Kim Yusin (595–673) was a noble, general, and statesman of the early Korean state of Silla (ca. 300–935). According to Korean sources, he played a vital role in the wars that resulted in Silla’s conquest of the other states on the peninsula by means of an alliance with Tang China (618–907) in the 660s. The biography of Kim Yusin comprises almost three full chapters of the Samguk sagi, and is the largest single biography in the tenchapter section of biographies in the work. Other sections of the Samguk sagi, particularly the basic annals (pon’gi) of Koguryŏ and Paekche, show that Kim Pusik (1075–1151) relied considerably on other sources, such as Chinese dynastic histories and collectanea, or have entries clearly rewritten from the “Basic Annals of Silla” section of the Samguk sagi, which appears to have been compiled first. However, Pusik based his biography of Kim Yusin primarily on a “Yusin stele” and an Account of Conduct compiled by his grandson Kim Changch’ŏng. Although Yusin plays a vital role in Silla’s history of this time period, he is not mentioned in Chinese materials related to the war on the peninsula, although Pusik’s biography suggests that such material existed. Divine marvels pervade Yusin’s biography and they seem to function to support the theme that Silla is a “land of Confucian gentlemen.” The core historical material associated with Kim Yusin, which is comprised of narratives developing his close relationship with his brother-in-law Kim Ch’unch’u (604–661; T’aejong Muyŏl, r. 654–661) and the peninsular war for the “unification of the Three Han states,” is encased in stories of divine marvels, which strongly suggests that the historical memory of Yusin was inseparable from the legends that developed surrounding him by the time the Samguk sagi was compiled.
THE BIOGRAPHY OF KIM YUSIN IN HISTORICAL AND LITERARY CONTEXT
THE SOURCES OF KIM YUSIN’S BIOGRAPHY
THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THE BIOGRAPHY OF KIM YUSIN
THE ROLE OF DIVINE MARVELS AND THE WILL OF HEAVEN
SILLA, AS A “LAND OF CONFUCIAN GENTLEMEN”