Bogo JANGCHANG (張保皐) (張保皐)

Bogo JANG (790 - 846?) was a Korean who established power across the sea in Silla (ancient Korean kingdom), Tang (Chinese Dynasty) and Japan during the TongilSilla (United Silla) period. His name is also spelled as 張宝高. In Korean, they are both pronounced as Bogo JANG (장 보고). 張保皐 was a Chinese name and his real name was Gungbok (弓福 or 弓巴). He was first the ambassador of Cheonghaejin, then 感義軍使 and became the naval commander.

Brief Personal History

Bogo JANG was born in a coastal region of southern Silla in around 790AC, moved to the Shandong Peninsula of China in 810 to join the local military power the Muryeong Army of Xunzhou Province, and fought against a northern military group member Jeong-gi YI who was from Goguryeo (Kingdom of Korea). After being appointed as a Junior General of the army under the military governor of the Xuzhou Province, he returned to Silla in around 828 and visited King Heungdeok to report to him about the fact that Silla people were traded as slaves in China; he was appointed as the ambassador for Cheonghaejin with an army of 10,000 men. Cheonghaejin is current Wando District, South Cholla Province and his task was to suppress the slave trade.

It is said that, to settle pirates, Bogo JANG provided them with employment in sea transport and boat building businesses from which they could earn more and have a stable income, rather than suppressing them with military power.

Bogo JANG, who based his headquarters in the current Wando District, South Cholla Province, put minor groups on the sea of the southern Silla and widely traded with Tang and Japan as well as Islam merchants residing near the ports along the coast of china. Because of this, conquering the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea, Bogo JANG built an empire of the sea all over the Eastern Asia and his name became well-known in Japan, too.

In 836, when King Heungdeok died, a race for successor among the royal family members occurred in Kyongju (Gyeongju City), the capital of Silla; King Sinmu who lost entrusted himself with Bogo JANG. Bogo JANG gave a force of 5,000 men to his friend Jeongyeon to support Ujing KIM and killed King Minae; Ujing KIM ascended the throne as King Sinmu. Because of this success, Bogo JANG was appointed to 感義軍使 and received a land-grant of 2,000 households. King Sinmu promised to make Bogo JANG's daughter a princess if he succeeded in taking the throne but died suddenly six months after his enthronement. Inherited King Munseong conducted amnesty straight after his enthronement (August, 839) and gave Bogo JANG the official rank of naval commander and formal attire for his great achievement. King Munseong was going to marry Bogo JANG's daughter following the late King's promise, but cancelled it because of his retainers' objection toward Bogo JANG's low birth; resenting this, Bogo JANG launched a rebellion. Because King Munseong was scared of Bogo JANG's military power, he could not decide to kill Jang but an expert swordsman called Yeomjang was contracted for Jang's assassination. Yeomjang pretended to surrender to Bogo JANG and assassinated him at a party. Yeomjang's assassination of Jang is written in the article Year 846 in the Silla Hongi (History of Silla) of "Samguk Sagi" (History of the Three Kingdoms) but in the article Wonder: Great King Sinmu, Yeomjang and Gungbok (Jang) of "Samguk Yusa" (Legends And History Of The Three Kingdoms Of Ancient Korea), it happened in the King Sinmu's reign. The "Shoku Nihon Koki" (Later Chronicle of Japan Continued) gives Jang's death date before November 841.

It is also recorded that, although a friendship with Japan was rejected in 840, trade between ordinary citizens was allowed the next year and Koreans formed close friendships with government officials in Kita-Kyushu (Northern Kyushu) and Nyuto-priests (priests who went to China to study) through trade.

After Bogo JANG was assassinated, King Munseong abolished Cheonghaejin in 851. Previous subordinates of Bogo JANG were moved to 碧骨県 (current Gimje), Gyeongju but they started a rebellion there again. A series of soldiers' rebellions in relation to Bogo JANG are sometimes called the 'Gungbok Incident'. Because he was treated as a rebel after his death, most information and material related to Bogo JANG were destroyed and rarely remain, so existing information is extremely valuable. Some of his subordinates were believed to have moved to Kyushu, Japan.

