Korea's Imperial House Ends
Divorced and without children, citizen Yi Gu was found in a guest room at the Akasaka Prince Hotel in Tokyo, the time (Saturday) and cause (heart attack) of his death at present only estimates. On Tuesday morning, Japanese prosecutors performed an autopsy.
But Gu (b. 1931) was Korea’s last imperial prince, the son of Crown Prince Eun (1887-1970) and Princess Bang-ja (1901-1989) and the final heir to the Chosun Dynasty's imperial mantle. His life’s ups and downs closely followed the fortunes of modern Korean history. At his birth in Tokyo, his father was king in name only of a country that no longer existed. Receiving a modern education in Japan, he was 14 when Korea was liberated but could not return home, because the new powers no longer wanted him.
In November 1996, he made what he hoped would be his permanent return to Korea. "From now on, I'm just Yi Gu, with no connection to the royal family,” he said at the time. But it was not to last. Showing signs of a nervous breakdown, he was unable to adjust to life in the motherland. Restlessly going back and fourth between Japan and Korea, he eventually died abroad. His funeral has been scheduled for July 24.
May he rest in peace. From earlier articles on him, he was never able to accept his lot in life.