Korean–Jurchen border conflicts

  (Redirected from Korean-Jurchen border conflicts)

The Korean-Jurchen conflicts were a series conflicts from the 10th century to the 17th century between the Korean states of Goryeo and Joseon and the Jurchen people.

Korean-Jurchen conflicts
A History painting depicting the scene of Yun Gwan of Goryeo conquering the Jurchens and erecting a monument to mark the border.
Date10th century – 17th century
Northeastern Korean Peninsula
Result Goryeo: Stalemate
Joseon: Victory
Korean conquest of Hamgyong, completing annexation of the entire peninsula
Jin dynasty
Commanders and leaders
Yun Gwan
Kim Jong-seo


After the fall of Balhae, some Tungusic Mohe people and their descendants the Jurchen people migrated to parts of the northern Korean peninsula. During the Yuan dynasty the Jurchen peoples in northern Korea were ruled by Korean administrators appointed by the Yuan Dynasty court.

The Korean Kingdoms of Goryeo and its successor Joseon fought their way up the Korean peninsula and annexed land from the Jurchen, culminating in Joseon taking total control of the Korean peninsula after seizing control of Hamgyong (鹹鏡道/함경도) from the Jurchens.

According to the Goryeosa, in 918, the ancient capital of Pyongyang had been in ruins for a long time and foreign barbarians were using the surrounding lands as hunting grounds and occasionally raiding the borders of Goryeo; therefore, Wang Geon ordered his subjects to repopulate the ancient capital,[2] and soon thereafter sent his cousin Wang Sik-ryeom to defend it.

In 993, the land between the border of Liao and Goryeo was occupied by troublesome Jurchen tribes, but the Goryeo diplomat Seo Hui was able to negotiate with Liao and obtain that land up to the Yalu River, citing that in the past it belonged to Goguryeo, the predecessor to Goryeo.[3][4]

Both Balhae remnants and miscellaneous tribal peoples like Jurchens lived in the area between the Yalu and Taedong which was targeted for annexation by Goryeo.[5]


Under Goryeo periodEdit

The Jurchens in the Yalu River region were tributaries of Goryeo since the reign of Wang Geon, who called upon them during the wars of the Later Three Kingdoms period, but the Jurchens switched allegiance between Liao and Goryeo multiple times, taking advantage of the tension between the two nations; posing a potential threat to Goryeo's border security, the Jurchens offered tribute to the Goryeo court, expecting lavish gifts in return.[6]

Under Wanyan Wuyashu's order, Shi Shihuan (石適歡) led Jurchen army under the invitation of anti-Goryeo Jurchens in Helandian (present-day southeastern Hamgyong) to defeat pro-Goryeo Jurchens in the area. After subduing Jurchens in Helandian, the Jurchen army advanced southward to chase about 1,800 remnants who defected to Goryeo. Goryeo did not hand them over but sent Im Gan (林幹) to intercept the Wanyan army. However, Shi Shihuan defeated Im Gan north of the Chŏngp'yŏng wall and invaded the northeastern frontier of Goryeo. Goryeo dispatched Yoon Gwan (尹瓘) but lost a battle again. As a result, Wuyashu subjugated the Jurchen in Helandian.

In 1107 Goryeo dispatched five large armies led by Yoon Gwan to Helandian. They destroyed a hundred Jurchen villages and built nine fortresses there. After a one-year battle, the Wanyan army won two fortresses but they suffered heavy losses and seven other fortresses were still held by the Goryeo forces. Jurchens offered a truce to Goryeo and Goryeo and the Jurchen achieved a settlement. As a result, Jurchens swore not to invade Goryeo and Goryeo withdrew from the nine fortresses.

Under Joseon periodEdit

There were two kinds of Jurchens: the Enemy/Treacherous Jurchens 적호(賊胡) and the defensive/boundary Jurchens 번호(藩胡) considered as Jianzhou Jurchens living in Korean borders.

