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Friday, 13 September 2013

Serious Case of Posthumous Kings of Joseon, Part I: Crown Prince Sado (King Jangjo)

Among of 27 Kings of Joseon who made it into the throne hall, there are few members in Royal House of Jeonju Yi who not make it to the throne. There are several reasons on why they can't make it. I will introduce Crown Prince Sado a.k.a Crown Prince Jangheon - posthumous King Jangjo, first subject for my thesis.


Crown Prince Sado a.k.a Crown Prince Jangheon (Hanja: 思悼世子/莊獻世子; Born: 13 February 1735 - Died: 12 July 1762) was born as the second son of the King Yeongjo of Joseon, as well as being born the royal heir as a result of the early and young death of his older stepbrother, Crown Prince Hyojang, in 1728; however, Sado was not given an opportunity to reign. He is posthumously known as King Jangjo in Joseon Dynasty Kings' List.

History indicates Sado suffered from mental illness; accused of randomly killing people in the palace and being a sexual deviant. By court rules King Yeongjo could not kill his son by his own hands. As a result, Yeongjo (with the consent of Sado's mother, Lady Yi) issued a royal decree that ordered Sado climb into and be sealed within a large wooden rice chest on a hot July day in 1762. After eight days, Sado died of suffocation. During the 19th century, there were rumors that Prince Sado had not been mentally ill, but had been framed; however, these rumors are contradicted by his wife, Lady Hyegyeong, in The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyeong. Sado's death remains an issue of debate as to whether his death was a retribution for his actual misconduct or if he was the victim of a conspiracy by his political opponents.

Crown Prince Sado was buried on Mount Baebong in Yangju. In 1789, his body was moved by his son King Jeongjo, to its current location, then called Hyeollyungwon near Hwaseong (Current Location: 21 Hyohaeng Avenue 481st Street/Hyohaengno 481beon-gil, Annyeong-dong 187-1 beonji, Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province), 30 kilometers south of Seoul. Hwaseong Fortress, as it is now known, was built from 1794-1796 by King Jeongjo, specifically to memorialize and honor his father's tomb. In 1816, Lady Hyegyeong died and was buried with her husband. In 1899, Prince Sado and Lady Hyegyeong were posthumously elevated in status and given the titles Emperor Jangjo and Empress Heon-gyeong. Their tomb was upgraded accordingly and renamed Royal Tomb of Yungneung (융릉/隆陵).

He was posthumously known as Crown Prince Sado Sudeok Don-gyeong Hong-in Gyeongji Jang-yoon Yungbeom Gi-myeong Changhyu Chanwon Heonseong Gyesang Hyeonhui Jangheon (사도수덕돈경홍인경지장윤융범기명창휴찬원헌성계상현희장헌세자/思悼綏德敦慶弘仁景祉章倫隆範基命彰休莊獻世子). In the reign of Emperor Gojong Gwangmu of Korean Empire, he was bestowed with the temple title of Jangjong (장종/莊宗) and his posthumous name, King Jangjong Sinmun Hwanmu Jangheon Gwangmyo the Great (장종신문환무장헌광효대왕/莊宗神文桓武莊獻廣孝大王). Then, he has given the posthumous name of Jangjo, Emperor Ui of the Korean Empire (장조의황제/莊祖懿皇帝).