Ancient History

Stories and tales about Wu Ji Zhe (Wu Ji Zha)

The Wu family-origin dates to as early as Emperor Chou Tai-Wang’s reign around 1000 B.C. Also known as the Supreme Emperor, he is established as Xiaxi Province’s oldest son.
Pre-dating the official unification of Chou Wu-Wang, Emperor Chou Tai-Wang ruled 1105-1111 B.C. The great-grandson of Chou Tai-Wan had three sons: Tai-Pou, Zhong-Yong and Xiou-Li. Chou Xiou-Li was a kind and humble Prince. When Emperor Chou assigned him to be his successor, his two older brothers decided to avoid confrontation with Xiou-Li. They retreated and became peasants, moving the east of Xiaxi to Jin-Man (currently known as the Jiangsu Province); his castle is still located east of the city of Wu-Xi).
Chou Xiou-Li became the next Emperor in the Xiaxi Province (incidentally, Chou Wen-Wang, the Scholar Emperor, was later incarcerated by Sang dynasty's last emperor, Emperor Sang Di-Sing. Chou Wen-Wang's son then united all the peasants and finally took over the dynasty and started the Chou Dynasty). Chou’s dynasty continued to exist throughout this time (This is the autumn and spring periods in Chinese history, approximately 1100 B.C.

Chou Tai-Pou changed his last name to Wu and became the local warlord of thousands. Later, he was known as the founder of the Wu Clan. His brother Zhong-Yong became Wu Zhong-Yong. When Tai-Pou died, he was buried at 39 'li' (east of the town of Wu-Xi in the Jiangsu province); his home is 5 'li' east of the grave. He had no son, and Zhong-Yong became the leader of the Clan. When Wu Zhong-Yong died, his son Xiou-jien succeeded him. Su-Ta, Xiou-jien's son was next after Xiou-jien died. Later, Su-Ta's son Chou-Zhang became the leader.

During this period, Emperor Chou's descendant Chou Wu-Wang (The Warrior King) invited Wu Tai-Pou and Zhong-Young's descendant (this would be Chou-Zhang) to join the Chou family. But since Chou-Zhang was already the leader of Wu Clan, he asked his younger brother Lu-Zhong to rejoin Emperor Chou. Emperor Chou appointed Wu Lu-Zhong as the Minister of Xia-Xu (North of Chou's Capital).

When king Wu Chou-Zhang died, his son, Xioung-Zhu continued. Xioung-Zhu died, and his son Ke-Xiang took over; Ke-Xiang died, and his son Chian-Jiouyi continued. When Chian-Jiouyi died, his son Yu-Jiao-Yi-Wu was named the leader, who would be succeeded by his son Ke-Lu. Ke-Lu died, and son Chou-Yao was named. After Chou-Yao was son Chu-Yu. Chu-Yi died, son Yi-Wu named.
Yi-Wu died and his son Ching-Zhu reigned. Ching-Zhu died -- son Zhuan ruled. Zhuan died; son Pji-Kao was named. Pji-Kao died, and son Jhu-Pji ruled.

During this time, Pu Clan Minister Hsien-Kung invaded Northern Chou's territory, which was governed by Wu Lu-Zhong's descendant. They destroyed Lu-Zhong's kingdom and expanded the Pu's territory.

Wu Jhu-Pji died, his son Qu-Qi ruled. Qu-Qi died and son Sou-Mon ruled. During Wu Sou-Mon's time, Wu became strong and powerful. Taking Tan-Yang as their capital in Jiangsu province.

The Wu family was divided into two clans. With Wu Tai-Pou's fifth generation, Wu Chou-Zhang sent his brother to rule the Northern part of Chou dynasty's territory (Wu Lu-Zhong was in Northern China and Wu Chou-Zhang in the east); The Wu Clan, who had established themselves in Northern China, would later be destroyed by the Pu's militants after only two generations passed. At the same time, the Wu Clan at the Southeast of China blossomed. From Wu Tai-Pou to Wu Sou-Mon, a total of 19 generations had passed.

