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Yi Ji

Yi Ji
General of Illustrious Writing (昭文將軍)
In office
221 (221) – ? (?)
MonarchLiu Bei / Liu Shan
Personal details
Juye County, Shandong
Courtesy nameJibo (機伯)

Yi Ji (fl. 200s–221), courtesy name Jibo, was an official serving in the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He previously served under the warlord Liu Biao in the late Eastern Han dynasty before coming to serve Liu Bei, the founding emperor of Shu Han.


Yi Ji was from Shanyang Commandery (山陽郡), which covered roughly the area around present-day Juye County, Shandong. At a young age, he became a subordinate of Liu Biao, who then held the appointment of General Who Guards the South (鎮南將軍) under the Han central government. Liu Biao later became the Governor of Jing Province (covering present-day Hubei and Hunan) so Yi Ji followed him to Jing Province. In the early 200s, when the warlord Liu Bei sought shelter under Liu Biao after his defeat by his rival Cao Cao, Liu Biao offered to let him stay in Xinye County in northern Jing Province. Yi Ji met Liu Bei several times around the time and became an acquaintance of Liu Bei.[1]

After Liu Biao's death in 208, his younger son Liu Cong, who succeeded him, surrendered to Cao Cao when Cao led his forces on a campaign in southern China. Yi Ji joined Liu Bei on a journey southward towards Xiakou (夏口; present-day Wuhan, Hubei), which was guarded by Liu Biao's elder son Liu Qi and was independent of Cao Cao's control. Yi Ji became an official under Liu Bei since then. In the 210s, after Liu Bei seized control of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from its governor Liu Zhang, Yi Ji followed Liu Bei to Chengdu, the capital of Yi Province. Liu Bei, who held the nominal appointment of General of the Left (左將軍) under the Han central government then, appointed Yi Ji as an Assistant Officer of the Household (從事中郎) under him. Liu Bei's treatment of Yi Ji was second to that of Jian Yong, Sun Qian and others.[2]

Liu Bei later sent Yi Ji as a messenger to Jiangdong (or Wu) to meet the warlord Sun Quan, Liu's ally in their war against Cao Cao. Sun Quan had heard of Yi Ji's debating skills before and he wanted to test Yi. When Yi Ji met Sun Quan, he knelt down to pay his respects. Sun Quan asked: "Are you tired of serving an incompetent lord?" Yi Ji replied: "I just need to kneel down and pay my respects and then stand up. This isn't tiring to me." Such was Yi Ji's wit and tactfulness. Sun Quan was very impressed with him.[3]

After the fall of the Han dynasty in 220, Yi Ji served in the state of Shu Han – founded by Liu Bei in 221 – during the Three Kingdoms period. He was promoted to the position of General of Illustrious Writing (昭文將軍). He drafted the laws of Shu with Zhuge Liang, Fa Zheng, Liu Ba and Li Yan.[4]


Chen Shou, who wrote Yi Ji's biography, commented as follows: "Mi Zhu, Sun Qian, Jian Yong and Yi Ji were refined and cultured persons whose ideas were widely circulated. They were well known for their good observation of the proprieties."[5]

See also


  1. ^ (伊籍字機伯,山陽人。少依邑人鎮南將軍劉表。先主之在荊州,籍常往來自託。) Sanguozhi vol. 38.
  2. ^ (表卒,遂隨先主南渡江,從入益州。益州旣定,以籍為左將軍從事中郎,見待亞於簡雍、孫乾等。) Sanguozhi vol. 38.
  3. ^ (遣東使於吳,孫權聞其才辯,欲逆折以辭。籍適入拜,權曰:「勞事無道之君乎?」籍旣對曰:「一拜一起,未足為勞。」籍之機捷,類皆如此,權甚異之。) Sanguozhi vol. 38.
  4. ^ (後遷昭文將軍,與諸葛亮、法正、劉巴、李嚴共造蜀科;蜀科之制,由此五人焉。) Sanguozhi vol. 38.
  5. ^ (麋笁、孫乾、簡雍、伊籍,皆雍容風議,見禮於世。) Sanguozhi vol. 38.