Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 6 of 6

Zhang Guangyu’s 張光宇 (1900-1965) overlooked masterpiece, Manhua Journey to the West 西遊漫記 was originally created in the fall of 1945 while Zhang was living in the wartime capital of Chongqing. Deeply critical of the ruling KMT government, it was eventually banned and did not see print for another 13 years. For the sake of introducing Zhang’s out-of-print work to a larger audience, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the entire 60 page comic into English.

In the final part of this 6 part translation, the pilgrims have just escaped from the forces of False Qin and are sitting down to rest when a “black force” 黑气 approaches and steals their shadows. The black force is revealed to have come from the nearby the “black market” 黑市场, a shadowy realm of ghosts and demons guarded by a giant cat with one eye open and the other eye closed. Mice are said to be flowing into and out of a hole in the wall of the market, “like cars speeding back and forth on a motorway.” Eventually the pilgrims’ shadows make their way into the market where they immediately fall into a slimy pond full of talking carp who tell them to, “Seek profits! Seek profits!” They are rescued by a giant skeletal hand only to find themselves facing the “Spirit of Idle Capital” in the “Hall of Laughter and Curses.” The spirit takes a fancy to Zhu Bajie and follows his shadow back into the human realm to take over his body. Zhu Bajie then apparently abandons his body, somehow tricking the spirit.1 Once back in the human realm, Tripitaka asks Monkey to find some food and water for him. Monkey manages to find a stream inside a cave, but just as he is about to fill a kettle with water, a three-headed dragon appears and challenges him to a riddle…

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51. 那 四个影子再往前走几步,却被一堵城墙挡住,只是寻觅不着一个城门,正在迟疑间,忽然墙边有淅索之声,接着发现那 边有个小窟窿,许多耗子钻进钻出,好像马 路上的汽车一样驶来驶去,在另一个角落里却见有一对猫眼睛,一只眼开,一只眼闭,好像马路上的红绿灯一样,四个影子上前打问:“警察先生,请问如何入 城?”话还没说完,早被那猫脚爪猛的一掌,打进了城。

The four shadows walked another few steps, but found themselves blocked by the city wall. No matter how hard they looked they weren’t able to find the gate. Just as they found themselves in a state of befuddlement, they heard a pitter pattering sound, so they looked around and discovered there was a hole through which a multitude of mice were passing, like cars speeding back and forth on a motorway. To one side there was a pair of cat-eyes, one open and the other closed, appearing for all the world to be nothing else than a pair of traffic signals. The four shadows went forward to ask, “Mr. Police Officer, please, can you tell us how to get into the city?” Before they had finished asking their question, the cat had snatched them up with violent movement of his claws and pulled them into the city.


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52. 四 个影子被打进城去,不偏不倚正跌中在一个混水潭里,四下乱摸,尽是泥浆,腥臭难闻,冰冷透骨,摸来摸去终摸不到岸边,大家却摸着几条鲤鱼,鱼在手中却能作 人言曰:“得利!得利!”吓得他们又惊又喜,正在这时上面伸下一只枯骨大手,一捞便连鱼带影捞出水面,顺手又把他们送进一个骷髅嘴里,直吞下肚。

The four shadows were pulled into the city, and without exception dumped into a pond. Feeling about in every which way, there was only mud, and an unpleasant fishy smell. The icy-cold water penetrated to their bones, and feeling this way and that they were still unable to find the shore. They did, however, find several carp, who they discovered were able to speak upon touch human hands, saying, “Seek profits! Seek profits!” This both shocked and pleased the shadows. Just then, a dried-up skeletal hand reached into the pond and pulled both the fish and shadows out of the water, carrying them to the mouth of a skeleton which immediately swallowed them whole.


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53. 他们四个便在肚中游历,东张西望,只见黄金满屋,珠宝无数,美钞堆积,法币铺地,东边百货,西边食量,客所中悬有横额曰:“笑骂堂”,两边骨柱上有一联云: “要钱且先伸手,不贪何来污名?”八戒看了,甚是赞赏,忽然从骨缝里冒出青磷磷一个幽灵,自称:“吾乃游资之魂” 今欲投个凡胎,寻个对象!”言时目注八戒影子,嘻嘻的笑着,直扑将过来。

The four shadows made a tour of the skeleton’s bowels, looking all around. The room was piled full of gold, and limitless pearls and jewels, piles of American dollars, French francs scattered across the floor; a quantity of various goods to the east, foodstuffs to the west. In the main hall, a hanging tablet read, “Hall of Laughter and Curses,” while the two pillars on either side of the hall bore a paired couplet which read, “If you want money, you just need to stretch out your hand. / Without greed where does a dirty name come from?” When Bajie saw this, he was full of admiration. Suddenly, a phosphorus ghost emerged from a crack in the bones, saying, “I am the Spirit of Idle Capital! Today I want to find a fetus to be reborn into, to find a partner!” As he was speaking, he eyed Bajie’s shadow, laughing happily, and rushed over.


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54. 八戒影子好生害怕,即忙拨脚逃走,“游资之魂”紧紧追赶,后面三藏等影子见不是头,也追上来救八戒,八戒影子直往八戒本身那里奔去,不料被那“游资”一把抓住,后面三个影子却拉住“游资”,三方面相持挣扎,正无法解脱也。

Bajie’s shadow was deeply afraid, running away anxiously, the “Spirit of Idle Capital” in close pursuit, but the shadows of Tripitaka and the others couldn’t see from behind, so they also followed, to try to save Bajie. Bajie’s shadow ran straight for his body, but unexpectedly “Idle Capital” caught up with him. The three shadows pulled at “Idle Capital” from behind, the three of them locked in a fierce struggle, but were unable to shake him free.


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55. 话说八戒等影子与“游资之魂”正相恃不下,还是八戒本身出来调停道:“你这孤魂,抓住我的影子有何用处?还不是老朱本人道高德深,权且可以收你做个“义魂”,”那“游资之魂”听了十分满意,便放了八戒影子,来投八戒本人,于是八戒便多了一种智慧,遇到有可以投机的机会,十分依恋本身,他们暗中私议 道: “我们难得出去见见世面,不想便遭到这样惊险的事情,以后再也不敢离开了。

It is said that Bajie and the other shadows were no match for the “Spirit of Idle Capital” so Bajie himself came up with a compromise, “Oh lonely soul, you’ve taken hold of my shadow, what possible use could you have for it? Is not Zhu Bajie moral and virtuous? So I could take you on as a ‘Step-Brother-Spirit.’” Upon hearing this, the “Spirit of Idle Capital” was deeply pleased, and so he released Bajie’s shadow and moved into Bajie’s body, whereupon Bajie pulled a trick, and when he saw his chance but hating to leave his body. The pilgrims said quietly in the darkness, “It was hard for us to go out and see the world, and now, unexpectedly, we’ve come up this bit of misfortune. We’ll never leave again.”


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56. 却说三藏坐在草堆上,精神恢愎过来,顿觉唇焦口渴,饥饿难熬,他便呼唤悟空道:“徒弟啊!我今口渴肚饿,你去打发一点茶水,还要化些斋饭来受用受用!”悟空 应道:“我今先去打发茶水,回来再去化斋饭!”说罢便去了。四处找寻,却不见一条河道,只听乱山凹里有流皇铮淙之声,便顺着声音去寻,果见有一脉清泉,便 拔下一根毫毛,变了一只水壶,却待弯身去取那水,不道那边山岗背后转出一条三头毒龙来,喝道:“和尚!你可认得我吗?”

Our story continues: when Tripitaka came to on the pile of straw, he realized that his lips were chapped and that he was rather thirsty, not to mention hungry beyond compare. So he called for Wukong, saying, “Disciple! I’m thirsty and hungry, go and find me some tea-water, and alms to make use of!” Wukong replied, “I’ll go get the tea-water first, and when I come back I’ll go begging for alms!” He searched high and low, but couldn’t find a river or stream, instead hearing only the sound of clashing water from the mouth of a cave. Looking for the source of the sounds, he came across a clear spring, whereupon he plucked a single hair from his body which he transformed into a kettle. As he was bending to fill it with water, however, a three-headed poisonous dragon emerged from behind some mountain or another, shouting, “Monk! Do you recognize me?”


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57. 悟 空一见,呆住了,却应道:“老孙倒不认得你,打量你是个妖精,在此作崇,我且问你,你可晓得老爷是谁?”那龙道:“闲话少说,我也不问你姓甚名谁,凡是到 我这里来的人,有个规矩,我必须要试试他有几分聪明?给他猜个“谜语”,要是猜透了,我便将这个世界让他,要是猜不透,我便结果了那些笨坯!”说着张口伸 舌,弄弄身畔几根白骨,表示他的尊严。

Upon seeing the beast, Wukong was dumbfounded, so he replied, “Old Sun doesn’t know you, but I reckon that you’re a monster that’s here to make trouble, so I want to ask you, do you know who your daddy is?” The dragon replied, “Let’s not mince words, and I won’t ask what your name is. Everyone who comes here has to follow the rules: I get to test their intelligence. I give them all a riddle to solve, and if they guess correctly they get to go past. If not then I get to finish them off!” So saying, he opened his mouth and stretched out his tongue, spitting out several white bones to show the sincerity of his threat.


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58. 大 圣听了,有些诧异,心里想,这个妖精倒如此闲逸,可惜老孙没有工夫,取水要紧,我那师傅就要渴死,岂不是这个妖精故意刁难,否则我就仔细铺猜他的“谜 语”,既然如此便不睬他也罢,便顺手拔下一根汗毛,变个照妖镜,迎面一照,说声:“看镜!烘现出你的本相来,倒底是什么东西?”那毒龙被照,叫声:“啊 呀!”顿然化了一阵青烟,现出三个人头,飞升而去。

Upon hearing this, the Great Sage was a little flabbergasted, and he thought to himself, a monster like this, living a life a leisure. It’s only too bad that I don’t have time to mess around, since I’m in a hurry to take back this water.  My master is dying of thirst, and this monster is just making things difficult for me, otherwise I really would try to answer his riddle, but things being the way they are, I’d better just ignore him. With that he pulled out a single hair which he transformed into a magic mirror, pointing it at the monster, saying, “Look into the mirror! Reveal your true form! What are you, really?” The poisonous dragon, caught in the beam, said, “Ahhrggg!” and transformed into a plume of dark green smoke and revealed three human heads, and flew up into the sky.


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59. 悟空虽是看见毒龙的形状,却仍不明白他是变的什么东西,定睛再一看,却又发现那毒龙留下一个“孽蛋”,悟空不能忍耐,便藏子镜子,耳朵里取出金箍棒来,举起便打,蛋破浆流,却又化阵青烟,只见许多小龙呼啸腾去。

When Wukong saw true form of the poisonous dragon, but he didn’t understand what sort of thing it had transformed into. Looking at it more closely, however, he discovered that it had left behind an ‘evil egg.’ Unable to restrain himself, Wukong put away the magic mirror and took out his golden cudgel from his ear. Raising it high, he struck the egg, which broke, releasing a viscous liquid which likewise changed into dark green smoke, revealing a multitude of smaller dragons, which flew screaming up into the sky.