The Kingdom of Pu at that time was also becoming a powerful force; they had destroyed many clans and kingdoms. The Kingdom of Zhu was so afraid of Pu that they joined forces with Pu. At Wu Sou-Mon's second year of government, Military Advisor/General Seng Woo of the Zhu left his kingdom and joined the Wus. He taught Wu's army how to ride and fight. He also told his son to join the Wu clan by changing their last name to Wu.

The Wu clan, after extensive training, was well prepared in governing China, and they invaded the Kingdom of Zhu (during this time, Wu and Zhu were fighting for two nearby provinces). In the sixteenth year of Wu Sou-Mon's reign, King Zhu Kong-Wang (Common-King) invaded Wu at Mount Jhen (at Hunan Province). Twenty fifth year: Wu Sou-Mon died. Sou-Mon had four sons: Zhu-Feng, Yu-Ji, Yu-Wei and Ji-Zhe (or known as Price JiZha of Wu or Ji Zha).

Wu Ji-Zhe (considered one of the four talented scholar knights during the spring and autumn periods in China) was a humble person. Wu Sou-Mon wanted him to be the successor, but Ji-Zhe refused. So Wu Sou-Mon appointed his older son Zhu-Feng. During Zhu-Feng's late twenties, following the mourning period for his father, he asked Wu Ji-Zhe to govern. People of the Wu Kingdom wanted Ji-Zhe to take over; Ji-Zhe declined. Zhao's emperor died, and his generals nominated his son Zhi-Zhang as their clan leader. However, Zhao Zhi-Zhang was young and needed to mourn his father's death, and he also wanted Ji-Zhe to help him. Wu Ji-Zhe had agreed already to help Chao Zhi-Zhang. Since the people of Wu wanted Ji-Zhe, Wu Ji-Zhe then decided to abandon his responsibility and became a farmer. That fall, Wu invaded Zhu and lost. Four years later, Pu Ping-Kung (The Fair King) was established as the new king of Pu Kingdom. Thirteen years, Wu Zhu-Feng died, and appointed his brother Yu-Ji as King and commanded him to continue to hold the power until Ji-Zhe was named as the king to fulfill their father's desire. Wu Ji-Zhe continued refusing the position and was sent as the governor of Yen-Ling City and was known as the Yen Ling Ji Zhi. During Wu Yu-Ji's third year, one of Chi clan's general was in trouble and went to Wu for refuge. Wu Yu-Ji appointed him as governor of one city (Chutown) and gave his daughter as wife; this made Chi well established with enough fortune.

Four years, Wu King sent Wu Ji-Zhe to Lu Clan to observe and exchange music and poetry. On his way there, he passed through the Xu Village at Jiangsu Province. Ji-Zhe was practicing his sword and amazed many people, including one particular fellow named Xu Pou-Zhong, who befriended Ji-Zhe. Ji-Zhe knew that Xu Pou-Zhong admired the quality of the sword. It was said to be a sword that shines like sunrise and cut steel as mud, and he had promised to give it to Xu in his return back from the mission. Upon his return, Ji-Zhe found out that Xu had died. Ji-Zhe went to Xu's grave and lamented not to ever join Xu, and he hung the sword on the tree next to the grave and left. This place is now known as the Sword Hanging Stage, located at the South Gate of Xu Village (Xu Village is surrounded by four gates: East, West, North, South. (Note: according to the history, Wu Ji-Zhe's sword was worth more than $1000 dollars during that time). According to historians, there was another sword used by Wu Ji-Zhe but hasn’t found to date. (The sword Wu Ji-Zhe had left at that tree was about 3 feet long, 2 1/2" wide and weighs about 2 lbs.)

