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International Journal of Korean History > Volume 28(1); 2023 > Article
통일기 신라의 전라남도 지역 대외항로


본 논문은 신라가 오늘날 전라남도 지역에 설치・운용했던 대외항로들을 검토함으로써, 신라사에 있어 변방으로만 인식되었던 이 지역이 해양 교류에 있어서는 중요한 역할을 담당하였음을 밝힌 연구의 결과물이다. 신라는 7세기 후반 삼국통일전쟁 과정에서 오늘날 전라남도 지역으로 처음 진출한 이후, 대탐라 연륙항로, 당-일본 연계항로, 대당 황해 사단항로 등 세 종류의 대외항로를 설치・운용하였다. 먼저 강진 지방과 제주도 북부 지방을 연결하는 대탐라 연륙항로는 신라 중대 초반에 개설되었는데, 양국은 이 항로를 이용하여 공식적인 교류를 전개하였다. 그리고, 9세기 전반에는 장보고 세력이 완도 지방을 중심으로 당-일본 연계항로를 새롭게 개설하여 활발하게 운용하였다. 비록 이 항로는 약 20여 년 가량의 짧은 기간 동안에 집중적으로 이용되었으나, 신라의 어느 대외항로보다도 밀도 있게 운용되면서 9세기 전반 동북아시아의 인적・물적 교류에 크게 이바지하였다. 마지막으로 9세기 후반~10세기 초반에는 중국 강남 지역까지 사단으로 황해를 단숨에 건너가는 신항로, 즉 황해 사단항로가 회진 지방을 중심으로 본격 운용되기도 하였다.


This study analyzes the international routes that Silla established and operated in the area that corresponds to current-day South Chŏlla Province, and it reveals that this region, which is commonly regarded as a peripherical area in Silla history, played an important role in the history of sea exchanges. Silla first entered South Chŏlla Province in the late 7th century, during the war for the unification of the Three Kingdoms, and it opened and utilized three types of international routes: the T’amna Coastal Route, the Tang-Japan Linked Route, and the Tang Yellow Sea Slant Route. Firstly, the T’amna Coastal Route, which connects the Kangjin region to the northern region of Cheju Island, was established in the early days of the Middle Silla period, and the two countries used this route to conduct official exchanges. Then, in the first half of the 9th century, Chang Pogo established and operated a new Tang-Japan Linked Route in the Wando region. Although this route was only operated for a short period of about twenty years, it was utilized more densely than any other international route in Silla, contributing greatly to the human and material exchanges in Northeast Asia in the first half of the 9th century. Lastly, in the late 9th and early 10th centuries, a new route that crossed the Yellow Sea and reached the Jiangnan region in China, called the Yellow Sea Slant Route, was actively operated around the Hoejin region.


Silla first entered the region that is present-day South Chŏlla Province in the late 7th century, during the war for the unification of the Three Kingdoms. The area officially became a territory of Silla during the Silla–Tang War, and a province called Mujin-ju was established around present-day Kwang-ju in 686 under the reign of King Shinmun, and it was later renamed Mu-ju during the reign of King Kyŏngdŏk.1 In Silla history, Southern Chŏlla was normally considered a border area, far removed from the center of Silla.
However, when it comes to the exchanges that occurred through sea routes, South Chŏlla Province deserves to be acknowledged as an important region that played a pivotal role in Silla’s foreign exchanges. The T’amna Coastal Route (Taet’amna yŏllyuk hangno), created for the sake of exchanges between T’amna and the Kangjin region, was opened from the beginning of the Middle Period (中代) and continued to operate until the Late Period (下代). In addition, amidst the changes of the paradigms of trade in East Asia, Chang Pogo’s forces in the Ch’ŏnghae garrison in Wando opened and operated a route that connected Tang and Japan, controlling the human and material exchanges among Tang, Silla, and Japan. Also, the South Chŏlla Province was the starting point of the Yellow Sea Sailing Route, which directly connected the Korean peninsula to the Jiangnan region in China and played a leading role in creating, using, and developing this route.
This paper conducts a general review of the external routes established and operated by the Silla Dynasty in the South Chŏlla Province. Through this analysis, it re-evaluates the role and status of South Chŏlla Province in the history of seaborne cultural exchanges during the Silla Dynasty.