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60. 正 在这时,一阵怪风刮将过来,暗中现出一个巨神,大声喝道:“祸事!祸事!”悟空看时,认得是“拿破仑”,连忙问道:“你说什么祸事呢?”拿翁道:“我奉上 帝玉旨,看管山龙,他叫”法西斯蒂”,回上帝不准他超升,着我管他,不想被你放走了,可是世界从此多事矣!这都是你闯的祸,我当奏与上帝知道,就说你做的 好事,如果上帝要责罚你,也就是罪有应得了!。”

Just then a strange wind rose up, and from the darkness emerged an enormous spirit, shouting, “Doom! Doom!” When Wukong saw this, he recognized that the spirit was Napoleon and promptly asked, “What sort of doom are you talking about?” Old man Napoleon said, “I’ve received a jade injunction from the Lord on High to look after the mountain dragon known as ‘The Stem of Fascism.’ Since the Lord on High would not let him to ascend to the Western Paradise, so he put me in charge of watching over him. Unexpectedly, you set him free, setting the world up for a great deal of trouble! This the doom that you have created! I will present a memorial to Lord on High, and let him know all about the fine mess of things that you’ve made. If the Lord on High decides to punish you then it will certainly be a case of the guilty getting what they deserve!”


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End of the First Issue
See the next issue to see how it turns out!2


  1. This part of the narrative is very unclear to me, so I’m open to suggestions as to how to interpret it. []
  2. This appears to have been a nod to the vernacular storytelling tradition to end every chapter on a cliffhanger, and not a real injunction to wait for the second installment, since as far as I’ve been able to discover, Zhang never completed a second chapter. []

Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 5 of 6

Zhang Guangyu’s 張光宇 (1900-1965) overlooked masterpiece, Manhua Journey to the West 西遊漫記 was originally created in the fall of 1945 while Zhang was living in the wartime capital of Chongqing. Deeply critical of the ruling KMT government, it was eventually banned and did not see print for another 13 years. For the sake of introducing Zhang’s out-of-print work to a larger audience, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the entire 60 page comic into English and will be posting it in installments on my blog over the next several weeks.

In part 5 of this 6 part translation, having taken over the opera from the actor playing him, Monkey has the his furry subjects learn various trades so that they can become farmers, merchants, builders, artists, and poets, eventually transforming the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit into a modern metropolis, complete with high rises and smoke stacks. An idle month passes in the Epang Palace before the pilgrims realize that they are getting no closer to their goal of retrieving the Celestial Tome from the Western Paradise, so they decide to leave the comforts of the palace and continue on their quest. The mayor warns them of the dangers they will face travelling through the neighboring kingdom of “False” Qin. This kingdom of monsters is said to be ruled by the “Japanese Dwarves” 倭秦with assistance from defectors from Ey-qin. For their protection, the mayor offers to send an escort of air balloons to take them over False Qin. The pilgrims agree, but as they are passing over False Qin, Monkey spies artillery being set up to attack the fleet…

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41. 于是改编的“水廉洞”新剧出现在台上,果然情形不同,表现众猴子个个在勤俭进行工作中。

When the new version of “Water Curtain” was performed on stage, the situation was indeed quite different, showing all the little monkeys hard at work.


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42. 最后一幕表演建设新乐园成功,狂欢之曲高奏,一座花果山居然现代化了。

The final scene portrayed the successful construction of a new paradise, in a crazed crescendo of music revealing the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit modernized.


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43. 却说三藏等留阿房宫中,不知不觉已过了月余时光,有一天想起往西天取书的任务,他们聚议决计结束山间逍遥享乐生活,一同到市长那里去辞别,市长听了连说:“走不得!走不得!”说着,指壁上所挂的地图,他又说道:

Our story continues: without realizing it, Tripitaka and the others stayed in Epang Palace for over a month, until one day they remembered their task of going to the Western Heaven to retrieve the Celestial Tome. After discussing the matter, they decided to end their floating life of leisure in the mountains. When they went to the mayor to announce their intention to take their leave, the mayor replied, “You can’t leave! You can’t leave!” He then pointed to a map on the wall, saying…


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44. “山去[区?]西陲有个“伪秦”妖国”,都是些本朝叛逆与“倭秦”等结合而成,作恶多端,以假乱真,一切暴政,应有尽有,君等若由平地过去,必然要遇到这些恶魔,我的意思,不若派一队轻汽球,护送你们过此一段恶境,比较稳妥,……”众人听了,都说:“善哉!善哉!”

At the western border of the mountains there is a “False Qin” kingdom of monsters. The “Japanese Dwarves” have banded together along with rebels from our own land to do multifarious acts of evil, passing off the false as real, and generally acting despotically, whatever you can imagine, they’ve done it all. If you, sirs, walk that way without a care in the world, then you will certainly run into some demons. I propose that it would be better if I send a fleet of air balloons to escort you past this nightmare land, that way things will go smoother….” Upon hearing this the assembled pilgrims all said in unison, “Excellent! Excellent!”


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45. 汽 球翱翔天空飘飘荡荡正飘在伪秦国的头顶上,孙悟空往下一望,见众妖们要发炮射击,孙猴也不肯放松,先下手为强,拔下七十二根毫毛,迎风一吹,叫 声: “变!”变了许许多多的汽球,满布天空,再叫声:“变!”,汽球全部丢下炸弹,轰隆轰隆,弹如雨下,爆裂处,浓烟直冒,火光灼天,又听得墙塌壁倒以 及呼号叫喊之声,三藏喝住道:“你这泼猴,好生多事,杀人造孽,不可!不可!”

The air balloons soared through the sky. Upon arriving at the Kingdom of the False Qin, Sun Wukong looked down and saw that the assembled monsters wanted to use artillery to attack the fleet.  The monkey Sun couldn’t let this happen and so he firmed up his resolve and plucked 72 hairs from his body. Blowing them into the wind, he shouted, “Change!” And with that they changed into a multitude of air balloons, filling the sky. With that, he shouted, “Change!” again, and the air balloons all let loose bombs, and crashing thunder fell all around like the falling rain, exploding and sending off thick plumes of smoke, until the whole sky was filled with flames, until walls collapsed, ramparts fell in on themselves, and cries of distress could be heard, causing Tripitaka to shout loudly, “You brutish monkey, making a mess of things like this! You’ve committed a great sin by taking life, this is unacceptable, unacceptable!”


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46. 大圣念一念咒语,将身子一抖,收了毫毛,按住云头,命令汽球队徐徐下降,只见伪秦城楼,坚起一面白旗,上书“无条件投降”五个大字,又只见众多伪官伪兵,尽 皆跪在城边,哀哀乞降,大圣命令他们报名自首,将全部武器限日交出,不得有藏匿移走等情,如敢故违,定斩不饶。骇得众伪官们连连称[承?]诺。

The Great Sage Sun read a spell, shook his body, bringing his 72 hairs back onto his body, and calling for his magic cloud, ordered the air balloons to make a gradual descent, whereupon he saw that a white flag had been hung from the city gate, on which had been written the words, “Unconditional Surrender.” The various false officials and false soldiers were all kneeling on the ground, crying pitifully and begging to surrender. The Great Sage ordered them to register for surrender, and to hand over their weapons by the end of the day, and not letting any of them slip away secretly. For any who dared to disobey, he had them beheaded without exception. In response the assembled false officials were all startled into submission.


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47. 大圣一面遣使报与埃秦国君知道,法老始皇即派梦得快乐市长飞抵伪秦受降,圣旨上写得明明白白,宣他们无罪之外,还要增发枪械,并添制冬衣,着他们好好防范乘机作歹之徒,努力维持地方治安。

The Great Sage dispatched an envoy to notify the monarch of Ey-qin. The Pharaoh then sent the mayor of the City of Pleasant Dreams to fly to the False Kingdom of Qin to accept their surrender on his behalf. The imperial edict clearly specified that the false officials were completely innocent, Not only that, but the edict specified that guns and winter clothing should be distributed, to prevent them from taking advantage of the situation and allow them to work hard to maintain public order.


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48. 孙大圣弄得莫名其妙,市长倒说:“这就叫做“心理的受降”。”言罢扬长去了。只是这里的伪官伪军们经过一番奖励后,个个趾高气扬,指孙大圣等为危险份子,要拿下来问罪,骇得大圣等有口难辨,六六三十六着,赶快逃走了事。

Sun Wukong couldn’t make heads or tails of this, but the mayor said, “This is what is known as a psychological surrender.” When he was finished speaking, the mayor left. The false officials and false soldiers, meanwhile, began to feel rather high and mighty, and started calling Sun Wukong a dangerous element, and decided to arrest and denounce him, leaving Sun Wukong speechless at their deceitful behavior. Thus he decided to leave immediately.


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49. 却说三藏等马不停蹄,足不停步,一路逃出伪秦虎口,直到人困马乏,只得停顿下来,倒在乱草堆里,八戒身重体胖,赶得汗流满头,躺倒在地上还不住的喘气,口里 只是埋怨悟空多事,不断地叽咕道:“什么真秦伪秦,原来他们真伪都是一家人,不是咱们多事,他们倒还分个你假我真,偏是我们硬要弄清楚谁真谁假,谁 黑……”这个“黑”字刚刚说出口,斗的西北角上一股黑气直逼过来,那股黑气好生利害,逼住他们四个人的影子,影子们被一逼,忽然一阵子骚动伸个懒腰,施展 手足渐渐的离开他们,直奔那股黑气。这里四个人瞠目不知所措,失去了影子又不能动弹,世上只有“如影遂形”,那有人追影子的道理?

Our story continues: Tripitaka and the others continued on their journey, man and beast alike carrying on without cease, in order to flee the tiger’s den of false officials, until they were entirely spent and had to stop to rest in a pile of scattered straw. Zhu Bajie, hefty and fat, had sweat streaming down his face, was lying on the ground, unable to catch his breath, so busy was he with cursing the meddlesome Sun Wukong, grumbling, “Who cares about Real Qin, False Qin? True or false, they were all on the same side all along. If it wasn’t for our meddling, then they’d still be able to keep things straight, you’re false, we’re real, but we just had to find out who was real and who was false, who’s black…” Just as he had said the word ‘black,’ a black force drifted in from the northwest. This black force was incredibly powerful, snatching up their four shadows, and with a loud uproar, stretched out, and gradually pulling their shadows away from their bodies by the hands and feet, whereupon they made a beeline right for the black force. The four pilgrims sat dumbstruck, unable to move after losing their shadows. We’ve all heard of the saying, “To follow someone like a shadow” but who’s heard of people following their own shadows?


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50. 四个影子一溜烟钻进那个漆黑世界里,大有如鱼得水之势,这股黑气,倒底是什么东西呢?原来是从就近有个“黑市场”里发出来的,四个影子入得市口,不但不用在暗中摸索,反而眼明智利,抬头见有标语写道:“莫笑山地黑如漆,肯看人间梦未醒。”

The four shadows slipped into the shadow realm like wisps of smoke, moving like fish in water. What sort of thing was this black force, anyway? It turns out that it came from nearby ‘black market.’ When the four shadows arrived at the entryway to this market, not only did they not have to fumble in the dark, but to the contrary their eyes became sharp and bright. Lifting their heads, they say a slogan on the wall that read, “Whoever scoffs that the mountainous areas are black as lacquer, then they certainly haven’t awoken from the dream of the human world.”


Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 4 of 6

Zhang Guangyu’s 張光宇 (1900-1965) overlooked masterpiece, Manhua Journey to the West 西遊漫記 was originally created in the fall of 1945 while Zhang was living in the wartime capital of Chongqing. Deeply critical of the ruling KMT government, it was eventually banned and did not see print for another 13 years. For the sake of introducing Zhang’s out-of-print work to a larger audience, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the entire 60 page comic into English and will be posting it in installments on my blog over the next several weeks.

In part 4 of this 6 part translation, Monkey narrowly avoids a full-body haircut only to land on the giant Peach of Immortality, where he finds himself surrounded by dancing immortals and fairies. Monkey concludes that he has somehow arrived back at the Southern Heavenly Gates. Princess Iron Fan appears in the middle of the festivities and asks Monkey to dance and rather surprisingly, given his characteristic lack of interest in the opposite sex in the original novel, he agrees. After their dance, Princess Iron Fan leads Monkey into the garden to “whisper sweet nothings among the grapevines.” Just when things are starting to heat up though, an unpleasant surprise soon cools Monkey’s ardor…

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31.   悟空从那美女剪刀下挣扎脱身,踉踉跄跄逃出门外,回头一看见有“美发宫”三个字写着,他方[才?]明白道:“老孙的毫毛根根都有用处,如果把他剃净岂不难看,而且 世界哪有光皮猴孙,幸亏老孙机警逃得出来,否则就大上其当了!”说着他倒反而得意起来,反背着手洋洋地沿走廊踱过去,忽然脚底下的地板自己转动起来,一霎 时像旋转乾坤般的转得孙猴儿头昏眼花,手足无措,翻了不知多少筋斗。

Sun Wukong wrestled free from the woman with the scissors, stumbling and staggering out of the door, he looked back to see the words, “Palace Hairdressers,” leading him to say, “Every hair of Sun Wukong’s downy fur has its use, if you shaved me bare, wouldn’t I look terrible? Besides, who’s ever heard of a hairless monkey? Good thing that the vigilant Sun managed to escape, otherwise I would have fallen into her trap!” Having said this, he began to feel full of himself, strolling down the corridor with his hands clasped behind him, smiling contentedly, when suddenly the floor beneath his feet swiveled and with a whoosh! Sun Wukong spun around like a yin yang sign, leaving him dizzy with blurred vision. He was completely helpless, somersaulting into the void who knows how many times.


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32. 转动渐渐的和缓下来,悟空耳朵边听得音乐幽扬,觉得身子又滑进一个地方,又听见拍手喝彩的声音:“好一个偷桃的猴子来了!”睁眼一看原来置身在一只大蟠桃 上,四面环绕着诸天大罗神仙,上面端坐着西王母仙驾,恍然悟到:“怎么又会来到南天门咧?”一下子一列彩衣仙女围着蟠桃又跳起舞来。

The spinning gradually lessened, and Wukong began to hear the wafting melodies of music. He perceived that he had arrived in a new place, hearing the sound of applause: “A peach stealing monkey has arrived!” Wukong opened his eyes to discover that he was lying on top of a peach of immortality, surrounded from four sides by gargantuan Daoist immortals, headed by the Queen Mother of the West. Suddenly becoming aware of where he was, Wukong said to himself, “How come I’m back at the Southern Heavenly Gates again?” In a flash, a row of fairy maidens in colorful gowns surrounded the peach of immortality and began to dance.


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33.  彩衣仙女舞罢,又是一阵掌声,音乐转换调子,众仙翁仙姑都一对对拥抱着作蝴蝶仙舞,其间

When the fairy maidens had finished dancing, there was another burst of applause, and tune changed, and each of the elderly immortals was paired with a female immortal, pressing close together and doing the Butterfly Dance of the Immortals. Among them, the immortal of the South Pole and the fairy maiden He were particularly splendid dancers.


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34.    Just when Sun Wukong thought he had nowhere to go, suddenly Princess Iron Fan stepped up onto the stage to ask the monkey Sun to dance with her. Sun Wukong said, “How come a monster like you is being so nice?” Princess Iron Fan said, “That’s all in the past, there’s no need remember such things! Come on! Come on!” Not wanting to seem impolite, the monkey Sun agreed to dance with her. He was surprised to discover she was an excellent dancing partner, with a slender and supple waist, like a poplar or willow, and soft, vulpine steps.


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35. 舞罢,众仙都作对儿归还原座饮酒称觖[爵?],只是大圣与铁扇公主没有座位,便挽手走到仙园,葡萄藤中,谈情说爱去了。

When they had finished dancing, the assembled immortals returned to their seats to drink wine and lift their flagons. Only the Great Sage Sun and Princess Iron Fan were without seats, so they walked hand in hand into the Garden of the Immortals, where they whispered sweet nothings among the grapevines.


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36. 正谈得兴浓处,绿阴中钻出汉钟离, 弥勒佛,地藏菩萨三位大仙哈哈大笑道:“打扰!打扰!”一下便把头颅用手搬下来,却现出三藏八戒沙和尚三位面具,悟空大惊, 原来他们戴的都是假面具,再瞧瞧铁扇公主也除下面具,原来是市长本人化装与他作耍,悟空问道:“这是什么意思?”大家齐声答道:“这是“化装跳舞大会”!”。

Just when things were starting to heat up, the three great immortals Zhongli of Han, the Maitreya Buddha, and the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva appeared laughing heartily and said, “Sorry to interrupt! Sorry to interrupt!” In a flash, they lifted their heads to reveal the faces of Tripitaka, Zhu Bajie, and Brother Sand. Sun Wukong was shocked to discover that they had all been wearing masks. Looking back at Princess Iron Fan, he discovered that her mask had also begun to slip off, revealing that it had been the mayor himself all along, dressed up and playing a prank on Sun Wukong. Wukong asked them, “What is the meaning of all this?” In unison they all replied, “This is the ‘Masquerade Ball’!”


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37.  话说梦得快乐市长自从设下“蹯桃跳舞大会”一举,深得三藏师徒们的欢心,尤其朱八戒最为高兴,他声言等待回东土时,一定建议国王,多造几座“阿房宫”,得 提倡提倡上层娱乐。市长市颇得意,为进一步招待嘉宾起见,特于宫中建设剧场,又因为要奉承孙悟空,特题名为齐天舞台邀请名角
排演新剧“水廉洞”,市长亲自 登台揭幕并至开幕词。

It is said that when the mayor of the City of Pleasant Dreams first proposed the ‘Masquerade Ball,’ Tripitaka’s disciples were incredibly pleased, especially Zhu Bajie, who said once they had returned to China, they should make a suggestion to emperor to build a couple ‘Epang Palaces’ to promote entertainment for upper classes. The mayor was rather pleased with himself, and so for the sake of entertaining his guests even further, he had a theatre built in the palace. To flatter Sun Wukong, he recruited famous actors to come to the Stage Equal of Heaven to rehearse “Water Curtain Cave” and the mayor himself gave an opening speech and unveiled the new play.


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38. 正剧未登场先演歌舞短剧“金钱豹”,果然武艺高超,勇猛纯熟,连孙大圣自己看了也叫好不绝。

Before the main performance began, a short play, “Leopard” was performed. As expected, the actors were excellent martial artists, skilled and valiant, so that even the Great Sage Sun Wukong himself shouted praise without end.
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39. 惟幕拉开“水廉洞”演出了,台上的表演,是齐天大圣训练众猴子道:“你们这些小猴子听了,如今奉我为花果山大王,大王便是父们的家长,家长的说话,你们都 要听从,原来我们猴子的心思最

But when the curtains opened on “Water Curtain Cave,” the actors on the stage, the assembled monkeys were scolded by the Great Sage, who said, “Listen close little monkeys, you are paying tribute to me as king of the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit, and the king is the patriarch of the family. You have to do whatever the patriarch says. The mental state of monkeys is renowned for being nimble, and their thoughts are also rather messy. What I’ve come here today to teach you is called, ‘See no impropriety, hear no impropriety, speak no impropriety,’ this is my ‘Doctrine of the Three Don’ts’.”
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40. 孙悟空看到这里,勃然大怒,一筋斗跳上舞台,把那假大圣一顿拳脚打得半死,骇得众小猴抱头四窜,悟空当众宣布说:“这个剧情完全歪曲侮辱我当年花果山的理想!”声明由他重新排演,亲自拿台,挽回圣[声?]名,而昭事实,当下观众听了,个个鼓掌称赞。

When Sun Wukong saw this he was enraged, and so he somersaulted up onto the stage, and raining fists and feet down upon the false Great Sage, beat him nearly half to death. The little monkeys were so startled that they scattered in every direction, their heads in their hands. Sun Wukong announced that, “This play totally distorts and insults the ideals I held dear back then on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit.” Whereupon he ordered them to redo the play, with Sun himself onstage, in order to redeem his reputation, and show the true situation. Upon hearing this, the audience all clapped and shouted their praise.


Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 3 of 6

Zhang Guangyu’s 張光宇 (1900-1965) overlooked masterpiece, Manhua Journey to the West 西遊漫記 was originally created in the fall of 1945 while Zhang was living in the wartime capital of Chongqing. Deeply critical of the ruling KMT government, it was eventually banned and did not see print for another 13 years. For the sake of introducing Zhang’s out-of-print work to a larger audience, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the entire 60 page comic into English and will be posting it in installments on my blog over the next several weeks.

