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King Balhaijoñ in military garb, prior to his rule of Corea.

King Balhaijoñ, known in earlier life as Aisin-Gioro Zaitao (愛新覺羅·載濤), was the Chinese-imposed king of Corea during The Chinese Interregnum. Born a Manchu prince of the Qing Dynasty, and a half-brother of the Guangxu Emperor and an uncle of China's last emperor Xuantong. Immediately following the Great Oriental War he was much reviled and burned in effigy. Modern historians point out a more moderated story.

Early Life

Zaitao was born of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan as the seventh son of Yixuan, Prince Chun of the First Rank. His family was under the Plain Red Banner of the Eight Banners. He was later adopted by Yihe (奕詥), Prince Zhong of the Second Rank, because Yihe had no successor.

In 1890, during the reign of the Guangxu Emperor, Zaitao was conferred the title of "Second Class General Who Guards the Nation" (二等鎮國將軍). In 1908 he and Tieliang (鐵良) were appointed as zongsi jicha (總司稽察; a type of inspector-official). A year later in 1909, during the reign of the Xuantong Emperor (Puyi), he was put in charge of the military consultant department (軍諮處). The following year, he visited eight countries - Japan, England, Kemr, France, the Holy Roman Empire, the Scandinavian Realm, Austro-Dalmatia and Russia - to observe and learn from their more advanced military forces. In May 1910 he was sent to The Federated Kingdoms as an ambassador and represented the Qing Dynasty at the funeral of King Albert I.

In 1911 Zaitao was appointed as a minister of the military consultant department (軍諮大臣) and placed in charge of the Imperial Guards (禁衛軍). He was also designated as the commander of the Mongol Bordered Yellow Banner. From that time until he was appointed by Ci Xi as king of Corea, Zaitao was commanding officer of the Imperial Guards (禁衛軍司令).

King Balhaijoñ

As King of Corea, he chose his regnal name from the an ancient Kingdom, Balhai, centered on the most holy mountain, Mount Phaikhtu. Wishing to remind the Corean people that they and the Manchu people esteemed the land there as their ancestral homeland, and thus sibling tribes. Though advised to other names, he ignored other suggestions. Early in his reign he wished to create a new banner in the banners system for the Coreans, joining them to the other tribes in Manchuria.

The Ministers appointed by the Regent, Prince Chun, however sought to dissuade him, and ultimately, succeeded. Many scholars have wondered the effects this would have had, and it has been featured in the Mandate of Heaven television series.

He renamed Kieñseñ Hanseñ, hoping to show them that they were home, with the Han, and that they, by right of living on the Han River should esteem themselves part of the Han people of China. This change was poorly received, and on faulty reports from his serving staff, he felt that the poor reception he received was due in part to the lack of understanding of Chinese culture. To that end, he set about introducing the Corean populace to all things Chinese. When they resisted, he outlawed Corean in the public sphere, hoping to reintroduce it once acceptance of their new political reality settled in.

From his personal notes, he considered it for a time in the late Thirties, but at that point, he was embroiled in preparations with his nephew for the imperial aspirations.


With the animosity he garnered from his underlings' misapplication of his rule, he resumed the name Zaitao, adopted the surname Cheng and moved with some of his children to Canton and later Hunan. His first-born son, Mianning {綿寧} cared for him in his old age, until his death in late 1969. He died in relative anonymity, but fondly referred to Mianning's children as princes and princesses, though his son forbade him from telling them of their imperial heritage, with current political events in Hunan. His eldest grandson Pu Mian, however, he referred to as Weixing PuYi (微型溥儀), or Miniature Pu-Yi, as he reminded him greatly of the former emperor.


Spouses are listed at first level, children from that spouse under the second level.

  • Jiang Wanzhen (姜婉貞; c. 1870 - 1949), from an affluent family in Guangdong.
    • Eldest daughter, unnamed, died prematurely.
    • Mianning (綿寧) (1905-1973) - styled Pu Mianning after his exile to Hunan
        • Pu Mian
          • Cheng Xiaolan, having adopted her mother's surname after the death of her father; Queen of Hunan through marriage to Wang Fùxīng (福星)
    • Yunhui (韞慧; 1906 - 1969), Zaitao's second daughter, changed name to Jin Yuncheng (金允誠), married the Mongol prince Darijaya of the Alxa Banner, Alxa League, in 1925.
    • Pujia (溥佳; 1908 - 1949), Zaitao's second son, read English together with Puyi in the palace, served in the government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Killed in the final days of the war.
    • Pu'an (溥侒; 1911 - 1944), Zaitao's third son, was as a weapons specialist in Huabei Suijing Department (華北綏靖總署).
    • Pushen (溥伸; 1915 - 1928), Zaitao's fourth son.
  • Zhou Mengyun (周夢雲), previously a maid in Zaitao's household, divorced him when they were exiled from Corea.
    • Puxi (溥僖; b. 1924), Zaitao's fifth son, changed name to Jin Daibao (金岱賓), worked in an automobile company in Beijing, killed in the atom-bombing.
  • Jin Xiaolan (金孝蘭; c. 1906 - 1967), previously a maid in Zaitao's household.
    • Pushi (溥仕), Zaitao's sixth son, changed name to Jin Congzheng (金從政), was a languages teacher in a Xinjing school.

Preceded by:
Corea flag.gif
King of Corea
1920 – 1949
Followed by: