Koihime Musou Girls and Related Korean Clans, Part XIV: Jo (조/趙) - Remnants of the Royal House of Chinese Song Dynasty in Korean Soil

  • Blue = Seoul-Hanyang Jo Clan (Seoul Special City)
  • Dark Magenta = Gimje Jo Clan (Gimje, Northern Jeolla)
  • Gold = Haman Jo Clan (Haman, Southern Gyeongsang)
  • Lavender = PungYang Jo Clan (Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province)
  • Apple Green = Yangju Jo Clan (Yangju, Gyeonggi Province)

Jo (조/趙) sometimes romanized Cho in McCune Script is a common Korean Surname which means 'city-state of Zhao' in Sino-Korean Language, similar to Zhao in Chinese. Zhao is a common Chinese family name, ranking as the 7th most common surname in Mainland China and Korean Peninsula. Zhao is the first surname in the famous Hundred Family Surnames – the traditional list of all Chinese surnames – because it was the royal surname of the Song Dynasty (960–1279) when the list was compiled.

Zhao is one of the most ancient of Chinese surnames, and its origins are partly shrouded in legend. During the reign of King Mu of Zhou (976/956 BCE – 922/918 BCE), an officer named Zaofu (Chinese: 造父) proved exceptionally adept at training horses and driving chariots and won the respect of King Mu. During a battle with the eastern state of Xu, an ethnically different state which was resisting Zhou rule, Zaofu drove a chariot into the battle and escorted King Mu back to the Zhou capital. In gratitude, King Mu enfeoffed Zaofu as the lord of Zhao, a town in what is now Hongdong County, Shanxi Province, to be held by his descendants in perpetuity. Zaofu's descendants took Zhao as a surname to mark their prestigious association with the city. Records such as Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian say that Zaofu was a descendant of legendary kings Zhuanxu, Shaohao, and the Yellow Emperor.

The town Zhao became part of the state of Jin during the Warring States period, when the Zhou Dynasty began to collapse. In 403 BCE, Jin split into three smaller states, one of which was the state of Zhao. During this period, the common ancestral name Ying (嬴) split into 14 clan names: Lian (廉), Xu (徐), Jiang (江), Qin (秦), Zhao (趙), Huang (黄), Liang (梁), Ma (馬), Ge (葛), Gu (谷), Mou (繆), Zhong (鍾), Fei (費), and Qu (瞿). The Zhao clan rulers of State of Qin and State of Zhao were highly successful, and State of Zhao were one of the last major states conquered by the State of Qin during its unification of China.

As with all ancient Chinese surnames, the Zhao family was constantly added to by marriages, its bestowal upon commoners for meritorious deeds, and its adoption by non-Chinese peoples assimilated into Han Chinese culture. The Zhao name experienced a great revival after Zhao Kuangyin or Jo Gwang-yoon in Korean (조광윤/趙光胤) became the first emperor of the Song Dynasty in 960 CE by utilising the regnal name of Taizu, leading to 300 years of Zhao rule over China. Notably, it is during this dynasty that the famous Hundred Family Surnames – the traditional list of all Chinese surnames – was compiled, leading the surname Zhao, that of the royal house, to be the first name listed. However, some cadet clans on the mainland have genealogy records preserved from the Cultural Revolution as well as some Hata clans of Japan, which could trace back to a significant amount of generations to verify the authenticity of the bloodline.

Based on the 2015 Korean Republic Census - provided by Statistics Korea (통계청/統計廳/Tonggyecheong/KOSTAT), there are 1,055,567 Koreans who bear the surname of Jo. There are about more 200 locality lineages (bon-gwan) of Jo Clan in previous records. However, there are 20 locality lineages of Jo Clan known today. During the reign of King Hyeonjong of Joseon (1641-1674), the intermarriage between Jo Clansmen was prohibited until today. There are twelve known designated clans (본관/本貫) for this clan which are:
  • Jiksan Jo Clan (직산 조씨/稷山趙氏) = Originated from Jiksan-eup, Cheonan Seobuk-gu, Southern Chungcheong Province, ROK
  • PungYang Jo Clan (풍양 조씨/豊壤趙氏) = Originated from Songneung-ri, JinGeon-eup, Namyangju City, Gyeonggi Province, ROK
  • Haman Jo Clan (함안 조씨/咸安趙氏) = Originated from Haman County, Southern Gyeongsang Province, ROK
  • Okcheon Jo Clan (옥천 조씨/玉川趙氏) = Originated from Sunchang County, Northern Jeolla Province, ROK
  • Sunchang Jo Clan (순창 조씨/淳昌趙氏) = Originated from Sunchang County, Northern Jeolla Province, ROK
  • Baecheon Jo Clan (배천 조씨/白川趙氏) = Originated from Baecheon County, Southern Hwanghae Province, DPRK
  • Imcheon Jo Clan (임천 조씨/林川趙氏) = Originated from Imcheon-myeon, Buyeo County, Southern Chungcheong Province, ROK
  • Pyongyang Jo Clan (평양 조씨/平壤趙氏) = Originated from Pyongyang City, DPRK
  • Gimje Jo Clan (김제 조씨/金堤趙氏) = Originated from Gimje City, Northern Jeolla Province, ROK
  • Hanyang Jo Clan (한양 조씨/漢陽趙氏) = Originated from Seoul Special City, ROK
  • Yangju Jo Clan (양주 조씨/楊州趙氏) = Originated from Yangju City, Gyeonggi Province, ROK
  • Sinchang Jo Clan (신창 조씨/新昌趙氏) = Originated from Sinchang-myeon, Asan City, Southern Chungcheong Province, ROK