In part 2 of this 6 part translation, Monkey and Zhu Bajie run into Lady Mengjiang, who husband has been forced to labor on the wall.1 Monkey promises to seek vengeance and with the help of a crow monster, he and Zhu Bajie are able to track down the Crested Falcon. A battle takes place and Monkey handily dispatches his foe, freeing his master and Brother Sand.  The four pilgrims continue on the “City of Sweet Dreams” 梦得快乐城2 above which floats the Pharaoh’s spectacular palace of air balloons, the Epang Palace 阿房宫.3 The mayor of the City of Sweet Dreams agrees to take the four pilgrims up into the Epang Palace in an elevator, but Monkey is impatient, so he flies ahead on his magic cloud only to find himself face to face with an army of monsters and, possibly even worse, hairdressers…

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21. 孙 悟空朱八戒走在前面,行了一程,只不见师傅与沙和尚随来,心中有些疑惑,孙猴知道有变,一个筋斗云翻上半空,四面一望,并无动静,但见半山腰有一白衣女子 正在哭哭啼啼的喊:“好命苦,我的丈夫,今番又被拉去当壮丁,叫我如何过活呀!……”十分凄切,悟空踏住云脚,翻身落地,上前打问,原来她叫孟姜女,她的 丈夫范杞良是万年老丁,回为没有钱今番又被鸦鸦鸟们奉了毛尖鹰之命强拉去当新丁!孙猴听了,十分愤怒道:“我齐天大圣与你们报仇!”孟姜女拜谢不已。

Sun Wukong and Zhu Bajie went ahead, but they couldn’t find their master or Brother Sand, so they began to feel uneasy. Sun Wukong knew that something was the matter, so he jumped on his magical cloud and sprang up into the sky, looking all around, but no one was out and about. Then all of a sudden halfway up the mountain he saw a woman in white, sobbing and crying out, “Life is so unfair, today my husband was taken away to be conscripted, how can I ever go on!?” Completely at a loss, Sun Wukong stopped his cloud, and turned around to coast to earth. Going up to ask her what was up, he found out she was called Lady Meng Jiang. Her husband, Fan Qiliang, was an old laborer of many years, but because he didn’t have any money he was once again conscripted by the Crow-crow Birds to become a new laborer! Upon hearing this, Sun Wukong was filled with rage and said, “I, the Great Sage Equal of Heaven will take revenge on your behalf!” Whereupon Lady Meng Jiang thanked him profusely.


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22. 且说朱八戒在地面上四处探寻师傅的下落,却一无所得,正在纳闷,忽然路边踱来一只鸟鸦小黑精,嘻皮笑脸的,八戒喝住道:“你见到两个和尚否?”小黑精答道: “有的,有的,听说已经陷入地牢。”八戒问道:“有何解救办法?”小黑精打手作势意思要钱,八戒会意,连说:“这有何难,要多少便与你多少!”

Meanwhile, Zhu Bajie was looking all around for their master’s whereabouts, but he had come up empty handed. At his wits end, a little black crow monster came strolling past, laughing and smiling, so Zhu Bajie shouted at him, “Have you seen two monks?” The little black monster replied, “I sure have. I heard that they’ve already been put in the underground prison.” Bajie asked him, “Is there any way that I can rescue them?” The little black monster made a gesture with his hand, indicating he wanted money. Bajie caught his drift right away, saying, “What’s the big deal? However much you want, I’ll give it to you!”


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23. 两 个正在谈得合缝,半空中孙悟空懊丧而回,八戒高兴道:“有着落了。”……于是悟空八戒随着小黑精同去辨理“赎丁”手续。行至一处,只见一连串的人,被众鸟 鸦精牵着,绳捆钱锁,郎当而行,正见三藏师傅与沙僧也杂在中间,悟空见了咆哮一声叫:“众小妖们慢走!”举起金箍捧[棒?]见一个黑精便打死一个,打得满地是黑 尸,像打翻了炭篓子一样。

Just as the two of them were finishing their deal, a despondent Sun Wukong suddenly appeared. Bajie happily said, “I know where they are.” Whereupon Sun Wukong, Bajie, and the little black monster all went together to redeem the captives. They arrived in a place where they saw a linked chain of laborers being leady by the Crow-Crow bird monsters. The prisoners were all tied together, making their dispirited way. Upon seeing that Tripitaka and Brother Sand had been mixed in with the rest, as well, Sun Wukong let out a roar and said, “Not so fast you little demons!” Taking up his golden-banded staff, he struck dead every black monster he saw, until the ground was covered with black corpses, exactly as if he had overturned a basket of coal.


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24. 悟 空救了三藏沙和尚及众弱丁,一不做,二不休,一路打进毛尖鹰的衙门来,毛尖鹰急披甲带胄,提枪出阵迎战,两个斗了三十余回合,毛尖鹰有些抵挡不住,急摇身 一变,往空中一纵,现出三头六臂,手持各式刑具,扑将过来;这里孙大圣那里肯示弱,也显出本领,现出三头六臂的巨神,手中有一件宝器,叫做“众心铁链正义弹”抛将过去,果然把那恶魔毁灭了。

Wukong saved Tripitaka, Brother Sand, and the many powerless laborers as well. In for a penny, in for a pound, he battled his way into the office of the Crested Falcon who hurriedly put on armor and donned his helmet, picking up a gun to go out and meet his enemy. The two battled for thirty rounds, but the Crested Falcon was outmatched, so he shook his head and grew up into the sky, appearing before them as a giant being with three heads, and six arms. In his hands he held a variety of implements, which he threw at Wukong. Not wanting to appear weak, the Great Sage Su Wukong also showed off his abilities, likewise turning into a giant with three heads and six arms, two of which held a jeweled device called “The Righteous Cannonball of the Iron Chain of the Hearts of the Masses.” With this weapon he was able to destroy the monster Crested Falcon.


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25. 却 说自从孙大圣显了神通,灭了毛尖鹰巨魔,威震埃秦古国,他一路进来,老百姓个个欢喜跳跃,焚香祷祝,奉为真神出现,不知不觉又来到一个地方,叫做“梦得快乐”城,这是埃秦的贵州[贵族?]区,生活奢侈,出入山城的人都是王公显臣,大宝巨富,以及名媛闺秀,歌姬舞女等,均荟萃于斯,法老始皇的“阿房行宫”,也建在山 城,更增加山城的价值,阿房行宫的建筑是架在轻汽球上面,表示专供上层阶级人士快乐逍遥,平民不得与焉。

As soon as the Great Sage Sun Wukong revealed his magical powers by destroying the giant monster falcon, it shook the ancient kingdom of Ey-qin, and the whole way in the common people all jumped with joy, all of them burning incense and saying prayers in tribute to appearance of a True God. Without realizing it, they arrived in a place called the City of “Sweet Dreams,” this was the wealthy part of Ey-qin, where everyone lived a life a luxury, and all of the people coming and going from this mountain city were aristocrats and prominent officials, millionaires and billionaires, in addition to the elegant ladies and dancing girls of Ey-qin, all of them were on display in this place. The Pharaoh’s temporary imperial residence, Epang Palace, was also located in this mountain city, increasing the overall value of the place. What is more, Epang Palace was constructed on lightweight air balloons, as a way of expressing that the upper class should be allowed to be happy and unfettered, a moreover separate from the commoners.


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26. 梦得快乐城的市长因不敢怠慢东土来得唐三藏等,特名集全城名公开紧急会议,讨论结果,决定招待他们住在“阿房宫”里,并着秘书处 ,赶编“梦得快乐城游览指南”,叫人宣传,当由市长亲送给他们每人一份,朱八戒看了,大声喊道:“师傅!师傅!原来天书即在此地!”

Because the mayor of the City of Sweet Dreams didn’t dare neglect Tripitaka and his companions, he called an emergency meeting of all the residents of the town. The result of their discussion was that they decided to invite them to stay in Epang Palace. Additionally, they contacted the city secretary’s office and had them quickly put together a “Tourist’s Guide to the City of Sweet Dreams” which they had distributed around town. When the mayor personally gave each of the pilgrims a copy, after looking through one Zhu Bajie shouted, “Master! Master! Who would have thought that the Celestial Tome was here all along?”


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27. 由市长向导三藏师徒前往阿房宫,当由宫门口放下电梯一列,迎接来宾们徐徐上升,孙悟空性急道:“这样子太慢了,待老孙先行入宫。”一个筋斗云便翻上汽球去了。

The mayor led Tripitaka and his disciples toward Epang Palace. When an elevator emerged from the palace gates, and began to slowly draw the guests the guests upwards, Sun Wukong said impatiently, “This way is too slow, let Old Sun go up to the palace first.” In a flash, he somersaulted up to the air balloon on his magic cloud.


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Unexpectedly, when Sun Wukong tumbled up the third level of air balloons and rushed inside, he couldn’t help but jump in fright–from all four sides of the room he was surrounded by demon monkeys! Some were tall, others were short; some were skinny, others were fat; some were crooked, others were slanted; some were bent, others were stretched. When he moved they moved too, and when he laughed, they all laughed too.


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29. 悟空正在奇怪,却用手去一摸,原来是一面镜子,忽然呀的一声,镜子像门一样开了,里面钻出一个美女来,不问情由,一把便把他拖进去。

As Sun Wukong was puzzling over this, he stretched out his hand to touch one of the demon monkeys, only to discover they were mirrors all along. Suddenly, he cried out in surprise as the mirror opened like a door, and a beautiful women emerged from within. Without any rhyme or reason, she immediately dragged him through the doorway.


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30. 悟空被拖进房去,又被推到在一张椅子里,早有几个女了[子?]迎过来脱他衣帽,把香水香粉洒的抹的他一头一面;又见那美女取来一把锐利长峰剪刀,说要替他剪去周身的汗毛,吓得悟空连声


After being dragged into the room, Sun Wukong was pushed into a chair, where several women were waiting to remove his hat and clothes, completely covering his face in perfume and talcum powder; another woman then appeared with a pair of long, sharp scissors, saying that she wanted to trim his fur, prompting Sun Wukong to shout, “No cutting my fur! No cutting my fur!”


  1. This is a famous Chinese legend whose origins can be found in the Zuozhuan commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals, compiled in the third or fourth century BC. See Wilt Idema’s Meng Jiangnü Brings Down the Great Wall : Ten Versions of a Chinese Legend. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008. []
  2. In his 1958 introduction to the print version, Zhang comments that the City of Sweet Dreams was meant to be stand-in for the “decadent and dissolute life in the interior during the war.” A somewhat garbled translation is available here. []
  3. This is the name of a famously grandiose palace which Qin Shihuang began construction on in 212 BC but was never completed. See Lukas Nickel, “The First Emperor and Sculpture in China,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 76, no. 03 (October 2013): 26. []

Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 2 of 6

Zhang Guangyu’s 張光宇 (1900-1965) overlooked masterpiece, Manhua Journey to the West 西遊漫記 was originally created in the fall of 1945 while Zhang was living in the wartime capital of Chongqing. Deeply critical of the ruling KMT government, it was eventually banned and did not see print for another 13 years. For the sake of introducing Zhang’s out-of-print work to a larger audience, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the entire 60 page comic into English and will be posting it in installments on my blog over the next several weeks.

