Sunjong of Korea
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Sunjong of Korea


Emperor Sunjong.jpg
Emperor of Korea
Reign19 July 1907 - 29 August 1910
PredecessorGojong of Korea
SuccessorPosition abolished
Korea was ruled by Japan from 1910 to 1945
Born(1874-03-25)25 March 1874
Changdeok Palace, Hanseong, Joseon dynasty of Korea
Died24 April 1926(1926-04-24) (aged 52)
Changdeok Palace, Keij?, Japanese Korea
SpouseEmpress Sunmyeong
Empress Sunjeong
HouseHouse of Yi
FatherGojong of Korea
MotherQueen Myeongseong

Sunjong, the Emperor Yunghui (Korean; Hanja; RRYunghuije; MRYungh?ije; 25 March 1874 - 24 April 1926),[1] was the second and the last Emperor of Korea, of the Yi dynasty, ruling from 1907 until 1910.


Sunjong was the second son of Emperor Gojong and Empress Myeongseong. When he was two years old, Sunjong was proclaimed the crown prince. In 1882, he married a daughter of the Min clan, who later became Empress Sunmyeonghyo (Korean; Hanja).

The Korean Empire was established in 1897, and Sunjong became the imperial crown prince. In July 1907, Gojong was deposed as a result of Japanese coercion, and Sunjong was made emperor of Korea. He was proclaimed heir to the throne of Prince Imperial Yeong (Korean; Hanja), the younger brother of Sunjong, and moved from Deoksugung Palace to the imperial residence at Changdeokgung Palace.[2]

Sunjong's reign was limited by the gradually increasing armed intervention of the Japanese government in Korea. In July 1907, he was proclaimed emperor of Korea but was immediately forced to enter into the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1907 (Korean, 7; Hanja, ). This treaty allowed the Japanese government to supervise and intervene in the administration and governance of Korea, which also allowed for the appointment of Japanese ministers within the government.[3]

While under Japanese supervision, the Korean army was dismissed on the pretext of lack of public finance regulations. In 1909, Japan implemented the Japan-Korea Protocol (Korean?; Hanja?) which effectively removed Korea's judicial power. Meanwhile, Japan dispatched It? Hirobumi, Japanese Resident-General of Korea, to negotiate with Russia over problems involving Korea and Manchuria. However, It? was assassinated by Ahn Jung-geun at Harbin, which led to the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910. Pro-Japanese politicians, such as Song Byung-jun and Lee Wan-yong, defected, merging Korea with Japan by fabricating Korea's willingness and establishing the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty on August 29, 1910.[4][5]

Although still existent on paper, the intervention by the Japanese government effectively ended Sunjong's reign over the Korean Empire and he became essentially powerless within three years of ruling. Japan, in effect, abolished the Korean Empire on August 29, 1910, ending 519 years of the Joseon dynasty.[6]

After abdication

After the annexation treaty, the former Emperor Sunjong and his wife, Empress Sunjeong, lived the rest of their lives virtually imprisoned in Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul.[7] Sunjong could not exercise any power as emperor because there were only pro-Japanese politicians in government. After the Korean Empire collapsed, Sunjong was demoted from emperor to king. Japan allowed him the title of King Yi of Changdeok Palace (Korean ; Hanja ) and allowed for the title to be inherited.[2]

Sunjong died on April 24, 1926, in Changdeokgung and is buried with his two wives at the imperial tomb of Yureung (, ) in the city of Namyangju. His state funeral on June 10, 1926, was a catalyst for the June 10th Movement against Japanese rule. He had no children.[8]


  1. Empress Sunmyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan (? , 1872-1904) - born to Min Tae-ho, leader of the Yeoheung Min clan; relative of Empress Myeongseong. She died before her husband was enthroned.
  2. Empress Sunjeong of the Haepyeong Yun clan (? , 1894-1966) - daughter of Marquis Yun Taek-yeong.

His full posthumous name

  • His Imperial Majesty Emperor Sunjong Munon Muryeong Donin Seonggyeong of Korea
  • Daehan Jeguk Sunjong Munon Muryeong Donin Seonggyeong Hwangje Pyeha




Popular culture

See also


  1. ^ "Korea. Choson. The Yi Dynasty Genealogy". Buyers, Christopher: The Royal Ark. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ a b "The Academy of Korean Studies() ?(Sunjong)".
  3. ^ " 6?(History of Gojong's Period 6) (National History Compilation Committee), 1969, 635p". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ " 6?(History of Gojong's Period 6) (National History Compilation Committee), 1969, 641p". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  5. ^ Rhee, Song Nai. Beautiful as the Rainbow: Nashimoto Masako, a Japanese Princess against All ... p. 100.
  6. ^ "::: Cultural Heritage, the source for Koreans' Strength and Dream :::". Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ "Emperor Sunjong of Korea". Asian History. Retrieved 2013.
  8. ^ Yunghui Yi Cheok, Emperor Sunjong. Korea's Last Emperor's Goodbye: Korea Annexed by Japan. 1915.
  9. ^
Sunjong of Korea
Born: 25 March 1874 Died: 24 April 1926
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor of Korea
19 July 1907 - 29 August 1910
Empire dissolved
Titles in pretence
Loss of title -- TITULAR --
Emperor of Korea
29 August 1910 - 24 April 1926
Reason for succession failure:
Empire abolished in 1910
Succeeded by
Crown Prince Euimin

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