Zhang Zhao
Character Information
Force(s): Wu
Weapon Type: Sword (5:E~6)
Iron fan (7)
Throwing knives (8)
Unit Type: Strategist (5:E~6)
Elder (7~8)
Significant Battle(s):
First Appearance: Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires
Historical Information
Real name:
Zhāng Zhāo
Chinese name:
張昭 - 张昭
Style name:
Chinese name:
Birth year is sometimes given as 155.

Zhang Zhao (onyomi: Chō Shō) is a civil officer of Wu, deeply trusted by both Sun Ce and Sun Quan. With Zhang Hong, he was known as one of the Two Zhangs.

Roles in GamesEdit

In Dynasty Warriors, Zhang Zhao is a prominent Wu officer who joins Sun Ce around the conquest of Wu. He mainly acts as a supporting officer in subsequent battles until the battle of Hefei Castle. Most of the time, he is featured in battles against Wei that are directly led by Sun Quan, such as Hefei or Chibi. Some games have him already appear under Sun Jian's forces, but mostly only in battles against the latter. In Wei's hypothetical route in Dynasty Warriors 8, Zhang Zhao will be among the surrendering advisors at Jianye who need to defect in order to cause Sun Quan to surrender instead of fighting to the death. This will also complete the stage's star objective.

Zhang Zhao is a highly efficient civil officer in Romance of the Three Kingdoms with one of the highest politics stats in the series, often only beaten by Xun Yu. Most games feature him and Zhang Hong in an event that has Sun Ce employ them for his service. In the eleventh installment, this event can also be initiated when playing as Sun Jian's forces, but in this case it requires an additional debate that has to be won in order to employ them both, which can prove to be a bit difficult due to Sun Jian's inferior intelligence stat.

Voice ActorsEdit

  • Richard Epcar - Dynasty Warriors 8 (English-uncredited)
  • Michael Forest - Dynasty Tactics 2 (English-uncredited)
  • Lee Gwangsu - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (Korean)
  • Michihiro Ikemizu - Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series
  • Tsuguo Mogami - Sangokushi Legion


  • "My only wish is for peace across the land. If Cao Cao is the one to calm the raging seas of the times, then I shall join him."
  • "Lord Sun Quan, you must not slack off on your training. As with studying, it is vital to continue day after day."
"Don't worry. I already know that."
"Also, you should not stay up too late. Early to bed, early to rise, and eat everything on your plate whether you like it or not..."
"Zhang Zhao, just how old do you think I am? Stop treating me like a child."
~~Zhang Zhao and Sun Quan; Dynasty Warriors 8

Historical InformationEdit

Born in Pengcheng, Xu Province, Zhang Zhao was a devoted and intelligent man who began to study calligraphy and the Spring and Autumn Annals in his youth. He befriended Zhao Yu (趙昱) and Wang Lang during his studies and they became well-known young men in the area. Zhang Zhao was nominated Xiaolian (Filial and Incorrupt), but he declined any governmental position offered to him. At this time, Zhang Zhao was involved in a debate with Wang Lang about using the personal names of deceased emperors during ceremonies and was highly praised for his arguments. He became so known in Xuzhou that the governor Tao Qian recommended Zhang Zhao to become an official scholar, but he declined again. Tao Qian felt insulted and wanted to imprison him, but Zhao Yu managed to dissuade him from doing so. Zhang Zhao and his family moved to Yang Province south of the Yangtze River.

