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Historical Figures

About Songpa>Historical Figures
Kim Gu
  • 1649 ~ 1704
  • Civil official of late Joseon.
  • Clan seat: Cheongpung / Pen name: Gwanbokje.
  • His father served as a provincial magistrate (Gwanchalsa).
  • He passed the state examinations held in 1669 (Samasi) and 1682 (Chundangdae Mungwa) which led him to various minor positions in the Six Ministries (Yukjo) and Offices of Inspectors (Saheonbu) and Censors (Saganwon). In this early phase of his career, he was mainly interested in relaxing the conflict and tension between, the Old Doctrine (Noron) and the Young Doctrine (Soron), two major political factions of his time. In the following phase, he continued to be promoted and given opportunities to serve as the Magistrates (Gwanchalsa) of four provinces, Censor-General (Daesagan), and in 1697 the Governor (Yusu) of Ganghwa. It was when he was heading the local administration of Ganghwa that he was denounced for the failure to implement the government policy to get over the national financial difficulty caused by widespread crop failures. However, his leadership with respect to the national controversy over the restoration of King Danjong (r. +82-2-1452-1455) and his consort Royal Lady Sin eventually guided him to the top ministerial positions, including Justice Minister (Hyeongjo Panseo) and, in 1703, Chief Minister of the Right (Uuijeong).

    He held fast to the views he believed right and remained faithful to the Confucian virtues, receiving the adoration of not just ordinary people but his colleagues and even the king. He had expert knowledge about military strategies and Doism, and exhibited outstanding talent in writing and calligraphy. He spent his final years at an area protected by the earthen wall of Mongchontoseong in today’s Bangi-dong of Songpa-gu, Seoul. His influence remained strong even after his retirement, regularly receiving the homage of local administrators and deep respect from all his neighbors.

    Also located within the Mongchontoseong site, his grave is protected by a “curved wall” and marked by a stone lantern, a pair of stone civil ministers, and a memorial monument set up in 1743. The monument, consisting of the pedestal, the body and the capstone, carries an epitaph written by Yi Ui-hyeon and calligraphed by Seo Myeong-gyun