Jizi

From Academic Kids

Template:Chinesename koreanname Jizi (Gija in Korean) or Viscount of Ji was a semi-legendary Chinese sage who is said to have ruled Korea in the 9th century BC. His family name was Zi (子) and given name was Xuyu (胥餘/서여 xūyś/seoyeo, or 須臾/수유 xūyś/suyu). Since the title of Viscount of Ji was bestowed on him, he is usually called Jizi.

Legend and analysis

As time has passed, legends about Jizi have become more and more numerous, leading many to argue that much of his story is fictional.

Pre-Han-Dynasty documents simply say that he was a virtuous man of the Shang royal family who served as Grand Tutor (太師) of Zhou, last king of Shang. As Confucius said, he was highly admired as an ideal ruler in ancient China.

Chinese document during the Han Dynasty or later add another story. He is said to have fled to Chaoxian when Shang was overthrown by Zhou. He established the dukedom of Chaoxian (Joseon in Korean), granted by King Wu of Zhou. He taught advanced Chinese civilization to the natives. Strangely enough, Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian put this story at the section of the Song ruling family but does not mention it at section of Chaoxian. The dukedom is called Jizi Chaoxian (Gija Joseon) today.

Weilue, which was complied during the Kingdom of Wei (220-265) or later, inserts a story about Jizi's descendants. According to it, Jizi's descendants maintained the dukedom and referred themselves as king after the Zhou Dynasty declined. Last king Zhun (準) was expeled in 192 B.C. by Wei Man, who was a Yan Chinese and had fled to Chaoxian. Zhun fled to the south and proclaimed himself the King of Han (韓). This story seems to have spread to China because of Chinese direct rule of the Korean peninsula. Some trust it and others think it is a fiction.

Archaeological evidences suggest that a small city state in Liaoning was ruled by Jihou or Lord Ji under the Yan Kingdom. Jihou may be the model of Jizi.

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