Seventh year: Zhu prince attacked his king and named himself the King Lin (the spiritual king). Tenth year: King Zhu had a meeting with his ministers and agreed to attack Wu's Chutown which was governed by General Chi and his wife (King Wu's daughter). King Wu attacked the Zhu and took three of his cities. Eleventh year: Zhu attacked Wu up to Ling Lou. Twelfth year: Zhu returned again and lost at Chien-Luo. Seventeen years, at Wu Kingdom, King Wu Yu-Ji died, and appointed Wu Yu-Wei as successor. Second year: Zhu Lin King's son tried to destroy his father but failed and died. Fourth year: Yu-Wei died and wanted to name Ji-Zhe, Wu Ji-Zhe ran away, and with no choice, he chose his son Wu Liao as the King. When King Wu Liao was in power for two years, his cousin Wu Kwang invaded Zhu, during the war, Wu Kwang lost and was about to be killed along his boat. He decided to attack Zhu's troop secretly and was able to retreat back home. Five years later, one of Zhu's general, Woo Zi-Shung, joined the Wus. He became a friend of Wu Kwang, Wu Kwang wanted Woo to stay with him but Woo decided to live in the camp awaiting the right time. Wu Kwang always thought that because Wu Ji-Zhe didn't want his throne, and if King Wu, his cousin, died, he would automatically gain power as the successor. So Wu Kwang convinced several generals to begin planning the overthrowing of his cousin.

Eighth year: King Wu asked Wu Kwang to attack Zhu and won, taking their capital. He continued conquering the North, defeating Chen and Cai's armies. Ninth year: Finally caught up with King Zhu Zhong escaped. At first, the reason for this battle was because of one woman -- Zhu named Liao -- had a fight with a woman at the border of Wu, so both families fought and when this issue was sent back to the governor of both border castle, they decided to attack each other. Wu's border lost and King Wu was angry so he attacked Zhu and took two cities. Wu Kwang nominated Woo Zi-Shung to be the General and also requested Sun Woo to be the Military Advisor (Sun Woo, born in Santong Province, in Chi Kingdom, in 514BC, after Wu Kwang hold the throne, he appointed Sun Woo as the General and Military Advisor. Sun Woo wrote the famous book, "The Art of War", which had a total of 13 chapters). General Woo Zi-Shung realized that it is a chance to revenge the Zhu, he convinced Wu Kwang to attack Zhu after Zhu's king died. But King Wu didn't want to start another war, so Wu Kwang planned a murder scene: In 514BC, at a welcoming party, Wu Kwang pretended to had fallen down from drinking and stabbed his king with a dagger that killed him. This act of civil war forced Wu Ji-Zhe to seek hideout at Pu's kingdom. Wu Kwang then named himself as the successor of Wu Kingdom calling himself King Wu Yen-Lu.

During this time, Wu Ji-Zhe expressed his feeling of his uncle's death that he will not avenge the death of his uncle but to obey the law within the boundary of the Wu Kingdom. He said also that although Wu Kwang might be evil, but the rules are there to control our living status and it is not meant to be broken. Two other cousins of King Wu whom was at the war with the Zhu heard of the assassination of their king, they decided to surrender to the Zhu and were appointed Governors of Su.

Wu Kwang, after becoming the new King, sent word to a famous blacksmith to create swords for his use. According to the legend, Wu Kwang requested the blacksmith Wu Kan-Jian, who lived in Muo Kan Mountain, to forge a sword for him, but it was difficult to merge the metal. His wife curiously asked why, and he replied that his teacher's technique was to use the energy of YIN to merge the metal together in creating a powerful and sharp sword. After hearing this, Muo-Xie jumped into the fire and the sword was created. (Another story said that she then cut her hair and nails and added into the making of the swords). The male sword is called the Kan-Jian sword, and the female sword is the Muo-Xie Sword. The mountain has its own nature beauty, with a sword pond, falls and others, including a stone with writing that said "The Place of Past Wu Kan-Jian, Muo-Xie Sword Making."

