Suro of Geumgwan Gaya

Suro (수로), or Sureung (posthumous name: 수릉, 首陵, 42?–199), commonly called Gim Suro, was the legendary founder and king of the state of Geumgwan Gaya (43–532) in southeastern Korea.[1]

Gim Suro
King of Geumgwan Gaya
SuccessorGeodeung of Geumgwan Gaya
SpouseHeo Hwang-ok
Suro of Geumgwan Gaya
Suro Tomb.JPG
Tomb of King Suro in Gimhae
Korean name
Revised RomanizationSuro-wang
Tombstones at the Tomb of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya at Gimhae in Korea.
Sculptures at the Tomb of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya at Gimhae in Korea.


According to the founding legend of Geumgwan Gaya recorded in the 13th century texts of the chronicle Garakguk-gi (hangul: 가락국기, hanja: 駕洛國記) that was cited in Samguk Yusa, King Suro was one of six princes born from eggs that descended from the sky in a golden bowl wrapped in red cloth. When the people who were commanded by heaven performed ancestral rites, danced and sang, a gold bowl wrapped in red cloth came down from heaven. There were six eggs in them, and 12 days later they were born from eggs.[2] Suro was the firstborn among them and led the others in setting up 6 states while asserting the leadership of the Gaya confederacy. [1][3]

Also according to legend, King Suro's queen Heo Hwang-ok was a princess from a distant country called Ayuta (아유타, 阿踰陀), also implied to be in India.[4][5]

The legend as a whole is seen as indicative of the early view of kings as descended from heaven. Notably, a number of Korean kingdoms besides the six Gaya made foundation legends with ties to chickens and eggs. Jumong, the founding king of Goguryeo, is said to have been born from an egg laid by Lady Yuhwa of Buyeo; Bak Hyeokgeose, the first king of Saro-guk, or Silla, is said to have hatched from an egg discovered in a well; and Gim Al-ji, the progenitor of the Gim dynasty of Shilla, is said to have been discovered in Gyerim Forest by Hogong in a golden box, where a rooster was crowing. Aspects of the legend have been mined for information about the customs of Gaya, of which little is known.[3]

Incorporation of tomb into the silla ancestor worshipEdit

At the time of king Munmu, the spirit tablet of king Suro was temporarily respected along with fellow silla kings, as Munmu was the 15th grandson of king Suro. According to Samguk Yusa, king Munmu ordered the jesa (revering riual in confucian traditions) of king Suro.

In modern cultureEdit

Tomb and descendantsEdit

A tomb attributed to King Suro is still maintained in modern-day Gimhae.[6][7] Members of the Gimhae Gim clan, who continue to play important roles in Korean life today, trace their ancestry to King Suro, as do members of the Incheon Lee and Gimhae Heo clan; they did not inter-marry until the beginning of the 20th century.[8]

Television seriesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b (in Korean) King Gim Suro Archived 2011-06-10 at the Wayback Machine at Britannica Korea
  2. ^ "김수로왕". (in Korean). Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  3. ^ a b (in Korean) King Gim Suro Archived 2011-06-10 at the Wayback Machine at Encyclopedia of Korean Culture
  4. ^ Robert E. Buswell (1991). Tracing Back the Radiance: Chinul's Korean Way of Zen. University of Hawaii Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-8248-1427-4.
  5. ^ Skand R. Tayal (2015). India and the Republic of Korea: Engaged Democracies. Taylor & Francis. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-317-34156-7.
  6. ^ (in Korean) Tomb of King Suro at Doosan Encyclopedia
  7. ^ (in Korean) Tomb of King Suro Archived 2011-06-10 at the Wayback Machine at Encyclopedia of Korean Culture
  8. ^ (in Korean) Gim of Suro clan, Korean surname info
  9. ^ Kim, Lynn (5 March 2010). "Ji Sung to star in new TV series Kim Su-ro". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-02-15.


  • Kwon, J.H. (권주현) (2003). Life and culture of the Gaya people (가야인의 삶과문화). Seoul: Hyean. ISBN 978-89-8494-221-9.
  • Lee, Hee Geun (이희근) (2005). Thematic history of Korea (주제로 보는 한국사). Seoul: Godswin. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-89-91319-51-6.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
King of Gaya
Succeeded by
Geodeung Wang