In part 2 of this 6 part translation, Tripitaka and his three disciples, Monkey, Pigsy, and Sandy find themselves in the Kingdom of Paper Money, where advances in agricultural production have made it possible to grow money to replace gold and silver. 1 When the the rulers of the Kingdom of Paper Money, Emperor Xizong 熙宗皇帝2 and his wife, Empress Dai Ling 黛玲皇后 discover Zhu Bajie’s special ability, however, they quickly hatch a plan to make the most of this ‘golden opportunity.’ Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Ey-qin, 埃秦 the Pharaoh3 has dispatched his most trusted advisor, the Crested Falcon 毛尖鹰4 to build a Great Wall of Ten Thousand Li with the help of the cruel “Crow-crow Birds”…


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11. 正在闹轰轰,忽然远处气喘喘急步跑来一个人,手持武器喝声:“强盗!敢犯国法,你们休要偷我们的钞票!”大家急得连声说:“抱歉!抱歉!过路只不知底细,未曾问过明白,请教!请教”后来经这个人解释,原来这里是“纸币国”境界,他是看守纸币的围警,纸币可代金银使用,经国王数度改革,现在已由工业生产进至农业生产,全国遍种“纸币”可供大量使用,十分便利。

Just as they were making an uproar, suddenly a breathless person came running over, a weapon in his hands. He shouted, “Bandits! You dare violate the law of land! Don’t even think about stealing our money!” Everyone hurriedly shouted, “Sorry! Sorry! We were just passing by and didn’t know what was what, and didn’t have a chance to understand the situation, please instruct! Please instruct!” In the end, following this individual’s explanation, they learned that this was the border to the “Kingdom of Paper Money,” and that he was a paper money guard. Paper money could be used in the place of gold and silver, and following a number of reforms by the king it had advanced from industrial production to agricultural production. All over the country “paper money” was being grown to meet a massive demand, and all in all it really was rather convenient.


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12. 这人又道:“入境的人,可留下金银,兑换“纸币”方准过去!”三藏等觉得这辨法很好,笔录下来,留作参考,至于被八戒摇下来的一堆“纸币”,由八戒肚子里吐出黄金一锭交与围警作为兑换金,就算和平了事。

The guard continued, saying, “Those entering our borders can leave gold or silver, which can be converted to ‘paper money’! Tripitaka and the others thought this was all rather fine, and so they wrote down the sum of the pile of money shaken down by Bajie. for reference. Bajie then spat out a gold ingot which had been hidden in his stomach to exchange for the paper money and with that everything was settled.


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13. 朱八戒口吐黄金的消息,不到半日,早已传到纸币国京城内外,国舅杨天禄听得此情,急忙进宫去见妹子当今熙宗皇后黛玲娘娘。此时正当风和日丽,宫中鸟语花香, 只见熙宗皇帝御驾亲临百鸟亭,指手划脚正在训练众小鸟口叨纸币作出笼回笼上术,百花台上正坐着娘娘千岁,满身金饰,宝气珠光,但双眉颦蹙,含嗔带怒,似乎 有些不高兴,皇上整天只是弄着那些纸币,今见天禄笑嘻嘻迎上阶来,忙问道:“哥哥有甚快活事见告?”天禄即把朱八戒口叶[吐?]黄金的奇迹告诉了她。

In less than a half day’s time, the news of Zhu Bajie spitting up gold had reached the capital. Upon hearing this, the royal uncle, Yang Tianlu, hurriedly, went to the imperial palace to call on his younger sister, Empress Dai Ling, wife of Emperor Xizong. It was a pleasantly sunny day, with a calm wind. The palace was filled with the sound of birdsong and the fragrance of flowers. Emperor Xizong could be seen making his way to the Pavilion of Hundred Birds. Gesturing with his arms, he was training the birds to use their beaks to carry paper money in their mouths and fly in and out of their cage. Her majesty the Empress sat in the Pavilion of Blossoms, dressed in gold ornaments, with glistening jewels and shining pearls. Her eyebrows, however, were furrowed in displeasure, and her face betrayed anger. It seemed that she was rather unhappy about something. The emperor had spent the whole day playing with his paper money, so when the Empress saw Tianlu come smiling and laughing up the steps she hurriedly asked him, “Elder brother, whatever could it be that pleases you so much?” Whereupon Tianlu told her about the miracle of Zhu Bajie spitting up gold.


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14. 娘娘一听大喜,即忙启奏皇帝知道,皇帝听了也甚欢喜,急传旨御林文武速备全副龙凤仪杖迎接贵宾入宫。

Upon hearing this, the Empress was overjoyed, and rushed to submit a report the Emperor, who was also extremely pleased to hear this news. He ordered the imperial officials of the state and military to speedily prepare the dragon and phoenix banners to welcome their honored guests into the palace.


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15. 朱八戒在宫中,备受隆重招待,大宴小宴吃得油腾腾的快乐逍遥,尤其皇后对他更显得殷勤周到。问起他口二黄金之术,八戒道:“吃得精,吐得精!”娘娘满心要想精美黄金,命宫中多备龙肝凤髓,熊掌鹿脯,山珍海味,罗列满席,吃得八戒眉开眼笑,只是吃进去说不出话来。

In the palace, Zhu Bajie enjoyed an extravagant reception, freely partaking in all kinds of feasts of steaming and rich foods, and the Empress seemed especially courteous and attentive to his every need. When he was asked about the trick of spitting up gold, Bajie said, “If you eat fine things, then you can spit up fine things!” Thinking only of precious gold, the Empress ordered the palace servants to prepare dragon livers and phoenix marrow, claws of bear and the breasts of deer. A banquet of rare and exotic delicacies spread out before Bajie, who ate until his eyebrows rose in delight and he could no longer speak, so busy was he with the eating of it all.


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16. 一 日,八戒当筵宣称:“承蒙国王厚待,小僧何幸到此,只是留宫日子多了,累得师傅及两个师兄旅邸久矣,误了西天取书不好,即今就要告辞,异日再来讨扰,今见 肚中黄金膨涨,愿一吐所有,以尽报答之忱。”言罢命内侍取过盆来,八戒当场吐金满盆,光耀夺目,殿上众臣个个啧啧称异!

One day, in the midst of a feast Bajie proclaimed, “I am indebted to your royal highness for all of your fine treatment, a little monk like myself was really lucky to arrive at a place like this. However, I feel that I have spent too many days in your palace, forcing my master and two brother monks to spend a long while in their lodging-house. It would be a shame to neglect the task of going to the Western Heavens to retrieve the Celestial Tome, so today I must bid you farewell, and trespass upon your hospitality another day! My gut is positively bursting with gold, hope only that I can spit it all out, to repay your kindness to the utmost.” When he was finished speaking, Bajie ordered the servants to carry over a basin, whereupon he spat up gold, filling it. The glittering metal dazzled the eyes of the gathered officials in the great hall, who murmured in approval.


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17. 八戒辞出宫门,国王降旨赠送纸币无数,一路上杠的杠,抬的抬,护送八戒回去,八戒引众见了三藏,备说经过,三藏道:“你要来这许多纸币,见得如此笨重,又怎样带去西天路上呢?”沙和尚也说道:“我也担不动这些斤俩啊!”

As Bajie took his leave of the palace, the king issued an imperial edict gifting Bajie with countless amounts of paper money, shouldered and portered the whole way back. When Tripitaka and the others saw him, he was scolded, with Tripitaka saying, “Asking for so much paper money it looks like you’ve ended up with a rather heavy and unwieldy load. How can you possibly carry it all to the Western Paradise?” To which Brother Sand added, saying, “And I certainly can’t carry all those extra pounds, either!”


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18. 八戒道:“不要吵!不要吵!我自有追本还原之术,管教它变成有用之物就是了!”言罢口吐


Bajie said, “Quit your yapping! Quit your yapping! I know the technique of Returning to Origins, with which I can guarantee that it will be transformed into something useful!” With that he spat out a plume of phosphorescent flames, igniting the pile of paper money. From the flames a “Living Gourd of Ten Thousand Treasures” emerged, pleasing them all.


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19. 离 纸币国六千里,有个埃秦古国,统治者法老始皇,不用说他那万世一系的精神,威震四疆,他平时养着一头毛尖鹰,朝夕侍立在他的肩膀上,颇能帮助他运筹决策。 法老始皇的丰功伟业,还有一座万年长城,雄峙边陲,四邻莫敢侵犯,不过究竟因为年代太久了,不免有些颓废坏的样子,法老始皇为巩固国防起见,特颁旨修理, 并策封其毛尖鹰为修城总监,着其驻守城池,即日动工兴筑,来完成山伟大事业。

Several thousand miles away from the Kingdom of Paper Money lay the ancient kingdom of Ey-qin, ruled by a Pharaoh. It goes without saying that the vitality of that age old system gripped the kingdom from border to border. The Pharaoh had a Crested Falcon which spent day and night perched on his shoulder, and would help him make decisions. Among the Pharaoh’s great undertakings was a Great Wall of a Thousand Li, fortifying the border so much so that none of the neighboring countries dared to invade. This was all well and good, except that with the passage of too many years a certain amount of deterioration was unavoidable, and so the Pharaoh decided to strengthen his national defenses. He issued an imperial edict to have the wall repaired, with the Crested Falcon in charge of the wall repairs, and to be charge of manning and protecting the wall as well. That very same day, the Falcon began construction on this massive undertaking.


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20. 毛尖鹰奉命,即聚集“鸦鸦鸟”们四出张罗,抽调壮丁,设井筑牢,大事搜刮。一日边境探子报道:“今有唐三藏等一行四人过山,据说要往西天探取天书!”毛尖鹰道:“把那两个生得像人样子的拿下来问过明白。”探子得令,便布置陷井将唐僧沙和尚两个捉掳宫里去。

Acting under orders of the Pharaoh, the Crested Falcon gathered together the “Crow-crow Birds” to take care of various tasks, like transferring manpower, dig wells and build barracks, and general plundering. One day the border scouts came in to report, saying, “Today the monk Tripitaka and his four companions came over the mountain, it is said they are going to the Western Heaven to retrieve the celestial tome!” The Crested Falcon said, “Go grab those two who look like human beings to ask them to clear things up.” Upon receiving their orders the scouts set up a pitfall trap to capture Tripitaka and Brother Sand and take them into to the palace.



  1. This is a pointed barb at the rampant inflation that was made possible after the Nationalist government took China off the silver standard in 1935 and replaced it with the ‘fabi’ 法币. When war broke out with Japan in 1937, the government began printing money to cover deficit spending. Poor harvests and the outbreak of the Pacific War exacerbated the situation, so much so that inflation averaged more than 300 per cent between 1940 and 1946. Things only got worse as the civil war dragged on, so it seems probable the 1946 banning of Manhua Journey to the West stemmed at least in part from Zhang’s blatant criticism of KMT fiscal policies. See Albert Feuerwerker, “Economic Trends, 1912-49,” in The Cambridge History of China: Republican China, 1912-1949, Pt. 1, ed. John King Fairbank and Denis Crispin Twitchett (Cambridge University Press, 1983), 113–14. []
  2. The historical Emperor Xizong (1119-1150) ruled during the short lived Jin Dynasty and oversaw campaigns against the failing Song dynasty. Another emperor whose name uses different characters, but is pronounced the same is Emperor Xizong 僖宗皇帝 (867-904), one of the final emperors of the Tang whose reign was threatened by agrarian rebellions which eventually led to the downfall of the Tang. Neither are particularly auspicious figures to be referencing. []
  3. Likely a stand-in for Sun Yat-sen. []
  4. Logically, then, this would be Chiang Kai-shek. []

Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 1 of 6

In my post on cartoon versions of Sun Wukong, I discussed Zhang Guangyu’s 張光宇 (1900-1965) overlooked masterpiece, Manhua Journey to the West 西遊漫記. Originally created in the fall of 1945 while Zhang was living in the wartime capital of Chongqing, Manhua Journey to the West was initially introduced to the public through a series of popular exhibitions in Chongqing,  Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Due to both the limitations of the print industry at the time, and eventual KMT censorship, and the turmoil accompanying the founding of the PRC it was not until 1958 that a book version was finally released by the People’s Fine Arts Press 人民美術出版社出版 in Beijing. In 1998, over three decades after Zhang’s death in 1965, it was republished Shandong Pictorial Press 山東畫報出版社, and from December 25, 2012 to February 24, 2013, the original artwork was put on display in as part of a larger retrospective exhibition of Zhang’s work at the Suzhou Museum 苏州博物馆.

