Guo Jia

Guo Jia

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Guo Jia

Caption=Portrait of Guo Jia from a Qing Dynasty edition of the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms"
Title= Strategist
Kingdom=Cao Cao
Pinyin=Guō Jiā
WG=Kuo Chia
Zi=Fengxiao (奉孝)
Post=Marquis Zhen (贞侯)

Guo Jia (170 – 207), styled Fengxiao (奉孝), was a strategist and advisor to the powerful warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of China. During his eleven years of service, Guo Jia's brilliance greatly aided Cao Cao in his victories over rival warlords Lü Bu and Yuan Shao, as well as chief of the Wuhuan tribe, Ta Dun. As a result of this, he was one of the most trusted and favored subjects of Cao Cao.


Guo Jia was born in the county of Yangdi (阳翟, present day Yuzhou, Henan). He initially sought a position under Yuan Shao, the most powerful warlord in northern China at that time. However, he judged Yuan Shao to be an indecisive man who did not know how to fully make use of talented people. Thinking that the warlord had little hope of achieving great things, Guo Jia left his service.

In 196, Guo Jia was recommended to Cao Cao by Xun Yu. After a discussion about the state of China at that time, both found each other likable. Cao Cao then made Guo Jia his military advisor.

During the campaign against Lü Bu in 198, Cao Cao's force won three consecutive battles, forcing his enemy to retreat and fortify itself within the city of Xiapi. By then Cao Cao's troops were exhausted from fighting, and he intended to withdraw. However, Guo Jia persuaded Cao Cao to press on and not give Lü Bu time to recuperate. Cao Cao took the advice and ultimately prevailed against his opponent.

In 200, Cao Cao confronted Yuan Shao's force at the Battle of Guandu, leaving his base city Xuchang sparsely guarded. Seeing this opportunity, Sun Ce, a warlord in the south, planned to move north and attack Xuchang. Everyone despaired at the news, but Guo Jia foretold that Sun Ce, being proud and impulsive, would be killed by his own people before reaching Xuchang. True to his prediction, Sun Ce was assassinated before he could even cross the Yangtze River. Cao Cao then scored a great victory against Yuan Shao, solidifying his position as the strongest warlord in the north.

After losing the Battle of Guandu, Yuan Shao soon died. His legacy was contested between two of his sons, Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang. Many urged Cao Cao to seize the opportunity to root out the heirs. However, Guo Jia advised Cao Cao to turn his attention south to attack Liu Biao in Jingzhou (荆州) and let the brothers destroy themselves in battle with each other.

Cao Cao accepted Guo Jia's counsel and prepared for a campaign against Liu Biao. The Yuan brothers did indeed wear themselves out, resulting in the overmatched Yuan Tan seeking Cao Cao's aid. Cao Cao moved his force north again and easily defeated Yuan Shang, who escaped to Chief Ta Dun of the Wuhuan tribes. Cao Cao then conquered Yuan Tan in Nanpi (南皮) and took control of the Jizhou region (冀州).

At this time, Cao Cao intended to launch an expedition deep into the north to eradicate Yuan Shang and the Wuhuan tribes, but many feared that Liu Biao would attack from the south. Guo Jia encouraged Cao Cao to quickly take up the expedition to prevent a resurgence of Yuan Shang's power. Under Guo Jia's counsel, the army travelled light, leaving behind the bulk of supplies. The resulting swift strike caught the Wuhuan unprepared. Ta Dun was killed and Yuan Shang went into exile in what is now the province of Heilongjiang and Jilin.

Guo Jia died of a sickness in 207 AD, at the young age of 37. He was conferred the posthumous title of Marquis Zhen (贞侯), literally meaning the moral marquis. A year later, after Cao Cao suffered a tremendous defeat at the Battle of Red Cliffs, he lamented, "If Guo Jia were alive, I would not be in this state."

Modern references

Like many of his contemporaries, Guo Jia appears in the video game series "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" by Koei. He generally has very high intelligence and political skill.

He also appears in the "Dynasty Tactics" series also by Koei. He acts as Cao Cao's main advisor. In the original "Dynasty Tactics", he dies partway into the game. In "Dynasty Tactics 2", however, he lives much longer. In addition, in the original "Dynasty Tactics" it is Guo Jia who commands at Chi Bi while Cao Cao himself is occupied elsewhere. Seeing through Zhou Yu's fireship ploy he uses himself as a decoy to lure the strategist in, then detonates his ship and kills both himself and Zhou Yu while also decimating the Wu fleet.


*cite book|author=Chen Shou|title=San Guo Zhi|publisher=Yue Lu Shu She|year=2002|id=ISBN 7-80665-198-5

Personal information

* Son
** Guo Yi (郭奕)

ee also

*Three Kingdoms
*Personages of the Three Kingdoms
*"Records of Three Kingdoms"
*"Romance of the Three Kingdoms"

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