Yue Fei 岳飞

A national hero who is loyal to the country


Chinese Name: 岳飞

English Name: Yue Fei

Other Names: Yue Wumu 岳武穆、Yue Shaobao 岳少保

Born: March 24, 1103

Died: January 27, 1142


Recover the six counties of Jiankang and Xiangyang 收复建康、襄阳六郡

Pacify Cao Cheng, Zhang Yong and other vagrant forces 平定曹成、张用等游寇势力

Make the northern expedition to the Central Plains 北伐中原

Achieve great victories in Yucheng and Yingchang 取得郾城、颍昌大捷

Main Works:

Manjianghong· bristle with anger 满江红·怒发冲冠

Yue Fei 岳飞
Yue Fei 岳飞

Brief Biography of Yue Fei

Yue Fei, a famous anti-Jin general, militarist, strategist, national hero, calligrapher, and poet in the Southern Song Dynasty, ranks first among the “four generals of Zhongxing 中兴四将”.

Yue Fei (March 24, 1103-January 27, 1142), courtesy name Pengju 鹏举, was born in Tangyin 汤阴, Xiangzhou 相州 (now Tangyin County 汤阴县, Henan Province 河南省). Yue Fei joined the army four times since he was 20. From the second year of Jianyan 建炎 (1128) to the 11th year of Shaoxing 绍兴 (1141), he participated in and commanded hundreds of large and small battles. When the Jin army attacked the south of the Yangtze River, he led the army and strongly advocated fighting against Jin 金 and recovering Jiankang 建康.

In the 4th year of Shaoxing (1134), the six counties of Xiangyang 襄阳 were recovered. In the 6th year of Shaoxing (1136), he led the Northern Expedition and successfully captured Shangzhou 商州and Guozhou 虢州.

In the 10th year of Shaoxing (1140), Wanyan Zongbi 完颜宗弼 destroyed the league to attack the Song Dynasty. Yue Fei led the northern expedition. The people of the two rivers rushed to tell each other, and the volunteers from all over the country responded one after another to attack the Jin army. The Yuejia army 岳家军 successively recovered Zhengzhou 郑州, Luoyang 洛阳and other places, defeated the Jin army in Yucheng 郾城 and Yingchang 颍昌, and marched into Zhuxian Town 朱仙镇.

Yue Fei 岳飞
Yue Fei’s tomb 岳飞墓

Zhao Gou赵构, Emperor Gaozong of the Song Dynasty 宋高宗, and Qin Hui 秦桧, Prime Minister of the Song Dynasty, insisted on seeking peace and urged them to go back with 12 “golden tablets”. During the Song and Jin Dynasties negotiation, Yue was framed and imprisoned by Qin Hui, Zhang Jun 张俊, and others.

In January 1142, he was killed together with his eldest son, Yue Yun 岳云, and Zhang Xian 张宪, on a false charge. During the reign of emperor Xiaozong of the Song Dynasty 宋孝宗, their charge was rehabilitated and buried in Qixia ridge 栖霞岭 beside the West Lake 西湖. He was given the posthumous title of Wu Mu 武穆. Later, he was given the posthumous title of Zhongwu 忠武 and granted the king of E 鄂王.

Personal Life and Major Contributions

Tattooed by his mother

At the end of the Northern Song Dynasty, the Jin people in the North invaded the south. The rulers of the Song Dynasty were corrupt and incompetent, and they were retreating day by day. The country was at a critical point of survival. Yue Fei joined the army to resist Jin. Soon after, due to the death of his father, he returned to his hometown to observe filial piety.

In 1126, Jin soldiers invaded the Central Plains, and Yue Fei joined the army again. Before leaving, Mrs. Yao called Yue and said, “now the country is in crisis. What are your plans?” Yue said, “go to the front line to kill the enemy and serve the country faithfully!” Mrs. Yao was very satisfied with her son’s answer. It was the mother’s hope for her son to serve the country faithfully.

She decided to stick these four words on her son’s back so that he would always remember them. Mrs. Yao first wrote on Yue’s back, and then she stabbed it with embroidery. However, the word “country” is not a bit, which symbolizes that there is no head in Song. After the stabbing, his mother painted vinegar ink again. Since then, the four words “loyal to the country 精忠报国” have never faded on Yue Fei’s back.

Yue Fei 岳飞
Tattooed by his mother 岳母刺字

Mother’s encouragement inspired Yue Fei. After Yue Fei joined the army, he was soon promoted to Bingyilang 秉义郎 because of his bravery. At this time, Kaifeng 开封, the capital of the Song Dynasty, was besieged by the Jin army. Yue Fei went to the rescue with deputy marshal Zongze 宗泽. He defeated the Jin army many times and was praised by Zongze. He praised him for his “wisdom, courage and skills. Good generals in the past will not pass.” Later, he became a famous hero against the Jin Dynasty and was admired by people of all dynasties.

Recover the six commanderies of the Song Dynasty

Yue Fei recovered the six counties of Xiangyang 襄阳 and shocked the Song court. Yue Fei became the youngest builder of the Song Dynasty because of his achievements in addition to the Qingyuan army’s Jiedu envoy and the Jinghu North Road’s Jingxiang and Tanzhou system envoy. Yue Fei’s victory over Xianghan 襄汉 was the first time that the Southern Song Dynasty recovered a large area of lost land, and also captured Tangzhou 唐州军 and Xinyang army 信阳军, which were originally controlled by the puppet Qi 齐.

After recovering the six counties of Xiangyang, Yue Fei was ordered to move to Ezhou 鄂州, which became the headquarters of the Yue family army 岳家军. Yue Fei sent 2000 people to guard Xiangyang Prefecture and Tang and Deng prefectures, 150 to guard Yingzhou 郢州, and 200 to guard Suizhou 随州. He also ordered the garrison to repair the city, strengthen security, and vigorously set up camp fields to attract returning farmers.

Yue Fei 岳飞
Yue Fei’s statue 岳飞塑像

Due to Yue Fei’s efforts to rectify the defense and attach importance to the development of production, the Xianghan area finally healed the ravages of the puppet Qi and the war and became a strategic place connecting Sichuan 四川, Shaanxi 陕西, and the Central Plains in the Southern Song Dynasty and mapping in the north.

Suffer great injustice 千古奇冤

In the 11th year of Shaoxing 绍兴(1141), when the state of Jin 金 was unable to defeat the Southern Song Dynasty, it prepared to negotiate peace with the Song Dynasty again. The Song court took the opportunity to suppress the generals holding heavy troops, especially Yue Fei and Han Shizhong 韩世忠, who insisted on resisting the Jin Dynasty.

After Yue Fei returned to the dynasty, he was impeached by Wan Sixie 万俟卨 and Luo Ruji 罗汝楫, the followers of Qin Hui 秦桧. On August 9, Yue Fei was dismissed from the post of deputy envoy of the Privy Council and assumed the post of “envoy of the longevity view”. Yue Fei resigned and returned to his old residence in Lu Mountain 庐山, Jiangzhou 江州 to take a rest.

Yue Fei 岳飞
Qin Hui 秦桧

Yue Fei had no soldiers and no power at this time, but his persecution was still pressing. On the 7th of November, the “Shaoxing peace talks 绍兴和议” between Song 宋 and Jin reached an agreement: Song submitted to Jin. Qin Hui proposed that Yue Fei should be executed, Zhang Xian 张宪 should be hanged, and Yue Yun 岳云 should be sentenced to imprisonment. When the news of Yue Fei’s death came out, the people wept for it.

Video: General Yue Fei | The China History Podcast | Ep. 95

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