Yang Manchun

Yang Manchun is the name given to the Goguryeo commander of Ansi Fortress in the 640s. Ansi Fortress was located on the Goguryeo–Tang border, probably present-day Haicheng. Yang is sometimes credited with saving the kingdom by his successful defense against Tang Taizong.[1]

Yang Manchun
Revised RomanizationYang Manchun
McCune–ReischauerYang Manch'un


The real name of the defender of Ansi Fortress is unclear. Kim Busik, in his Samguk Sagi (Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms), lamented that the name of the steadfast commander of Ansi Fortress was unknown:[2]

Emperor Taizong of Tang was a prominent and intelligent ruler not commonly seen. He ended disturbances like Tang of Shang and King Wu of Zhou, and he governed with reason like King Cheng of Zhou and King Kang of Zhou. When he commanded armies, he had infinite strategies and had no rival. But when he attacked east, he was defeated at Ansi. Therefore, the defender of Ansi must have been a hero and also an unusually brilliant man. However, his name was lost to history. This is like how the Yangzi stated, "The name of that great official from the Qi-Lu region [(i.e., modern Shandong)] is lost to history." This is lamentable.

However, an author by the name of Xiong Damu from the Ming Dynasty used the name Liang Wanchun (梁万春) to refer to the defender in his Historical Fiction novel Tangshu Zhizhuan Tongsu Yanyi.[3] During the Japanese invasions of Korea, the Ming generals Wu Zongdao and Li Shifa said to Yun Geun Su that the defender's name is Liang Wanchun. [4] In 1669, Hyeonjong of Joseon asked Song Jungil for his name and he gave his name as Ryang Manchun, the Korean way of pronouncing the Hanja "梁万春".[5]The Collected works of Master Dongchundang (동춘당선생별집, 同春堂先生別集) by (송준길, 宋浚吉), first compiled in 1768, includes the passage: "Someone asked, 'What was the name of the commander of Ansi fortress?' Jungil replied, 'It was Ryang Manchun. He skillfully checked the army of Taizong and so might we very well call him "seonsu seongja" (선수성자, 善守城者, "capable defender of fortresses").[6] However, due to the Korean Pronunciation rule called Tu'eum Beopchik (두음법칙), Ryang Manchun (량만춘) was pronounced as Yang Manchun (양만춘). As such, his name slowly began to be mistakenly interpreted as (楊萬春). In The Jehol Diary written by Park Ji-won in the 18th century includes the following: "When Yang Manchun, the master of Anshi-sŏng Fortress, shot an arrow and put out the eye of the Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty, the emperor assembled his army under the wall. This was not the signal for an immediate attack, but to demonstrate the Emperor's generosity in granting Yang Manchun one hundred p'il roll of silk, praising him for defending the Fortress successfully for his own Korean king."[7] In time Yang Manchun came into general use as the name of the defender of Ansi Fortress.

Involvement in the Goguryeo–Tang WarEdit

In 642, Yeon Gaesomun killed King Yeongnyu and seized military control over the country. However, although Yeon had quickly gained control over the rest of the country, Yang Manchun refused to surrender Ansi fortress. After a lengthy siege and repeated unsuccessful attempts to storm the fortress, Yeon was forced to withdraw and allow Yang to keep his position as fortress commander. This proved to be to his advantage.

In 645, Taizong led a campaign against Goguryeo. Some Goguryeo border fortresses fell early, but Tang was unable to reduce Ansi fortress. Goguryeo sent a force reported at 150,000 to raise the siege of Ansi fortress, but the force was unable to reach it. Despite its siege of Ansi, the Tang army was unable to force its capitulation. Taizong eventually ordered the construction of a large earthen siege ramp, which Yang instead captured and used as part of his defense. When winter approached, Tang forces were forced to withdraw.

The siege of Ansi fortress is related in detail (but without the commander's name) in the Samguk Sagi, Goguryeo vol. 9. (vol. 21 overall).[2]

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Yi, Ki-baek (1984). A New History of Korea. Harvard University Press. p. 48. ISBN 9780674615762. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b Samguk Sagi, vol. 21."Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2007-12-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ 《唐书志传通俗演义》第82回“李世勣兵进安市城 薛仁贵智取黄龙坡:却说守安市城者,却是高丽国左、右亲卫军官镇守,各分绝奴、灌奴等部。绝奴部主帅梁万春、邹定国、李佐升,灌奴部主帅欧飞、暨武、张猴孙,共六员猛将,虎踞于安市城中。
  4. ^ 尹根寿:《月汀漫录》:安市城主抗唐太宗精兵,卒全孤城,其功伟矣。姓名不传,我东之书籍鲜少而然耶?抑高氏时无史而然耶?壬辰乱後天朝将官出来我国者有吴宗道,谓余曰:“安市城主姓名梁万春,见太宗东征记云。”顷见李监司时发言:“曾见《唐书衍义》,则安市城主果是梁万春。而又有他人,守安市之将凡二人云。”
  5. ^ 宋浚吉:《同春堂集》别集卷六,《经筵日记》:上曰:“安市城主,其名为谁?”浚吉曰:“梁万春也。能拒太宗之师,可谓善守城者也。”上曰:“此见于何处?”浚吉曰:“故府院君尹根寿闻于中朝而记云矣。”
  6. ^ 《" See Dong Chun-dang seonsaeng pyeoljip (book 6, "Gyeong’yeon ilgi 經筵日記", Eulyu 乙酉 year, month 4, day 26)》
  7. ^ The Jehol Diary, translated with notes by Yang Hi Choe-Wall (Folkestone, UK: Global Oriental), pp. 38-39.