The Coastal Route to T’amna and Kangjin

T’amnaguk, or Kingdom of T’amna, was an insular country located on present-day Cheju Island. Silla began negotiations with T’amna in the late 7th century when it entered South Chŏlla Province. The following historical record A is a passage from the Samguk Sagi, which records the first official negotiations between Silla and T’amna.
A. (Second Month, 662) Chwap’yŏng Todongŭmnyul, the ruler of T’amna (耽羅國主), came and surrendered. Chwap’yŏng had been the title for T’amna’s government officers since T’amna became Paekche’s subordinate during the Era of Wude (618–621). On this year, T’amna became a vassal country.2
According to this record, Todongŭmnyul, the ruler of the T’amna Kingdom, visited Silla during the second month of 662 and surrendered. Then, T’amna became a vassal state of Silla. On that occasion, the record explained that he was using chwap’yŏng, the first of the sixteen ranks in Paekche’s official ranks system, as his official title because T’amna had been subordinated to Paekche since the first year of Wude of Tang Dynasty (618–621).
However, the relationship between Paekche and T’amna is older than what historical record A seems to suggest. According to the “Annals of Paekche (百濟本紀)” of the Samguk Sagi, T’amna dispatched an envoy to Paekche in 476 to present tribute, and King Munju of Paekche conferred T’amna’s envoy the third official rank, Ŭnsol.3 Also, King Tongsŏng of Paekche said that T’amna Kingdom did not offer tribute in 498, so he personally led an army to subjugate Mujinju and only stopped when T’amna sent an envoy to plead guilty.4 Reflecting this relationship between the two countries, the Biography of Paekche in the History of the Northern Dynasties (北史; Beishi) mentioned the kingdom of T’amna and recorded that it was subordinated to Paekche.5
Meanwhile, in 660, Paekche was destroyed by the Tang-Silla allied forces, and Tang reorganized Paekche’s territory into five todokbu (area commands), 37 ju (provinces) and 250 hyŏn (prefectures),6 and implemented a system of subordinated prefectures (kimi system). Paekche survivors staged revival movements in various places to resist but it became difficult to achieve their goal due to the strong suppression of the Silla-Tang allied forces. Amid the rapidly changing situation in the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula, T’amna also attempted to change its diplomatic alliance.
First, in the eighth month of 661, an envoy was dispatched to Tang to offer tribute.7 As historical record A shows, during the second month of the following year in 662, the ruler of T’amna personally visited Silla, surrendered, and asked for T’amna to become a vassal country of the Silla Kingdom. After the collapse of Paekche, which had been closely related to T’amna for nearly 200 years, T’amna’s move can be seen as a diplomatic response to ensure the safety of the kingdom from Tang and Silla and to secure the trade routes necessary for its survival.8
However, not long after T’amna had sworn loyalty to Silla, their diplomatic conciliatory line was abruptly abandoned in favor of supporting the army behind the Paekche Revival Movement. The fact that the command of the Paekche Revival Movement Army and the envoy of T’amna were together during the Battle of Paek River in 6639 proves that T’amna supported the Paekche Revival Movement at that time.10 Afterwards, Silla, which had completely ousted Tang troops from the Korean Peninsula after the Silla-Tang War, dispatched envoys to T’amna in 679 to invade the country and restore their former suzerain-subordinate relationship.11 The suzerain-subordinate relationship between Silla and T’amna lasted until the late Silla Dynasty but naturally disappeared when the Later Three Kingdoms were established in the early 10th century12 and Silla’s control beyond the capital and its surroundings weakened.
Meanwhile, since T’amna was an insular country, Silla had to cross the sea using ships to trade with T’amna. It is believed that in order to do so, the two countries used the Coastal Route (yŏllyuk hangno 連 陸航路), which was the safe and efficient sea routes people of T’amna had used to interact with the mainland since prehistoric times. Regarding the Coastal Route used by Silla and T’amna, it is necessary to examine the following record B.
B-1. Usually, when traveling to T’amna, the boat would depart from Naju and arrive at Ch’ujado Island in seven days and nights after passing through Taegulp’o in Muan, Hwamuji and Wado in Yŏngam, and Ŏran’yang in Haenam.
When departing from Samjaep’o in Haenam, T’amna can be reached traveling through Kŏyoryang and Samnae Islands; and when departing from Kunyŏngp’o Port in T’amjin, the route goes through the Samnae Islands, Koja Island, Hwangi Island, and Nosŭl Island, arriving at Ch’uja Island in three days and nights. All three routes to Cheju pass through these islands, Sasŏ Island, Taehwat’al Island, and Sohwat’al Island, and reach Cheju’s Aewolp’o Port or Choch’ŏn’gwan. However, since the area between Taehwat’al Island and Sohwat’al Island where two water streams intersect and flow is a rough place with strong waves, it is a very dangerous point for those using this sea route.13
B-2. Originally, T’amjin-hyŏn(district) was Tongŭm-hyŏn of Paekche, but King Kyŏngdŏk changed its name. It is still used today (during the Koryŏ Dynasty).14
B-1 contains records related to the routes to Cheju during the 15th century, which are listed as footnotes in the T’amna section of the Geography books in the Koryŏsa (History of Koryŏ). According to these records, the departure points for the route to Cheju in the early Chosŏn Dynasty were Naju, Haenam, and T’amjin, all of which are in present-day South Chŏlla Province. It is said that all ships departing from there passed through Ch’uja Island and reached Aewŏlp’o or Choch’ŏn’gwan, which were located on the northern coast of Cheju Island. In other words, they are an explanation of the Coastal Route that connects the South Chŏlla Province, Ch’uja Island, and northern Cheju Island.15
Historical record B-2 comes from the “Geography book” of the Samguk Sagi, and it contains the information that King Kyŏngdŏk of Silla renamed the Paekche district called Tongŭm to T’amjin. “T’amjin” refers to the port (Chin/Jin) through which people traveled to and from T’amna (T’am) and its location corresponds to present-day Kangjin in South Chŏlla Province.16 T’amjin also appears as one of the three regions of South Chŏlla Province mentioned in record B-1 from which people used to depart to travel to Cheju Island. Therefore, the Kangjin area was a port of entry and departure for the coastal route of T’amna and it was used to travel to and from Cheju Island not only during the Chosŏn Dynasty but also during the Silla Dynasty.17

The Tang-Japan Linked Route and Wando

After An Lushan’s Rebellion (755–763), the military governors gathered their own forces and began to challenge the central government in Tang. By taking control of all the fiscal, military, and administrative powers in the frontier defense commands they administered they were able to establish virtually independent kingdoms.18 It became difficult for Tang to maintain its status as the empire that unified China. On the other hand, the Jiangnan (江南; the southern part of Yangtze) area, especially Yangzhou at the mouth of the Yangtze River, and Mingzhou and Hangzhou at the mouth of the Zhejiang River, grew into the main international trade ports of Tang. As a result, the imperial family started to take interest in the Jiangnan area in search of a new economic route, and merchants from all the countries active in the Yellow Sea gathered in Jiangnan. It was at this point that private trade between countries, which was previously strictly controlled in East Asia, gradually started to flourish.
In this atmosphere, a new type of trading route was formed in South Chŏlla Province during the first half of the 9th century. An international route connecting Tang and Japan based on the Ch’ŏnghae Garrison, which was located in the present-day Wando area, was established. The person who opened and operated this route was Chang Pogo, the commissioner-in-chief of the Ch’ŏnghae Garrison.19
C-1. The last name of the Ch’ŏnghae commissioner-in-chief Kungbok is Chang (also known as Pogo). He crossed over to Xuzhou in Tang where he risen to the rank of junior officer (xiaojang). After coming back, he met the king and later he established a garrison in Ch’ŏnghae with 10,000 soldiers. [Today (Koryŏ Dynasty) Ch’ŏnghae is called Wando]20
C-2. Later, when Chang Pogo returned to his homeland, he met King Hŭngdŏk and told him, “When I was in China, I looked everywhere and I saw that they were using our Silla people as slaves. I ask your permission to set up a camp in Ch’ŏnghae to stop pirates from catching and dragging our people to Tang.” Ch’ŏnghae was an important point on the Silla Sea Road, and it is now (under Koryŏ) called Wando. The king gave Chang Pogo 10,000 soldiers, and since then no more Silla people were sold through the sea.21
The historical records C-1 and C-2 are passages from the Samguk Sagi narrates the events after Chang Pogo’s return from Tang in 828 when he created the Ch’ŏnghae Garrison under the order of King Hŭngdŏk. In these records, he was called either Kungbok or Chang Pogo,22 but he was also called Kungp’a in certain records.23 Originally, he was called Kungbok without any surname. But when he went to China and needed a surname, it is believed that he used Chang (張), similar to the word “kung (弓)” as his surname, and the sound of his first name “bok (福)” was divided into two characters to form the name “Pogo (保皐)” or “Pogo (寶高).”24 There is no remaining record of Chang Pogo’s family or hometown so they are not known in detail.25
In the early 9th century, Chang Pogo moved to Tang and rose to the rank of Junior Officer (xiaojang) of the Wuning Army in Xuzhou where he achieved military fame through the suppression of Li Shidao, who was the military governor of Ping Lu and led a strong anti-Tang rebellion in Shandong. After he retired from military service, he organized a community of Silla people living in Tang based in Shandong, and he started to promote international maritime trade to connect Tang, Silla, and Japan. However, at that time, the maritime trade on the Yellow Sea that surrounded the Shandong Peninsula faced great difficulties due to piracy. Taking advantage of the absence of a strong force that could control the area, several pirate groups had appeared in the Yellow Sea. They did not only attack ships and looted goods, but also kidnapped Silla people and sold them in Tang as slaves. For this reason, Chang Pogo returned to Silla and, according to record C-1, he was granted permission to install the Ch’ŏnghae Garrison by King Hŭngdŏk in April 828. His justification, as shown in record C-2, was to protect the Silla people by wiping out the pirates from the Yellow Sea. As a result, Chang Pogo’s Ch’ŏnghae Garrison was established in Wando and the pirates who had appeared in the Yellow Sea disappeared, while the looting and the trading of Silla people as slaves were eradicated.
As a result of these events, Chang Pogo built a central base for international maritime trade that connected Tang, Silla, and Japan. It was called Ch’ŏnghae Garrison, in present-day Wando, and exclusively operated a sea route that connected Tang and Japan. Tang’s port of entry and departure for Chang Pogo’s fleet was Chishanpu in Wendeng District, located in Rongcheng city in today’s Shandong, China.26 Chang Pogo built Lotus Sutra Buddhist Monastery (法華院) in this area and used it to unite the Silla people living in Tang. The temple also served as a bridgehead for the trade between Silla and Tang. On the other hand, the Japanese port of entry and departure for Chang Pogo’s fleet was the city of Hakata in the ancient state of Chikuzen, located in present-day Fukuoka in Kyushu.27
Chang Pogo was involved in a political dispute in Silla and was killed in the ninth month of 841.28 In addition, the Silla Dynasty completely eradicated Chang Pogo’s influence by abolishing the Ch’ŏnghae Garrison in 851 and reorganizing the people there under the Pyŏkkol commandery. As a result, the route linking Tang and Japan in South Chŏlla Province, which was opened with the establishment of Ch’ŏnghae Garrison in 828, gradually disappeared after being used for 20 years.
D. At noon on the second day of the ninth month, we sailed from Jŏksanp’o. We left Makyagu and went east, traveling day and night. At dawn on the third day, looking towards east we saw the western mountains of Silla in the distance. The wind changed and started blowing north, and we traveled southeast for a day and for a night.
At the dawn of the fourth day of the voyage, when we headed east, we saw mountainous islands, all connected like an unbroken line. When I asked the boatmans, they said, “That is the western boundary of Ungju, the western border of the Silla kingdom.” (...) We headed southeast all day. Mountainous islands continued to appear to the east and to the west. At around the tenth hour of the evening, we arrived at Koi Island and set anchor. This island belongs to the southwestern border of Muju. About 100 ri to its northwest there is Hŭksan Island. (...) Around the sixth hour on the morning of the sixth day, we reached the southern border of Muju province and set anchor. This island is also called Kuch’o Island. (...) This is the place where the third Minister of Silla pastured horses. Mountainous islands connect Koi Island to Kuch’o Island, and T’amna Island can also be seen in the distance if you look southeast. Kuch’o Island can be reached from Silla within a day if the wind is good. (...) On the eight days (...) we arrived at An Island around the tenth hour of the morning and rested for a while. Here there was a mountain where the families of the southern border of Silla raised their horses, and towards the East there was an estate of the Hwangnyongsa, with two or three private houses. To the southwest, T’amna Island could be seen in the distance. (...) From the Southeast of the Silla Kingdom, we headed towards the open sea. (...) At dawn on the tenth day, we could see Tsushima Island in the distance toward the east. Around noon, we saw the mountains of our home country ahead. (...) In the evening, we had arrived at the northern border of Matsūra-gun in Hizen and set anchor in Kashima Island.29
Record D contains a part of the Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law (Nittō guhō junrei kōki), the diary of a Japanese Buddhist monk of the Tiantai sect. Ennin returned to his home country in 847 after completing his Buddhist studies in Tang. According to record D, Ennin and his travel companions departed from Chŏksanp’o at noon on September 2nd, sailed a day and a half to the east and reached the point where they could see the western coast of Silla. As they moved southeast again, they were able to see the western coast and islands of Silla. From there, they traveled southwest for another day and anchored in Koi Island, which is believed to be today’s Haŭi Island in South Chŏlla. On September 6th, they reached Hwangmo Island or Kuch’o Island, which are believed to be present-day Kŏch’a Islands, located outside current Chindo County, and then passed through An Island, which is located around present-day Wando. They then entered Japanese waters via Tsushima Island on the tenth day of the ninth month.30 Through this route, Ennin departed from the Shandong Peninsula and arrived at Koi Island near Muju, Silla, three days later, and then reached Japanese waters four days after departing from Kuch’o Island (Picture 2). It is believed that Ennin’s return route was not much different from the route established by the Chang Pogo fleet and centered on the Ch’ŏnghae Garrison, which connected Tang to Japan.31

