Suro of Geumgwan Gaya

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Suro of Geumgwan Gaya
Suro Tomb.JPG
Tomb of King Suro in Gimhae
Korean name
Hangul 수로왕
Hanja 首露王
Revised Romanization Suro-wang
McCune–Reischauer Suro-wang

Suro (수로), or Sureung (수릉, 首陵) (posthumous name), (? - 199), commonly called Kim Suro, was the legendary founder and king of the state of Geumgwan Gaya in southeastern Korea.[1]


According to the founding legend of Geumgwan Gaya recorded in the 13th century texts of the chronicle Garakguk-gi (hangul: 가락국기, hanja: 駕洛國記) of Samguk Yusa, King Suro was one of six princes born from eggs that descended from the sky in a golden bowl wrapped in red cloth. Suro was the firstborn among them and led the others in setting up 6 states while asserting the leadership of the Gaya confederacy. [1][2]

Also according to legend, King Suro's queen Heo Hwang-ok was a princess from the Indian country of Ayuta (아유타, 阿踰陀). She is said to have arrived in Gaya by boat. They had ten sons and two daughters in all, two sons took their mother's family name. Ayuta is today often identified with Ayodhya in India, and the tale has gained modern significance in the light of the modern-day relations between Korea and India.[3][4]

The legend as a whole is seen as indicative of the early view of kings as descended from heaven. Notably, a number of Korean kingdoms besides the six Gaya made foundation legends with ties to chickens and eggs. Jumong, the founding king of Goguryeo, is said to have been born from an egg laid by Lady Yuhwa of Buyeo; Bak Hyeokgeose, the first king of Saro-guk, or Silla, is said to have hatched from an egg discovered in a well; and Kim Alji, the progenitor of the Kim dynasty of Shilla, is said to have been discovered in Gyerim Forest by Hogong in a golden box, where a rooster was crowing. Aspects of the legend have been mined for information about the customs of Gaya, of which little is known.[2]

In modern culture[edit]

Tomb and descendants[edit]

A tomb attributed to King Suro is still maintained in modern-day Gimhae.[5][6] Members of the Gimhae Kim clan, who continue to play important roles in Korean life today, trace their ancestry to King Suro, as do members of the Gimhae Heo clan; they did not inter-marry until the beginning of the 20th century.[7]

Relations with Ayodhya[edit]

In the northern Indian city of Ayodhya, a recently visiting Korean delegation has inaugurated a memorial to their royal ancestor, Queen Heo Hwang-ok. More than a hundred historians and government representatives, including the North Korean ambassador to India, unveiled the memorial on the west bank of the River Saryu.[8]

Television series[edit]

A television drama series titled Kim Su-ro, The Iron King aired on MBC in 2010. Kim Suro was portrayed by Ji Sung, with a supporting cast that included Bae Jong-ok and Yu Oh-seong.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (Korean) King Kim Suro at Britannica Korea
  2. ^ a b (Korean) King Kim Suro at Encyclopedia of Korean Culture
  3. ^ "Korean memorial to Indian princess". 
  4. ^ (Korean) Heo Hwang-ok, Busan Ilbo, 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
  5. ^ (Korean) Tomb of King Suro at Doosan Encyclopedia
  6. ^ (Korean) Tomb of King Suro at Encyclopedia of Korean Culture
  7. ^ (Korean) Kim of Suro clan, Korean surname info
  8. ^ Koreans want to nurture Ayodhya — birthplace of their Queen Ho, Express India, 2008-09-01.
  9. ^ Kim, Lynn (5 March 2010). "Ji Sung to star in new TV series Kim Su-ro". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  • Kwon, J.H. (권주현) (2003). Life and culture of the Gaya people (가야인의 삶과문화). Seoul: Hyean. ISBN 89-8494-221-9. 
  • Lee, K.-b.; E.W. Wagner & E.J. Schulz (1984). A new history of Korea. Seoul: Ilchogak. ISBN 89-337-0204-0. 
  • Lee, Hee Geun (이희근) (2005). Thematic history of Korea (주제로 보는 한국사). Seoul: Godswin. pp. 23–24. ISBN 89-91319-51-3. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
King of Gaya
Succeeded by
Geodeung Wang