Koihime Musou Girls and Related Korean Clans, Part XXI: Maeng (맹/孟) - The Descendants of Mencius in Korea

Most dominant: Sinchang Maeng Clan (Asan City, Southern Chungcheong)

Maeng (맹/孟) is an uncommon Korean Surname which means 'eminent and first in series' in Sino-Korean Language, similar to Chinese Meng. The origin of the family name Meng can be traced back to Qingfu of one distinguished family of the State of Lu and Meng Zhi of one distinguished family of the State of Wei, both in the Spring and Autumn Period (772-481 BCE). They were both descendents of the surname Ji.

After the founding of the Western Zhou (c. 1100-771 BCE), the Duke of Zhou, son of King Wen of Zhou and younger brother of King Wu of Zhou, was granted Lu as his feudatory and established the State of Lu. Later after internal unrests broke out in the State of Lu, Qingfu, son of the Duke Xiang of Lu took power but was exiled and escaped to the State of Ju. The offspring of Qingfu returned to the State of Lu after the situation there stabilized and were given the title of "minister" and the hereditary post of minister of works of the State of Lu and the surname Meng or Mengsun was conferred on them.

The other branch of the surname Meng were from the State of Wei in the Spring and Autumn Period (772-481 BCE). The State of Wei was established by Kang Shu, a younger brother of the King Wu of Zhou, who was also of Ji family. According to historical records, Duke Ling of Wei had an elder brother Meng Zhi and the children of Meng Zhi thus took Meng as their family name. It is also recorded on the pedigree of Meng families that Duke Ling of Wei had a son called Gong Meng, whose offspring later picked Gongmeng as their surname, and then Meng for short.

Since North Song Dynasty (960-1127), as the status of Mencius (372-289 BCE) was improved, the families of Meng started to expanded in population and mainly lived in then "Pingchang" and "Wuwei". Mencius, also known as Maeng Ga in Korean (Hangul/Hanja: 맹가/孟軻) is the progenitor of Sinchang Maeng Clan (신창 맹씨/新昌孟氏), a clan which is originated from the Commune of Sinchang-myeon, Asan City, Southern Chungcheong Province.

Based on the 2015 Korean Republic Census - provided by Statistics Korea (통계청/統計廳/Tonggyecheong/KOSTAT), there are 22,028 people who bear the surname of Maeng, mostly originated from Sinchang Maeng Clan. Hence, this clan is placed at 87th place in Korean Surnames List.

Maeng Seung-hoon (맹승훈/孟承訓), the 39th Generation-Descendant of Mencius migrated to Silla Dynasty in 888 - 2nd Reigning Year of Queen Jinseong Kim Won from his hometown, Chinese Tang Dynasty and became a scholar in the turbulent Later Three Kingdoms Period. Maeng Ui (맹의/孟儀), Count of Sinchang (신창백/新昌伯) who was the 51st Generation-Descendant of Mencius designated Sinchang Prefecture (신창현/新昌縣) as the ancestral seat of Maeng Clan during the reign of King Chungseon Wang Jang (1275-1325), 26th monarch of Goryeo Dynasty.

The most notable clansman is Maeng Sa-seong (맹사성/孟思誠; 1360-1438), a government official who served Goryeo Dynasty during its final days and Joseon Dynasty since the foundation of that dynasty by King Taejo Yi Seong-gye. He became the Prime Minister of Joseon Dynasty, outlived First Three Kings of Joseon Dynasty: Taejo Yi Seong-gye, Jeongjong Yi Bang-gwa and Taejong Yi Bang-won. He died in the 20th Reigning Year of King Sejong the Great (1438).

Maeng Sa-seong is a major figure in Cheonbaek-ri and was a prime minister during the early years of the Joseon Dynasty. His house is the oldest private residence in Korea, and was originally General Choi Yeong’s home, before he turned it over to his grandson-in-law, Maeng Sa-seong. The simple residence with digeut (ㄷ) shape layout has two 600-year-old gingko trees in the yard. Therefore it has been named ‘Haengdan’, meaning that Confucius taught on top of the gingko tree symbolizing a place of learning. For that reason it is inferred that Maeng Sa-seong intentionally planted gingko trees in the yard and taught junior scholars. His mansion at 25 Haengdan Alley/Haengdan-gil, Jung-ri 300-beonji, Baebang-eup, Asan City, Southern Chungcheong Province becomes the main clanhouse of Sinchang Maeng Clan, known as Asan Maeng Clan House (아산 맹씨 행단/牙山孟氏杏壇/Asan Maeng-ssi Haengdan) was designated as Korean Republic Historical Site No. 109 on January 21st 1963.

The clan is divided further into three branches with the 7th Generation-Descendants of Maeng Ui - Maeng Seok-heum (맹석흠/孟碩欽), Maeng Seok-kyung (맹석경/孟碩卿) and Maeng Seok-joon (맹석준/孟碩俊) made their branch lineages. Branches of Sinchang Maeng clan are shown on below:
  • Maeng Seok-heum = Lord of Sinchang Branch (신창군파/新昌君派) 
  • Maeng Seok-kyung = Duke of Sajik Branch (사직공파/司直公派)
  • Maeng Seok-joon = Duke of Hogun Branch (호군공파/護軍公派)

Maeng Seok-heum (1429-year of death unknown) is the great-grandson of Maeng Sa-seong and son of Maeng Kye-jeung (맹계증/孟繼曾). He was the leader of Chungcheong Province Cavalry Unit during the reign of King Sejo and King Seongjong Yi Hyeol of Joseon and granted his knighthood as Lord of Sinchang (신창군/新昌君). In prior to his appointment as cavalry unit leader, he made his mansion at present-day Seongnam Bundang-gu, Gyeonggi Province. The ownership of the mansion was transferred to his son, Maeng Moon-in (맹문인/孟門人) who became the Governor of Namyang Governorate. The latter descendants of Maeng Seok-heum made this mansion into clanhouse of Maeng Clan. Even though the death of Maeng Seok-heum was not recorded, it is believed that the grave of military leader is located at Hyeongje Peak, at the slopes of Mount Bulgok, Bundang-dong, Seongnam Bundang-gu.

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