Taibo of Wu

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Taibo (Chinese: t , s 泰伯, p Tàibó) was the eldest son of King Tai of Zhou and the legendary founder of the State of Wu. His birth and death dates are unknown.


According to Sima Qian, Taibo was the founder of the State of Wu.

Born into the clan () of Zhou, Taibo was the oldest son of King Tai of Zhou. He had two younger brothers, Zhongyong and Jili. The King of Zhou wished to make his youngest son Jili to inherit the reins of power, so Taibo and Zhongyong traveled southeast and settled in Meili in present-day Jiangsu province. There, Taibo and his followers set up the State of Wu, and made Meili its capital. Taibo's grand nephew, King Wu of Zhou overthrew the Shang Dynasty and started the Zhou Dynasty.

During his reign, Taibo developed irrigation, encouraged agriculture, and dug the Canal Du. When Taibo died, he had no heir and passed the throne to his younger brother Zhongyong. Taibo's shrine was set up in today's Meicun. Although the original wood structure was destroyed during later wars, it has been renovated several times. Today's architecture is mostly from the Qing dynasty. A stone carved with Confucius's comment can still be seen in today's Taibo Shrine. Taibo is also customarily known as the propagator of all people with the surname Wu 吳.

After the conquest of Shang dynasty, King Wu of Zhou made Zhouzhang, a descendant of Zhongyong, the King of Wu.[1]

Ambassadorial visits to Japan by the later Chinese dynasties Wei and Jin recorded that the Wō people of Japan claimed to be descendants of Taibo of Wu.[2]


  1. ^ Sima Qian. "卷三十一·吴太伯世家第一" [31: Family of Wu Taibo]. 《史记》 [Records of the Grand Historian] (in Chinese). 
  2. ^ Encounters of the Eastern Barbarians, Wei Chronicles