Once Wu Kwang had the throne, he and General Woo and General Sun (who also was the military advisor of Wu Kwang, known as Sun Tse, the author of the Art of War book) planned many strategic moves to attack his deserted cousins. Three years, Woo Zhi-Shung went to Sun Woo and asked advice on how to attack the Zhu kingdom, Sun Woo explained that before they proceed in attacking Zhu, they should first destroy the 2 cousins: Kai-Yu and Zhu-Yong who had surrender to Zhu and was living in Xukuo and Zhongwoo, they were eager to avenge their brother's death. King Wu killed the 2 cousins and destroyed those cities of Zhu (that was 512 B.C.). King Wu Kwang (Yen Lu) wanted to continue with the invasion, but General Sun Woo felt it wasn't the right time and stopped (Sun Woo deserted Zhu and joined the Wu at that time) King Wu Kwang.

Fourth year: Wu attacked Zhu, taking two cities: Liou and Chieng. Fifth year: Attacked Yue and lost. Sixth year, Zhu sent his son to attack Wu but lost at Yu-Chan and took Zhu's capital.

In 506 B.C., two neighbor clans of Zhu Kingdom, who were under Zhu's jurisdiction (Cai and Chen kingdoms), sent Ambassadors to Wu explaining the bad deeds controlled by the Zhu's governors. At this time, Sun Woo analyzed the situation and explained to King Wu as since in the past, many neighbor clans were always helping the Zhu kingdom out, and it was very difficult to attack Zhu, but recently many of these clan leaders wanted to get away from the dictatorship of Zhu, so the time to attack was right then. During the winter of this year, King Wu appointed Sun Woo as the general of 60,000 troops and sent him in the name of defending the Cai clan to invade Zhu Kingdom.

Wu and Zhu engaged to battle many times, and Zhu has been losing and moving North all the time. Wu's first general Fu-Kai (Kwang's son), suggested to take this time while the Zhu armies were tired and disorganized -- and attack. King Wu didn't take the suggestion, so Fu-Kai decided to proceed with the attack, he took 5000 men and entered Zhu's military main camp, and destroyed their camping area, Zhu's general Zhi-Zang escaped to Zheng Clan. Wu troupe continued attacking the Zhu throughout west (even when their general escaped to Zheng Clan), they encountered another troupe of Zhu's. King Wu wanted to attack then but Fu-Kai explained that they should wait until the Zhu are in the middle of the water so it will be easier to defeat them. So, they waited as Zhu's troupe crossed the Qing-Fa River, and -- right in middle -- the Wus attacked. Since many Zhu soldiers tried to save their lives they tried to get back to the shore and were very disorganized. Wu attacked from the back and killed many Zhu's. Wu continued invading up to southwest of Jingsan City in Hupei province. They encountered Zhu enforcement and defeated the as well. Wu continued winning several battle and finally on November 29, of 501BC, they took Zhu's capital: Jung Chen.

King Zhu Chao Wang escaped the city and tried to seek hideout at Yuen's. Yuen's brother wanted to kill King Zhu so Yuen and King Zhu escaped.

King Wu's troupe entered Jung Chen (the city where King Zhu was relocated), and General Woo destroyed King Zhu's grave and house in revenging his father's death. Tenth year, Yue head that Wu is at Jung Chen and no one is in the Wu capital, they decided to attack Wu. King Wu sent other troupe to attack Yue, and was wining. King Zhu, who was in hiding, heard of the attack; he immediately requested help from Ch'ing's kingdom. It took the representative of Zhu, named Seng Kong-Xu begging and crying for seven days and seven nights that Ch'ing finally accepted to help. With the help of Ch'ing, Yue and Ch'ing defeated Wu. King Wu's brother saw that King Wu didn't want to leave Jung Chen and Yue and Ch'ing defeated Wu's troupe, so he named himself the new King Wu.

King Wu Kwang heard of the news, he immediately attacked his younger son Wu Fu-kai. Fu-kai lost and went to King Zhu. Zhu had returned back to Cheng in September that year. King Wu then named Fu-kai to govern Tang-Yu.

