Cao Zhi
Cao Zhi (DWB)
Character Information
Force(s): Wei
Weapon Type: Sword (6)
Iron fan (7)
Throwing knives (8)
Swallow swords (Blast)
Unit Type: Strategist (6~8)
First Appearance: Dynasty Warriors 6
Historical Information
Real name:
Cáo Zhí
Chinese name:
Style name:
Chinese name:

Cao Zhi (onyomi: Sō Shoku) is Cao Cao's fifth son and one of the "Three Caos" (the others being his father and Cao Pi). Skilled with words, he is known as China's second best poet.

Role in GamesEdit

Cao Zhi is a minor officer in Wei's army who appears during their later campaigns. In Dynasty Warriors 6: Special, he appears alongside his brother and is surprised by Sima Yi's betrayal.

The sequel has him aid his brother against Wu's forces at Dongkou as well as appearing alongside his father at Chibi.

Dynasty Warriors 8 only features him in Ambition Mode. But in the Xtreme Legends expansion, he will serve as a replacement officer at the Pursuit at Nanjun.

Cao Zhi is a decent domestic officer in Romance of the Three Kingdoms and lacks any battle skills. Still, in the eleventh installment he can be used as a deputy officer, since his skill doubles the amount of Will points gained via Band Platforms.

Voice ActorsEdit

  • Yūma Uchida - Sangokushi Legion


  • "Oh, it's you, Brother. I just composed a poem, but I don't think it turned out well."
"Oh Zhi, don't agonize over it. You can come up with a poem in seven paces or less."
"There you go again, if that were always true, I wouldn't be struggling now."
"Well then, let's increase the stakes. If you don't compose it in seven paces, you're dead... How about that?"
~~Cao Zhi and Cao Pi; Dynasty Warriors 8

Historical InformationEdit

Cao Zhi was the third son of Cao Cao and his wife Lady Bian. Cao Zhi was already known to be a great writer and poet in his youth, having learned many books and essays by heart. When Cao Cao invited all of his sons to the newly built Bronze Bird Tower and ordered them to compose an ode on it, Cao Zhi composed such as beautiful poem on the spot that he greatly impressed Cao Cao and the others. Cao Cao admired him greatly for his quick wit and ability to answer difficult questions on the spot. In 212, Cao Cao named Cao Zhi Earl of Pingyuan and moved him to Linzi three years later. He tasked Cao Zhi with defending the city of Ye in the same year, saying that when he was 23 himself, he was Magistrate of Dunqiu and did not regret anything, so Cao Zhi should strive for excellence in his tasks as well. In 218, Cao Cao increased Cao Zhi's fief by 5,000 households to a total of 10,000 households and it was expected that he would become Cao Cao's heir.

However, Cao Zhi was also known to party a lot, drink heavily and have a higher interest in sports than in court matters. Cao Pi on the other hand was careful and managed to solicit support in the court, so the ministers spoke highly of Cao Pi and he was eventually named heir. Cao Pi started to become suspicious of Cao Zhi from then on, although Cao Zhi never showed signs of harboring intentions to succeed the throne. Once, Cao Zhi left the city through the Sima gate, something that was only permitted to military officers. Cao Cao became furious and executed the driver of Cao Zhi's carriage. Cao Zhi's favor started to diminish, especially when his friend Yang Xiu was executed. In 219, when Cao Ren was besieged at Fan, Cao Cao ordered Cao Zhi to save Cao Ren to give him a chance to redeem himself and regulate his temperament. However, Cao Zhi was so drunk that he was unable to take the orders and Cao Cao regretted the move.

Cao Cao passed away in 220 and was succeeded by Cao Pi. One of Cao Pi's first actions was to executed Cao Zhi's associates Ding Yi (丁仪) and Ding Yi (丁廙) as well as their families. Cao Zhi was sent back to his fief along with all other princes and forbidden to take part in court affairs. He also sent surveyors to keep surveillance on all enfeoffed relatives of the emperor. One of them accused Cao Zhi of being arrogant and intoxicated, so many court officials asked Cao Zhi to be severely punished, but Lady Bian intervened. Cao Zhi was only demoted to Earl of Anxiang, but only one year later he was reinstated as Prince.

In 224, Cao Zhi and the other princes were granted an audience with the emperor. When Cao Zhi and his brother Cao Biao were not allowed to travel together, Cao Zhi composed a sorrowful seven-section poem named "To Biao, the Prince of Baima". In 226, when Cao Pi returned from his campaign against Wu, he passed by Cao Zhi's place and increased his fief by 500 households. Cao Pi died later that year and was succeeded by Cao Rui. During the next years, Cao Zhi was often moved around by Cao Rui and angry that he was unable to apply his talents. He often wrote to Cao Rui asking to be given a post to prove himself, but Cao Rui would always decline.

Cao Rui summoned all lords for an audience in 232 and Cao Zhi often tried to meet with Cao Rui in private to discuss political matters, but he was never allowed to. Cao Zhi returned to his state as a depressed and hopeless man. The laws at that time were very harsh on the princes and even harsher on Cao Zhi due to his behavior in the past. Instead of 200 old soldiers to serve as his guard, he was only given half as many. He was relocated very often and thus unable to build a permanent residence or make contact with his family. His severe depression eventually caused an illness from which he died at the age of 40.

In his life, he wrote many poems and became known as one of the "Three Caos". Their poetry style was described as the Jian'an style, a reference to the Jian'an era from 196 to 220. One of his well-known poems was the Quatrain of Seven Steps (Qibushi).

Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit

In the novel, the complicated relationship between Cao Pi and his brothers was used to have Cao Pi trying to kill his brothers to secure his succession. When Cao Zhi failed to turn up at his father's funeral due to being drunk, he was brought before Cao Pi and his life was only spared because of Lady Bian. However, Hua Xin suggested that Cao Pi should test Cao Zhi's literary abilities and if he failed, it would give him an excuse to execute him, to which Cao Pi agreed. When meeting with Cao Zhi in private and confessing his faults, Cao Pi instructed Cao Zhi to make a poem of a painting on the wall after taking seven paces, which Cao Zhi did. Cao Pi was still not convinced and ordered Cao Zhi to make a poem based on their relationship without using the word "brother". Cao Zhi did so and the poem moved Cao Pi to tears, so he decided to let him go.