In the modern sense, a nation state is comprised of three factors. These factors include, the territory, the people and the sovereignty. The love of a country, or patriotism, means love for the territory and the people where one resides as a subject having sovereignty.
The ardent patriotism of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin, a man that not only loves but also is concerned about the future of a nation, is easily recognizable in his private letters as well as his books. These books include, The Nanjung Ilgi, ¡°The War Diary¡± and the Janggye, which is a report from a government official that was dispatched to a local district. His patriotism was truly recognized through his thoughts and his behavior rather than just his writings illustrating he loved a nation.
This was unlike the reference to the military service at the beginning of the foundation of Joseon dynasty. This military service was tainted and treated unfairly in comparison to the civil service at the times of Admiral Yi. Regardless of this he sacrificed his own person comfort in order to protect the territory and the people from the continuous Barbarian invasions. His determination, with respect to the territory, is observed in his diary about the Japanese invasion on Korea in 1592 and the reports to the central government.
After the naval battle in Danghangpo, Seonwudosa Dam Jong-In, in March 1594, the commander of the Ming Dynasty sent an official letter asking Admiral Yi not to attack the Japanese invaders from Uncheon. He did this with the hope of entering into friendly relations with Japan.
Dam Jong-In said in this letter, ¡°several Japanese commanders changed their minds and want naturalization. Most Japanese soldiers want to return to their homeland without continuing the war. Go to your land with your battleships. Don¡¯t make any trouble because you are so close to the Japanese camp.¡±
At that time Admiral Yi was suffering from a serious fever and so couldn¡¯t move for nineteen days. However, he did send an immediate reply with the surprise and chagrin.
His response was, ¡°the Japanese stayed in: Geoje, Ungcheon, Gimhae and Donrae. All these lands belong to us. Why did you ask us to immediately return home? What does it mean when you say, ¡°don¡¯t approach the Japanese camp? I don¡¯t understand where our land is? We don¡¯t make trouble but the Japanese do.¡±
The way he emphasized ¡°our land¡± with such strict determination and determined objectivity illustrates love for the territory.
By pointing out the meaning of ¡°your land¡± in Dam¡¯s letter it is also indicated that the territory of The Joseon Dynasty included not only Yeosu and Hansanseom, where the naval forces were located, but includes Busan and Ungcheon as, where the Japanese soldiers stayed, as well. Furthermore, all territories of The Joseon Dynasty are sovereign states. This is based on the independent history of The Joseon Dynasty. Admiral Yi took a firm attitude against letting the Japanese soldiers, who were devastating the territory and the people of The Joseon Dynasty, retreat in one piece.
During that time, the commanders of the Ming Dynasty, as a superior state, dismissed the people of The Joseon Dynasty. They committed backup troops and caused an outrage under the pretense of the power of a big state. Admiral Yi demonstrated the spirit of ownership, as a commander of The Joseon Dynasty to the Ming commanders, saying that we would never neglect one piece of territory.
During this period five hundred rice bags were kept in a shed at Hansando. Someone asked why the rice was kept there but didn¡¯t mention military provisions.

¡°The king took the refuge in Uiju now. As I know, the ministers recommended that the king should cross the river if something goes wrong. It can never be accepted. If such a day comes to us, I will take the rice on the ship and go up Seohae, the west sea. I will then greet the king and bring him on my ship. I will then fight the enemies to the end. If we have to meet this misfortune, it is reasonable that the king and his servants will die together in our territory.¡±

The spirit of ownership is how his awareness on the territory was based. Reflected in his awareness is, betraying ourselves because we fail to exercise sovereignty in our territory as well as protecting from keeping the state as the owner isn¡¯t better than a righteous death in our own territory. In other words, the territory and myself are not two entities but one spirit.
The love of a nation is the love of territory. His conclusion, ¡°the king and his servant shall die together in the territory,¡± illustrates that the spirit considers that the territory and the people are one.
Admiral Yi¡¯s patriotism isn¡¯t limited to only the love of territory. As he carried out his duties his main priority was worrying about the people above all else. The concerns of the Admiral Yi, during the naval battles, are observed in the reports to the state.

¡°We fought fiercely with the enemy. We planned to go to the same battlefield the next day and crack down their hideout and destroy all their battleships. However, the enemy retreating upward filled a number of places. If we blocked the way where they were retreating then all the enemies, who were driven to the corner, would come to bay. If the naval forces and the land forces were to advance together, then we could inevitably sweep all then enemies as we planned.¡±

On Sep. 1, 1952, Admiral Yi sank 128 ships, amongst the 470 ships, in the Busanpo naval battles. He didn¡¯t clear out the remaining ships. It was because the Japanese soldiers didn¡¯t come out of the land to fight. If he continued to drive them to the corner without stopping, then the Japanese soldiers, who went on the land, would attack the people of Joseon out of Busanseong (castle). He tended to protect the people of Joseon by allowing one route of retreat for the enemy.
The military merit on the battlefield at the time was to decapitate them emphasizing externally proved performances. Nevertheless, whenever the naval battle was ended, Admiral Yi allowed a retreat route for the enemies, in consideration of the situation. He then tried to minimize the people¡¯s damages on the land.
Admiral Yi taught us the love of nation is not demonstrated by words for ones own comfort and satisfaction but by the resolute behavior with a determined view on the nation in order to protect the territory and cherish the people