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Koxinga (國姓爺; pinyin: Gúoxìngyé) is the popular name of Zheng Chenggong (鄭成功 pinyin: Zhèng Chénggōng; WG: Cheng Ch'eng-kung; Cheng Kung) (1624 - 1662), who was a military leader at the end of the Chinese Ming Dynasty. He was a prominent leader of the anti-Qing movement opposing the Manchu Qing Dynasty, and a Han Chinese general who seized Taiwan from Dutch colonial rule in 1661.

Table of contents
1 Names
2 Childhood
3 Loyalty to the Ming Empire
4 Death of a mother
5 Fighting the Qing
6 Taiwanese Landing
7 Memories
8 Political exploitation
9 External links



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

Loyalty to the Ming 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 Huang Daozhou and Zheng Zhilong,Koxinga's father. 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.

Fighting 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; formally 国性爺合戦) was written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon in Japan in the 18th century, first performed in Kyoto. A movie with the same title was produced by the PRC and Japan in 2002 in Mandarin Chinese. (External link below)

Political exploitation

He has been considered a national hero by Chinese nationalists because he was an anti-Manchu leader and expelled foreigners from "China". During the Japanese rule of Taiwan Koxinga was honored as a bridge between Taiwan and Mainland Japan for his maternal linkage to Japan. Koxinga has been utilized by the Kuomintang too. Like Koxinga, Chiang Kai-shek came from outside Taiwan and exploited Taiwan as the base to launch counterattacks to Mainland China. Thus the supporters of Taiwan independence have mixed feelings toward him.

External links