My own exposure to the work came several months ago while reading a recently published collection of essays dedicated to Zhang Guangyu and his works. Before reading this collection, I had primarily thought of Zhang both as a magazine editor and also as an organizer of various influential cartoonists’ organizations. Aside from several memorable covers of Modern Sketch 时代漫画and other magazines he was involved in during the 1930s, I had not seen much of his work as an artist. Fortunately, along with the essays, the editors choose to reprint examples of not only his covers, but also selections from his full color comics, including two pages from the Manhua Journey to the West. Zhang does not seem to have done much work in black in white, nor does he seem to have had much interest in doing simple gag strips. This may explain why he is less well known than cartoonists such as contemporaries Zhang Leping 张乐平 and Feng Zikai 丰子恺, whose black and white cartoons can be easily and cheaply reproduced without much loss in quality. Even online, color works tend to fair more poorly in transmission, since many colors cannot be accurately reproduced by the compressed image file formats which are most commonly used.

Not having access to the original book, or a reprint thereof, however, curiosity drove me to seek out an online version of Manhua Journey to the West. After almost giving up, I was finally able to find a Chinese-language art blog which had reposted the entire series of drawings, with the narration included as text below the image. For the sake of introducing Zhang’s out-of-print work to a larger audience, I’ve translated the 60 page text, as recorded on that blog, with a few edits for what seem to be transcription errors. Enjoy!


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Manhua Journey to the West: Part 1,  written and illustrated by Zhang Guangyu 張光宇


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1. 话说古时有个国王,掌理朝政,精明能干;有一夜梦里见历史老人手拿一个圆球,一手执着一册天书扬言道:“世界之大,无奇不有,你这小小的王国,算得了什 么?我把这球赠汝,将去仔细观看,里面自有千变万化!”言罢把球郑重递与国王,国王接过来待又问:“你这本天书也能送给我吗?”老人道:“慢来!慢来!” 说罢便不见了形迹。

It is said that in ancient times there was a king, who was capable and efficient in dealing with affairs of state; in a dream he saw Father Time carrying a sphere in one hand, and in the other a celestial tome, warning him, “In the vastness of the world, there is no limit to the extraordinary things that exist. What does your teeny tiny kingdom amount to compared to all of this? I gift this sphere unto you, study it closely, for it contains the myriad changes and the countless permutations!” His words completed, he handed the sphere to the king, who took it asking, “Will you gift your celestial tome to me as well?” Father Time said, “One thing at a time! One thing at a time!” and with that, disappeared.


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2. 国王从梦中惊醒,那个圆球果然还在手中,仔细一看,原来是个浑圆水晶球,上面没有什么东西可看,只见球的中心透亮发光,渐渐的显出花样来了。

The king awoke from his dream only to discover that the sphere was still in his hands. Studying it closely, he found that it was a perfectly round crystal ball, with nothing visible on its surface, aside from the fact that the center of the sphere was translucent and glowing. Slowly but surely patterns began to emerge.


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3. 原来是一幅“山海舆地图”,连自己的王国也发现在一个角落里。

It turns out that it was a “map of the mountains and seas,” in one corner of which he was even able to find his own kingdom.


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4. 再一转过来,自己的宫室朝廷及文武百官等也都在球里显出来了,国王好不喜欢,不过他仔细一想这个球能看见自己朝廷不是会生出许多麻烦吗?他有点不欢喜,想把它摔在地上毁了,忽然一道祥光从殿角显出了历史老人。

The next thing he knew, his own royal palace, with its many civil and military officials, had appeared in the sphere, greatly displeasing the king. Could it not cause problems if his palace could be seen in the sphere? As he was a little unhappy, the king wanted to destroy the ball by throwing on the ground. Suddenly Father Time emerged from the corner of the hall, bathed in a holy light.


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5. 老人用手一指道:“莫急!莫急!天书不是在球里面么?”

Pointing with one finger, the old man said, “Don’t be so hasty! Don’t be so hasty! There in the sphere, is that not the celestial tome?”


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6. 国王问道:“在球里面我怎样去打开来看呢?”老人再用手一指道:“莫急!莫急!高僧唐三藏率弟子孙悟空、朱八戒、沙和尚不是已经开始向西天极乐世界代你去取了吗!哈!哈!……”

The king asked, “How can I open up the sphere to see it, huh?” The old man pointed again, saying, “Don’t be hasty! Don’t be hasty! Is that not the monk Tripitaka, leading his disciples, Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie, Brother Sand to the Western Paradise to retrieve the tome on your behalf? Ha! Ha!”


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7. 却说三藏师徒四人,立志要往西天探取天书,一路上餐风饮露,书[天?]行夜宿,也不见苦,加上悟空手脚灵敏,多才多智,八戒虽然有些惰性,可是大摇大摆,一切都很乐观,沙和尚年壮力强,诚实可靠,担着行李跟在师傅坐骑后面,他们一路行来,一路说笑,甚是快乐。

As our story continues, Tripitaka and his four disciples, who have resolved to journey together to retrieve the celestial tome. Braving the wind and dew, travelling by day, sleeping by night, they did not meet with much hardship, besides which owing to Sun Wukong’s nimble feet and swift fists, his ample talents and copious knowledge, not to mention Zhu Bajie’s imposing swagger and general optimism, despite some laziness, and Brother Sandy’s youthful vigor and robust strength, his honest reliability, carrying his master’s luggage from behind his mount, all four walked along together, laughing and full of merriment the whole way.


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8. 行了数日,不觉已远离国境,他们在一个树阴下休息坐地,看看又不知来到何处,三藏使打发悟空去前面探听一下,忽然清风一阵,树上飘下一片花花绿绿的叶子。

After walking for several days, without realizing it they had left China. They soon came to be sitting in a shady grove to rest. For no apparent reason, Tripitaka had dispatched Sun Wukong to scout ahead, when a sudden breeze blew down a multicolored leaf from the one of the trees.


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9. 悟空急忙拾起那片叶子,说声:“奇怪!怎么会是一张长方的叶子呢?”大家聚拢来观看,叶子上面还有一个人像。

Sun Wukong picked up the leaf, saying, “Strange! How is it that this leaf is square, hrm?” Everyone gathered around to see, noticing that the leaf also had a person’s portrait on it.


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10. 大家抬头再一看,树上都生长着这样长方方的叶子,八戒便去抱着树干用力一摇,那树叶子淅淅索索落下来,堆了一地。

Everyone looked up and saw that long, rectangular leaves like this were growing on all of the trees so Zhu Bajie went over to a tree trunk and shook it vigorously, bringing down a flurry of rustling leaves, which formed a pile on the ground.



The Many Faces of Sun Wukong: Three Classic Cartoon Adaptations of Journey to the West

Few figures in Chinese mythology seem better suited to being adapted to cartoons than the Monkey King, Sun Wukong 孙悟空:


Source:  James Khoo Fuk-lung’s (邱福龍) The Sage King,Issue 1, 2002.

Certainly, Nezha 哪吒 has found some success through his own films and cartoons, such as the classic 1979 Cultural Revolution parable, Nezha Conquers the Dragon King 哪吒闹海. And arguably Guangyu 關羽 , Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮, and Liu Bei 劉備 etc of popular video games such as Dynasty Warriors 真‧三國無双 and manhua series such as Lee Chi Ching’s 李志清 Record of the Three Kingdoms 三國志 share more in common with their mythological counterparts of Chinese folk religion than they do with the real-life historical figures whose names they borrow.

Even so, Sun Wukong surpasses them all. Reading his exploits in the Ming vernacular novel Journey to West 西游記 brings to mind a Looney Toon or Silly Symphony, some 500 years before Bugs Bunny ever delivered his first wisecrack. Consider the following passage:

 “Since hearing the Way,” Sun Wukong said, “I have mastered the seventy−two earthly transformations. My somersault cloud has outstanding magical powers. I know how to conceal myself and vanish. I can make spells and end them. I can reach the sky and find my way into the earth. I can travel under the sun or moon without leaving a shadow or go through metal or stone freely. I can’t be drowned by water or burned by fire. There’s nowhere I cannot go.”1

In another, even more graphic passage, Monkey brags:

Cut off my head and I’ll still go on talking,
Lop off my arms and I’ll sock you another.
Chop off my legs and I’ll carry on walking,
Carve up my guts and I’ll put them together.
“When anyone makes a meat dumpling
I take it and down it in one.
To bath in hot oil is really quite nice,
A warm tub that makes all the dirt gone.2

Indestructibility is of course, is perhaps the defining characteristics of a cartoon, brought to it’s logical conclusion by The Simpsons’ classic cartoon-within-a-cartoon, The Itchy and Scratchy Show:

Like Itchy and Scratchy, Sun Wukong makes the ultra-violence of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange look tame by comparison. To give just one of innumerable examples, consider the following scene in Chapter 44 of Journey to the West when Sun Wukong is gets fed up with asking two Taosist priests to let a group of 500 captured Buddhist monks go:

“We couldn’t possibly let them go,” the priests said.
“You couldn’t?” said Monkey.
“No,” the priests replied. By the time he had asked this and been given the same answer three times he was in
a terrible rage. He produced his iron cudgel from his ear, created a spell with his hands, made it as thick as a
rice bowl, swung it, and brought it down on the Taoists’ faces. The poor Taoists

Fell to the ground with their blood gushing out and their heads split open,

Wounds that were gaping wide, brains scattered everywhere, both necks broken.3

Finally, like any cartoon character worth his salt, Monkey uses his violent superpowers for comic effect. In Chapter 46 of Journey to the West, Monkey matches wits with a Taoist known as ‘Tiger Power, Senior Teacher of the Nation.’ When Monkey overhears Tiger Power boasting that he can have his heart cut, his head cut off, and is able bathe in boiling oil, all without dying, Monkey offers to have his own head cut off if Tiger Power is willing to do the same. Tiger Power agrees, but after Monkey is bound and beheaded, Tiger Power tries to play a trick on him by having a local deity use magic to prevent Monkey’s head from rolling back to his body when he calls for it. Monkey, Master of the 72 Transformations, does him one better, however, by growing a new head. The King, who has been holding Monkey and his fellow travelers hostage, is forced to issue a passport to allow them to leave the kingdom. Monkey responds by saying:

“We accept the passport, but we insist that the Teacher of the Nation must be beheaded too to see what happens!”
“Senior Teacher of the Nation,” said the king, “that monk’s not going to let you off. You promised to beat him, and don’t give me another fright this time.” Tiger Power then had to take his turn to go to be tied up like a ball by the executioners and have his head cut off with a flash of the blade and sent rolling over thirty paces when it was kicked away.
No blood came from his throat either, and he too called out, “Come here, head.”
Monkey instantly pulled out a hair, blew a magic breath on it, said, “Change!” and turned it into a brown dog that ran across the execution ground, picking the Taoist’s head up with its teeth and dropping it into the palace moat.
The Taoist shouted three times but did not get his head to come back. As he did not have Monkey’s art of growing a new one the red blood started to gush noisily from his neck.

