoul National Cemetery Seoul, South Korea
(m. 1950)
ChildrenPark Geun-hye
Park Geun-ryoung
Park Ji-man
Alma materBaehwa Women's High School
Korean name
Revised RomanizationYuk Yeong-su
McCune–ReischauerYuk 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 the 11th South Korean president Park Geun-hye. She was killed in 1974 during an attempted assassination of her husband, Park Chung-hee.

Early life[edit]

Yuk was born in Okcheon County, Chungcheongbuk-do, Korea in 1925, the second of three daughters of a prosperous self-made landlord. She graduated from Baehwa High School for Girls (presently known as Paihwa Girls' High School). In August 1950 she met 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 Zainichi Korean and North Korean sympathizer, 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 Model 36 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, a member of the President's security detail, 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 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., which lasted for over five hours. The bullet damaged the largest vein on the right side of her brain and remained lodged within the brain. The surgery was unable to save her life and she died at 7:00 p.m. that same day.[7]


Yuk 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 11th president of South Korea, as well as Park Geun-ryoung 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.


External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Gong Deok-gwi
First Lady of South Korea
17 December 1963-15 August 1974
Succeeded by
Park Geun-hye