Ko Gendo (高元度)

KO Gendo was toraijin (ancient Japanese immigrants) of the royal family of the Goryeo kingdom of the Korean peninsula. He was the grand envoy appointed to meet the thirteenth envoy who had been sent from Japan to Tang China. In 759 Ko Gendo was appointed to this position.

The thirteenth envoy from Japan to Tang China

In 759, Ko Gendo was named "grand envoy sent to greet the envoy sent to Tang China" (in other words, he was a messenger sent to China to meet the actual envoy who had already been sent from Japan to Tang China and was currently in China). He, along with 99 others, formed the party that made up the thirteenth embassy, sent on one embassy ship, from Japan to China. The embassies sent to Tang China were also called "the four ships," and in the heyday of such embassies the envoy's party numbered over 400 people, which is how they reached the scope of having four embassy ships; by comparison, the thirteenth embassy could be said to be rather small in scale.

In 759, Ko Gendo's party crossed through Balhae (a kingdom in northwestern Korea, also known as Bokkai or Bohai) by means of the Balhae Kingdom Way (a road) and entered Tang China in order to meet FUJIWARA no Kiyokawa. However, Tang China was wracked with turmoil due to the Anshi Rebellion (An Lushan's rebellion), and consequently the Tang court refused to allow FUJIWARA no Kiyokawa to return to Japan, citing the dangers of the road; as a result, Ko Gendo was unable to fulfill his objective. The Tang court ordered the creation of a 24 meter-long ship, crewing it with nine sailors and loading it with thirty passengers, and then used this ship to send Ko Gendo back to Japan.

[Original Japanese]