Jeongjo of Joseon bigraphy, stories - Ruler of Joseon

Jeongjo of Joseon : biography

22 September 1752 - 28 June 1800
This article is about the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea, born as Yi San (r. 1776-1800). For the 2007 South Korean historical drama, see Yi San: Wind of the Palace.


[[Hwaseong Fortress.]] King Jeongjo (28 October 1752 – 18 August 1800) was the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea (r. 1776-1800). He made various attempts to reform and improve the nation of Joseon. He was preceded by his grandfather King Yeongjo (r. 1724–1776) and succeeded by his son King Sunjo (r. 1800–1834). Along with King Sejong, Jeongjo is widely regarded as one of the most successful and visionary rulers of the Joseon Dynasty.

Early life

Born as Yi San, he was the son of Crown Prince Sado (who was put to death by his own father, King Yeongjo) and Lady Hyegyeong (who wrote an autobiography, The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyeong detailing her life as the ill-fated Crown Princess of Joseon). Lady Hyegyeong's collection of memoirs serves as a significant source of historical information on the political happenings during the reigns of King Yeongjo (her father-in-law), King Jeongjo (her son), and King Sunjo (her grandson).

When he was the Crown Prince, King Jeongjo met Hong Guk-yeongDigital Korean studies (Korean site) (홍국영, 洪國榮; Westernized spelling also as Hong Gook Young), a controversial politician who first strongly supported Jeongjo's accession and toiled to improve the king's power, but ended up being expelled because of his desire for power.

Jeongjo spent much of his reign trying to clear his father's name. He also moved the court to the city of Suwon to be closer to his father's grave. He built Hwaseong Fortress to guard the tomb. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Portrayal in works of media

Jeongjo portrayed in modern films and TV dramas:

  • Played by Kim Yong-gun in 500 Years of Joseon Dynasty: Pa Mun – a 1989 TV series.
  • Played by Jung Jae-gon in Hong Guk-yeong – a 2001 TV series about Hong Guk-yeong, Jeongjo's right hand.
  • Played by Lee Seo-jin in Yi San – a 2007 TV series concerned primarily with Jeongjo's life story and a fictionalized account of his relationship with the Lady Ui.
  • Played by Ahn Nae-sang in Conspiracy in the Court (also known as Seoul's Sad Song) – a 2007 TV series that evolves from a mystery thriller into a court intrigue surrounding the king and his conservative ministers.
  • Played by Kim Sang-joong in Eight Days, Assassination Attempts against King Jeongjo (also known simply as Eight Days) – a 2007 cable TV series depicting the mysterious events that surrounded Jeongjo when he traveled to the completed site of Hwaseong, where he planned to move the nation's capital.
  • Played by Bae Soo-bin in Painter of the Wind – a 2008 TV series about the painters Shin Yun-bok and Kim Hong-do, adapted from Lee Jeong-myeong's novel of the same title.
  • Played by Han Myeong-goo in Portrait of a Beauty – a 2008 film adaptation of the novel Painter of the Wind by Lee Jeong-myeong.
  • Played by Jo Sung-ha in Sungkyunkwan Scandal – a 2010 TV series about a female who enters Sungkyunkwan University during Jeongjo's reign in a time when women were not allowed to enter the school under penalty of beheading if caught.
  • Played by Hong Jong-hyun in Warrior Baek Dong-soo – a 2011 TV series about the life of Jeongjo's bodyguard Baek Dong-soo.
  • Played by Hyun Bin in The King's Wrath – a 2014 film.
  • IMmvp (StarCraft 2 Progamer) – one of the Korean StarCraft 2 GSL winners, he's also known on the Korean ladder (his unofficial nickname) as King JJ

Full posthumous name

  • King Jeongjo Gyeongcheon Myeongdo Hongdeok Hyeonmo Munseong Muryeol Seongin Janghyo the Great of Korea
  • 정조경천명도홍덕현모문성무렬성인장효대왕
  • 正祖敬天明道洪德顯謨文成武烈聖仁莊孝大王
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