An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Kuai Tong 蒯通

Jul 14, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Kuai Tong 蒯通 was a political advisor of several political figures active between the downfall of the Qin 秦 (221-206 BCE) and the foundation of the Han dynasty 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) . His original name was Kuai Che 蒯徹, but during the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE), historiographers changed his name to Tong in order to avoid the personal name of Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87), Liu Che 劉徹. He is since known with the new name. Kuai Tong came from Fanyang 范陽 (modern Dingxing 定興, Hebei) and suggested to the magistrate of his hown town to surrender to the rebel leader Wu Chen 武臣, a general of Chen Sheng 陳勝 who led the uprising against the Qin dynasty. Wu Chen was thus able to pacify the whole northeastern region of China, i. e. the regions of Zhao 趙 (approx. Shanxi) and Yan 燕 (approx. Hebei). Kuai Tong later on advised the general Han Xin 韓信 during his conquest of the region of Qi 齊 (approx. Shandong). He also made the proposal to Han Xin to make himself independent of Liu Bang 劉邦 and to proclaim himself a king, but Han Xin refused. Kuai Tong became a retainer of the princely counsellor of Qi, Cao Shen 曹參. He had compiled a book called Juanyong 雋永 that included a lot of stories about political advisors and their plans, including Kuai Tong's own advices. The imperial bibliography in the Hanshu 漢書 lists a book called Kuaizi 蒯子. Both books are lost.

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1996). Hanshu cidian 漢書辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 793.