The Yellow Sea Slant Route to Tang and Naju

As mentioned in Chapter 3, private trade between countries, which had previously been strictly controlled, flourished in East Asia from the late 8th century. The most active leaders of maritime trade between Tang, Silla, and Japan in East Asia were Silla merchants. These merchants, led by Chang Pogo’s example, sought to maximize profits by quickly trading goods they had acquired from the trading cities in the Jiangnan area, such as Yangzhou, Mingzhou, and Hangzhou, to Silla and Japan.
During the first half of the 7th century, Silla and Tang opened the Yellow Sea Transversal Route (Hwanghae hoengdan hangno),32 which ran directly across the Yellow Sea starting from the southwestern tip of current Hwanghae Province to China’s Shandong Peninsula. Since then, the route was continuously used for official visits by envoys from the two countries. In the first half of the 9th century, Silla merchants also used this route, which guaranteed safe navigation. However, in order to travel to and from the Tang’s Jiangnan area, which had emerged as a new center as a consequence of the Yellow Sea Transversal Route, they had to endure the inconvenience of going back and forth between the west coast of the Korean Peninsula and the east coast of China. To overcome this obstacle, Silla merchants opened a new route, the Yellow Sea Slant Route (Hwanghae sadan hangno), which was a new route that obliquely connected the South Chŏlla Province to Tang’s Yangtze River or the estuary of Zhejiang River.33
According to the Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law (入唐求法巡禮行記, Nittō guhō junrei kōki), in 839 the Japanese envoys, while discussing the best way to return to Japan, considered departing from Mingzhou and the Yangtze River and heading to Silla.34 They were referring to the Yellow Sea Slant Route opened by Silla in the first half of the 9th century. Also, in 896, when Buddhist Great Master Iŏm traveled to Tang on the boat of the envoy Ch’oe Yehŭi, after only a few days of navigation with good wind35 he arrived in Yinjiang, which is present-day Ningbo in Zhejiang Province.36 It is said the Great Master Kŭngyang also sailed south on a large boat headed to China and reached the boundary of the Jianghuai region in two to three days.37 The two monks were able to arrive in the Jiangnan region in a few days after departing from Silla because their ship had followed the Yellow Sea Slant Route.38
Table 1 above shows the destination of the Buddhist monks who returned to Silla after completing their studies in China at the end of the Silla dynasty period. According to the data, Great Master Sŏn’gak (Hyŏngmi, 864–917) returned to Hoejin in Muju in 905, Great Master Pŏpkyŏng (Kyŏngyu, 871–921) returned to Hoejin in Muju in 908, Great Master Taegyŏng (Yŏŏm, 862–930) returned to Sŭngp’yŏng in Muju in 909, and Great Master Chinch’ŏl (Iŏm, 870–936) returned to Hoejin in Naju in 911. On the other side, the Great Master Tongjin (Kyŏngbo, 868–947) arrived to Chŏnju in Imp’i commandery in 921, Great Master Wŏnjong (Ch’anyu, 869–958) arrived in Kangju through Tŏganp’o in the same year, and Great Master Chŏngjin (Kŭngyang, 878–956) arrived in Chŏnju through Hŭian district in 924. Their mainland destinations such as Muju, Naju, Chŏnju, and Kangju were all concentrated in the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula. This was because they returned to Silla using the Yellow Sea Slant Route after their travels in Jiangnan, China.39
Great Master Sŏn’gak, Pŏpkyŏng, Taegyŏng, and Chinch’ŏl all returned to present-day South Chŏlla, and three of them concluded their journey in Hoejin. This suggests that Hoejin played an important role as a port of entry and departure for the Yellow Sea Slant Route which had been opened after the 9th century.40 Hoejin District was originally Tuhil District under Paekche rule, but it was renamed by King Kyŏngdŏk after it was annexed into the territory of Silla41 and is located in present-day Pog’am-li and Hoejil-li, Tashi-myŏn, in the city of Naju, South Chŏlla Province.42
The details of the section of the Yellow Sea Slant Route that led to Tang during the Late Silla Period are unknown because no specific records remain. However, it is worth noting that the Yellow Sea Slant Route was recorded in very specific detail in the record of the early 12th century Xuānhwafengshi Gaolitujing by Xu Jing.43 The specific stops of the Yellow Sea Slant Route used by the Song envoys in 1123 are summarized in order of date and listed as follows.44
In 1123:
Departed from Mingzhou (Ningbo), Dinghai-xian on Fifth month, 24th day. (Volume 34, Haidao1)
Anchored in Meicen (Mount Putuo), waiting for the wind on Fifth month, 26th day. (Volume 34, Haidao1)
Departed from Meicen (Mount Putuo), on Fifth month, 28th day. (Volume 34, Haidao1)
Passing by Hŭksando Island on Sixth month, 3rd day. (Volume 35, Haidao2)
Anchored in Chuk (Wi Island) on Sixth month, 4th day. (Volume 36, Haidao 3)
Anchored in Bian Island on Sixth month, 5th day. (Volume 36, Haidao 3)
Anchored in Kunsan (Sŏnyu Island) on Sixth month, 6th day. (Volume 36, Haidao 3)
Anchored in Hoengsŏ (Munyŏ Island) on Sixth month, 7th day. (Volume 36, Haidao 3)
Anchored at Ma (Shinjin Island) on Sixth month, 8th day. (Volume 37, Haidao 4)
Anchored at Chayŏn (Yŏngjong Island) on Sixth month, 9th day. (Volume 39, Haidao 6)
Anchored at Hapkul (Kanghwa Island Wŏlgot), on Sixth month, 10th day. (Volume 39, Haidao 6)
Anchored at Yonggol (Kaep’unggun Poryŏnggot) on Sixth month 11th day. (Volume 39, Haidao 6)
Entered into Ryesŏnggang Port on Sixth month, 12th day. (Volume 39, Haidao 6)
According to this, Xu Jing’s envoy, who had left Song’s capital Kaifeng on Fifth month 14, 1123, arrived in Mingzhou, which is present-day Ningbo in Zhejiang Province, China, on Fifth month, 4th day. After completing their final preparations for the voyage, they departed from Mingzhou’s Dinghai-xian on Fifth month, 24th. day. After waiting for two days for a fair wind in Meicen, today’s Mount Putuo in Zhōushān Islands in Zhejiang, China, on Fifth month, 28th day, they followed the Yellow Sea Slant Route towards Koryŏ. After sailing across the Yellow Sea for five days, Xu Jing’s ship reached Hŭksan Island in Koryŏ on Sixth month 3rd day, headed north along the west coast of the Korean Peninsula for nine days, and finally entered Pyŏngnan port, an outer port of the Koryŏ capital Kaegyŏng, on Sixth month, 12th day. Picture 2 below shows the route they followed on the map.
Among these routes, the route that started from Ningbo, the base at the estuary of Zhejiang River, and reached Hŭksan Island was probably not much different from the Yellow Sea Slant Route used in the Late Silla period. In particular, Hŭksan Island is commonly mentioned in historical records as a port of the Yellow Sea Slant Route during ancient and medieval history, and it can be seen that Hŭksan Island’s status on this route was very high.45 However, since in the Late Silla period the entry and exit port of the Yellow Sea Slant Route on Silla’s side was Naju in present-day Southern Chŏlla Province, we believe that instead of heading north along the west coast from Hŭksan Island like the group of envoys from Song had done to reach Kaegyŏng, travelers more likely headed east until they reached the mouth of the Yŏngsan’gang River, and then navigated up the river towards Hoejin.


