Jiangshi fiction

Jiangshi fiction or goeng-si fiction in Cantonese, is a literary and cinematic genre of horror based on the jiangshi of Chinese folklore, a reanimated corpse controlled by Taoist priests that resembles the zombies and vampires of Western fiction. The genre first appeared in the literature of the Qing Dynasty and the jiangshi film (simplified Chinese: 僵尸片; traditional Chinese: 殭屍片; pinyin: Jiāngshīpiàn) is a staple of the modern Hong Kong film industry. Hong Kong jiangshi films like Mr. Vampire and Encounters of the Spooky Kind follow a formula of mixing horror with comedy and kung fu.



Derived from Chinese folklore, jiangshi fiction first appeared in the literature of the Qing Dynasty. The jiangshi is a corpse reanimated by a Taoist priest. The priest commands the jiangshi and directs it to a location for a proper burial. Jiangshi hop as they move and are able to absorb qi, the essence of the living.[1] The ties between jiangshi and vampires, and the English translation of jiangshi as "hopping vampire", may have been a marketing ploy manufactured by Hong Kong studios eager to enter Western markets.[2] Unlike vampires, jiangshi do not drink blood[3] or desire immortality.[4]

Fictional accounts of jiangshi were included in Qing collections of ghost stories and other supernatural tales. They are featured in the story A Corpse's Transmutation (Shibian) in the Shuyiji collection, A Vampiric Demon (Jiangshi gui) and Spraying Water (Penshui) in Pu Songling's Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio,[5] and The Demonic Corpse (Jiangshi gui) in Dongxuan Zhuren's Shiyiji.[6] In Spraying Water, the animated corpse spews a liquid that kills the wife of a government official and her two servants.[7] A traveler is chased by a jiangshi in A Corpse's Transmutation, which killed three of his companions.[8] There are thirty stories of jiangshi in Zi Bu Yu, written by Yuan Mei.[9] Qing writer Ji Xiaolan provides a detailed description of jiangshi folklore in his book Yuewei Caotang Biji.[10]

Hong Kong cinema

Sammo Hung directed Encounters of the Spooky Kind and produced Mr. Vampire.

A number of monster films were produced before the jiangshi boom of the 1980s and the 1990s. The earliest concerning vampires is Midnight Vampire (午夜殭屍) directed in 1936 by Yeung Kung-Leung. Vampire films were also made in the 1970s,[11] which merged the vampires of Western horror with the martial arts of Hong Kong kung fu films.[12] The jiangshi films of the 1980s were a departure from the Dracula-like vampires of its predecessors.[13] Cinematic portrayals of jiangshi show the corpses wearing traditional changshan garments with a talisman placed on its head that allows the Taoist priest to control the cadaver.[14] The tropes expropriated from Western horror were fewer, but still visibly present. The cloak, a motif from Hollywood's adaptations of Dracula, appears in the jiangshi films Vampire vs Vampire and A Bite of Love.[15]

Encounters of the Spooky Kind, directed by Sammo Hung in 1980, was the first film based on the jiangshi of Chinese legends and the progenitor of the genre in the Hong Kong film industry. The film is an early example of kung fu horror comedy in Hong Kong and the jiangshi of the film are played by martial artists. A sequel, Encounters of the Spooky Kind II, was directed by Ricky Lau in 1990.[16]

Mr. Vampire, directed by Ricky Lau, was the breakthrough success of the genre. The film established many of the genre's recognizable tropes. The protagonist is a Taoist priest, skilled in casting magical spells and performing kung fu, who uses supernatural powers to control the undead. He is assisted by incompetent sidekicks, whose antics are a source of comic relief, and must face a vengeful ghost.[17]

In later jiangshi films, jiangshi interact and exist alongside Western vampires.[18] In the 1989 film Vampire vs. Vampire, a Taoist priest and childlike jiangshi encounter a British vampire. The jiangshi saves the priest when his spells for taming the jiangshi are fruitless against the vampire. The trope of jiangshi children, an allusion to a similar character in Mr. Vampire II, shows an awareness in jiangshi films of the genre by referencing its past cliches.[19]