No use were his powers to call up wind and rain;

He could not compete with the true immortal again.

A moment later his body collapsed into the dust, and everyone could see that he was really a headless yellow−haired tiger.4

Add to his indestructibility, willingness to commit violence, and acerbic wit the fact that Journey to West is a foundational text in not only China, but also 20th century pop-culture powerhouses Korea and Japan, and it is perhaps not surprising then, that the Monkey King has appeared in literally dozens of animated films, comic books, and live-action TV shows over the past 100 years. Here are three of my favorites:

 1. Princess Iron Fan 鐵扇公主 (1941)

The granddaddy of all Monkey King adaptations, I’ve written a little about the Princess Iron Fan before, and the influence it had on a young Osamu Tezuka. Princess Iron Fan was created by the twin brothers, Wan Laiming 万籁鸣 (1900-1997) and Wan Guchan 萬古蟾 (1900-1995), who had previously produced short animations in the style of Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies. The Disney influence on their first feature film is especially obvious, although (as we will see) they achieved greater stylistic independence in their later films.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, entire film is available on YouTube, with English language subtitles:

At the time, Laiming and Guchan were criticized for returning to Japanese-occupied Shanghai to produce the film at Zhang Shankun’s 張善琨 New China Film Studios 新華影業公司, the sole reminder of Shanghai’s once flourishing film industry following the Battle of Shanghai in late 1937.  Although the film enjoyed a successful run in Japan (as evidenced by Osamu Tezuka’s enduring childhood memories of the film), with few Chinese having seen it during or after the war, film scholars have argued that Laining and Guchan were subtly trying to inspire the Chinese people to resist the Japanese just like Monkey resists the feminine wiles of the eponymous Princess Iron Fan, and one can imagine that the brothers themselves made similar arguments to their critics while in semi-exile in Hong Kong during the late 1940s.5

2. Manhua Journey to West 西游漫記 (1945)

An overlooked masterpiece, and my personal favorite cartoon version of Monkey, Zhang Guangyu’s 張光宇 (1900-1965, née Zhang Dengying 张登瀛) Manhua Journey to the West uses the framework of Monkey’s tale to create biting satire of the KMT-run Nationalist government during the Second Sino-Japanese War. It is also happens to be a work of critical importance to history of Chinese cartooning, as it bridges the gap between the pre-war cartoons of the late 1920s and 1930s and the Cold War-era cartoons of the 1950s.

EDIT 1/25/15: For the sake of bringing this out-of-print work to a wider audience, I’ve started translating Zhang’s entire 60 page comic into English here.

1945张光宇_西游漫记 (7)

Like many cartoonists of his generation, Zhang Guangyu came to cartoons in a roundabout fashion. Born into a family of traditional Chinese doctors in 1900 in Wuxi 無錫, a city in southern Jiangsu province about 140 km east of Shanghai, Zhang moved to Shanghai to attend school when he was 14 years old. As an opera fan, he got to know the actor Zhang Delu 張德禄 at the New Stage 新舞台 where he got his start doing make-up and sketches of operas. When Zhang graduated from elementary school two years later, he used his connections with the New Stage to become a student of the set designer and painter Zhang Yuguang 張聿光.6 In 1918 he moved into publishing, becoming the assistant of the pioneering Chinese cartoonist Ding Song丁悚 (1891-1972) who at the time was working for World Pictorial  世界畫報 published by the Sheng Sheng Fine Arts Company 生生美術公司. Over the next two decades, Zhang would go on to co-found the many of the most important mutual-aid organizations and publications for Chinese cartoonists, along with his brothers Cao Hanmei 曹涵美 (1902-1975, nee Zhang Meiyu 張美宇?) and Zhang Zhengyu 張正宇 (1904-1976, nee Zhang Zhenyu 張振宇).7

1945张光宇_西游漫记 (41)

When he created Manhua Journey to West, however, Chinese cartooning had been almost entirely subsumed into the production of anti-Japanese propaganda. While Manhua Journey to the West contains elements of this, it is also one the first examples I’ve been able to find of an original extended narrative being told with cartoons in China. Prior to Zhang’s 1945 work, most Chinese cartoons are either single or multiple panel gag strips, or relatively faithful adaptations of classic tales, such Cao’s 1942 lianhuanhua adaption of Jin Ping Mei. Zhang however, does something totally new (at least for comics) in Manhua Journey to West by taking the Sun Wukong readers knew and loved, and placing him in a thinly veiled pastiche of Chongqing, circa 1945:

1945张光宇_西游漫记 (34)

Without realizing it, they arrived in a place called the City of “Sweet Dreams,” 梦得快乐城 this was the wealthy part of Ey-qin 埃秦, where everyone lived a life a luxury, and all of the people coming and going from this mountain city were aristocrats and prominent officials, millionaires and billionaires, in addition to the elegant ladies and dancing girls of Ey-qin, all of them were on display in this place.8

Much like the original Journey to the West, Manhua… is episodic in nature, with Zhang dividing the narrative up into ten chapters.  Originally displayed the work at an exhibition in Chongqing in November, 1945, in February of the next year it was put on display in Chengdu, and by May it had arrived in Shanghai. Shortly thereafter it was banned by KMT officials. Around the same time, Zhang accepted a job in Hong Kong as an art director for Dazhonghua Film Studio 大中華電影片公司, joining the flood of capital and skilled labor flowing out of Shanghai and into Hong Kong during last years of the Civil War. In the summer of 1947 a third exhibition of Manhua Journey to the West was organized in Hong Kong, but was not until 1958 that the collection of 60 drawings with about 7000 characters of text was finally published in book form. Zhang, by then having returned to the Chinese mainland, relied heavily on this work while working on the character designs for perhaps the most well-known Chinese adaptation of the Monkey King, the 1964 animated film Uproar in Heaven 大闹天宫.

3. Uproar in Heaven 大闹天宫 (1964)

Produced at the infamous Shanghai Animation Studio 上海美術電影製片廠 under cartoonist-turned-animator Te Wei 特偉 (1915-2010), and directed by none other than Wan Laiming, the production team of Uproar in Heaven reads like a dream team of Chinese cartoonists and animators. It is perhaps the only Chinese animated film to be widely known in English-speaking countries, and like Princess Iron Fan it is available in it’s entirety on YouTube with English subtitles:

Due no doubt in no small part to Zhang Guangyu’s influence, Wan Laiming’s second attempt at creating an animated Monkey King shows an obvious debt of inspiration to traditional depictions of Sun Wukong in Chinese opera, not only visually, in make up and costumes, but also in movements and staging. Add to this the obviously operatic musical score, composed by Wu Yingju 吳應炬 and performed by the Shanghai Film Studio Orchestra 上影樂團 and the Shanghai Peking Opera Orchestra 上海京劇院樂隊, and it is clear that Uproar in Heaven represents the culmination of Te Wei’s 1956 exhortation to “Seek out a Chinese national style of animation!”探民族風格之路.9 Supposedly written on the wall of the studio during the production of The Proud General 骄傲的将军 (1957), Te Wei’s slogan marks a shift away from Disney-style animations of talking animals and toward more authentically Chinese styles of animation, such as ink painting and paper cut.

When the first half of Uproar in Heaven was shown in 1961 during the relative “cultural thaw” of the early 1960s PRC, it received widespread praise. By the time the second half of the film was completed in 1964, foreshadowings of the impending Cultural Revolution had led to the film being banned for supposedly satirizing Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party, with the majority of the “dream team” of artists, many of whom were nearing retirement, being sent into the countryside to do forced labor for over a decade. Following the Cultural Revolution, however, the film was re-released, sparking a second renaissance of Chinese animation in the 1980s, with classic films like The Gourd Brothers 葫 蘆兄弟 (1987), Captain Black Cat 黑貓警長 (1984-87), and Ah Da’s Three Monks 三個和尚 (1980). Although several new cartoon versions of the Monkey King appeared in the 1990s and 2000s, among them a series which borrowed the name (but nothing else) from Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West, so far none have been able to rival the 1964 version’s overwhelming popularity.10

  1. Wu, Cheng’en. Journey to the West. Translated by W. J. F. Jenner. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2003, Chapter 3. []
  2. Wu, Cheng’en, Chapter 46. []
  3. Wu, Cheng’en, Chapter 44. []
  4. Wu, Cheng’en, Chapter 46. []
  5. See for example Chiu, Monica. Drawing New Color Lines: Transnational Asian American Graphic Narratives. Hong Kong University Press, 2014, pg. 113 []
  6. No relation as far as I’m aware, but his pen name seems to have been meant as an homage. []
  7. See the timeline of Zhang’s life provided in “Suzhou Museum: Manhua Journey to the West – Zhang Guangyu Retrospective” 苏州博物馆 西游漫记——张光宇艺术作品展, n.d., http://www.szmuseum.com/default.php?mod=article&do=detail&tid=4038 (accessed December 7, 2014). []
  8. 張光宇. Manhua Journey to the West. 1st ed. People’s Fine Arts Press 人民美术出版社出版, 1958, pg. 15. []
  9. See Te Wei “特伟,”  http://www.js.xinhuanet.com/zhuanlan/2005-03/24/content_3935971.htm. []
  10. This of course, conveniently overlooks the Super Saiyan in the room–Akira Toriyama’s 鳥山明 1985 manga series Dragon Ball and it’s various spinoffs. Dragon Ball, known as “Dragon Pearls” 龍珠 in mainland China, seems to have wildly popular during it’s heyday, since most Chinese people in their 20s and 30s that I’ve asked about it seem to be familiar with the show. The reception of a Japanese anime and manga in China is probably something that deserves an entire post in it’s own right, however, especially when one considers the back-borrowing that has occurred with Hong Kong wuxia comics like James Khoo Fuk-lung’s The Sage King, random graffiti artists in the UK  and of course, Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn‘s virtual band Gorillaz, with the latter two perhaps also owing a debt of inspiration to the BBC-produced English-language dub of the live action Japanese TV series Monkey 西遊記. []

Interview with Wang “Rollin” Rong: Of Course I Want to be Famous

Thanks to posts like this and this, Wang “Rollin” Wong’s “Chick Chick” has been viewed over 11 million times in the 7 weeks since it was first posted to YouTube on October 22, 2014. If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s worth a few minutes of your time to contemplate in all of it’s bat-shit crazy glory:

Victor Mair has written about the use of animal sound in the song on Language Log and Boing Boing and others have suggested that it could become the “song of the year,” or “the next Gangnam Style.” While Wang’s success is nothing to scoff at, as a point of comparison, Psy’s hypnotic ballad clocked over 10 times as many hits in the first two months after being posted on YouTube, meaning that “Cluck Cluck” is literally an order of magnitude less viral than the Korean megahit.

