Dongmyeong of Goguryeo

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Dongmyeong of Goguryeo
Tomb of King Tongmyong, Pyongyang, North Korea.jpg
Statue of King Dongmyeong at the Tomb of King Dongmyeong in Pyongyang
Reign 37 BCE – 19 BCE
Successor Yuri of Goguryeo
Born 58 BCE
Died 19 BCE (aged 39)
Burial Pyongyang
Spouse Lady Ye
Issue See below
Father Hae Mo-su of Buyeo
Mother Lady Yuhwa
Dongmyeong of Goguryeo
Chosŏn'gŭl or
Hancha or
Revised Romanization Dongmyeong-seongwang or Dongmyeong-wang
McCune–Reischauer Tongmyŏng-sŏngwang or Tongmyŏng-wang
Birth name
Chosŏn'gŭl or
Hancha or
Revised Romanization Go Jumong or Chumo
McCune–Reischauer Ko Chumong or Ch'umo

King Dongmyeong of Goguryeo (58 BCE – 19 BCE, r. 37 BCE – 19 BCE) or Dongmyeongseongwang (Hangul동명성왕; Hanja東明聖王), which literally means Holy King of the East, also known by his birth name Jumong (Hangul주몽; Hanja朱蒙), was the founding monarch of the kingdom of Goguryeo,[1][2][3][4] the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. In the Gwanggaeto Stele, he is called Chumo-wang (King Chumo). In the Samguk Sagi and the Samgungnyusa, he is recorded as Jumong with the surname Go (Hanja: 高). According to Samguk Sagi, Jumong regarded themselves as a descendant of Chinese heroes because he called his surname "Go" (Hanja) as they were the descendant of Gao Yang (Hanja陽) who was a grandchild of the Yellow Emperor.[5][6][7][8] The Samguk Sagi states that he was also known as Chumo or Sanghae (Hangul상해; Hanja象解). The name is also transcribed in other records as Chumong (Hangul추몽; Hanja鄒蒙), Jungmo (Hangul중모; Hanja中牟 or hanja: 仲牟), or Domo (Hangul도모; Hanja都牟).[9]


The founding myths of Goguryeo are related in ancient writings, including the Gwanggaeto Stele. The best-known version is found, with slight variations, in the Samguk Sagi, Samgungnyusa, and the "King Dongmyeong" chapter (Hangul동명왕편; Hanja東明王篇) of the Dongguk Yisang Gukjip (Hangul동국이상국집; Hanja東國李相國集).

There have been disputes over who the father of Jumong really was. In one legend Jumong is son of Hae Mo-su (Hangul해모수; Hanja解慕漱) and Lady Yuhwa (Hangul유화부인; Hanja柳花夫人), the daughter of the Chinese deity of the Yellow River Habaek (Hangul하백; Hanja河伯).[10][11][12][13] Hae Mosu met Lady Yuhwa by a river where she was bathing, but Habaek disapproved of Hae Mosu, who returned to heaven. The river deity chased Lady Yuhwa away to Ubal river (Hangul우발수; Hanja優渤水), where she met and became the concubine of King Geumwa of Eastern Buyeo. Lady Yuwha was impregnated by sunlight and gave birth to an egg.[14] Geumwa tried to destroy the egg, and tried to feed it to animals, who instead protected the egg from harm. Geumwa returned it to Lady Yuhwa. From the egg hatched a baby boy, who was named Jumong, meaning "skilled archer" in the ancient Buyeo language.[citation needed]

Leaving Eastern Buyeo, Jumong was known for his exceptional skill at archery . Eventually, Geumwa's sons Daeso and Yongpo became jealous of him, and Jumong left Buyeo to follow Hae Mo-su's dream to unify Gojoseon territories which had been broken up as a result of the Han Dynasty's corrupt government and rescue Gojoseon's population that had been left in Eastern Buyeo. According to legend, as he fled on his horse, he approached a fast-running river. Turtles and creatures of the water rose up and formed a bridge.[15] He entered the land south of the river. In 37 BCE, Jumong became the first king of Goguryeo, and reunited all of the five tribes of Jolbon into one kingdom. Soseono, who was a Jolbon chief's daughter, became his second wife and gave birth to his son, who eventually established the kingdom of Baekje as Onjo of Baekje.


In 37 BCE, Jumong and his second wife Soseono established Goguryeo and became its first King and Queen. During that same year, King Songyang (Hangul송양; Hanja松讓) of Biryu surrendered to him after receiving assistance in defeating the Mohe people's invasion. In 34 BCE, along with the palace, Goguryeo's first capital city Jolbon, was completed. Four years later, in 28 BCE, Jumong sent General Bu Wiyeom (Hangul부위염; Hanja扶尉厭) to conquer the Okjeo.[16][17] During that same year, Jumong's mother, Lady Yuhwa, died in the palace of the Eastern Buyeo, and was given the burial ceremony of a queen consort even though she was only a concubine.