During the mid to late Silla period, the South Chŏlla Province had three types of external routes: the T’amna Coastal Route, the Tang-Japan Sea Route, and the Tang Yellow Sea Slant Route. First, the T’amna Coastal Route, which connects Kangjin and northern Cheju Island, was opened during the early days of the Silla Dynasty. Using this route, T’amna’s rulers and envoys could enter the Kangjin area in South Chŏlla Province and reach the royal palace of Silla through land routes.46 On the other hand, Silla’s envoys would have traveled by land to Kangjin in South Chŏlla Province, and then boarded a ship and crossed to T’amna using this route. Meanwhile, a new Tang-Japan Sea Route with Ch’ŏnghae garrison as its center was opened and used in the first half of the 9th century. Although this route was only temporarily used and disappeared after a short period of 20 years, it was operated more frequently than any other foreign route during the Silla Dynasty, vastly contributing to human and material exchanges in Northeast Asia during the first half of the 9th century. In addition, in the late 9th century and early 10th century, which marked the end of the Silla Dynasty, a new route that crossed the Yellow Sea to connect it to the Jiangnan area in China, the Yellow Sea Slant Route, was opened.
In terms of the number of foreign routes, Muju, which corresponds to present-day’s South Chŏlla Province, had more foreign routes than any other province in Silla. For example, Hanju only had one official route that starting from Tangŭnp’o crossed the Yellow Sea to reach Dengzhou, connecting Silla to Tang. Kangju also operated one route to Japan that crossed the Straits of Korea to reach Hakata, Japan, and Myŏngju also operated one route across the East Sea to Usan Kingdom. Of course, Muju was also given the task of operating and managing the route to the T’amna Coastal Route that connected T’amna to the center of Silla. However, the South Chŏlla Province had not stopped there, and using its geopolitical position in the ancient Northeast Asia as the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula, it had also expanded its own international routes by opening the Tang-Japan Route and the Yellow Sea Slant Route.
Silla merchants, with Chang Pogo as their representative leader, opened the safest and most efficient route that could connect Tang, Silla, and Japan, with Ch’ŏnghae Garrison in South Chŏlla Province as their base. And through this route, goods from not only Tang, but also the West, Southeast Asia, and the Islamic countries were distributed to Silla and Japan, meaning that the Tang-Japan-Route in South Chŏlla Province played a historical role as an extension of the then main world route, the Southern Sea Route. In addition, by overcoming the old restrictions of the marine environment and ancient navigation technique, a new route, the Yellow Sea Slant Route, was opened in South Chŏlla Province and it was expanded to the the Chŏnbuk and Kyŏngnam areas. Considering all these facts, South Chŏlla Province can be regarded as a region that led maritime cultural exchanges during the mid-to late Silla period.


Samguk Sagi 36, Monograph 5, Geography 3, Silla Mu-chu, “本百濟地 神文王 六年爲武珍州 景徳王攺爲武州 今光州”.

Samguk Sagi 6, Annals of Silla 6, the 2nd year of King Munmu, Second Month. “耽羅國主佐平徒冬音律來降 耽羅自武德以來 臣屬百濟 故以佐平爲官號 至是 降爲屬 國”.

Samguk Sagi 26, Annals of Paekche 4, the 2nd year of King Munju, Fouth Month. “耽羅國獻方物 王喜 拜使者爲恩率”.

Samguk Sagi 26, Annals of Paekche 4, the 20th year of King Tongsŏng, Eighth Month. “王以耽羅不修貢賦 親征至武珍州 耽羅聞之 遣使乞罪 乃止”.

Beishi, Vol 94, Biography 82, Paekche, “其南 海行三月有躭牟羅國 南北千餘里 東 西數百里 土多麞鹿 附庸於百濟”.

Samguk Sagi 28, Annals of Paekche 6, the 20th year of King Ŭija. “至是 析置熊 津馬韓東明金漣德安五都督府 各統州縣 擢渠長爲都督刺史縣令以理之”.

Cefu Yuangui, Vol 970, Outer Subjects 15, Tribute, the original year of Longshu, eighth month, “朝貢使至”.

8  Choi Heejoon, “T’amnagugui daeoegyoseopgwa hangno (Foreign Diplomacy and Sea Routes of T’amna),” T’amna munhwa (T’amna Culture) 58 (June 2018).