The Seoul-Hanyang Lineage is the largest twelve, where this lineage consists of 332,580 people and divided into 19 smaller branch clans. Seoul-Hanyang Jo Clan was founded by Jo Ji-soo (조지수/趙之壽) a Goryeo Official who hailed from Yongjin Prefecture, Deokwon Governorate (Present-day: Muncheon and Wonsan Cities in Gangwon Province of DPRK). During the Mongol invasions of Korea, between the 1250s and the 1270s, the Mongols had annexed the northern provinces of Korea and incorporated them into their empire as Ssangseong (쌍성총관부/雙城摠管府) and Dongnyeong  Governorates (동녕부/東寧府). In 1356 (5th Reigning Year of King Gongmin of Goryeo), Jo Don (조돈/趙暾) played an instrumental role to retake these provinces partly thanks to the defection of Yi Ja-chun, a minor Korean official in the service of the Mongols in Ssangseong, his son, Yi Seong-gye (Later King Taejo Yi Seong-gye of Joseon) and Governor of Ssangseong, Jo So-saeng (조소생/趙小生).

The Haman Lineage is the second largest where this lineage consists of 282,890 people and divided into 26 smaller branch clans. Haman Jo Clan was founded by Jo Jeong (조정/趙鼎), one of the founding member of Goryeo Dynasty. Jo Jeong, along with his siblings Jo Bu (조부/趙釜) and Jo Dang (조당/趙唐) migrated from Chinese Tang Dynasty to Silla Kingdom during the turbulent Later Three Kingdoms Period. Jo Jeong who was sided by King Taejo Wang Geon of Goryeo played his role by conquering Gochang County, Northern Jeolla Province in the hands of HuBaekje leader, Gyeon Hwon during the Battle of Gochang in 930 CE.

The PungYang Lineage is the third largest where this lineage consists of 124,262 people and divided into five smaller branch clans. PungYang Jo Clan was founded by Jo Maeng (조맹/趙孟), another founding member of Goryeo Dynasty. This clan was originated from PungYang Prefecture (풍양현/豐壤縣), a prefecture during the Founding Years of Joseon Dynasty which is now known as the towns of JinGeon-eup, Jinjeob-eup and Onam-eup in Namyangju City, Gyeonggi Province. This clan produced most well-known leaders and consorts in Joseon Dynasty such as Jo Hyeon-myeong (조현명/趙顯命; 1690-1752) and Jo In-young (조인영/趙寅永; 1782-1850) as Prime Minister of Joseon Dynasty, Queen Sinjeong (신정왕후/神貞王后; 1809-1890), Consort of Posthumous King Munjo-Ikjong and Queen Hyosun (효순왕후,孝純王后; 1716-1751), Consort of Posthumous King Jinjong.

Before these three major lineages of Jo clan emerge in the contemporary era, the Jiksan Lineage is the oldest lineage among Jo Clan. Jiksan Jo Clan was founded by Jo Seong (조성/趙成), the founding member of Baekje Kingdom, one of the Korean Three Kingdoms. According to the Great Genealogy of Jiksan Jo Clan, Gapja Chapter (직산조씨갑자대동보/稷山趙氏甲子大同譜), Third Son of King Chumo-Dongmyeongseong of Goguryeo, King Onjo of Baekje along with his brother, Prince Biryu moved to south to found their own kingdoms in 18BCE. 

