Dae Muye

heroes_img02Dae Muye, also known as King Mu (무왕, 武王) (r. 718 – 737), was the second king of the ancient Korean kingdom of Balhae. He is noted for the military expansion of his domain.


Dae Muye (대무예) was the eldest son of Dae Joyeong (대조영), the founder of the ancient Korean kingdom of Balhae, He ascended to the throne after the death in 718 of his father. He gave the posthumous title King Go, or Emperor Go, to his father and declared the era name Yeon-an, an act of independence from China’s Tang dynasty. On the other hand, he frequently sent embassies to the Tang, including his sons and brothers.

Reign of Balhae's 2nd ruler

Balhae’s aggressive expansion triggered frictions with Tang, Silla of southern Korea, the Khitans, the Xi, the G?kt?rks, and several Mohe tribes. When the Heisui Mohe in the north of Balhae came under the direct control of the Tang in 727, Dae Muye attacked the Heisui Mohe fearing a pincer attack.

His pro-Tang brother Dae Munye opposed the military campaign and defected to the Tang. In 732 Dae Muye ordered Jang Munhyu to raid Tang at Shandong with the Balhae navy. In response, the Tang ordered Dae Muye’s brother, Dae Munye, to attack Balhae, but Dae Munye refused.

Dae Muye was said to have been an accomplished swordsman, and directly lead most of the expansion campaigns during his reign. Legend has it that he was so swift, that he could slice a fly into four pieces with his sword.

To avoid international isolation, Balhae began to dispatch embassies to Japan in 729. Japan, whose relationship with Silla was strained, welcomed them as a revival of Goguryeo.

Dae Muye was succeeded by his son Dae Heummu in 737.


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