Geobukseon – The Great Admiral Yi Sun Shin Korean Turtle Ship!


Geobukseon (거북선) is the famous legendary Korean turtle warship during the Joseon era. Admiral Yi Sun-Shin designs this large Korean turtle ship to fight against the Japanese Invasion during the Joseon Dynasty.

In this article, I will share about this great turtle ship that brought victories for South Korea and successfully repelled the Japanese army during various invasions from 1592-1598. Let’s dig in!

Table of Contents



Credit to deadliestblogpage

According to Nanjung ilgi (난중일기), Admiral Yi’s war diary, he designed geobukseon in 1591 as he perceived that the Japanese invasion was only a matter of time.

Together with his subordinates, they built the first modern turtle ship, Geobukseon. This is the improved version of the existing (first-generation) turtle ship known as Gwiseon (귀선).

Geobukseon Construction


Generally, the turtle ships length is around 100-120 feet long. It resembles the Panokseon (판옥선), the main class of Korean oar and sail-propelled warship. Each turtle ship can contains around 50-60 marines and 70 oarsmen.

Geobukseon Top Defense


The turtle ship defense system features sharp metal spikes at the top of Geobukseon to prevent the enemy’s boarding tactics.

Geobukseon Offense System


Credit to tarauacanoticias

Another interesting feature of this turtle ship is the dragon head mounted on the bow of the ship.

This dragon’s head emits dense toxic smoke to hide its movement by obscuring the enemy’s vision.

In addition, it is huge enough to put a cannon and shoot it from the inside.


Credit to deadliestblogpage

More than that, the side part of the ship is filled with a canon hole that is more than enough to sink any Japanese warships.

Geobukseon War Tactics


Admiral Yi’s war tactics against the japanese are to blast Geobukseon to the enemy’s ship, shoot cannonballs and sink them all.

These tactics successfully brought sixteen victories against the Japanese Navy before eventually being destroyed during the Battle of Chilcheollyang.

Afterward, Korea entered a peaceful period where they no longer used turtle ships.

Sum Up

There are no original Geobukseon turtle ships left in South Korea today. Yet, you can find replicas in all Korean Museums.

Alright, guys, these are little things I learn about Admiral Yi Sun Shin’s famous Geobukseon – Korea turtle ship that I can share with you.

If you want to know further, I suggest you check out the history fandom article about this turtle ship and all the Korean wars it was involved in.

What do you think about Geobukseon? Let me know your thoughts in the comment sections below! 

Check out our another article:


Every share and every ounce of your support brings my passion for Korea to life – Thank you for visit.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp