Talk:Hongwu Emperor

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I’ll acknowledge, this article needs a lot of work. I’ve already born the greatest share of the brunt though. But I know that you'll have fun contradicting me.


The date of 1830 is obviously incorrect (he reigned from 1368 to 1398). I have replaced it temporarily by a "xxxx". olivier 13:47 Jan 7, 2003 (UTC)

Ugh. Ugly title for this article. -- Zoe

I should get around to more biographical information. If I don't, other contributors should take on this task.

I also agree with Zoe. A better title will make this article on such a significant historical figure more likley to be found on a yahoo or a google search. Let's have Roadrunner decide the new name.


I recommend either Hongwu, Emperor Hongwu of China or Hongwu of China - Zoe

Given the long history of Imperial China and the possibility of the reigning names of emperors repeating themselves, I will raise the suggestion of incorporating the dynasty in the title--something like "Hongwu of Ming China". Also, I don't have all my sources here, but I seem to remember that Yongle was also Hongwu's son, albeit a younger son. Hongwu's elder son died young, so that he was succeeded by his grandson Zhu Yunwen. A civil war erupted, and Yongle was eventually victorious. Also there were important monetary reforms in Hongwu's time, which led to major inflation and a decentralized currency. Generally not a bad start on an article, but there seems to be too much information about Yongle and the early Ming (important subjects, to be sure, but they can go into their own articles), whereas more on Hongwu would be valuable. The opening remark reminds me of a professor of mine in Chinese history teaching that Mao's rise to power should be seen in the context of traditional changes of dynasty in China. I'll buy that, but I wonder if this is the place to bring that up. Danny

Hung-wu's one of the most significant figures in Chinese history, and indeed world history. Hung-wu or Hung-wu would suffice, just like Henry VIII can do instead of Henry VII of the Tudor Dynasty.


Actually, we use Henry VIII of England. Danny

Well, we could have Hongwu, Hung-wu, Hongwu Emperor of China. Just redirect all of them to the same article.


There are two problems. 1. Consistency: we want the articles for all emperors of China to be titled similarly. 2. China never developed a system of reginal numbers. Where there other Hongwu's? Where there other emperors who shares the same name? How are we distinguishing between them? Danny

I think that, given that many wiki users won't be familiar with Chinese history, and that there is a clearly defined empire with a name that was reigned over, the name of the empire should be stated, so readers can immediately answer the basic questions, who?' and where?. We have a absolute unintelligable nightmare with Japanese emperors, given that one person refuses to allow the use of the Japan word in their title. At this stage, if you don't already know Japanese emperors, finding them on wiki is now the equivalent of trying to find a needle in a haystack (though efforts are being made to undo with mess). So the name we use should have three things

  • a recognisable name
  • as much historical accuracy as possible (given that we are dealing with an english language version of wiki and so cannot - or should not - translate everything literally if the meaning cannot be grasped by english language readers)
  • a recognisable location.

I certainly would have no problem with in China's case incorporating a dynastic name but only if necessary. STÓD/ÉÍRE 02:22 Apr 7, 2003 (UTC)

I'm not set on it. Just a suggestion. There are also issues of spelling in English (Pinyin vs. Wade-Giles) and the actual names themselves--reign names, personal names, etc. It can be a mess if we are not consistent. Danny

Hongwu Emperor is currently the most up-to-date spelling, I believe. Perhaps this will be a better title.


I think we should incorporate at least the word "China" in the title, and if the title comes in, it should come first. In cases of European monarchs, we do not include the title. Why would we include it here? Danny

If, as that god-awful battle over on the japanese emperors names pages suggested, eastern tradition places emperor after name, then we could do it, I suppose, rather than apply strict European naming standards to eastern monarchies. But I agree that China should stay; saying that there everyone can tell the difference between Japanese and Chinese, though regularly repeated on wiki, is simply wrong. Many people cannot tell. When you consider there may also be a list of Vietnamese emperors at some stage, it makes sense to clarify who came from where. Having turned [[{name} Emperor of Japan]] into [[{name} Emperor]], the last thing we need are more anonymous emperors appearing by the dozen on wiki. (Though I have that dreadful feeling that we will be swamped here like on the Japanese pages by 'purists' demanding we do just that, even if it produces unfindable pages!!!) Man the barracades to defend 'China'! (*big big smile*). Jeez, I never thought I'd hear myself say that!!! STÓD/ÉÍRE 03:36 Apr 7, 2003 (UTC)

Does anyone want to add content and perspective to the article? Keep in mind that the posting is entirely mine and Chinese history, at least prior to the First Opium War, is not my area of expertise.


I minored in East Asian history, but that was almost twenty years ago, and I haven't touched the stuff since. There was an important economic component to his rule--major inflation because of paper money being printed and distributed without backing, followed by a decentralized currency, which eventually led to economic destablization. You've got a much better grip on economic issues than me. Could you check on that? Danny

I've added more on economic policies with a particular bent on as to how they contributed to the aborted commercial revolution of the later Ming years.


Compliments to 172 for this well-thought article especially the concise commerce paragragh; however I'd like to point out certain things:

1) Quote: "Hongwu noted the destructive role of court eunuchs under the Sung". Hongwu did take certain measures against court eunuchs but Sung dynasty was not noted for plaguing of eunuchs.

2) "Although Hongwu’s rule saw the introduction of paper currency, capitalist development would be stifled from the beginning. Not understanding inflation, Hongwu gave out so much paper money as rewards that by 1425 the state was forced to reintroduce copper coins given that the currency was worth 1/70 of its original value."

May you comment on this? I always think Yuan rulers were responsible of devaluing the paper currency; however Hongwu and his Confuscian schloar gentry's lack of monetary knowledge led them to wrongly blaming the introduction of paper currency as one source of devaluing and thus introducing silver for monetary exchange.

3)In my humble opionion, Ming's government's plaguing of commerce have gradually changed Chinese commerce self-supporting and inward, as noticed in the rise of certain specialized merchant groups. For instance Shanxi merchants specialized in currency exchange and banking, Huizhou and Anhui merchants in salt and rice. These merchant groups complemented each other, thus limiting needs of commercial services outside the coutry.

point#3 could be inserted in the Ming Dynasty article. As always, I'm open to discussion. -- User:kt2

It's copper right after the abandonment of paper money. You don't see the rise of the silver money economy, I'm fairly certain, until the trade with the Portuguese. I'm fairly certain that the content regarding currency is fine.

I agree, though, point 3 belongs in the article. This is an important factor that I overlooked.

Thank you, kt2.


but I am pretty sure that Ming dynasty did see the first use of silver money, probably not in Hongwu's time (which I am not sure). IMO, they traded with Portguese and later Dutch for silver during mid-Ming because slmost all silver mines in China have been used up.User:kt2

They abandoned paper money for copper in the late 15th century, before trade with the Portuguese.


Where is the info on what he did before becoming an emperor?[edit]

This article just skips to when he becomes an emperor without saying how he came about unifying the rivals, nothing? -- 11:00, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

copyedit "Hongwu"[edit]

In my copyedit I have normalized all occurrences of the emperor's name to "Hongwu", to conform to the article's current title. If this does not conform to Chinese practice someone please change it: but I'd suggest keeping it uniform, at least, as WadeGiles/pinyin and other spelling conflicts just confuse the text for non-Chinese readers.

--Kessler 00:14, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I made grammar and style changes to the 'Early Life' section of the article to eliminate some of the more glaringly awkward sentences. The second part of the article didn't seem to need much in the way of alteration, so I left it untouched.

Pajari 03:57, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

The use of the Era name as the emperor's name[edit]

It would seem that it is erroneous to use an emperor's era or reign name in lieu of an actual name. Take this quote from the article:

Historians consider Hongwu to be one of the greatest Emperors of China. From the beginning, great care was taken by Hongwu to distribute land to small farmers.

While it is logical to refer to Ming Taizu as the "Hongwu emperor," the fact that his reign was named "Hongwu" does not make that his name. The following is from F.W. Mote's Imperial China (900-1800) published 1999 by Harvard University Press:

In historical writings in Chinese we also find him referred to as "the Hongwu emperor," that name sometimes translated "Abundantly Martial," but that is in no sense his name. It is the name of his reign period, his "era name," and while we may call him "the Hongwu emperor" (the one who reigned during the era named Hongwu) it is incorrect to call him "the Emperor Hongwu."

Referring to Ming and Qing emperors by their era or reign names is only logical because the Hongwu emperor established the practice of using exactly one name for an entire reign. This is why earlier emperors can never be referred to by era name; their eras seldom spanned their entire rule.

So, is this nitpicking, is Mote himself in error (somehow I find the latter unlikely, but the possibility exists), or is this convention worth a second look? I realize it would involve editing a lot of articles; a brief look at some Ming-related articles shows frequent occurrence of reign names being used in this manner (no doubt many Qing articles are this way as well). Just wondering if this is significant enough to warrant so much work. -Yangrw 04:44, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

You are completely right but it is simply an unavoidable problem, given how complicated Chinese naming was during the imperial period. Do what you can to fix it. — LlywelynII 15:33, 12 October 2012 (UTC)


Does anyone know anything about this guy's consort? Over at foot binding there's some tale about how his consort had big feet, and he killed the people who mocked her, or something. Any corroboration? ManicParroT 13:30, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

New world foods?[edit]

The article says that China's population increase during the emperor's reign was partly due to

"New World foods such as corn and sweet potatoes, which entered China through the world trading system".

The emperor died in 1398, long before Columbus, and so I don't see how China could have obtained corn and sweet potatoes by this time. Molinari (talk) 21:37, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I assure you that it is entirely and 100% erroneous; I have deleted that part of the sentence. Someone must have copied what I wrote from the main Ming Dynasty article under the sub-section of trade with Europe, 16th century trade that is.--Pericles of AthensTalk 06:44, 7 February 2008 (UTC)


This is all plagiarized from this site. pz out. (talk) 20:09, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

You're right: large chunks of texts are taken directly from that page. I don't know what is usually done in such cases. (Does anybody know?) One solution would be to borrow some content from the page on the Ming Dynasty, which is well written and well-referenced, and has a lot of material on the Hongwu emperor. Any thoughts? --Madalibi (talk) 02:15, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like the history report of a 5th grade student...[edit]

Not to be offensive to 5th grade intellegiance, but the sentence structure and content of this article needs work to make it more "encyclopedic"--Tangerine!(also known as ashpotter) (talk) 06:28, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Tu Pien Hsin Shu,[citation needed][edit]

This reference is probably referring to Du Bian Xin Shu (杜骗新书)by Zhang Yingyu (張應俞). The title translates very loosely as "New Stories of Tricksters and Cheats." It is a collection of stories about "24 Types" of merchant hucksters during the Ming Dynasty. It is sometimes sold as juvenile literature. I am unaware of an English translation.

Aikailoo (talk) 08:18, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Zhu Yuanzhang's wife (spouse)[edit]

Who put Xiao Cigao? His wife and one and only empress during his reign was the famous Empress Ma, known as Ma Chunxiang (1333-1382). Xiao Cigao wasn't ethnic Han and lived during the Qing dynasty 2-3 centuries later. Someone needs to double-check basic historical Wikipedian "facts". Jsw663 (talk) 13:00, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Minor update, added Empress Ma's posthumous name Xiao Ci. Maybe someone confused the two empresses. Jsw663 (talk) 13:13, 9 March 2010 (UTC)


Why is it that in the article, Ming Dynasty, Hongwu means "vastly martial" while in this one it means "great military power"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:51, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

It has been changed to "vastly martial" to maintain consistency with Ming Dynasty. 暗無天日 contact me (聯絡) 13:20, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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yusuf chang and bai shouyi essentially got the claim that hongwu was muslim from an urban legend in the hui community. Also, i could only find two books regarding guo zhixin and the "muslim" rebel group along with empress ma's ancestors. One of them was a malay translation of the other english version, published by institute for southeast asian studies. yusuf never provided primary sources for his claim that he was a muslim, he basically said that he was muslim without offering evidence, just pointing out to the fact that hongwu built some mosques for hui people, and he claimed himself to be descended from a ming princess. Building mosques for muslims does not mean that you are a muslim. Many non muslim leaders like Roger II of Sicily weree islamophiles and had muslim in their armies and introduced muslim culture to their courts, roger even had the hijiri date on his mantle, but they weren't muslim. During the qing dynasty, which was not muslim either, muslim generals served in high ranks, and also during the republic of china. The Taipei Grand Mosque w designed by a non muslim and built by the non muslim government of the Republic of China.

More rigorous sources, preferably from a university press should be used for claims like these. They were all urban legends akin to those claiming Ataturk was a crypto jew before Yusuf chang wrote them down.

Also in every other source Empress Ma Chunxiang is mentioned as an ethnic han, nothing about alleged muslim ancestry. Having the surname Ma does not make one automatically a muslim in china, there were han chinese Mas before muslims took the name, ans in every aource/biography of Zhu Yuanzhang, it always mentions his times as a monk at the buddhist monastery when he became 16 and lost his family.

No other source even mentions Guo Zhixin or his alleged muslim rebel group, couldn't find them anywhere, nor could i find them on any accounts of empress ma or of Guo being Ma's guardian. Mendsetting (talk) 03:15, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

The Hongwu Emperor, never Hongwu or Emperor Hongwu[edit]

As an editor pointed out above (but non-sinophile editors will need constant reminding), "Hongwu" isn't the name of anyone. The Chinese names during this period were pretty damned complex and certain names were OK or verboten with certain people; once you become emperor, your personal name was pretty much off limits for any purpose.

This rebel leader didn't name himself Hongwu; he named his reign the Time of Hongwu. "Hongwu" was the name of his era, so he is "the Emperor of the Hongwu era" or "The Hongwu Emperor", but not "Hongwu", "Emperor Hongwu", or "Hongwu the Emperor".

It's a little nitpicky, but since this is his wiki page, people interested in the topic will be coming by and we should do what we can to keep it correct. — LlywelynII 15:42, 12 October 2012 (UTC)


Formal papers in English used Wade for the longest time, sure, but it's pretty uncommon to refer to this guy as Hung-wu Ti now. I included all the Wade variants in the metatext at the bottom of the page so that it's available for people searching for it, but it's not like Lao-tse or Taoism where the old use is very firmly established in the general public. Therefore, I removed all the Wade names from the intro text. If anyone feels strongly they should go back in, kindly do some googleh-foo to back up that the name remains in common use and post it here. — LlywelynII 15:48, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

vietnam policy[edit]


Rajmaan (talk) 23:54, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Hongwu's brother Zhu Shuang[edit]

Koko Temur (Wang Baobao) had a Chinese father and a Turkic mother (probably a Buddhist Uighur) and she belonged to Semu class and came from a pro-Mongol family, being the sister of Chagan Temür. Koko was elevated to the status of a Mongol for his loyalty in fighting against Chinese rebels. The Hongwu Emperor married Koko Temur's sister to his own brother Zhu Shuang after capturing her.






04:28, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 2 external links on Hongwu Emperor. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

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N Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 03:40, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Mote, Frederick W.; Twitchett, Denis; Fairbank, John K., eds. (1988). The Cambridge History of China: Volume 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644. Contributors Denis Twitchett, John K. Fairbank (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 229. ISBN 0521243327. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Mote, Frederick W. (2003). Imperial China 900-1800 (illustrated ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 522. ISBN 0674012127. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Mote, Frederick W. (1999). Imperial China, 900-1800 (illustrated ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 522. ISBN 0674445155. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Tsai, Shih-shan Henry (2001). Perpetual happiness: the Ming emperor Yongle. University of Washington Press. p. 23. ISBN 0295800224. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Mote, Frederick W.; Twitchett, Denis; Fairbank, John K., eds. (1988). The Cambridge History of China: Volume 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644. Contributors Denis Twitchett, John K. Fairbank (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 128. ISBN 0521243327. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Papers on Far Eastern History, Volumes 37-38. Contributor Australian National University. Dept. of Far Eastern History. Department of Far Eastern History, Australian National University. 1988. p. 17. Retrieved 1 April 2013.