Kim Jong-seo (general)

Kim Jongseo (Korean: 김종서, 金宗瑞; 1383 – 10 November 1453) was a prominent military official and politician of the early Joseon Dynasty. His ancestral home was Suncheon (順天).He was also known under the names Gukgyeong(國卿) and Jeoljae(節齋), and his posthumous name is Chungik(忠翼). In 1405, he passed the state examination and became a rank 13 official. He served King Sejong the Great as a general during the campaign against the Jurchens. In 1453, he was assassinated on the order of Prince Suyang along with his two sons. His tomb is located near Sejong City.

Kim Jongseo
Left State Councillor
In office
20 January 1453 – 10 November 1453 [a]
Preceded byNam Ji
Succeeded byJeong In-ji
Right State Councillor
In office
17 November 1451 – 20 January 1453 [b]
Preceded byNam Ji
Succeeded byJeong Bun
Personal details
Gongju-mok, Yanggwang-do, Goryeo
Died10 November 1453(1453-11-10) (aged 69–70)
Hanseong, Joseon (today Seoul)
Cause of deathAssassination
Resting placeSejong City, Janggun-myeon, Daegyori-san 45
OccupationOfficial, general, politician, poet
Nickname(s)Big Tiger (대호, 大虎)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationKim Jongseo
McCune–ReischauerKim Chongsŏ
Pen name
Revised RomanizationJeoljae
Courtesy name
Revised RomanizationGukgyeong
Posthumous name
Revised RomanizationChungik


Early lifeEdit

Kim Jong-Seo was born in 1383 in Yanggwang-do, Gongju as the son of Kim Su(金錘), and a lady from the Bae clan. He was the second of 3 brothers. All three siblings achieved successful political careers: his older brother Kim Jonghan(金宗漢) was a high-ranking official, and his younger brother Kim Jongheung(金宗興) was the magistrate of Yangju.


He passed the state examination in 1405 and in 1411 he was posted as a royal inspector to Gangwon Province. In 1433, he was sent by King Sejong the Great to conquer the Manchu. Kim's military campaign captured several castles, pushed north, and restored Korean territory roughly to the present-day border between North Korea and China.[1]

The campaigns against the JurchensEdit

The tribe of Wild Jurchens (Yeren, 野人) often crossed the Tumen and Yalu rivers and made marauding incursions through the Joseon border. Since the times of the Goryeo Dynasty, they have been conciliatory efforts through trade as well as attempted suppression of the raiders by force, but the border conflicts did not cease. Early in the Joseon Dynasty, the northern part of Yeongbyeon county was lost to the Jurchen invaders.

To solve the issue once for all, in 1433, King Sejong sent General Choi Yun-deok to suppress the Yeren in the Yalu River Basin. In October of the same year, Kim Jong-seo led another expedition to the northern part of Hamgyeong province, where he defeated the Jurchens and strengthened the borders against future attacks.

Later life and deathEdit

Following King Sejong's death, Grand Prince Suyang's ill brother, Munjong took the throne but soon died. The crown passed to his 12-year-old son, Danjong. The new king was too young to rule the nation and all political processes were controlled by then-Chief State Councilor Hwangbo In and General Kim Jongseo. As Kim Jongseo and his faction, which included Danjong's guardian Princess Gyeonghye,[2] used the chance to extend the power of court officials against many royal family members, the tension between Kim and Suyang greatly increased; not only Suyang himself, but his younger brother, Grand Prince Anpyeong, also sought an opportunity to take control of the kingdom.

Suyang surrounded himself with trusted allies, including his famous adviser, Han Myung-hoi. Han advised Suyang to take over the government in a coup, and in October 1453, he killed Kim Jongseo and his faction, thereby taking the reins of power into his own hands. After the coup he arrested his own brother, Anpyong, first sending him into exile, then putting him to death.

Popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ Lunar calendar: 27th day of 12th month, ascension year of Danjong – 10th day of 10th month, 1st year of Danjong
  2. ^ Lunar calendar: 24th day of 10th month, 1st year of Munjong – 27th day of 12th month, ascension year of Danjong


  1. ^ Reference 1 박영규 (2008). 한권으로 읽는 세종대왕실록. 웅진, 지식하우스. ISBN 89-01-07754-X.
  2. ^ An, Seung-jun (4 April 2014). "Forgotten story of Princess Gyeonghye". Korea Times. Retrieved 22 February 2018.