Wei Man

Wei Man

Infobox East Asian
pinyin=Wèi Mǎn
wg=Wei4 Man3

Wei Man, known as Wi Man in Korean, was a prince from the State of Yan of China who established a kingdom in north-western Korea in the 2nd century BC. He was the first figure in the history of Korea to have been recorded in documents from the same time period. The "Records of the Grand Historian" simply calls him Man, so the surname Wei was probably added later.


Man served Prince Lu Wan of the Yan Principality. Although Lu Wan was an old ally of the Han Emperor Gao, he was eventually suspected of rebellion and attacked. Lu Wan sought refuge with the Xiongnu in 195 B.C, while Man fled to the east.

According to the "Records of the Grand Historian", Man led 1,000 men, dressed in non-Chinese costume and crossed the border river of Paesu/Peishui (浿水; probably Chŏngchŏn River). Based on the upper and lower fortresses of the former Qin Dynasty, he organized the natives named the Jinbeon/Zhenfen and the Joseon and Chinese refugees from Yan and Qi, and came to the crown. Man's capital was named Wanggeom/Wangxian (王險, generally identified as P'yŏngyang). [Concerning controversy over the location of Lelang Commandery, there is a minority view that Man's domain was located in Liaoning instead of north-western Korea. However, it is generally accepted that the river referred to as Majasu/Mazishui (馬訾水) refers to the Yalu River and Paesu/Peishui refers to the Chŏngchŏn River, and that Man's territory was bordered on the north by the Han Empire. P'yŏngyang is the most likely site for the capital Wanggeom/Wangxian but lacks archaeological evidence. For more information, see (Tani:1987).] Since the Han Empire was not completely stabilized yet, the Governor of Liaodong appointed Man as an outer subject, provided that he did not prevent natives going up to the empire. The appointment is dated at 191 or 192 BCE. [(Ibaragi:1984)] With the support of the Han Empire, he expanded his territory by conquering many small towns. His kingdom was eventually conquered by Emperor Wu in 108 B.C during the reign of his grandson Ugeo.

The "Weilüe", which was written about 400 years later, offers more detailed information but which might be less reliable since it was written four centuries after the fact. It says that Man took power in a coup from King Jun, a descendant of the Chinese sage Jizi. Zhun fled to the south and proclaimed himself as King of Han. The historical accuracy of this story is more or less questioned by historians. Some scholars believe that this story came from the Han clan, who claimed themselves as descendants of Jizi, and have spread to China because of Chinese direct rule of northern Korea. It is, however, generally agreed that there were certain kinds of polities in northwestern Korea before Man's kingdom, probably by the Chinese immigrants and aboriginal people.



* Mikami Tsugio 三上次男: "Kodai no seihoku Chōsen to Ei-shi Chōsen koku no seiji, shakaiteki seikaku" 古代の西北朝鮮と衛氏朝鮮国の政治・社会的性格, Kodai Tōhoku Ajiashi Kenkyū 古代東北アジア史研究, pp. 3-22, 1966.
* Ibaragi Kazuo 荊木計男: "Ei Man Chōsen ō Sakuhō ni tsuite" 衛満朝鮮冊封について, Chōsen Gakuhō 朝鮮学報 (Journal of the Academic Association of Koreanology in Japan) Vol. 113, pp.1-25, 1984.
* Tani Toyonobu 谷豊信: "Rakurō-gun no ichi" 楽浪郡の位置, Chōsen shi kenkyūkai ronbunshū 朝鮮史研究会論文集 (Bulletin of Society for Study in Korean History), No 24, pp. 23-45, 1987.

See also

* Zhao Tuo
* List of Korea-related topics

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