When Sun Ce conquered Jiangdong, Zhang Zhao became his Chief Clerk and received a position in his staff. Sun Ce treated him with great respect and entrusted him with many civil and military affairs. On his deathbed, Sun Ce also entrusted his brother Sun Quan to Zhang Zhao's care. He ensured that Sun Quan was recognized by the Imperial Court, as well as the loyalty of the officers in the cities within Sun Quan's territory. However, Sun Quan still mourned the death of his brother and was unable to conduct any affairs, so Zhang Zhao said to him:

Vin1 When one is the descendant of a great man, honor lies in his being able to carry on the progress from before, establishing greatness, in order to accomplish immortal deeds. And now, all under heaven is simmering with activity like a boiling cauldron, and every hill is overrun with bandits. At this, o Filial and Incorrupt, how can you droop your head and mourn, as if you are a common fellow? Vin2

He then helped Sun Quan mount his horse and march the troops to gain recognition from the other officers. He was later promoted to become Sun Quan's chief military adviser. During Cao Cao's southern invasion, Zhang Zhao proposed surrender, but Sun Quan decided to fight instead and eventually won at Chibi.

Sun Quan liked to hunt wild animals and let them get very close to him during the hunting trips, for which Zhang Zhao reprimanded him at one time. Sun Quan apologized, but continued to hunt them and even fought them with his bare hands sometimes. In 221, Xing Zhen, a messenger from the Wei court, arrived at the capital to confer the title of Prince of Wu to Sun Quan. When he did not dismount from his carriage in front of the gates, Zhang Zhao approached him and rebuked him. Xing Zhen immediately got off his carriage afterwards and honored Zhang Zhao as "General Who Pacifies the Distant Lands".

Afterwards, Sun Quan was supposed to appoint a Prime Minister and all favored Zhang Zhao for the position. Sun Quan, however, said that the position of Prime Minister required someone who was able to deal with complicated matters and take great responsibility, something Zhang Zhao would not excel at. Sun Quan chose Sun Shao instead and when he died a few years later, he chose Gu Yong instead, saying that Zhang Zhao's temper could cause him to hold a grudge against all who did not obey his words. Some time later, Sun Quan wanted to hold a drinking party at Wuchang. When he did, he noticed that Zhang Zhao was leaving with a serious look and sat in his carriage. Sun Quan approached him and asked why he was angry and Zhang Zhao compared him to King Zhou of Shang, who did the same at the "Wine Pool and Meat Forest" and did not consider it harmful. Sun Quan felt embarrassed and ended the party.

Zhang Zhao always had an awe-inspiring appearance. His words were always brave and forceful, even when speaking to Sun Quan in front of other people. Eventually, this caused him to be mostly ignored by Sun Quan, especially since others would deem Zhang Zhao as to be blunt, "an old stick in the mud". Once, when an ambassador of Shu arrived and started to praise his own kingdom extensively, nobody was able to give a good response and Sun Quan wished that Zhang Zhao were there to rebuke the man. The next day, he wished to meet Zhang Zhao and summoned him. When they met, Sun Quan knelt down before him and Zhang Zhao said,

Vin1 In the past, the Empress Dowager and Prince Huan (Sun Ce) did not take me, your old servant, to be in the care of Your Majesty, but rather took Your Majesty to be in my care. And so I am determined to exert myself completely in the duties of a minister, in order to repay their benevolence, so that many years hence, one may still remember you. But yet due to my shortsightedness I defied your honorable orders, and so I have now confined myself, leaving the normal way of things, and not attempting to seek audience again nor to serve at decision-making. However, foolish though I am, my heart is set upon serving the country to the end of my life. As for changing my priorities and concerns, in order to snatch glory for myself - this I am unable to do. Vin2

Sun Quan apologized and left afterwards.

When Sun Quan became Emperor, Zhang Zhao resigned from his post due to old age and illness. According to the Jiangbiao Zhuan, Sun Quan met with all of his ministers and attributed his success to Zhou Yu. When Zhang Zhao wanted to praise Zhou Yu as well, Sun Quan interfered and said that if he had listened to Zhang Zhao, he would be begging for food instead. Zhang Zhao was greatly ashamed by this. Still, he was made "General of Wu's support", a rank just below that of the Three Excellencies, named Marquis of Luo and enfeoffed with 10,000 households. A few years later, Gongsun Yuan of Xiangping planned a rebellion and Sun Quan wanted to send the officials Zhang Mi and Xu An north to acknowledge him as King of Yan. Zhang Zhao advised against it and started to argue with Sun Quan, who drew his sword and criticized him for always being against him and making him think that all he did was wrong. Zhang Zhao countered that he was only so determinant because he would always hear the Empress Dowager's words in his mind to take care of Sun Quan. Sun Quan dropped his sword and the two wept together. Still, he sent the two envoys north and Zhang Zhao left his post to return home. Sun Quan resented that and had dirt piled up in front of Zhang Zhao's door, with the latter doing the same.

Zhang Mi and Xu An were beheaded by Gongsun Yuan and Sun Quan tried to apologize to Zhang Zhao, but the latter refused to see him. He then tried to set his door on fire, causing him to only shut it tighter. Sun Quan had the flames extinguished and after some time, Zhang Zhao was helped out by his sons. Sun Quan took him back to the palace and admitted his own guilt. Zhang Zhao was given no choice other than return to work. In 236, Zhang Zhao died at the age of 81. He wished to be buried with plain clothes in a simple coffin and Sun Quan mourned his death. He was posthumously named Marquis of Letters and his title passed on to his younger son Zhang Xiu, as his eldest son Zhang Cheng had already been made a marquis.

Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit

Zhang Zhao is a prominent Wu minister in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. He and Zhang Hong were recommended to Sun Ce by Zhou Yu, but only joined him when he came personally to meet them. His advise would often be backed up by Gu Yong. During Sun Ce's conquest of Jiangdong, Zhang Zhao served as an advisor and warned him of an ambush at Liu Xiu's temple. In chapter 17, when Sun Ce is tasked to raise an army to defeat Yuan Shu, Zhang Zhao advised against it and instead proposed to ask Cao Cao for direct assistance. Later, in chapter 29, Zhang Zhao was among those who tried to persuade Sun Ce from sparing Yu Ji, to no avail. After Sun Ce's death, he served as a close advisor to Sun Quan. After taking Jiangxia in chapter 39, he feared that the city was too isloated to be defended.

In chapter 43, Zhang Zhao advised to submit to Cao Cao when the latter fielded his army to attack Jiangdong. He was the first official Zhuge Liang had to debate with to convince Wu of standing against Cao Cao. He and other ministers tried to persuade Zhou Yu to advocate for submission, but Zhou Yu decided against it eventually. In chapter 53, Zhang Zhao served Sun Quan during the battle of Hefei and advised to withdraw after Taishi Ci was severely wounded. In chapter 55, he supported Zhou Yu's idea of holding Liu Bei hostage.

Chapter 61 sees Zhang Zhao proposing a plan to Sun Quan to retake Jing Province. He advised him to send a letter to his sister, who had been wed to Liu Bei, stating that her mother was seriously ill and she should return to Wu. This would give her the chance to take Liu Bei's son with her to be used in exchange for Jing later. In the next chapter, he proposed to send two letters, one to Liu Zhang and one to Zhang Lu, to cause confusion within Yi Province and impede Liu Bei's conquest, allowing Sun Quan to attack Jing Province. Then, in chapter 66, he proposed to seize Zhuge Jin's family in order to persuade Zhuge Liang to give up Jing. This ruse finally led to Jing being split between Sun Quan and Liu Bei.

In chapter 77, Zhang Zhao blamed Sun Quan for the death of Guan Yu and started to argue with him. He advised Sun Quan to send Guan Yu's head to Cao Cao in order to divert Liu Bei's anger from Wu to Wei. Chapter 82 has him falsely slander Zhuge Jin and later advise Sun Quan to send several Wu generals to face Liu Bei. In the next chapter, he is among those who advise Sun Quan against promoting Lu Xun to Grand Commander. His last appearance is in chapter 98, when he suggested to Sun Quan to declare himself emperor. During the celebration, he refused to drink any wine, so Sun Quan sent Zhang Zhao's son Zhang Xiu to persuade him to drink, in which he succeeded. He is last mentioned opposing Sun Quan's plan to attack Wei.