Mohe people

Mohe people
Mohe people
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 靺鞨
Simplified Chinese 靺鞨
Korean name
Hangul 말갈
Hanja 靺鞨
History of Manchuria

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The Mohe (or Malgal, Mogher) were a Tungusic people in ancient Manchuria. They are sometimes considered the ancestors of the Jurchens and modern-day Manchus. According to some records, they originally dwelt near the Liao River and later migrated southward. They were involved in the early history of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. The records of the Korean Kingdoms of Baekje and Silla during the 1st century and 2nd century AD include numerous battles against the Mohe.

The Mohe were divided into various tribes, the most powerful of which were the Sumo Mohe.[citation needed] The Sumo Mohe were eventually conquered by the Goguryeo, and some other Mohe tribes by Sui Dynasty China. Many Mohe moved back toward their northern homeland in this period. The "Mohe" section of the "Beidi Zhuan" (北狄傳, Communications of the Northern "Di" Barbarians) of the "Jiu Tang Shu" (舊唐書, Old Book of Tang) states: "Their country is all (or "roughly") composed of some tens of 'bu' (roughly "tribes," but also just generally meaning "divisions"), each having a chief, some of whom are attached to the Goguryeo, and some of whom serve as common people (i.e., vassals) to the Tujue."

The Mohe also participated in the kingdom of Balhae, 698-926. The founder of Balhae, Dae Joyeong was possibly a former Goguryeo general of Sumo Mohe stock, although the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms (Samguk Yusa) written by Koreans several hundred years later states that he was of Goguryeo stock.[1] After the fall of Balhae, few historical traces of the Mohe can be found, though they are considered to be the main ethnic group that became the Jurchen.

The name of the Mohe also appears as "Maka" in "Shin-Maka" (Japanese 新靺鞨, しんまか) or "New Mohe," the name of a dance and the musical piece that accompanies it, which was introduced to the Japanese court during the Nara Period or around the beginning of the Heian Period from the Balhae Kingdom. In modern Japanese historical texts, the name of the Mohe is annotated with the "kana" reading Makkatsu (まっかつ), which is probably a reading pronunciation based on the standard Sino-Japanese readings of the Chinese characters used to transcribe the ethnonym of the Mohe.

The ethnonym of the Mohe bears a notable resemblance to that of the later historically attested *Motgit (in Middle Chinese. Chinese characters: 勿吉, pinyin: Mòjí, Korean: 물길 [Mulgil], Japanese: もつきつ [Motsukitsu]), as well as to that of the medieval Merkits, who opposed the rise of the Mongols led by Genghis Khan.

One of the tribes of the Mohe, the Heishui Mohe, eventually became the ancestors of the Jurchens, from whom the Manchu originated.[2]


Mohe Tribes

According to some records, there were seven/eight Mohe tribes :

Moji/Merjie/Wuji (勿吉) Mohe/Mogher/Malgal (靺鞨) Modern location
Sumo tribe
粟末部 (Sùmò Bù)
속말부 (Songmalbu)
Sumo tribe
粟末部 (Sùmò Bù)
속말부 (Songmalbu)
near Songhua River
Baishan tribe
白山部 (Báishān Bù)
백산부 (Baeksanbu)
Baishan tribe
白山部 (Báishān Bù)
백산부 (Baeksanbu)
near Changbai Mountain
Yulou tribe
虞婁 (Yúlóu)
우루 (Uru)
Yulou tribe
虞婁 (Yúlóu)
우루 (Uru)
on the Suifun River Basin
Boduo tribe
伯咄部 (Bóduō Bù)
백돌부 (Baekdolbu)
Boduo tribe
伯咄部 (Bóduō Bù)
백돌부 (Baekdolbu)
Funie tribe
拂涅部 (Fúniè Bù)
불열 (Buryeol)
Funie tribe
拂涅部 (Fúniè Bù)
불열 (Buryeol)
near the Moosooridan River on the Khanka Basin
Anchegu tribe
安车骨部 (Ānchēgǔ Bù)
안차골부 (Anchagolbu)
Tieli tribe
鐵利 (Tiělì)
철리 (Cheolli)
Haoshi tribe
号室部/號室部 (Hàoshì Bù)
호실부 (Hosilbu)
Yuexi tribe
越喜 (Yuèxǐ)
월희 (Wolhui)
Heishui tribe
黑水部 (Hēishuǐ Bù)
흑수부 (Heuksubu)
Heishui tribe
黑水部 (Hēishuǐ Bù)
흑수부 (Heuksubu)
low banks of Heilong Jiang

Notable personalities

Sumo Mohe/Yan Prefecture Mohe chieftains


  1. ^ Yi, U-song. "A Study of the Period of the Northern and Southern States". Korea Journal, Vol.17, No.1, Jan., 1977.
  2. ^ Huang, P.: "New Light on the origins of the Manchu," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol. 50, no.1 (1990): 239-82. Retrieved from JSTOR database July 18, 2006.

See also

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