After the collapse of Yuan dynasty, Goryeo and then Joseon made the Jurchens in the area around Hamhung on the northeastern Korean peninsula submit as vassals. The Joseon Koreans tried to deal with the military threat posed by the Jurchens by using both forceful means and incentives and by launching military attacks, while at the same time they tried to appease them with titles and degrees, traded with them and sought to acculturate them by having Korean women marry Jurchens and integrating them into Korean culture. Despite these measures, fighting continued between the Jurchen and the Koreans.[7][8] The Ming Yongle Emperor was determined to wrest the Jurchens out of Korean influence and have China dominate them instead.[9][10] Korea tried to persuade Jurchen leader Mentemu (Möngke Temür) to reject the Ming overtures, but were unsuccessful since Möngke Temür folded and submitted to the Ming.[11][12][13][14]

Joseon under Sejong the Great engaged in military campaigns against the Jurchen and after defeating the Odoli, Maolian and Udige clans, Joseon managed to take control of Hamgyong. This shaped the modern borders of Korea around 1450 when several border forts were established in the region.[15]


  1. ^ Hyŏn-hŭi Yi; Sŏng-su Pak; Nae-hyŏn Yun (2005). New history of Korea. Jimoondang. p. 288. ISBN 978-89-88095-85-0.
  2. ^ "丙申谕群臣曰:“平壤古都荒废虽久,基址尙存,而荆棘滋茂,蕃人游猎於其间,因而侵掠边邑,为害 大矣。 宜徙民实之以固藩屏为百世之利"(高丽史)
  3. ^ Yun 1998, p.64: "By the end of the negotiation, Sô Hûi had ... ostensibly for the purpose of securing safe diplomatic passage, obtained an explicit Khitan consent to incorporate the land between the Ch’ôngch’ôn and Amnok Rivers into Koryô territory."
  4. ^ “自契丹东京至我安北府数百里之地,皆为生女真所据。光宗取之,筑嘉州、松城等城,今契丹之来,其志不过取 北二城,其声言取高勾丽旧地者,实恐我也”(高丽史)
  5. ^ Denis C. Twitchett; Herbert Franke; John King Fairbank (25 November 1994). The Cambridge History of China: Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368. Cambridge University Press. pp. 100–. ISBN 978-0-521-24331-5.
  6. ^ Breuker 2010, pp. 220-221. "The Jurchen settlements in the Amnok River region had been tributaries of Koryŏ since the establishment of the dynasty, when T'aejo Wang Kŏn heavily relied on a large segment of Jurchen cavalry to defeat the armies of Later Paekche. The position and status of these Jurchen is hard to determine using the framework of the Koryŏ and Liao states as reference, since the Jurchen leaders generally took care to steer a middle course between Koryŏ and Liao, changing sides or absconding whenever that was deemed the best course. As mentioned above, Koryŏ and Liao competed quite fiercely to obtain the allegiance of the Jurchen settlers who in the absence of large armies effectively controlled much of the frontier area outside the Koryŏ and Liao fortifications. These Jurchen communities were expert in handling the tension between Liao and Koryŏ, playing out divide-and-rule policies backed up by threats of border violence. It seems that the relationship between the semi-nomadic Jurchen and their peninsular neighbours bore much resemblance to the relationship between Chinese states and their nomad neighbours, as described by Thomas Barfield."
  7. ^ Seth 2006, p. 138.
  8. ^ Seth 2010, p. 144.
  9. ^ Zhang 2008, p. 29.
  10. ^ John W. Dardess (2012). Ming China, 1368-1644: A Concise History of a Resilient Empire. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-1-4422-0490-4.
  11. ^ Goodrich 1976, p. 1066.
  12. ^ Peterson 2002, p. 13.
  13. ^ Twitchett 1998, pp. 286-287.
  14. ^ Zhang 2008, p. 30.
  15. ^ Haywood, John; Jotischky, Andrew; McGlynn, Sean (1998). Historical Atlas of the Medieval World, AD 600-1492. Barnes & Noble. p. 3.24. ISBN 978-0-7607-1976-3.

Works citedEdit