Eleventh years, King Wu Kwang sent his son Wu Fu-Chai to attack Zhu at Cheng. Zhu got afraid and left Cheng City again. Fifteen years, Confucius joined the Lu. Nineteenth year, summer: Wu attack Yue; King Yue Kou-Jien defended very well and sentenced death upon the criminals of Wu, but the criminals all committed suicide in front of Wu's trope. Yue lost the battle at Ku-Shu after trying to invade Wu. King Wu Kwang got a cut in his finger, which became gravely infected and led to his death. His son Wu Fu-Chai became the successor and vowed to avenge his dad's death by promising to destroy Yue in 3 years. Wu Kwang was buried at Tiger Hill located at Wu Town in Jiangsu Province. The Sword Pond is also located here. (King Wu's grave is about 60 feet wide, 5 meters deep; the casket is made of bronze, and it has been told that nearly 5000 swords were buried with him. After his burial, more than 10,000 people tried to get the swords... It was named Tiger Hill, due to the fact that three days after the burial, a white tiger sought shelter on the grave.)

King Wu Fu-Chai started to learn martial arts with General Sun Woo. He wanted to master the art in order to avenge his father's death. Second year, he strategically attacked Yue and defeated General Fu-Su of the Yue Kingdom. King Yue Kuo-Jien wanted a truce with King Wu by offering 5000 good soldiers and his daughter as wife and accepted to obey King Wu's command (as a minister of Yue). King Wu accepted the gift even though General Woo tried to talk him out of it.

Seven years, King Wu Fu-Chai heard of King Chi Jing-Kong died and the new king is still weak, so he attacked Chi, at this time General Woo requested that Wu should also eliminate King Yue Kou-Jien because he has been living day by day with the basic needs, and he seems to hold a grudge against the King Wu... Now that many of Yue's people are in the kingdom, they might be a problem if Yue Kou-Jien is not eliminated. King Wu was busy with the planning of attack of Chi, so he ignored the pleas.

Wu attacked Chi and won at Ai-Ling City. They decided not to continue the attack and let the Chi struggle in South. Ninth year, Wu attacked Lu and signed a treaty. In the tenth year, The Wus returned after the invasion of Chi. Eleventh year, attacked Chi again -- this time, Yue Kou-Jien wanted to volunteer his troops against Chi, and so King Wu was quite pleased. But General Woo was still skeptical about this issue... King Wu ignore Woo and Woo left to Chi. General Woo later changed his family last name to Chi as an insult to King Wu.

In the same year, the Kingdom of Zhu attacked the Cheng Clan; Wu Ji-Zhe went and helped the Chengs. Later Wu Ji-Zhe attacked the Chi and lost his son during the battle. Upset, Wu Ji-Zhe decided to retire and live in a mountain. Wu Ji-Zhe died when he was about 90-years-old. Confucius had commented Wu Ji-Zhe to be a highland educated, humble and kind 'highlander' who understood to give and not to take. When he died, he was buried with his other sword that was famous during his time.

After hearing that Woo changed his family name to Chi, King Wu got angry and wanted him dead. Woo's son killed his father. When King Wu heard of this, he cried for three days and then attacked Chi from the ocean. Chi defeated Wu.

Thirteenth year: Wu summoned the kings of Lu and Wei; later he summoned all his ministers in planning to rule China once again. Yue attacked Wu in June by surprised with his 5000 troops already penetrated in Wu's kingdom. Wu lost. King Wu became so enraged that he killed seven of his people at one meeting.

This time, Yue has become very powerful. Zhu defeated Chen clan, and Wu destroyed Zhu... Twentieth year: Yue attacked Wu... 21st Century: Wu was being chased and when Yue Kou-Jien got closer to Wu Fu-Chai, King Wu committed suicide after realizing he could no longer defend.