Jiu Tangshu, Vol 84 Biography 34, Liu Rengui, “餘豐脫身而走 獲其寶劍 僞王子 扶餘忠勝忠志等率士女及倭衆幷耽羅國使 一時並降”.

10  After Liu Rengui of Tang managed to complete the Ch’wirisan League in 665, accompanied by envoys from Silla, Paekche, Japan, and T’amna, he went back to Tang to participate in the following year’s Feng Shan rites in Mount Tai. Samguk Sagi 6, Annals of Silla 6, the 5th year of King Munmu, eighth month, “王與勅使劉仁願 熊津都督扶餘隆 盟于熊津就利山 …… 歃訖 埋牲幣於壇之壬地 藏其 書於我之宗廟 於是 仁軌領我使者及百濟耽羅倭人四國使 浮海西還 以會祠泰山”). All four countries were directly or indirectly involved in the Paekche Revival Movement and its suppression process.

11  Samguk Sagi 7, Annals of Silla 7, the 19th year of King Munmu, Second month, “發使略耽羅國”.

12  Samguk Sagi 10, Annals of Silla 10, the 2nd year of King Aejang, “耽羅國遣使 朝貢”.

13  Koryŏsa. Vol 57, Monograph 11, Geography 2, Naju Mok, T’amna County, “凡 往耽羅者發羅州則歷務安大堀浦靈岩火無只瓦島海南於蘭梁凡七晝夜至楸子島發海南 則從三寸浦歷巨要梁三內島發耽津則從軍營浦歷高子黃伊露瑟島三內島皆三晝夜至楸 子島 右三處舟船皆經此島 過斜鼠島大小火脫島至于涯月浦朝天舘盖火脫之閒二水交流 波濤洶湧凡往來者難之”.

14  Samguk Sagi 36, Monograph 5, Geography 2, Silla Mu-chu, Yangmu Commandery, “耽津縣 本百濟冬音縣 景德王改名 今因之”.

15  In this regard, according to the Cheju sea routes described by Kyŏng-jun Sin in Torogo, a book that listed Chosŏn’s land and sea transportation routes in the late 18th century, in the past, when people went to Cheju Island, they first waited for the wind in Ch’ujado Island in order to cross the sea, but at that time (Chosŏn Dynasty), people departed from Yŏngam, Haenam, and Kangjin, and then waited for the wind on Soando Island to head directly to Cheju Island. In addition, since there is a considerable distance from Soan Island to Cheju Island, if they happened to lose the wind during the trip they could easily be over-turned, so going through Ch’ujado Island was a more comfortable route, showing that people in the past had a better solution than the current people. (Torogo Vol. 4, Naval route, Naval Route of Cheju, “在昔往濟州者 發船處雖異 而皆入楸 子島候風 以涉大海 而今則皆入所安島候風 以其徑路也 且以楸子島 更候風爲難 然而 自所安向濟州海路甚遠 中間失風 易爲致敗 楸子島則濟州不過三百餘里 固當以楸子爲 定路也 故地志麗史 言濟州海路 皆言楸子 此今人 不如古人處”).

16  The name T’amjin district was maintained until the Koryŏ Dynasty, but in the 17th year (1417) of King T’aejong of the Chosŏn Dynasty, it was merged with the nearby Togang district, and renamed Kangjin district using respectively Togang’s “Kang” and T’amjin’s “Jin”. (Sinjŭng Tongguk yŏji sŭngnam, Vol 37, Chŏlla-to, Kangjin- hyŏn, history of establishment and reorganization, “道康縣本 百濟道武郡 新羅改陽武 高麗改道康縣 屬靈巖郡 明宗二年置監務 耽津縣本百濟冬音 縣 新羅改耽津 屬陽武郡 高麗屬靈巖郡 後屬長興府 本朝太宗十七年 徙兵馬都節制使 營于道康舊治 合兩縣改今名 以耽津爲治所”)

17  Choi, “T’amnagugui daeoegyoseopgwa hangno,” 21–22.

18  Xin Tangshu, Vol 210, Biography 135, Garrison Weibo. “安史亂天下 至肅宗大 難略平 君臣皆幸安 故瓜分河北地 付授叛將 護養孽萌 以成禍根 亂人乘之 遂擅署吏 以賦稅自私 不朝獻于廷 效戰國 肱髀相依 以土地傳子孫 脅百姓 加鋸其頸 利怵逆汙 遂使其人自視由羌狄然 一寇死一賊生 訖唐亡百餘年 卒不爲王土”.

19  Chang Pogo’s establishment of Ch’ŏnghae Garrison in 828 can be evaluated as an opportunity for the southwest coastal area of the Korean Peninsula to emerge as a hub for maritime transportation in Northeast Asia. (Kang Pongnyong, “Silla mal~Koryŏshidae sŏnamhaejiyŏgŭi hant’pchung haesanggyot’ongnowa kŏjŏmp’ogu (Korea-China Maritime Traffic Route and Base Ports in the Southwest Sea during the Late Silla and Koryŏ Period),” Han’guksahakpo 23 (May 2006).

20  Samguk Sagi 10, Annals of Silla 4, the 3rd year of King Hŭngdŏk, Fouth Month. “姓張氏[一名保臯] 清海大使弓福 入唐徐州爲軍中小將 後歸國謁王 以卒萬人 鎭清海[清海今之莞島]”.

21  Samguk Sagi 44, Biograpy 4, Chang Pogo · Chŏngnyŏn. “後保臯還國 謁大王曰 遍 中國 以吾人爲奴婢 願得鎮清海 使賊不得掠人西去 清海新羅海路之要 今謂之莞㠀 大 王與保臯萬人 此後海上無鬻郷人者”.

