Kou Zhun

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Kou Zhun (寇準)
Kou Zhun.jpg
from Famous Ministers Throughout History in Pictures (歷代名臣像解), a book probably from late 19th century
grand councilor of the Song dynasty
In office
August 25, 1004 – March 27, 1006
In office
July 17, 1019 – July 9, 1020[1]
Monarch Emperor Zhenzong
Personal details
Born 961 or January 962[2]
Hua Prefecture, Song dynasty
Died October 24, 1023(1023-10-24) (aged 61–62)[3]
Lei Prefecture, Song dynasty
  • Lady Xu (許)
  • Lady Song (宋)
Children 3 daughters
Mother Lady Zhao (趙)
Father Kou Xiang (寇相)
Posthumous name Zhongmin (忠愍)
Kou Zhun
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Kou Pingzhong

Kou Zhun (c. 961 – 24 October 1023), courtesy name Pingzhong, was a much-praised official in ancient China's Northern Song Dynasty. He was the chancellor from 1004 to 1006 during Emperor Zhenzong's reign.


Kou Zhun became a jinshi after passing the imperial examination in 979. Kou Zhun was a great speaker and had a reputation of offering criticism as he saw fit. Once, Emperor Taizong got offended and decided to leave, but Kou Zhun grabbed his robe and forced him to sit down and finish listening. Emperor Taizong remarked, "Having Kou Zhun is like Emperor Taizong of Tang having Wei Zheng."

In 1004, during Emperor Zhenzong's reign, the Liao forces from the North initialized a major invasion and came surprisingly close to the Song capital. When other officials such as Wang Qinruo suggested that the emperor desert the city and find a new capital in Southern China, Kou Zhun suggested the emperor come to the front line to boost the Song army's morale. Emperor Zhenzong listened to Kou Zhun's suggestion, and the Song forces successfully resisted the Liao invasion, ending in the Chanyuan Treaty.

Wang Qinruo, another Song official, was notably jealous of Kou Zhun and talked Emperor Zhenzong into distrusting Kou Zhun with words such as "Does my majesty know about gambling? When gamblers are about to lose everything, they take out all of their money for a last gamble. Kou Zhun was using your majesty as his stake (in that battle), which was incredibly dangerous." Soon Kou Zhun was banished from his post.