Wu Ji-Zhe was a loner. He hated being part of politics and government, and because of that, he had destroyed the Wu Kingdom. Wu Kwang died after a battle against the Yue and was buried in Wu Town. Later, Wu Fu-Zhai (Wu Kwan's son) became the successor to Wu and fought against Yue. He successfully captured Emperor Yue Kou-Jien -- after three years, King Wu released him. But Yue vowed to get revenge -- and so, a famous legend arose: "Ten Year Together, Ten Years of Lesson" was one of the famous metaphors of that time. Wu Fu-Zhai owns many good weapons, including a set of 6 swords, which were recently displayed (August-December 1995) at the Beijin Museum, along with Yue Kou-Jien's swords and spears. Yue attacked Wu and so the Wu's lost their kingdom. Wu destroyed Zhu and Pu -- and Wu was finally defeated by Yue.

Top Left: The sword used by Wu Fu-Chai during the year 496 (approximately 2400 years ago). Top Right: The sword used by Yue Kou-Jien at the same time period .

Left: This is the spearhead used by Wu Fu-Chai. The writings carved are still readable... Right: The small design on the base of the spear head.


Confucius had said that Wu Tai-Pou was a kind man, he moved away so his brothers can govern China. Later, his descendant Wu Ji-Zhe, was a gentleman, and he ruled with great compassion.

Wu Ji-Zhe was a well-known sword master during his time. Confucius and several other emperors had visited his grave and had praised him for his “swordsmanship.” He had several swords. His son also carried an 'Ever Lasting Sword' (Yong Yung Jian). Many confused his son's sword as his, and wrote many poems about the sword.

One of the poem tells the aggressiveness of his martial art skill. It depicts the feeling of a dangerous tiger and the movement of the aggressive Dragon, and whereas it kills one person every five steps. Its speed is so fast that when it penetrates metal or flesh, it will leave a clean cut with no spill of blood.

There are also poems and a monument elevated in the name of Wu Tai-Pou, as well as for Wu Ji-Zhe. Also a Temple was named after him: The Ji Zhe Temple.

Currently, in Jiangsu Province, a city is filled with old monuments left for Wu Ji-Zhe. Thousands of families that live there are still part of the Wu Clan family, and the city is called Wu Xien (Wu Town). According to legend, the sword, along with other great swords, were buried with Wu Yen-Lu. An Emperor of a later dynasty wanted to find the swords, and he sent his troupe to dig out the swords. They never found the grave and, alas, merely left a big hole. The hole later was filled with water throughout the years and became the infamous Sword Pond. Several poems were written about the Sword Pond.

The Double Swords were created by a Wu fellowman, combining their hair and nails into the creation of the swords. It was said to be strong enough to cut through metal like mud. These swords were supposedly lost in a lake and other swords were never been found. The only sword found was one used by his son, called the "Ever Lasting Sword (Yung-Yun Jian)". Many thought that this sword was used by Wu Ji-Zhe but later it was being proven that it was his son's sword. Now this sword is being displayed in the National Museum in Taiwan.

Stories and tales about Wu Ji Zha

Tiger Hill Pagoda (or Sword Pond) The 36-metre-tall Huqiu (Tiger Hill) stands outside the lümen Gate to the north west of Suzhou. It was where the King of the State of Wu, Fu Chai, He Lü‘s son and successor, buried his father along with 3,000 swords. Legend has it that on the third day after the burial, a white tiger appeared to guard the tomb, hence the name of the hill.

Midway up the hill beside the Qianren (Thousand Men)Rock, there is the rectangular crystal-clear Sword pond flanked by sheer cliffs. It is said that both Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.), and Sun Quan of the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), had sent people to look for the swords by digging into the hill but no avail. The Sword Pond is believed to result from the digging.

According to the records, the door of He Lü’s tomb was revealed once when the pond went dry. Archaeologists speculated that the tomb is right below the Tiger Hill Pagoda. This pagoda, first built in the Five Dynasties Period, is an octagonal seven-storey structure. Since the Ming Dynasty, it started tilting northwards, which could have something to do with the tomb’s structure.

The Yunyan Temple, another key attraction on the hill, is one of the most famous Buddhist land in this part of China. Even Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty could not resist its peaceful ambience so he decided to make the temple his temporary residence during his Suzhou trip.

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