Cao Fang
ROTK12 Cao Fang
Character Information
Force(s): Wei
Weapon Type: n/a
Unit Type: n/a
First Appearance: Dynasty Warriors 7
Historical Information
Real name:
Cáo Fāng
Chinese name:
Style name:
Chinese name:
蘭卿 - 兰卿

Cao Fang (onyomi: Sō Hō) is Cao Rui's adopted son. When he was eight, he became the emperor of Wei. He was notoriously known for plotting against the Sima family and frequenting his personal harems rather than his duties.

Role in GamesEdit

In Dynasty Warriors 7 and 8, Cao Fang is mentioned in the narration of Jin's story. He is introduced as the Cao Rui's young son who is supported by Sima Yi and Cao Shuang. He is later deposed and replaced with Cao Mao by Sima Shi. The seventh title features a scenario that centers on Cao Fang's plans for assassinating Sima Shi.

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Cao Fang is given fairly poor stats overall, with only his charisma standing out. The games list him as Cao Rui's son, thus he appears for whatever force Cao Rui serves.

Historical InformationEdit

Cao Fang was the son of Cao Kai, who was the son of Cao Zhang. He was adopted by Cao Rui at a very young age and became Prince of Qi in 235. In 239, Cao Rui became ill and made Cao Fang his heir. Since he was still a child at that time, Cao Rui wanted him to be supported by Cao Yu, Cao Shuang, Xiahou Xian, Cao Zhao and Qin Lang as regents until he was old enough to reign himself. However, his trusted subjects Liu Fang and Sun Zi persuaded him to make Cao Shuang and Sima Yi alone Cao Fang's regents.

Cao Fang became the third Emperor of Wei after Cao Rui passed away in 239. Five years later, he married Empress Zhen, a granddaughter of Zhenji's brother Zhen Yan. In 249, Cao Fang left the capital with Cao Shuang to pay respect at his father's tomb. Sima Yi used the chance to stage a coup and had Cao Shuang and his associates executed. Cao Fang was forced to offer Sima Yi the nine bestowments, which the latter refused. After the failed rebellion of Wang Ling in 251, Sima Yi died and was succeeded by Sima Shi. Cao Fang still remained without any real power. He married Empress Zhang, the daughter of Zhang Qi, after his wife died of illness.

In 254, Sima Shi suspected a plot against him after Cao Fang secretly met with Li Feng. Li Feng refused to tell Sima Shi about his meeting with Cao Fang and was beaten to death with a sword handle. Furthermore, Sima Shi accused Xiahou Xuan and Zhang Qi of plotting against him and had them executed. Cao Fang was forced to depose Empress Zhang and marry Empress Wang instead, and was enraged to the point that he decided to remove Sima Shi from power. He plotted to assassinate Sima Zhao on his return from Chang'an and use his troops to attack and kill Sima Shi, though Cao Fang hesitated in carrying out the plan and it was eventually discovered by Sima Shi. Sima Shi requested Dowager Guo to depose Cao Fang and replaced him with Cao Mao for agreeable reasons that even He Yan himself would not argue against; an edict that has survived over the years was also recorded by the Dowager herself:

Vin1 "The Emperor Cao Fang is now of age, yet he does not personally take charge of the many affairs of State. Instead he is sunken deep with his women, captivated by female charm. Daily he associates with his singing-girls (prostitutes) and gives free reign to their obscene dallyings. He invites the female relatives of his ladies to the palace and detains them in his inner apartments. He has destroyed the regulation of human relationships and disturbed the distinction between man and woman; his reverence and filial piety have warped day by day, and his unruliness and disorder have increased more and more. He is not worthy to carry on the celestial line and serve the Ancestral Temple." Vin2

From there it was made clear to many others that Cao Fang's neglect for his duties was a major factor in his removal from the throne, and thus he was spared and demoted to Prince of Qi, moving to a palace in Henei. When Sima Yan established the Jin Dynasty, Cao Fang was further demoted to the rank of Duke. He died in 274 and was posthumously named "Duke Li of Shaoling".

Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit

Cao Fang is introduced in chapter 106 of the novel as Cao Rui's heir apparent and adopted son, whose origin is unknown. In chapter 109, after being frightened by Sima Shi, Cao Fang left the throne room after court with Xiahou Xuan, Zhang Qi and Li Feng and they plotted to kill Sima Shi to return power to Cao Fang. Cao Fang wrote the edict with the blood from his finger and handed it over to Zhang Qi, urging him to be careful by reminding him of Dong Cheng, who tried to assassinate Cao Cao in the past. However, Sima Shi discovered the plot and confronted Cao Fang, who went down on his knees after seeing that he was busted and begged for forgiveness. After executing Cao Fang's three associates and strangling his wife Empress Zhang, Sima Shi dethroned Cao Fang. His dethronement caused the rebellion of Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin.