Zhang Yi (Junsi)

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Zhang Yi
Official of Shu Han
Born c. 167
Died 230 (aged 63)
Simplified Chinese 张裔
Traditional Chinese 張裔
Pinyin Zhāng Yì
Wade–Giles Chang I
Courtesy name Junsi (Chinese: 君嗣; pinyin: Jùnsì; Wade–Giles: Chün-szu)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhang.

Zhang Yi (c. 167[1]–230), courtesy name Junsi, was an official of the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period.

Serving the Yi Province government[edit]

Originally a native of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing), Zhang Yi was nominated as a xiaolian (civil service candidate) by Yi Province's governor Liu Zhang. When Liu Bei betrayed Liu Zhang and attacked the latter, he was sent by Liu Zhang to Deyang to prevent Liu Bei's reinforcements from getting into the province. However, Zhang Yi was defeated by Liu Bei's general Zhang Fei in 212, but he managed to get back to Chengdu, where Liu Zhang was besieged. Zhang Yi was sent as an envoy to Liu Bei's camp, where he was told Liu Zhang would be treated well if he gave up resistance. Zhang Yi reported to Liu Zhang, and the latter surrendered.

Zhang Yi was quickly promoted under Liu Bei's regin, and was praised by the chancellor Zhuge Liang as one of the most capable subjects of Liu Zhang's regime. Zhang was a capable and very popular administrator locally, so he was assigned to one of the shires in Nanzhong when the residents rioted after Liu Bei suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Xiaoting. Zhang Yi was captured, but the local warlords dared not to kill him, and instead, sent him to Sun Quan who did not bother to see the new inmate and directly put Zhang Yi in jail.

As a prisoner of Wu[edit]

When Eastern Wu and Shu Han re-established their alliance against Cao Wei, Deng Zhi was sent by Zhuge Liang as envoy, and one of his mission was to ask the release and the return of Zhang Yi. It was only then did Sun Quan met Zhang Yi for the first time since his imprisonment in Wu and Sun was shocked by Zhang's capability after having a long talk at the farewell banquet he held for Deng Zhi and Zhang. After Zhang Yi left with Deng Zhi, Sun Quan started to have a second thought and regretting let Zhang go, and wanted to keep Zhang for himself so that Zhang would serve Wu. Acting on his staff members' suggestion, Sun Quan sent troops to catch Deng Zhi's departing envoy, but Zhang Yi had already realised what Sun would do after observing his attitude on the banquet, and thus he and Deng quickly left Wu by speeding up their journey, and made back to Shu just one day ahead of Sun's pursuing troops.

Service in the Chancellor's office[edit]

After his return to Shu, Zhang Yi was made an Army Adviser by Zhuge Liang. At the same time, he was recruited as a staff for the Chancellor's office, and was also made an "Assistant Officer of the Headquarters" (署丞相府事,領益州治中從事). He became Colonel Who Shoots at a Sound and the Chief Clerk of Zhuge Liang when the latter started his Northern Expedition. He did not serve in the front-line, instead he worked for Zhuge Liang in the capital to articulate communication between the imperial agency and chancellor's office. It was that recorded Zhuge Liang wanted everything, big and small, be reviewed by him first, so Zhang Yi traveled north to Hanzhong to ask Zhuge's opinion on a central political issue. During Zhang Yi's departure, there were several hundred people to bid him farewell, and horse-carts parked everywhere on Chengdu's main street.

During his later life, Zhang Yi ascended to the position of "General Who Assists Han", but remained as a staff for Zhuge's personal office. He died at 230, at the age above 63. Zhang Yi's younger brother and son went on to serve in Shu.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to the Sanguozhi, Zhang Yi, who conversing with Sun Quan prior to his release, stated, "At 57, I have already outlived my parents." This implies, but does not definitely show that he was 57 when Sun Quan released him, which was probably in 223 since that was the year when Deng Zhi visited Sun Quan, according to the Zizhi Tongjian vol. 70.