Jiangshi films declined in popularity around the mid-1990s.[20] There was a brief resurgence in jiangshi and vampire films during the early 2000s. Tsui Hark produced The Era of Vampires in 2002 and The Twins Effect, directed by Dante Lam and Donnie Yen, was released in 2003.[21] The Era of Vampires was not a comedy like earlier jiangshi films, a move that provoked criticisms from the genre's fans who felt that the film was trying to appeal to a more "Hollywood" demographic.[22] In 2009, Katy Chang made Nanjing Road, a jiangshi horror movie set against China's economic expansion.[23] In 2013, Juno Mak made Rigor Mortis as a tribute to earlier series such as Mr. Vampire. In 2014, Daniel Chan made Sifu vs Vampire.

Jiangshi films have attracted an international audience since its heyday. In the West, the genre is popular because it both resembles and is distinct from the monsters of European and American folklore.[24] It is also popular in the Chinese diaspora and in southeast Asia.[25]

Television series

The Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Chi of the Vampire" involves the heroes encountering a Jiangshi, which drains qi from Tohru, Jade, and Uncle; which also turns Uncle into a vampire slave. After the stolen qi is returned, the Jiangshi is destroyed by sunlight, much like a Western vampire.

Video games

In Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires boss of 3rd stage – Yoshika Miyako is jiangshi.

Hsien-Ko from the Darkstalkers fighting game series is a jiangshi.

The video game Sleeping Dogs, which takes place in Hong Kong, features an expansion called Nightmare in North Point. The expansion is based on Chinese horror and folklore and features jiangshi as enemies to fight.

The hero Mei from the Blizzard video game Overwatch has a Jiangshi-inspired skin for the Halloween Terror 2017 in-game event, as well as a "hopping" emote where she will hop continuously in a straight line with her arms outstretched.

Jiangshi (going by their Japanese names of Kyonshi) are the primary enemies in the Nintendo Entertainment System video game, Phantom Fighter. However, they are mistakenly referred to as zombies instead of vampires.

Jiangshi appear as enemies in the Chai Kingdom, the fourth and final world of the 1989 Nintendo Game Boy video game Super Mario Land.

Jiangshi are featured as enemies in the game Spelunky. They can be found as early as the second area of the game.

Jiangshi appeared as a secret and optional miniboss in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.

In Kingdom Hearts II, the Nightwalker Heartless enemies, which primarily appear in the Land of Dragons world based on Mulan (1998 film), are based on Jiangshi.

A Jiangshi-inspired hat, the Kyonshi Hat, was added on October 5, 2018 to Splatoon 2 as part of a Halloween event.

Notes and references


  1. ^ Stokes 2007, p. 448
  2. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 209
  3. ^ Lam 2009, pp. 46-51
  4. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 208
  5. ^ Chiang 2005, p. 99
  6. ^ Chiang 2005, p. 106
  7. ^ Chiang 2005, pp. 97-98
  8. ^ Chiang 2005, pp. 104-106
  9. ^ Chiang 2005, p. 99
  10. ^ Chiang 2005, pp. 99-100
  11. ^ Stokes 2007, p. 448
  12. ^ Lam 2009, pp. 46-51
  13. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 208
  14. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 216
  15. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 205
  16. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 215
  17. ^ Lam 2009, pp. 46-51
  18. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 218
  19. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 220
  20. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 225
  21. ^ Stokes 2007, p. 449
  22. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 225
  23. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Nanjing-Road-Official-Pirate-Edition/dp/B0023W64TY
  24. ^ Lam 2009, pp. 46-51
  25. ^ Hudson 2009, p. 205


