Geunchogo of Baekje

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Geunchogo of Baekje
Hangul 근초고왕
Hanja 近肖古王
Revised Romanization Geunchogo-wang
McCune–Reischauer Kǔnch'ogo-wang
Monarchs of Korea
  1. Onjo 18 BCE–28 CE
  2. Daru 28–77
  3. Giru 77–128
  4. Gaeru 128–166
  5. Chogo 166–214
  6. Gusu 214–234
  7. Saban 234
  8. Goi 234–286
  9. Chaekgye 286–298
  10. Bunseo 298–304
  11. Biryu 304–344
  12. Gye 344–346
  13. Geunchogo 346–375
  14. Geungusu 375–384
  15. Chimnyu 384–385
  16. Jinsa 385–392
  17. Asin 392–405
  18. Jeonji 405–420
  19. Guisin 420–427
  20. Biyu 427–455
  21. Gaero 455–475
  22. Munju 475–477
  23. Samgeun 477–479
  24. Dongseong 479–501
  25. Muryeong 501–523
  26. Seong 523–554
  27. Wideok 554–598
  28. Hye 598–599
  29. Beop 599–600
  30. Mu 600–641
  31. Uija 641–660

Geunchogo of Baekje (324-375, r. 346-375) was the 13th king of Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.[1] He reigned over the apex of Baekje's powers.


Geunchogo was the second son of the 11th king Biryu and became king upon the death of the 12th king Gye. His reign seems to have marked the permanent ascendancy of the descendants of the 5th king Chogo (reflected in Geunchogo's name) over those of the 8th king Goi, and ended the alternating kingship of the two lines.

Strengthening royal power[edit]

Upon ascending the throne, he set out to solidify the royal power within the Baekje state. He reduced the power of the aristocracy and set up a system of local government with regional heads appointed by the court. He married a wife from the Jin clan, setting a precedent for his successors, and he moved the capital to Hansan, today's southeast Seoul.[1]

Territorial expansion[edit]

Under Geunchogo, the kingdom reached its greatest geographic extent and political power. The remaining tribes of Mahan were annexed in 369, completing Baekje's control over all of present-day Jeolla-do. Gaya confederacy states west of the Nakdong River were also made Baekje dependencies.

In 369, Baekje was invaded by Goguryeo, but counterattacked in force at the battle of Chiyang. In 371, the Baekje army of 30,000, led by Crown Prince Geungusu, took the fortress of Pyongyang and killed Gogugwon of Goguryeo.

At the end of these conquests, Baekje ringed the Yellow Sea, and controlled much of the Korean peninsula, including all of Gyeonggi, Chungcheong, and Jeolla and parts of Gangwon and Hwanghae provinces.

Foreign relations[edit]

In 366, Geunchogo allied with Silla, which bordered Baekje on the east, maintaining a rough balance of power among the Three Kingdoms.

At its greatest extent, Baekje control reached north into what is now China. The kingdom also established diplomatic relations with the early Jin China in 345 and Japan in 367.[2] According to both Korean and Chinese sources, the first diplomatic contact between Baekje and China took place in 372, when Geunchogo sent a mission to the court of Jin. In the same year, the Jin court sent a mission granting him the title of the "General Stabilizing the East and the Administrator-General of Lelang" (진동장군 영낙랑태수, 鎭東將軍領樂浪太守).

During his reign, Baekje activated and led the commercial trading among China, Korean Peninsula and Japan; known as the triangle trade. Traditionally the commerce was mostly dominated by Chinese emperors; however, after China lost control of Lelang, northern China came under the rule of Foreign People including Xiongnu, Xianbei and Qiang, all of who were inexperienced at sea. Baekje established commanderies in the Liaoxi regions of China and advanced into Kyūshū of Japan, and rose as the new trading center of East Asia.[3]

Baekje also exported culture to Baekje's allies in the Wa kingdom of Yamato period Japan. The evidence of friendly relationship of Baekje with Japan is the Seven-Branched Sword which Geunchogo gave to the Yamato ruler. Geunchogo also sent scholars Wang In and Ajiki to Japan to spread knowledge of Baekje culture, Confucianism, and Chinese characters.[4] Then Wani taught Confucian classics to emperor's heir Ujinowakiiratume.[5]


Also during his reign, a "history of Baekje" called Seogi (서기, 書記) was compiled by the scholar Go Heung (고흥, 高興). Its primary purpose was not only to record history, but also to justify his and his family's rule and to display the power of Baekje. However, it has not survived.

Television Adaptation[edit]

“King Geunchogo" (also broadcast as "King of Legend") is a historically inspired drama series based on his life. Korean actor Kam Woo Sung portrays King Geunchogo. The series was broadcast originally in 2010 to 2011 with over 60 episodes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Il-yeon: Samguk Yusa: Legends and History of the Three Kingdoms of Ancient Korea, translated by Tae-Hung Ha and Grafton K. Mintz. Book Two, page 120. Silk Pagoda (2006). ISBN 1-59654-348-5
  2. ^ What Was the Baekje Kingdom?
  3. ^ Shin Hyeong Shik, A Brief History of Korea, Book1, p.29-30, Ewha Women's University
  4. ^ Christopher Seeley, A History of Writing in Japan, p.23, p.141
  5. ^ Susan M. Allen, Lin Zuzao, The History and Cultural Heritage of Chinese Calligraphy

Geunchogo of Baekje
Cadet branch of the House of Go
Died: 375
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Baekje
Succeeded by