Yuri of Goguryeo

King Yuri (38 BCE – 18 CE, r. 19 BCE – 18 CE)[1] was the second ruler of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was the eldest son of the kingdom's founder King Dongmyeongseong. As with many other early Korean rulers, the events of his life are known largely from the Samguk Sagi.

Yuri of Goguryeo
Revised RomanizationYuri-wang or Yurimyeong-wang
McCune–ReischauerYuri-wang or Yurimyŏng-wang
Birth name
Revised RomanizationHae Yuri or Yuryu or Nuri
McCune–ReischauerHae Yuri or Yuryu or Nuri


Yuri is described as a powerful and militarily successful king. He conquered a Xiongnu tribe in 9 BCE. In 3 BCE, Yuri moved the capital from Jolbon to Gungnae. The Han dynasty was overthrown by Wang Mang, who established the Xin dynasty. In 12 CE Wang Mang sent a messenger to Goguryeo to ask for troops to assist in the conquest of the Xiongnu. Yuri rejected the request and instead attacked Xin.[2]

He had six sons and among them were Haemyeong and Muhyul. Haemyeong was proclaimed the crown prince of Goguryeo after the death of Dojeol, who was King Yuri's eldest son. But Yuri found Haemyeong to be too reckless and disobedient. Yuri replaced him with the younger son Muhyul in 14 CE. , Muhyul was Yuri's son with the daughter of Songyang. Muhyul ruled later as King Daemusin of Goguryeo.

A poem Yuri was said to have written for his favoured concubine Chihui has survived. It is titled the Hwangjoga (hanja: 黃鳥歌 "Song of the Yellow Bird").


King Yuri died in 18 CE, after ruling for 37 years. He was succeeded by his oldest remaining son, Muhyul, who became King Daemusin.


  • Father: King Dongmyeongseong (58 – 19 BCE) (동명성왕, 東明聖王)
  • Mother: Lady Ye (예씨 부인, 禮氏 夫人)
  • Consorts and Respective Issue:
  1. Queen SongHwahui (왕후 송씨, 王后 松氏)[3]
    1. Prince Dojeol (? – 1 CE) (도절, 都切)
  2. Queen Song (왕후 송씨, 王后 松氏)[4]
      1. Prince Haemyeong (12 – 9 BCE) (해명, 解明)
      2. King Daemusin of Gogouryeo (4 – 44 CE)
      3. princess haeseryu(yeorang)
  3. Queen song (왕후 송씨, 王后 松氏)
    1. Prince Yeoyul (여율, 如栗)
    2. Prince Yeojin (? – 18 CE) (여진, 如津)[5]
  4. Chihui (치희, 雉姬)
    1. King Minjung of Goguryeo (? – 48 CE)
    2. Prince Jaesa (재사, 再思

Theories regarding King YuriEdit

Usurpation theoryEdit

In recent studies, some historians have made a series of observations regarding Goguryeo's establishment that led them to think of Yuri may not have been the son of Go Jumong, but a usurper.

The observations that led to this conclusion were Jumong's early death, the difference in surnames, Yuri's harsh behavior toward some of Jumong's most prized subjects, and the differences in the styles of rule. Jumong died at the age of 40, which is quite early compared to that of some of his successors and predecessors. Very few of the rulers of that time period died before the age of 40. The difference in surnames may signify dynastic change from the Go family to the Hae family.

Another startling point to consider is the fact that most of Jumong's most trusted subjects were exiled or resigned. An example is Hyeob-bo, who was among Jumong's first three followers. According to the first Goguryeo volume of the Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms (Samguk Sagi), Hyeob-bu disagreed with the way King Yuri continually left the palace to go on hunting trips and strongly urged the King to be more attentive to matters of the kingdom.

However, Yuri grew annoyed and forced Hyub-bo to resign from his office. However, this claim may be proven counteracted with the fact that not all of Jumong's subjects were removed. General Bu Bun-no and Oi served Goguryeo through most of King Yuri's reign and played active roles in the kingdom. Goguryeo under Yuri did not display the strict expansionist policy that existed under Jumong. A final observation is the mentioning of a broken sword in the legend.

Some historians have inferred that Yuri finding a piece of Jumong's broken sword and using it as a claim signifies the collapse of Jumong's regime, and Yuri's rise to the throne. Overall, the fact that Jumong died five months after the arrival of Yuri caused the suspicion of these select historians. However, this is merely a theory and no assumptions can be made.

Popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Korean dynasties". www.sizes.com. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  2. ^ 《三国史记》:“三十三年 春正月 立王子无恤为太子 委以军国之事 秋八月 王命乌伊・摩离 领兵二万 西伐梁貊 灭其国 进兵袭取汉高句丽县”
  3. ^ Daughter of Song Yang (송양, 松讓).
  4. ^ Queen Song died in 17 BCE, so the children below are suggested to have been born to other ladies from the Song clan.
  5. ^ Yeojin drowned in the summer of 18 CE. King Yuri rewarded the man who found Yeojin's body with 10 pieces of gold and 10 gyeong [99,170m²] of land.
Yuri of Goguryeo
Born: 38 BC Died: 18
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Goguryeo
19 BC – 18
Succeeded by