Jumong sent a messenger and numerous gifts to King Geumwa in gratitude for King Geumwa's generosity. In 19 BCE, Jumong's first wife Lady Ye, fled Eastern Buyeo with their son Yuri to Goguryeo. At that time, Jumong's second wife Soseono was queen. When Lady Ye and Yuri arrived in Goguryeo, Soseono gave up her title after realizing that Jumong would make Yuri the Crown Prince and decided to leave Goguryeo. Soseono left Goguryeo with her two sons and some of her subordinates and headed further south into the Korean Peninsula into what is now South Korea. There she established Baekje. Jumong elected his first son, Yuri as the successor to the throne.


Jumong died in 19 BCE at age 40.[18] Crown Prince Yuri buried his father in a pyramid tomb and gave him the posthumous name "Holy King Jumong".


Jumong's kingdom of Goguryeo eventually evolved into a great regional territory with considerable power and influence. Goguryeo stood for 705 years and was ruled in total by 28 consecutive emperors in the Go Dynasty until it was conquered by the Silla-Tang alliance in 668. Balhae and Goryeo succeeded it, and the modern descendants of Jumong still bear his family name "Go."

In Goguryeo, Jumong was deified into an ancestral deity and he was worshipped in the Temple of King Dongmyeong next to his tomb.

In popular culture[edit]

From 2006 to 2007, MBC aired an 81-episode drama, Jumong, to mark the network's anniversary. The series took elements from historical records and mythology, and retold the story in a more down-to-earth manner than found in the myths, recounting how Jumong, the spoiled stepchild of the Buyeo royal family, embarks on a journey of self-discovery, becoming a leading figure of Buyeo, but retreats from Buyeo after his step-brothers' betrayal. Relaunching the armed and militarily capable guerrilla fighters' force his biological father Hae Mo-su once headed, Jumong goes on a life mission to rescue and band together the refugees of the ancient Joseon peoples, leading the fight against the oppression of Imperial China, finally establishing himself as the king of the new nation Goguryeo.

From 2010 to 2011, KBS1 aired King Geunchogo, also known as The King of Legend. In this series, Jumong is portrayed as a tyrant who could not accept sharing the power over Goguryeo with Soseono and the Jolbon faction. After Yuri of Goguryeo's arrival, the declared crown prince and successor to Jumong's throne, Soseono and all her subordinates and servants decided to leave "their beloved Goguryeo" to establish a new kingdom "much more powerful than Goguryeo ever was."

Actors who have played Jumong[edit]


  1. Yuri of Goguryeo
  1. Biryu
  2. Onjo of Baekje

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Korea Herald. (2004) Korea now, p. 31; excerpt, "The Chinese also insist that even though Goguryeo was part of Chinese domain, Silla and Baekje were states subjected to China's tributary system."
  2. ^ Pratt, Keith L. (1999). Korea: a historical and cultural dictionary. p. 482.
  3. ^ Kwak, p. 99., p. 99, at Google Books; excerpt, "Korea's tributary relations with China began as early as the fifth century, were regularized during the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392), and became fully institutionalized during the Yi dynasty (1392-1910)."
  4. ^ Seth, Michael J. (2006). A concise history of Korea, p. 64, p. 64, at Google Books; excerpt, "China found instead that its policy of using trade and cultural exchanges and offering legitimacy and prestige to the Silla monarchy was effective in keeping Silla safely in the tributary system. Indeed, the relationship that was worked out in the late seventh and early eighth centuries can be considered the beginning of the mature tributary relationship that would characterize Sino-Korean interchange most of the time until the late nineteenth century;"
  5. ^ National Institute of Korean History. 三國史記 卷第二十八 百濟本紀 第六. National Institute of Korean HistoryDatabase. 
  6. ^ National Institute of Korean History. 三國史記 卷第十八 髙句麗本紀 第六. National Institute of Korean HistoryDatabase. 
  7. ^ 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 의자왕 義慈王. 한국인문고전연구소. 
  8. ^ 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 광개토왕 廣開土王. 한국인문고전연구소. 
  9. ^ Digital Korean Studies "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-02-13. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  10. ^ Doosan Encyclopedia 유화부인 柳花夫人. Doosan Encyclopedia. 
  11. ^ Doosan Encyclopedia 하백 河伯. Doosan Encyclopedia. 
  12. ^ Encyclopedia of Korean Culture 하백 河伯. Encyclopedia of Korean Culture. 
  13. ^ China, Japan, Korea: Culture and Customs By Ju Brown, John Brown
  14. ^ Retrieved on March 6th of 2008. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-02-13. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  15. ^ (Kor)
  16. ^ History of Korea (Korean) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  17. ^ 《三国史记》:“六年 秋八月 神雀集宫庭 冬十月 王命乌伊扶芬奴 伐太白山东南人国 取其地为城邑。十年 秋九月 鸾集于王台 冬十一月 王命扶尉 伐北沃沮灭之 以其地为城邑”
  18. ^ 秋九月 王升遐 時年四十歲 葬龍山 號東明聖王, 《Samguksagi》 Goguryeo, volume 13.
Dongmyeong of Goguryeo
 Died: 19 BCE
Regnal titles
New creation King of Goguryeo
37 BCE – 19 BCE
Succeeded by