According to the Samguk Yusa, Biryu founded his kingdom in Michuhol (미추홀/彌鄒忽), but his didn't last long. Biryu's people joined Sipje after Biryu's death and Onjo renamed it to Baekje. After that, the capital city of Baekje was moved southward from Habuk Wiryeseong because the Malgal were located at the North and Nangnang was located to the East. Both capital cities correspond to land within current Seoul. In 3 BCE and 8 BCE, the Malgal tribes attacked from the north, and both times, Onjo directly led his armies and won victories over the invaders. In 5 BCE, Onjo moved the capital city to a more defensible location south of the Han River, renaming it Hanam Wiryeseong, and sent a messenger to the king of the Mahan confederacy telling him of the recent action. 

After Mahan Confederacy surrendered to Baekje, Jo Seong became the Lord of GyeongYang (경양군/慶陽君) and later Internal Prince Yeseong (예성부원군/醴城府院君). Then, he became Count of Hanam (하남백/河南伯) due to his service to Baekje Kingdom. The latter descendants of Jo Seong settled down in Jiksan-eup, Cheonan Seobuk-gu, Southern Chungcheong Province and founded Jiksan Jo Clan. Jo Seong's son, Jo Joon-yeon (조준연/趙俊連) and his grandson Jo Ip-chung (조입충/趙立沖) became the Great Generals of Geumo (금오대장군/金吾大將軍) during Baekje's Timeline. At the last count, Jiksan Jo Clan constitutes the smaller number, consists of 4,360 people.

There are two Jo clans which are related to Chinese Song Dynasty, the Baecheon Jo and Imcheon Jo Clans. Baecheon Jo Clan was founded by Zhao Zhirin/Jo Ji-rin (조지린/趙之遴), grandson of Emperor Taizu of Song Dynasty and third son of Zhao Dezhao, also known as Jo Deokso (조덕소/趙德昭), who seeking asylum to Goryeo after the bloody rebellion that occurred in his hometown. He landed at Baecheon County, Southern Hwanghae Province, DPRK in 979CE (4th Reigning Year of King Gyeongjong Wang Joo of Goryeo). Then, he became the magistrate of the village of Dotae-ri during the reign of King Hyeonjong Wang Soon of Goryeo. His son, Jo Yang-yoo (조양유/趙良裕) granted a dukedom as Lord of Baecheon (배천군/白川君) and become as a Goryeo Official during the reign of King Deokjong Wang Heum and King Jeongjong Wang Hyeong. 

The progenitor's tomb is located at Dotae-ri, Unsan-myeon, Yeonbaek County, Southern Hwanghae Province, DPRK. Every October 1st in Lunar Calendar, the Baecheon Jo clansmen gather at Jo Ji-rin's tomb at Dotae-ri to pay tribute for the progenitor of their clan. Baecheon Jo Clan divided into three smaller branch clans which are Duke of Munjeong Branch (문정공파/文貞公派/Munjeong Gongpa), Internal Prince Bukheung Branch (복흥부원군파/復興府院君派/Bukheung-buwongunpa) and Lord of Euncheon Branch (은천군파/銀川君派/Euncheon Gunpa). At the last count, this clan consists of 75,978 people, based on 2015 Korean Republic Census.

Finally, the Imcheon Jo Clan was founded by Zhao Tianhe/Jo Cheon-hyeok (조천혁/趙天赫) whose his original name is Zhao Shoukang/Jo Soo-kang (조수강/趙守康), a Government Official of Song Dynasty. He was fifth son of Zhao Weiji/Jo Yoo-kil (조유길/趙惟吉), Grandson of Zhao Dezhao and great-grandson of Emperor Taizu of Song Dynasty. In 979 (4th Reigning Year of Emperor Taizong of Northern Song Dynasty and King Gyeongjong Wang Joo of Goryeo Dynasty), Zhao Shoukang was routed along with his paternal uncle Zhao Weigu/Jo Yoo-go (조유고/趙惟固) to Imcheon-myeon, Buyeo County, Southern Chungcheong Province which is controlled by Goryeo Dynasty to avoid bloody rebellion that marred in their hometown. After that, Zhao Shoukang changed his name into Zhao Tianhe a.k.a Jo Cheon-hyeok to avoid being detected by Song Dynasty's spies. During the reign of King Hyeonjong Wang Soon, Jo Cheon-hyeok became the Field Marshal of Goryeo Dynasty and participated Goryeo-Khitan Wars along with Field Marshal Inheon Kang Gam-chan. He granted a nobility title, known as Count of Garim (가림백/嘉林伯). At the last count, Imcheon Jo Clan consists of 14,258 people, based on 2015 Korean Republic Census.

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