Sosurim of Goguryeo

King Sosurim of Goguryeo (died 384) (r. 371–384)[1] was the 17th ruler of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was the son of King Gogugwon.[2]

Sosurim of Goguryeo
소수림왕,소해주류왕 해미류왕
小獸林王, 小解朱留王, 解味留王
Revised RomanizationSosurim-wang, Sohaejuryu-wang, Haemiryu-wang
McCune–ReischauerSosurim-wang, Sohaejuryu-wang, Haemiryu-wang
Birth name
Revised RomanizationGo Gubu
McCune–ReischauerKo Kubu


  • Father: King Gogukwon (고국원왕, 故國原王)
    • Grandfather: King Micheon (미천왕, 美川王)
    • Grandmother: Queen, of the Ju clan (왕후 주씨, 王后 周氏)
  • Unknown wife – No issue.

Background and Rise to the throneEdit

Born as Go Gu-Bu, King Sosurim was the first son and successor of King Gogugwon. He assisted his father in leading the country and strengthening royal authority, which had been severely weakened due to humiliation brought upon by the Later Yan, who dug up the grave of King Micheon.[2] Prince Gu-Bu was made crown prince in 355.


He became king in 371 when his father King Gogugwon was killed by the Baekje King Geunchogo's assault on Pyongyang Castle.[3]

Sosurim is considered to have strengthened the centralization of authority in Goguryeo, by establishing state religious institutions to transcend tribal factionalism. The development of centralized government system was largely attributed to reconciliation policy of Sosurim with its southern opponent, Baekje.[4] In 372, he received Buddhism through travelling monks of Former Qin and built temples to house them.[5] It is said the king of Former Qin during Sixteen Kingdoms period sent Monk Sundo with images and scriptures of Buddha[6] and; Monk Ado, native Goguryeo returned two years later. Under full-pledged support of royal family, it is said the first temple, Heungguk monastery of Korean kingdoms was supposedly constructed around the capital.[7] Though there are several evidences that Buddhism was established before the year of 372 such as mid-4th century mausoleum styles under the Buddhist influence,[7] it is well accepted that Sosurim consolidated Buddhist footprints not only on Korean people’s spiritual world but also in terms of bureaucracy systems and ideology.[8]

The year 372 held its critical importance in Korean history not only for Buddhism but also for Confucianism[6] and Daoism. Sosurim also established the Confucian institutions of Taehak (태학, 太學) to educate the children of the nobility.[6] In 373, he promulgated a code of laws called (율령, 律令) which stimulated the institutionalized law systems[1] including penal codes and codified regional customs.[8]

In 374, 375, and 376, he attacked the Korean kingdom of Baekje to the south, and in 378 was attacked by the Khitan from the north.[9] He died in 384 and was buried in Sosurim, which was probably a forest around its second capital, Gungnae.[10]


Most of King Sosurim's reign and life was spent trying to keep Goguryeo under control and also strengthening royal authority.[6] Although he was not able to avenge the death of his father and previous Goguryeo ruler, King Gogugwon, he did play a major role in setting up the foundations that made the great conquests of his nephew and later ruler of Goguryeo, King Gwanggaeto the Great achieve reckless subjugations.[1][4]

Depiction in arts and mediaEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Hall, John Whitney (1993). The Cambridge history of Japan (1. publ. ed.). Cambridge u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press. p. 361. ISBN 9780521223522. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b "King Gogukwon". KBS Radio. KBS. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  3. ^ Yoon, Nae-hyun; Lee, Hyun-hee; Park, Sung-soo (2005). New history of Korea. Paju: Jimoondang. p. 150. ISBN 9788988095850.
  4. ^ a b Middleton, John (2015). World Monarchies and Dynasties. Routledge. p. 505. ISBN 9781317451587.
  5. ^ Grayson, James H. (2013). Korea - A Religious History. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p. 25. ISBN 9781136869259. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d Kang, Jae-eun (2006). The land of scholars : two thousand years of Korean Confucianism (1st American ed.). Paramus (N.J.): Homa & Sekey books. pp. 37–38. ISBN 9781931907309. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b Reat, Noble Ross (1994). Buddhism : a history. Fremont, Calif.: Jain Pub. pp. 167–169. ISBN 9780875730028. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  8. ^ a b Britannica Editors. "Koguryeo". Britannica Online. Retrieved 1 February 2016. {{cite web}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ Palais, James B.; Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; Walthall, Anne (2006). Pre-modern East Asia: to 1800 : a cultural, social, and political history. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 123. ISBN 9780618133864.
  10. ^ Kim, Hoon (2015-07-09). "Of tombs and posthumous names". Korea Joongang Daily. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
Sosurim of Goguryeo
 Died: 384
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Goguryeo
Succeeded by