Public Evaluation of Bogo JANG in the Silla-den (stories of Silla) in "Shintojo" (New Book of Tang) and "Samguk Sagi" (History of the Three Kingdoms)

Vol. 220, "Shintojo"of Silla-den tells that Bogo JANG and Jeongyeon had a long-time friendship and both became shosho (junior generals) of the Muryeong Army in Tang. It also states things as follows: after Bogo JANG returned to Silla first and got a higher ranking position (ambassador of Cheonghaejin), Jeongyeon, who lost his job, starving and frozen from cold, visited Jang and Jang welcomed him; as soon as Jang heard about the capital being in chaos after King Minae was killed in the middle of a party, Jang gave a force of 5,000 men to Jeongyeon, saying 'No one else apart from you can settle this distress', he let Jeongyeon killed the rebels to enthrone a new King; Jang was appointed as the Chancellor by the new King and that Jeongyeon took over the position of the ambassador of Cheonghaejin. It also states that Du Mu praised Jang as a man of humanity and justice comparing Jang and Jeongyeon's relationship with that of Bunyang GWAK and Imhoe YI at the An Lushan War and as a comment of Song Qi who edited the story collection of "Shintojo", he listed the names of people, who thought about the nation first with the mind of righteousness during a difficult time for the country, as Qi Xi of the Jin (Spring and Autumn) Period and Bunyang GWAK and Bogo JANG of the Tang Period, saying 'How can we say that there were no excellent people in the foreign countries of East' (Original: 嗟乎、不以怨毒相槊、而先國家之憂、晉有祁奚、唐有汾陽・保皋、孰謂夷無人哉).

Busik KIM, the editor of the "Samguk Sagi", wrote Vol. 44 'The Biography of Bogo JANG' by citing most of the description of the Silla-den of the "Shintojo", though clarifying that some of the contents did not agree with the Biography of Silla (article based on the Silla Hongi, above) and supported the public evaluation of Bogo JANG. In Vol. 43: Biology of Yushin KIM, although praising Yushin KIM's great achievement of unifying three Kingdoms of Silla as outstanding, he also cited both Mundeok EULJI's intelligent strategy and Bogo JANG's military prowess.

Jang's Support for Jikaku Daishi Ennin's Pilgrimage in Search of the Law

In the early ninth century, Jang supported Ennin both physically and mentally for his one-and-a-half-year pilgrimage in search of law by donating the Chisan Fahua Temple in the port city of Chisan in the Shandong Peninsula (where many Silla merchants were residing), saving Ennin from an unlawful overstay in Tang when he was only allowed to stay there for a short while (by negotiating with a local officer to have his Kugen [visitor permit] granted when Ennin decided to overstay). By the time Ennin returned to Japan, Bogo JANG had already been assassinated but Jang's subordinate Commander Chang Yung made great efforts to realize Ennin's return.

Sekizan Daimyojin (Sekizan means Chisan in Japanese) is a temple built by disciples of Ennin to follow in the footsteps of Ennin to honor Silla gods.

Ennin built a Monju (Manjusri) statue with a piece of fragrant wood that he found when he climbed the North peak called Beitai Ding or Yedou Feng (3058m) of Mt. Wutai (China); after returning to Japan, he built a pavilion for the statue at Enryaku-ji Temple in November 861 (the original pavilion was burnt down by Nobunaga ODA's fire attack against Mt. Hiei [1571] and the current one was re-built) and next to Ennin's Monjusuri pavilion, there is a monument in honor to the memory of Bogo JANG.

Bogo Jang Fleet
List of Republic of Korea Navy ships - Submarines: the lead, German type 209, the Republic of Korea navy submarine is called 'Chang Bogo' (Bogo JANG) and a total of nine submarines of the same type are called 'Chang Bogo Class'.