Dongmyeong of Goguryeo

King Dongmyeong of Goguryeo (58 BCE – 19 BCE, r. 37 BCE – 19 BCE) or Dongmyeongseongwang (Korean동명성왕; Hanja東明聖王), which literally means Holy King of the East, also known by his birth name Jumong (Korean주몽; Hanja朱蒙), was the founding monarch of the kingdom of Goguryeo, 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). The Samguk Sagi states that he was also known as Chumo or Sanghae (Korean상해; Hanja象解). The name is also transcribed in other records as Chumong (Korean추몽; Hanja鄒蒙), Jungmo (Korean중모; Hanja中牟 or hanja: 仲牟), or Domo (Korean도모; Hanja都牟).[1]

Dongmyeong of Goguryeo
Tomb of King Tongmyong, Pyongyang, North Korea.jpg
Statue of King Dongmyeong at the Tomb of King Dongmyeong in Pyongyang
Reign37 BCE – 19 BCE
SuccessorYuri of Goguryeo
Born58 BCE
Died19 BCE (aged 39)
SpouseYe So-ya
IssueSee below
FatherHae Mo-su of Buyeo
MotherLady Yuhwa
Dongmyeong of Goguryeo
Revised RomanizationDongmyeong-seongwang or Dongmyeong-wang
McCune–ReischauerTongmyŏng-sŏngwang or Tongmyŏng-wang
Birth name
Revised RomanizationGo Jumong or Chumo
McCune–ReischauerKo Chumong or Ch'umo


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 (Korean동명왕편; Hanja東明王篇) of the Donggukisanggukjip (Korean동국이상국집; Hanja東國李相國集). The Hae clan was probably the royal house before the Buyeo clan replaced them, and both clans appear descended from the lineage of Buyeo and Goguryeo. The royal family of Buyeo had the surname "Hae".[2] The founding monarch of Goguryeo, Jumong had the surname "Hae" but the surname was changed to Go (高). The character (解) means "to loosen; to unfasten; to untie or to explain". It also means "sun" in Korean as Buyeo, Goguryeo and Baekje were deeply involved in Sun Worship.[citation needed]

Today, Korea's Heongseong Go clan (Hanja:橫城 高氏, Hangeul:횡성 고씨), China's Liaoyang Go clan (Hanzi:遼陽 高氏) and Japan's Koma clan (Kanji:高麗氏) have him as the founder.[citation needed]

According to the Samguk Sagi, the Goguryeo royal family claimed descent from the mythical emperor Gao Yang, who was the grandson of the Yellow Emperor of Chinese mythology, and thus took the surname of "Go" (高). [3][4][5][6] However, this legend was discredited in the commentaries (논찬; 論贊) of Kim Busik, the compiler of the Samguk Sagi, who concluded that both Baekje and Goguryeo originated from Buyeo.[7]

There have been disputes over the identity of the father of Jumong. In one legend, Jumong is the son of Hae Mo-su (Korean해모수; Hanja解慕漱) and Lady Yuhwa (Korean유화부인; Hanja柳花夫人), who was the daughter of Habaek (Korean하백; Hanja河伯), the god of the Amnok River. Yet, according to an alternative interpretation, the sun god Haebak (Korean해밝).[8][9][10][11] 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 (Korean우발수; 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.[12] Geumwa tried to destroy the egg by trying 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.[13]

Leaving Eastern Buyeo, Jumong was known for his exceptional skill at archery. His original Goguryeo name, variously transcribed as "Jumong", "Jungmo", or "Domo", translated to "good archer". The first component can be reconstructed as "tywoh-(:둏; 'be good')".[14] 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 interference 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 BC, 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.

The Shoku Nihongi records that the ancestor of the royal family of Baekje is daughter of the river deity Habaek (하백, 河伯) which is similar to the Korean Jumong tales.[16]


In 37 BC, Jumong and his second wife Soseono established Goguryeo and became its first King and Queen. During that same year, King Songyang (Korean송양; Hanja松讓) of Biryu surrendered to him after receiving assistance in defeating the Mohe people's invasion. In 34 BC, along with the palace, Goguryeo's first capital city Jolbon, was completed. Four years later, in 28 BC, Jumong sent General Bu Wiyeom (Korean부위염; Hanja扶尉厭) to conquer the Okjeo.[17][18] 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 BC, 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 selected his first son, Yuri as the successor to the throne. [a]


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


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

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."

Since 2017, KCTV aired 고주몽 a historical animation, directed by Kim Kyung-ho at the SEK Studio.[20][21][22][23] The animation contains the contents of Jumong, when he brings small countries of the same family together and builds up Goguryeo into a powerful nation. It deals with the history from the time when the parents Hae Mo-su and Yuhwa established their family until the birth of Jumong. In the first ten parts, Jumong tells the story of Buyeo, where he was born, and escaped.[24] The first episode was broadcast on January 1, 2017, and so far 24 episodes have been broadcast.[25] South Korean netizens were surprised at the quality development of the North Korean animation.[26]

Actors who have played JumongEdit


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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Based on baekjebongi of Samguk sagi, in the accounts of Onjo.


  1. ^ Digital Korean Studies "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-02-13. Retrieved 2008-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Samguk Sagi
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 의자왕 義慈王. 한국인문고전연구소.
  6. ^ 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 광개토왕 廣開土王. 한국인문고전연구소.
  7. ^ Breuker, Remco E. (2010). Establishing a Pluralist Society in Medieval Korea, 918-1170: History, Ideology and Identity in the Koryŏ Dynasty. BRILL. p. 94. ISBN 9789004183254. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  8. ^ Doosan Encyclopedia 유화부인 柳花夫人. Doosan Encyclopedia.
  9. ^ Doosan Encyclopedia 하백 河伯. Doosan Encyclopedia.
  10. ^ Encyclopedia of Korean Culture 하백 河伯. Encyclopedia of Korean Culture.
  11. ^ 조현설. "유화부인". Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Culture. National Folk Museum of Korea. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  12. ^ Retrieved on March 6th of 2008. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-02-13. Retrieved 2008-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^
  14. ^ Vovin, Alexander (2013). "From Koguryo to Tamna: Slowly riding to the South with speakers of Proto-Korean". Korean Linguistics. 15 (2): 231–232. doi:10.1075/kl.15.2.03vov.
  15. ^ (Kor)
  16. ^ Shoku Nihongi
  17. ^ History of Korea (Korean) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ 《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”
  19. ^ 秋九月 王升遐 時年四十歲 葬龍山 號東明聖王, Samguksagi Goguryeo, volume 13.
  20. ^ North Korea releases new animation episodes on Goguryeo kingdom founder. The Korea Times. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  21. ^ 북한 만화영화 '고주몽' 인기몰이…"하나의 핏줄" 강조. Yonhap (in Korean). Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  22. ^ 기다리는 《고주몽》의 련속편들. Uriminzokkiri (in Korean).
  23. ^ [취재파일] 북한 TV에 등장한 '주몽'. Seoul Broadcasting System (in Korean). Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  24. ^ 력사만화영화 《고주몽》 새로 창작. Uriminzokkiri (in Korean). Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  25. ^ 고주몽 제1부 (Go Jumong Part 1). YouTube.
  26. ^ 북한은 왜? <北, 최신만화영화 <고주몽> 제작 수준은?>. MBC (in Korean). Retrieved February 6, 2017.
Dongmyeong of Goguryeo
Born: 58 BCE Died: 19 BCE
Regnal titles
New creation King of Goguryeo
37 BCE – 19 BCE
Succeeded by