Korea Heads

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Korea Heads of State

Also see North Korea Ministers and South Korea Ministers

632-47 Queen Sondok Yo Ju of Silla
Also known as Sondok Yowang. She succeeded father and she was generally known as a strong Queen who continued Silla's conflict with the two other Korean kingdoms of Koguryo and Paekche .

647-54 Chindok Yo Ju of Silla
Also known as Chindok Yowang. She succeeded cousin and continued Queen Sondok's alliance with the Chinese.

887-897 Chinsong Yo Ju of Silla
Also Known as Chinsong Yowang. Succeeded brother and unlike the previous Queens, she ruled during an era of Silla decline.

997-1009 Regent Dowager Queen Honae
Widow of King Kongjong, who ruled 975-981, and was in charge of the government when her son, Mokjong came to the throne after the death of king Songjong. She established many government offices for showing the royal family’s dignity and improved various institutions, such as protection privilege, enfeoffment and the land system. She also pursued independent and practical diplomacy, and consolidated national defense by building castles and reorganizing the military system. Her policies strengthened sovereign power and centralism. Although her regency inherited the policy of the preceding king, it did not adapt to the need to follow Chinese politics and maintained the unique qualities of the Koryo Dynasty. Since her son did not have a successor, she wanted to bear another heir to the throne, and she had as son with her relative, Kim-Ch’iyang, whom she wanted to succeed Mokjong. She therefore tried to kill the legal successor, Prince Daeryangwon (the later King Honjong, who 1084–1097). But many bureaucrats were opposed to her and supported Prince Daeryangwon. After they all attacked her, she and Mokjong fell. She lived (964–1029).

1468-77 Regent Great Dowager Queen Yun Jong-hi of Korea
Also known as Jong-hi Wang-hu, she was regent for son Ye-jong II after the death of her husband, Great King Se-jo. In 1469 her son died and was succeeded by a nephew, her grandson Song-jong (1457-69-95). She was daugher of the Prime Minister, and lived (1418-83).

1545-53  Regent Dowager Queen Yun Mun-jong of Korea
Also known as Mun-jong Wang-hu, she was widow of Chung-jong, Chung-jong (1488-1506-44) and regent for Myong-jong, who succeeded his brother, Injong. Her reign saw a lull in the suppression of Buddhism and The Buddhist monk Hyujong (1520-1604) did much to promote an ecumenical movement and harmonized the value of Buddhism with philosophical Daoism and Confucianism in his 'Mirror of the Three Teachings'. She lived (1501-65).

1567-68 Regent Dowager Queen Shim of Korea
Also known as In-sun Wang-hu, she was the widow of Myongjong (1534-1567), and adopted the third son of Prince Tok-hung, who then succeeded his uncle as Kun Jong-jon or Sonjo (1552-1608). She lived (1532-75).

1800-05  Regent Dowager Queen Chong-sun of Korea
She was widow of King Yi Yongjo (1724-76) and she was regent for grandson Yi Kwang (1800-34)

1834-41 Regent Dowager Queen Kim Sun-wo Wang-ho
1849-42 Regent
First regent for Hon-jong and then for Chol-jung who died 1864- She lived (1789-1857)

1864-66 Regent Dowager Queen Cho Sin-chong
For Ko-jong King and Emperor (1864-1907)

1866-95 De-facto Ruler Empress Myongsong
Myongsong was her posthumous name. During her lifetime she was generally known as Queen Min. Officially her name was Min Hun Yo, Queen Wun-song. She was the defacto ruler and opposed the Japanese domination. She was assassinated by Japanes soldiers. Daughter of Min Ch'irok, married to Hung-son Tae-won Gun (1864-73) and mother of another Emperor. She lived (1851-95).

2006- 30th Head of the Imperial House HIH Princess Yi Haewon
She is the oldest surviving member of the former Imperial family and d
aughter of Prince Uichin, fifth son of King Kojong, the second last king of the Chosun Kingdom. She was nominated by parts of the family and has become head of the Choson society (
Taehanjeguk) as well as have authority to select her successor, he added. Her appointment is disputed by another - adopted - branch of the family. (b. 1919-)


Last update 29.09.09