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Koxinga (國姓爺 in pinyin: Gúoxìngyé) (1624 - 1662), named Zheng Chenggong (鄭成功 Zhèng Chénggōng), was a military leader at the end of the Ming Dynasty. He was a prominent leader of the anti-Qing movement[?] and a Han general who seized Taiwan from Dutch colonial rule in 1661. Hence he has been considered a national hero by many Chinese nationalists. At the same time, portrayed as one of the first settlers of Taiwan, he is considered an ideal representation of some supporters of Taiwan independence.

Table of contents


  • Royal surname: Zhu (朱)
    • Granted by Prince Tang of Southern Ming
  • Popular name: Koxinga or Coxinga is the Dutch romanization of his popular name "Lord with the Royal Surname".
  • Birth name: Zheng Sen (鄭森)
    • Birth surname: Zheng
  • Courtesy name: Damu (大木)
  • Royal title: Prince of Yanping Prefecture and Zhaotao Grand General (延平郡王招討大將軍)
    • Awarded by Prince Gui (桂王) of Southern Ming


Koxinga was born to Zheng Zhilong (鄭芝龍), a Chinese merchant and pirate, and Tagawa Matsu in 1624 in Hirado[?] (平戶), Nagasaki Prefecture[?], Japan. He was raised there until seven and moved to Quanzhou. He is still known in Japan by his birth name as Tei Seīkō, or by his popular name as Kokusen'ya.

Loyalty to the Empire

Beijing fell in 1644 to rebels led by Li Zicheng[?], and the last emperor Chongzhen[?] hanged himself on a tree at Mei mountain[?]. Aided by Wu Sangui[?], Manchus armies knocked off the rebels with ease and took the city. In the district below the Chang Jiang, there were many anti-Qing people of principle and ambition who wanted to restore descendants of the Ming Dynasty to the Imperial throne. One of these descendants, Prince Tang, was aided to gain power in Fuzhou by Zheng Zhilong[?] and Huang Daozhou[?]. Koxinga was the son of Zheng Zhilong. When the Qing captured Prince Tang, Koxinga was in Zhangzhou[?] raising soldiers and supplies. He heard the news that his father was preparing to surrender to the Qing court and hurried to Quanzhou[?] to persuade him against this plan, but his father refused to listen and turned himself in.

Death of a mother

Not long afterwards the Qing army captured Quanzhou, and out of loyalty to the Ming Dynasty, Koxinga's mother took her own life. When Koxinga heard this news he lead an army to attack Quanzhou, forcing the Qing troops back. After giving his mother a proper burial Koxinga went directly to the Confucian temple outside the city. There he took the Confucian style clothing and hat that he usually wore and burned every last thread. In tears, he prayed to Confucius saying, "In the past I was a good Confucian subject and a good son. Now I am an orphan without an emperor. I have no country and no home. I have sworn that I will fight the Qing army to the end, but my father has surrendered and my only choice is to be an unfilial son. Please forgive me."

He left the Confucian temple and proceeded to assemble a group of comrades with the same goal who together swore an allegiance to the Ming in defiance of the Qing. He sent forces to attack the Qing forces in the area of Fujian and Guangdong while defending Zhangzhou and Quanzhou and once fought all the way to the walls of the city of Nanjing. But in the end, his forces were no match for the Qing. The Qing court sent a huge army to attack him and many of Koxinga's generals had died in battle which left him no option but retreat.

Taiwanese Landing

In 1661, Koxinga led his troops to a landing at Lu'ermen[?] to attack Taiwan. By the end of the year, he had chased out the Dutch, who had controlled Taiwan for 38 years. Koxinga had devoted himself to making Taiwan into an effective base for anti-Qing sympathizers who wanted to restore the Ming Dynasty to power. He died suddenly at the age of 39 in a fit of madness.


There is a temple dedicated to Koxinga and his mother in Tainan County[?], Taiwan. The play Kokusen'ya Kassen (国姓爺合戦) was made in Japan in the 18th century, first performed in Kyoto. The play was remade into a movie by the PRC and Japan in 2002 in Mandarin Chinese. (External link below)

External Link

  • 3-part copyrighted biography (http://www.etaiwannews.com/History/2001/04/30/988602340.htm): written by a Taiwanese history professor
    • Erratum: Koxinga's mother is not surnamed Tamura (田村). The Chinese half has it right, but the English half got it wrong.
  • Official website of the movie (http://www.kassen.jp/): with a trailer (http://www.kassen.jp/yokoku)

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