22  Shoku Nihon Kōki, Vol. 9, Emperor Ninmyo, the 7th year of Jowa, Twelveth month, 27th day.

23  Samguk Yusa, Vol. 2, Kii 2, Great King Sinmu·Yŏmjang·Kungp’a.

24  Imanishi Ryu, Silagisi kenkyu (Gyeongseong: Chikajawa Shoten, 1933).

25  However, in the Samguk Sagi, it is stated that he was also called ‘Haedoin’, (person from the sea island), and since after coming back from Tang and receiving the order to establish the Ch’ŏnghae Garrison he chose the Wando area, there was an early suggestion that he came from that same area. (Kim Sanggi, Tongpang Mwunhwakyolyusa Nonko (Seoul: Ŭryumunhwasa, 1948))

26  Kang Pongnyong, Padae Saegyŏjin Han’guksa (Seoul: Han’ŏlmidiŏ, 2005), 117.

27  Kwŏn Tŏkyŏng, Chaedang sillainsahoe yŏn’gu (Seoul: Ilchogak, 2005), 259–60.

28  In the Annals of Silla in Samguk Sagi illustrates that Chang Pogo was killed by Yŏmjang, an assassin sent from the royal court during the 8th year of King Munsŏng (846) (Samguk Sagi 11, Annals of Silla 11, the 8th year of King Mun Sŏng) “Shoku Nihon Kōki”, according to the words of the Silla envoy Yi Sochŏng, it is recorded that he was assassinated in the eleventh month of 841, showing a five-year difference. Considering the article of the Annals of Silla in Samguk Sagi that records that Kim Yang’s daughter was accepted as queen in the third month of the 4th year of King Munsŏng (842), it is possible that the articles of the third month of the 7th year of King Munsŏng (845), stating that Chang Pogo had tried to make his daughter become the queen, and the article of the 8th year of King Munsŏng (846) recording Chang Pogo’s assassination, were possibly incorporated in the wrong years instead of the 3rd year of King Munsŏng (841). (Kwŏn Tŏkyŏng, “Chang Pogo yakchŏn,” Kyŏngbuksahak 25 (August 2002), 45–46.

29  Nittō guhō junrei kōki. Vol. 4, 7th year of Huichang, “九月二日 午時從赤浦渡海 出赤山莫琊口 向正東行一日一夜 至三日平明向東 望見新羅國西面之山 風變正北 側帆向東南行一日一夜 至四日曉 向東見山嶋 段段而接連 問楫工等 乃云 是新羅國西熊州西界 …… 終日向東南行 東西山嶋聯翩 欲二更到高移島泊船 屬武州西南界 嶋之西北去百里許 有黑山 …… 六日卯時 到武州南界黃茅嶋泥浦泊船 亦名丘草嶋 …… 是新羅國第三宰相放馬處 從高移島到此丘考丘東本無草嶋 山嶋相連 向東南遙見耽維嶋 此丘草嶋 去新羅陸地 好風一日得到 …… 八日 …… 日欲巳時 到鴈嶋暫歇 時新羅南界內家放馬之山 近東有黃龍寺庄 往往有人家二三所 向西南望見耽羅嶋 …… 到新羅國東南 出到大海 望東南行 …… 十日平明 向東遙見對馬嶋 午時前路見本國山 …… 至初夜 到肥前國松浦郡北界鹿嶋泊船”.

30  The following studies were referenced to determine the specific locations of Ennin’s return route. Kang Pongnyong, “Silla mal~Koryŏshidae sŏnamhaejiyŏgŭi hant’pchung haesanggyot’ongnowa kŏjŏmp’ogu,” 285–286; Chŏng Jinsul, Han’gugŭi kodae haesanggyot’ong-ro (Korea’s Ancient Maritime Trade Routes), (Han’guk haeyang chŏllyak yŏn’guso, 2009), 276–281.

31  Kang Pongnyong, “Silla mal-Koryŏshidae sŏnamhaejiyŏgŭi hant’pchung haesanggyot’ongnowa kŏjŏmp’ogu,” 387. In fact, 847, when Ennin returned to Japan, was also the time when Chang Pogo’s maritime kingdom was rapidly collapsing due to the death of Chang Pogo and the destruction of the Chishan Fahua Temple. Even so, during his trip home he was helped by the Chang Pogo fleet that had remained in Tang, and the route departed from Chishan Port in Tang and crossed the sea to the northwest, passing by Ch’ŏnghae Garrison in Silla to reach Japan. Considering these facts, the Tang-Japan-linked route operated by Chang Pogo around Ch’ŏnghae Garrison and Ennin’s return route in 847 were probably similar.

32  Kang Pongnyong, Padae saegyŏjin han’guksa, 82–83; Ko Kyŏngsŏk, “Sillaŭi taedang haesanggyot’ong-ro yŏn’gu,” Sillasahakpo 21 (April 2011), 118–119.

33  This was a route that crosses the sea on a single trip that continued for 600 km without a stopover, so the risk of facing danger at sea was much higher than the aforementioned Yellow Sea Transversal Route. In addition, this route could not be used without more advanced navigation and shipbuilding techniques because it required navigation in the open sea. (Kwŏn Tŏkyŏng, Sillaŭi bada Hwanghae (Seoul: Ilchogak, 2012), 86–92)

34  Nittō guhō junrei kōki. Vol. 4, 4th year of Kaicheng, Fourth month, Second day, “第二船頭長岑宿禰云 …… 案舊例 自明州進發之船 爲吹著新羅境 又從揚子江進發之船 又著新羅”.

35  Kwangjosa Chinch’ŏltaesa t’appimyŏng (the inscription on the stela about the Great Master Chinch’ŏl of the Kwangjosa Temple), “乾寧三年忽遇入浙使崔藝熈大夫方將西泛伌跡而西所以高掛雲颿遽超雪浪不銷數日得抵鄞江”.

36  Qing shi gao, Vol.615, Monograph 40, Geography 12, Zhejiang Ninbo-fu, “鄞江出四明山 合而北流 爲甬江”.

37  Pongamsa Chinjŏngdaesa owŏnt’appimyŏng (the inscription on the stela about the Great Master Chinjŏng of the Pongamsa Temple), “光化三䄵伺鷁舟之西泛逐鵬運以南飛匪踰信宿之閒獲達江淮之境”.

38  Kwŏn Tŏkyŏng, Sillaŭi bada Hwanghae, 89–90.

39  Naitou Shunpo, Jousenshi Kenkyu (Kyoto: Toyoshikenkyukai, 1961), 457–460.

40  Chŏn Tŏkchae, 2013, “Sillaŭi taejungil kyot’ongnowa kŭ pyŏnch’ŏn,” Yŏksawa tamnon 65 (January 2013): 169–171.

41  Samguk Sagi 36, Monograph 36, Geography 3, Silla Kŭmsan Commandery, Hoejin Prefecture, “本百濟豆肸縣 景徳王改名 今因之”

42  Chŏng Kubok et al. Yŏkchu samguksagi Annotations 2, (Seoul: Han’guk chŏngsinmunhwa yŏn’guwŏn, 1997), 343.

43  In March 1123, Emperor Huizong from Song sent Lu Yundi and Fu Moqing as envoys to Koryŏ, and Xu Jing was part of the delegation and visited Koryŏ. “Xuānhwafengshi Gaolitujing” is a book that collects in 40 volumes the information on everything he saw and heard during the journey, and it is dedicated it to the emperor. In particular the volumes from 34 to 39 contains the voyage from Song to Koryŏ.

44  Chŏng Chinsul’s research (Han’gugŭi Kodae Haesanggyot’ong-ro, 346–361) was referred to confirm the location of the places mentioned in “Xuānhwafengshi Gaolitujing”.

45  In fact, in Ŭptong Village in Hŭksando Island, many sites such as Musimsa, Gwansa, and Chesa were found, as well as manys relics such as ceramics, tiles, and iron horses. (Kang Pongnyong, “Kodae-Koryŏshidaeŭi Haerowa”, Taegusahak 110 (August 2013): 24–25.

46  In the case of envoys from Tang, if they used a sea route and arrived in Tangŭnp’o, which is located on the coast of present-day Gyeonggi-do, Silla then made them travel to the capital Wanggyŏng on land. (Choi Heejoon, “Silla Chungdaeŭi Tang Sashin Yŏngjŏp Chŏlch’awa Unyong,” Han’guksa yŏn’gu 153 (June 2011)). In addition, according to the “Sillakuk Chipsasŏngch’ŏp (Official Letter from Silla’s Administration Department)”, when Japanese envoys visited Silla in the first half of the 9th century, after arriving at the port of Ch’ŏngju (currently Jinju, South Kyŏngsan Province) by boat, they had to wait for Silla to take official measures to welcome them. (Choi Heejoon, “Sillaŭi Ilbonsashin Yŏngjŏp Chŏlch’awa Ŭiryejŏk T’ŭkching,” Sillasahakpo 45 (April 2019).)

Figure 1
Silla’s Coastal route to T’amna
Figure 2
Ennin’s return route in 847
Figure 3
Navigation chart of the Song envoys in 1123
Figure 4
International sea routes of the South Chŏlla Province during the Unified Silla period
Table 1
Final destinations of the Zen monks who returned home after studying in Tang using the Yellow Sea Slant Route at the end of Silla
Year Name Arrival Source
905 Great Master Sŏn’gak Muju, Hoejin 「無爲寺先覺大師塔碑」
908 Great Master Pŏpkyŏng Muju, Hoejin 「五龍寺法鏡大師碑」
909 Great Master Taegyŏng Muju, Sŭngp’yŏng 「菩提寺大鏡大師塔碑」
911 Great Master Chinch’ŏl Naju, Hoejjin 「廣照寺眞澈大師碑」
921 Great Master Tongjin Chŏnju, Imp’i commandery 「玉龍寺洞眞大師碑」
921 Great Master Wŏnjong Kangju, Tŏganp’o 「高達禪院元宗大師碑」
924 Great Master Chŏngjin Chŏnju, Hŭian district 「鳳巖寺 靜眞大師塔碑」


1. Primary Sources

1. Beishi.

2. Cefu Yuangui.

3. Jiu Tangshu.

4. Koryŏsa.

5. Kwangjosa Chinch’ŏltaesa t’appimyŏng.

6. Nittō guhō junrei kōki.

7. Pongamsa Chinjŏngdaesa Owŏnt’appimyŏng.

8. Qing shi gao.

9. Samguk Sagi.

10. Shoku Nihon Kōki.

11. Sinjŭng Tongguk yŏji sŭngnam.

12. Torogo.

13. Xin Tangshu.

14. Xuānhwafengshi Gaolitujing.

2. Secondary Sources

1. Choi Heejoon. "Silla chungdaeŭi Tang sashin yŏngjŏp chŏlch’awa unyong (The Reception and Management of Envoys from Tang during the Mid-Silla Period)." Han’guksa yŏn’gu (The Journal of Korean History) 153June; (2011).

2. Choi Heejoon. "T’amnagugui daeoegyoseopgwa hangno [Foreign Diplomacy and Sea Routes of T’amna]." T’amna munhwa [T’amna Culture)]. 58June; (2018).

3. Choi Heejoon. "Sillaŭi ilbonsashin yŏngjŏp chŏlch’awa uiryejŏk t’ŭkching (Silla’s Reception Procedure for Japanese Envoys and Ceremonial Characteristics)." Sillasahakpo 45April; (2019).

4. Chŏng Jinsul. Han’gugŭi kodae haesanggyot’ong-ro (Korea’s Ancient Maritime Trade Routes), (Han’guk haeyang chŏllyak yŏn’guso. 2009.

5. Chŏng Kubok et al. Yŏkchu samguksagi Annotations, (Han’guk chŏngsinmunhwa yŏn’guwŏn (1997).

6. Chŏn Tŏkchae. (2013): "Sillaŭi taejungil kyot’ongnowa kŭ pyŏnch’ŏn (A study on the traffic route to China and Japan from Silla and its changes)." Yŏksawa tamnon 65 January; (2013).

7. Imanishi Ryu. Silagisi kenkyu. Gyeongseong: Chikajawa Shoten, 1933.

8. Kang Pongnyong. Padae Saegyŏjin Han’guksa (Korean History in the Sea), (Han’ŏlmidiŏ (2005).

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