Yejong of Goryeo

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Yejong of Goryeo
Hangul 예종
Revised Romanization Yejong
McCune–Reischauer Yejong
Birth name
Hangul 왕우
Hanja 王俁
Revised Romanization Wang U
McCune–Reischauer Wang U
Courtesy name
Hangul 세민
Hanja 世民
Revised Romanization Semin
McCune–Reischauer Semin
Monarchs of Korea
  1. Taejo 918–943
  2. Hyejong 943–945
  3. Jeongjong 945–949
  4. Gwangjong 949–975
  5. Gyeongjong 975–981
  6. Seongjong 981–997
  7. Mokjong 997–1009
  8. Hyeonjong 1009–1031
  9. Deokjong 1031–1034
  10. Jeongjong II 1034–1046
  11. Munjong 1046–1083
  12. Sunjong 1083
  13. Seonjong 1083–1094
  14. Heonjong 1094–1095
  15. Sukjong 1095–1105
  16. Yejong 1105–1122
  17. Injong 1122–1146
  18. Uijong 1146–1170
  19. Myeongjong 1170–1197
  20. Sinjong 1197–1204
  21. Huijong 1204–1211
  22. Gangjong 1211–1213
  23. Gojong 1213–1259
  24. Wonjong 1259–1274
  25. Chungnyeol 1274–1308
  26. Chungseon 1308–1313
  27. Chungsuk 1313–1330
  28. Chunghye 1330–1332
  29. Chungmok 1344–1348
  30. Chungjeong 1348–1351
  31. Gongmin 1351–1374
  32. U 1374–1388
  33. Chang 1388–1389
  34. Gongyang 1389–1392
This article is about the 16th monarch during the Goryeo Dynasty in Korea. For the 8th Korean monarch during the Joseon Dynasty, see Yejong of Joseon.

Yejong of Goryeo (11 February 1079 – 15 May 1122) (r. 1105–1122) was the 16th monarch of the Korean Goryeo dynasty.


He was the eldest son of king Sukjong and Queen Myeongui. He succeeded Sukjong upon his father's death.[1]

Among his first decrees, in 1106, was an order breaking up the empire into new administrative divisions.[2][unreliable source?]

He was a great promoter of Daoism, preferring its precepts over those of the previously ascendant court religion of Buddhism. During his reign, Daoist court rituals were introduced from Song Dynasty China; many Daoist practices and institutions were established and began to flourish.[citation needed]

Although the early 12th century was a relatively stable period for Korea, Yejong did have to deal with Jurchen incursions in the northern part of the kingdom. He refused the diplomatic overtures of the Jin Dynasty, a rival to China that had been founded in 1115 by the Jurchens, instead sending a large army to repel Jin attacks in Korea's northern regions.[3][unreliable source?]

He is also noted for his sponsorship of the arts. In 1114 Yejong sent a request to the Song Dynasty Emperor Huizong asking for Chinese musical instruments to be sent to his palace in the Goryeo capital of Gaeseong, so that he could conduct Confucian rituals in the Goryeo court. Huizong, apparently misunderstanding the request, sent a set of musical instruments to be used for royal banquet music. (Huizong had, in 1110, for political reasons, granted Yejong the status of "genuine king," and Goryeo had since then conducted itself with great deference to China.)[4] Two years later, in 1116, Yejong sent another petition in which he reiterated his request for ritual instruments, whereupon Huizong sent an even larger gift of musical instruments (this time yayue instruments, numbering 428 in total), as well as ritual dance regalia and the appropriate instructions, beginning Korea's tradition of aak.[5]

In order to promote government education, Yejong established a foundation called the Yanghyon'go (Foundation for the Training of Talents) and stationed seven specialized lecturers at the Gukjagam who faithfully carried out this education.[6] He also added a seventh division to the institution in 1104, providing military training. This was the first recorded occasion of a Korean dynasty providing formal training in the military arts. Due to tensions between the aristocracy and the military, it was removed from the curriculum soon after his death, in 1133.

Yejong was also interested in botany, gathering rare plants from all over Korea and sending them to China in exchange for many Chinese plants.[7] Also during his reign, the ceramic industry flourished, with Korean designs predominating over Chinese ones for the first time.[citation needed]

Yejong's reign was characterized by a dilution of his power by strong government advisors and other officials who often squabbled among one another.[8] This, combined with the military difficulties with the Jurchen in the north, caused him to retreat further and further into his books and Daoist rituals.[9] Yejong was succeeded upon his death by his son, Injong. Injong was the son of Yejong's queen, who was the second daughter of Yi Cha-gyom, the head of the Yi clan of Incheon.[10][unreliable source?]

Yejong's Veritable Records (sillok) were compiled by three historians (including the Confucian scholar Kim Bu-sik, who had been appointed as Royal Diarist, or ji, in 1121) beginning in 1123.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 예종 睿宗 (in Korean). Nate / Encyclopedia of Korean Culture. 
  2. ^ "Osan AB and Songtan: Short Version of Local Area History up to 1945". Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  3. ^ "The Northern Frontier". Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  4. ^ "by Cho Woo-suk, JoongAng Daily, November 22, 2004". Buddhapia. 2004-11-22. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ "South Korea Trave Tips". Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ Ham, Sok Hon (1985). "Queen of suffering: a spiritual history of Korea". Chapter IV The North: Prize and Peril. Friends World Committee for Consultation. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  10. ^ "The Sword and the Crown". Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  11. ^ "An Introduction to the Samguk sagi". University of Hawaii. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rulers of Korea
(Goryeo Dynasty)

Succeeded by