Still, for China nerds, anything that gets China in the news for wackiness is a cause for celebration:


In China, however, the fact Wang Rong is appearing on the websites of Time magazine and major other American media outlets seems to be causing a certain amount of hand-wringing on the part Chinese netizens and journalists, who are seem embarrassed that a cheesy song like this is attracting so much attention. One newspaper, The Mirror, managed to track her down for an interview, which I’ve translated below:

The Mirror 11/17 The singer Wang Rong, who first rose to fame with her 2007 song “I’m not Huang Rong” but has since fallen off the radar, is attracting attention again with her latest ‘viral tune’ “Chick Chick.” The song, which is entirely made up of lines like “chicken cluck cluck day,” “little chick cluck cluck day,” “rooster whoa whoa whoa” has attracted both both attention and scorn. Yesterday, Wang Rong agreed to an interview with The Mirror in Beijing.

法制晚报11月17日讯 因《我不是黄蓉》走红的歌手王蓉,沉寂多时,最近“神曲”《小鸡小鸡》再度备受关注。全篇都是“母鸡咕咕day”、“小鸡咕咕day”、“公鸡喔喔喔”的这首歌,引来关注的同时也招来了骂声。昨日王蓉在北京接受了《法制晚报》记者的专访。

I don’t care about the critics, my ‘viral tune’ came from a dream

The Mirror: How did you come up with this song?

Wang Rong: This song originally came from a dream I had. It was a really happy dream, where kittens, chicks, and ducklings looked like they were having a meeting, talking about really trivial stuff, like oh, today I laid an egg, and then I lost something, clucking and quacking away in disagreement. It was really cute. I could understand what they were saying though, just like in fairy tales. So when I woke up I decided I wanted to turn my dream into a song.

不在意骂声 “神曲”源自一个梦



The Mirror: There aren’t any lyrics in the whole song, just “cluck cluck day,” do you think people can handle this?

Wang Rong: If you want to hear a song with lyrics, there are plenty of those, and I could easily have written lyrics too. When I first started, I want to write out a conversation between the animals, but it didn’t really work with the music, so I just used “cluck cluck day” so I would have time to think about they were saying. Anyways, it’s successful as entertainment, because it’s fun.



The Mirror: There’s a lot of criticism online, have you read any of it?

Wang Rong: If it’s not too objective, or mistaken, then I can handle it, but I have to ignore personal attacks. It’s totally normal for people to have different opinions, and if they criticize me, then probably it’s helping them blow off steam, so that’s okay.



It’s normal to want to be famous

The Mirror: You’ve written several popular songs before, but a lot of people think you’ve gone too far this time, by choosing to write a ‘viral tune.’

Wang Rong: I’ve done viral songs, but I’ve also done down-tempo ‘healing’ songs too. But to be completely honest, we’re not some big corporation, with a bunch of capital investment and not enough time to spend it all. Given our situation, we have to use strategies and tactics to create the most kick-ass things we can. It’s survival of the fittest out there, so our hands are tied, but it’s also a positive situation, too. If this music let’s us get big, then I will have more energy, more optimism, and more money to invest in the kind of music I really want to make.

Making music is also like doing business, so if people say, Wang Rong, you’re just doing this to become famous, to be a hit, then I’ll say, of course I want to be famous, don’t we all need money to live? – Interview by Shou Penghuan



王蓉:我有神曲,但也有治愈系的。但说实话我们不是大财团,或者有很多资金投入,没时间耗了,这种情况我们只能采取战略和策略,推出最牛的东西。这是一 种适者生存的无奈,但这也是一个积极的状态。如果因为这个娱乐产品让我们的局面打开,我就可以有更多精力、积极性和金钱可以投入到我们真正想做的音乐中 去。

做音乐也是在做生意,有人说王蓉你就是为了出名,你就是为了红,我说当然了,我就是想红,活着不得赚钱么?文/记者 寿鹏寰

Source: http://ent.sina.com.cn/y/yneidi/2014-11-21/doc-iavxeafr5003262.shtml

ICAF 2014: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the International Comic Arts Forum at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at the Ohio State University:

ICAF 2014

Going into ICAF, I really didn’t know what to expect, but like other first time attendees I was immediately struck by how friendly and outgoing everyone was. There was very little sense of the hierarchy that one often gets in more hoary academic circles. Instead, I found myself happily immersed in a group of fellow comic book fans and scholars, who were as excited to hear about my research as I was to hear about theirs.

As compared with the academic conferences and comic cons that I’ve attended in the past,1 it felt a little bit like a small indie comic fest, with the key difference being that the discussion of comics was being placed on the same level as the production of comics. I think this is something that other, non-academic comic fests could learn from ICAF. Unlike other media, such as film, I’ve found that the line between creator and critic is much less well-defined in comics. Sitting in the audience for panels, I noticed many attendees doodling in the notebooks provided by Ohio State. This artwork was enthusiastically shared online alongside more traditional commentary, and one presenter even made a comic book version of her presentation!

ICAF Doodles

 Source: Charles Hatfield

I’m entirely why comics studies as a field is so much more open to this kind of experimentation than other fields. Maybe it is because comics are (relatively) easy to make? Or maybe it is because comics are traditionally a ‘low’ medium so critics of comics are more willing to step into the role of creator? (Or maybe I’m just not familiar enough with other fields! The French New Wave director François Truffaut, for example, was a critic before becoming a director.)

The other aspect of ICAF that really struck me was the commitment to expanding the conversation beyond Anglophone North-American comics. During my panel, for example, my presentation on Li Kunwu and Philippe Ôtié’s graphic novel A Chinese Life, got people talking about the impact of State censorship on film and comics. Paul Morton’s presentation on the Serbian cartoonist Aleksandar Zograf likewise brought up questions of  the role of comics in representing history, as did Elizabeth Nijdam’s presentation on Anke Feuchtenberger and other post-1989 East German cartoonists, and Héctor Fernández’s engaging presentation on the Argentinian comic book Alvar Mayor.


Detail from Li Kunwu and Philippe Ôtié’s 2010 A Chinese Life

401896_Letters to Ckalja CMYK 01

Page from Aleksandar Zograf’s 2004 work, Pisma Čkalji


Page from Anke Feuchtenberger’s 1998 Somnambule


Page from Carlos Trillo and Enrique Breccia’s Alvar Mayor

This commitment to exploring comics in a global sense was also mirrored in the choice of guest speakers. While Justin Green, Carol Tyler, Dash Shaw, Phoebe Gloeckner and Jeff Smith all hail from US, Phoebe Gloeckner’s challenging presentation dealt primarily with her ongoing project to document the Juarez murders through sculpture and photography:


Additionally, the Finnish cartoonist and Rune singer Hanneriina Moisseinen provided a fascinating account of her own attempts to combine performance art with visual narrative:

Hanneriina Moisseinen’s 2014 Syntymäpäivä / Birthday

The last night of the conference featured a moving speech by Congressman John Lewis who came to discuss his new graphic novel, March, co-authored with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. As someone who has followed Nate’s work since his self-publishing days, I found myself extremely proud to see how far he has come and his ongoing commitment to social justice.


Cover to the original 1956 “Montgomery Story” comic which inspired March

In the end, though, what has stuck with me the most from ICAF is the great conversations I had over lunches and dinners and between panels. It heartens me to see that informal dialogue of this will be strengthened and encouraged with the formation of the Comic Studies Society and its graduate caucus, of which I am now a member. I look forward to ICAF 2016 at University of South Carolina!

  1. In 2010, I participated in an undergraduate conference for McNair Scholars at Portland State, and in 2013 I organized the graduate conference for the Asian Studies Department at UBC. I’ve also been to the San Diego Comic Con a couple of times, as well as the Stumptown Comics Fest, the Portland Zine Symposium, and for the first time this year, the Vancouver Comic Arts Fest. []

Infographic Department of the CCP (Part 2 of 5): The Three Unswerving Perseverances

This is part 2 of a five part translation of infographic referred to as the “Hong Kong ‘Occupy Central’ Ten Questions Infographic Version” 香港 “占中” 十问 漫画版 that was published on Weibo Friday, October 4, 2014, in response to the then ongoing Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong. Read more about the background of this info-ganda here.

 ccp_hk_info (10)

Question 3: Why do we say that the central government’s basic policy guidelines regarding Hong Kong haven’t changed, and will not change, besides which has always been Hong Kong’s greatest supporter ever since it’s return to the mainland?

“The Three Unswerving Perseverances” 三个坚定不移
• Unswervingly persevere in implementing the “one country two systems policy and basic law;
• Unswervingly persevere in supporting Hong Kong’s lawful advance into democratic development;
• Unswervingly persevere in safe-guarding Hong Kong’s long term prosperity and stability.
[Box] In reality, for the last 17 years, the central government has been Hong Kong’s greatest supporter.
“The Eight Embodiments” 八个体现
[From left to right.]

  1. Be trustworthy in politics.
  2. In financial administration, do not collect taxes.
  3. In development, give special protection.
  4. In trade, do not collect customs duties.
  5. In travel, support for all people.
  6. In economics, willingly provide backup assistance.
  7. In the lives of the people, first rate care.
  8. In accordance with Hong Kong’s Basic Law and the regulatory procedures of international organizations and international conferences, strongly support participation in international affairs.
ccp_hk_info (11)

Question 4: What is the essential reason 本质原因 for “Occupy Central”?

The Decision of National People’s Congress regarding the election of the Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has give the representatives of foreign powers a difficult to cross threshold to seize the highest level of political power in Hong Kong.

[Stone monument with three representatives of foreign powers loitering in front, one labeled USA, one wearing an American flag shirt, and one looking vaguely British? Monument reads:

The 12th National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the 10th Conference. Starting in 2017, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Officer Election can use the method brought about by universal suffrage.]

Accepting the National People’s Congress joint decision —> means that –>

The opposition party which has for many years been supported by the West will spend a long time pointlessly trying to seize the office of the Chief Executive Officer of the Special Administrative Region. –>

This will make the foreign powers waste money and waste time supporting the pro-colonial Hong Kong opposition party, causing their many year attempt to control the political power in Hong Kong to come to nothing. —>

The opposition party which has received the support of foreign powers are thoroughly anxious and panicked. –>

Through “Occupy Central” they are misleading the people to participate in a large scale mass incident. –>

  • Quickly weaken the governance of the Hong Kong SAR.
  • Quickly control the right to speak.
  • Quickly expand the political survival space 政治生存空间 of the opposition party.
  • Attempt to quickly warm the political soil of political power from the right and left of the opposition party.