Koihime Musou Girls and Related Korean Clans, Part II: Seo (서/徐) - Korean Political Powerhouse since the Foundation of Baekje Kingdom

  • Pink striped with Black = Daegu Metropole Seo Clan
  • Pink = Dalseong Seo Clan (outskirts of Downtown Daegu Metropole)
  • Bluish-Purple = Icheon Seo Clan (Icheon City, Gyeonggi Province)

Seo (서/徐) sometimes romanized Suh or Sŏ is a Noble Korean Surname which means 'dignified and calm', similar to Chinese Pinyin Xú. The First Seo clan formed in Korean Peninsula is the Buyeo Seo Clan which is the former Royal House of Baekje Kingdom (formerly using the surname of 'Buyeo'). Baekje is one of the Korean Three Kingdoms; ruled in West and Southwest of Korean Peninsula from 18BCE to 660CE. This clan was founded by Buyeo Yung (later Seo Yung), Third Prince of King Uija, the Last King of Baekje who apparently become the 32nd Ruler of Baekje if they not lose against Silla during the Battle of Hwangsanbeol. It is followed with Icheon Seo Clan, founded by Seo Shin-il (서신일/徐神逸) during Turbulent Later Three Kingdoms Period and Dalseong Seo Clan, founded by Seo Jin (서진/徐晉), Lord of Dalseong (달성군/達城君), in addition with Daegu Metropole Seo Clan, founded by Seo Han (서한/徐閈) during Goryeo Dynasty Timeline.

Since its beginning, the clan was held in high regard for its economic and military finesse, which played a vital role in reuniting the political factions that caused civil unrest in the Middle Joseon Dynasty. The clan has since been consulted on numerous military and economic affairs until the assassination of Empress Myeongseong - Eulmi Incident in 1895. Most of Philip Jaisohn's relatives were imprisoned and executed after the failure of Kapsin Coup in 1884.

Japan, noticing the proliferation of the clan in the senior ranks of King's counsel, started targeting members of the clan for assassination immediately following Empress Myeongseong's death. Despite their number being greatly reduced, the Seo Clan has grown in number since the end of the Joseon Dynasty in 1897. Through unrestricted intermarriage, Seo is now the 11th most common surname in Korea and is held in esteem in economic and military circles.

Based on the 2015 Korean Republic Census - provided by Statistics Korea (통계청/統計廳/Tonggyecheong/KOSTAT), there are 751,704 people who bear the surname of Seo. Hence, this clan is placed at 13th place in Korean Surnames List. There are nine designated clans (본관/本貫) for this clan which are:
  • Namyang Seo Clan (남양 서씨/南陽徐氏) = Originated from Namyang-eup, Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province, ROK
  • Nampyeong Seo Clan (남평 서씨/南平徐氏) = Originated from Nampyeong-eup, naju City, Southern Jeolla Province, ROK
  • Dalseong Seo Clan (달성 서씨/達城徐氏) = Originated from Dalseong County, Daegu Metropole, ROK
  • Daegu Seo Clan (대구 서씨/大邱徐氏) = Originated from Downtown Daegu Metropole, ROK
  • Dangseong Seo Clan (당성 서씨/唐城徐氏) = Originated from Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province, ROK
  • Buyeo Seo Clan (부여 서씨/扶餘徐氏 – former Royal House of Baekje-Buyeo) = Originated from Buyeo County (Former Baekje Royal Capital of Sabi), Southern Chungcheong Province, ROK
  • Yeonsan Seo Clan (연산 서씨/連山徐氏) = Originated from Yeonsan-myeon, Nonsan City, Southern Chungcheong Province, ROK
  • Icheon Seo Clan (이천 서씨/利川徐氏) = Originated from Icheon City, Gyeonggi Province, ROK
  • Jangseong Seo Clan (장성 서씨/長城徐氏) = Originated from Jangseong County, Southern Jeolla Province, ROK
  • Jeolgang Seo Clan (절강 서씨/浙江徐氏) = Originated from Zhejiang Province, PROC

The Dalseong Lineage is the largest among nine, where this lineage consists of 407,431 people. It is followed by Icheon Lineage, the second largest Seo Clan Locality; consists of 199,792 people and Daegu Metropole Lineage, consists of 97,866 people. Buyeo Lineage which is rooted from the Former Royal Family of Buyeo-Baekje only consists of 17,145 people.

The Buyeo Seo Clan (부여 서씨/扶餘徐氏) was founded by Buyeo Yung (부여융/扶餘隆; Born: 615CE - Died: 682CE) the son of the Last King of Baekje Kingdom, King Uija. He was appointed as heir to the throne in 644, and would have been the kingdom's 32nd ruler. He is known as the progenitor of Buyeo Seo Clan where he changed his surname to Seo. The clan is the cadet branch of the Royal House of Hoengseong Go (횡성 고씨/橫城高氏), the Ruling Royal House of Goguryeo Kingdom which is originated from Hoengseong County, Gangwon Province and the principal Royal House of Baekje Kingdom.

After Seo Yung's father was overthrown by an alliance of Silla and the Chinese Tang Dynasty in 660, Seo Yung was sent into exile at the Tang capital Luoyang, along with his father. After the defeat of the Baekje restoration movement led by Boksin and Dochim at the Battle of Baekgang, which had sought to place Yung's brother Buyeo Pung on the throne, Tang felt the need for a ruler who could pacify the Baekje area. Beginning in 664, Seo Yung served briefly as the governor of the "Ungjin Commandery" (웅진도독부/熊津都督府) which Tang established to oversee the former territory of Baekje.

After Silla expelled Tang forces from the Korean peninsula in 676, Seo Yung returned to Luoyang, where he spent the rest of his days. In 1920, the tomb of Seo Yung was found at the grounds of Henan Provincial Museum, Luoyang, People's Republic of China - known as the Grave of Buyeo Yung (부여융묘지명). In August 13th 1996, Buyeo County was twinned with Luoyang City and the efforts to bring Seo Yung's remains doubled with the tremendous cooperation between two cities. Finally, his remains repatriated to Neungsan-ri Tumuli Site and buried beside his father, King Uija.

Moving on to the contemporary era of the Republic of Korea, Buyeo Seo Clan produces well-known academia and government servants such as:
  • Seo Han-beom (서한범/徐漢範) = Professor of Korean Traditional Music Department in Dankook University
  • Seo Seung-jik (서승직/徐承稷) = Professor of Architecture Department in Inha University
  • Seo Hee-seok (서희석/徐熙錫) = Professor of Graduate School of Law in Pusan National University
  • Seo Seung-jin (서승진/徐承鎭) = Former Commissioner of Korean Forest Service 
  • Seo Sung (徐晟/서성) = Former Judge of the Supreme Court of Korea

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