  • Chiang, Sing-Chen Lydia (2005). Collecting the Self: Body and Identity in Strange Tale Collections of Late Imperial China. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-14203-9.
  • Hudson, Dale (2009). "Modernity as Crisis: Goeng Si and Vampires in Hong Kong Cinema". In John Edgar Browning and Caroline Joan (Kay) Picart (ed.). Draculas, Vampires, and Other Undead Forms: Essays on Gender, Race and Culture. Lanham, Md.: The Scarecrow Press. pp. 203–234. ISBN 978-0-8108-6923-3.
  • Lam, Stephanie (2009). "Hop on Pop: Jiangshi Films in a Transnational Context". CineAction (78): 46–51.
  • Stokes, Lisa Odham (2007). Historical Dictionary of Hong Kong Cinema. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8108-5520-5.
Chinese horror

Chinese horror is a term given to Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese films as part of the stream of Asian horror films. Like Korean and Japanese as well as other Asian horror films many focus on ghosts (yurei is also very common), supernatural environments, and suffering. Perhaps one of the best films for C-horror is The Eye directed by the Pang brothers which was later remade.

There is also some comedy elements such as Bio Zombie, Troublesome Night film series, The Vampire Who Admires Me, and My Left Eye Sees Ghosts.

Chinese mythology

Chinese mythology (中國神話 Pinyin: Zhōngguó shénhuà) is mythology that has been passed down in oral form or recorded in literature in the geographic area now known as "China". Chinese mythology includes many varied myths from regional and cultural traditions. Chinese mythology is far from monolithic, not being an integrated system, even among just Han people. Chinese mythology is encountered in the traditions of various classes of people, geographic regions, historical periods including the present, and from various ethnic groups. China is the home of many mythological traditions, including that of Han Chinese and their Huaxia predecessors, as well as Tibetan mythology, Turkic mythology, Korean mythology, and many others. However, the study of Chinese mythology tends to focus upon material in Chinese language.

Much of the mythology involves exciting stories full of fantastic people and beings, the use of magical powers, often taking place in an exotic mythological place or time. Like many mythologies, Chinese mythology has in the past been believed to be, at least in part, a factual recording of history. Along with Chinese folklore, Chinese mythology forms an important part of Chinese folk religion (Yang 2005, 4). Many stories regarding characters and events of the distant past have a double tradition: ones which present a more historicized or euhemerized version and ones which presents a more mythological version (Yang 2005, 12–13). M

Many myths involve the creation and cosmology of the universe and its deities and inhabitants. Some mythology involves creation myths, the origin of things, people and culture. Some involve the origin of the Chinese state. Some myths present a chronology of prehistoric times, many of these involve a culture hero who taught people how to build houses, or cook, or write, or was the ancestor of an ethnic group or dynastic family. Mythology is intimately related to ritual. Many myths are oral associations with ritual acts, such as dances, ceremonies, and sacrifices.


A jiangshi, also known as a Chinese "hopping" vampire, is a type of reanimated corpse in Chinese legends and folklore. "Jiangshi" is read goeng-si in Cantonese, cương thi in Vietnamese, gangshi in Korean, kyonshī in Japanese, and "hantu pocong" in Malay and Indonesia. It is typically depicted as a stiff corpse dressed in official garments from the Qing Dynasty, and it moves around by hopping, with its arms outstretched. It kills living creatures to absorb their qi, or "life force", usually at night, while in the day, it rests in a coffin or hides in dark places such as caves. Jiangshi legends have inspired a genre of jiangshi films and literature in Hong Kong and East Asia.

List of genres

This is a list of genres of literature and entertainment, excluding genres in the visual arts. Genre is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or entertainment, e.g. music, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time as new genres are invented and the use of old ones are discontinued. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions.

List of mythological Chinese rivers

Mythological Chinese rivers are an important motif in Chinese mythology, forming part of a mythological geography. Among mythological Chinese rivers are:

Weak River or Weak Water: a river or body of such low specific gravity that no one can swim nor anything float, not even a feather

Red River or Red Water: one of the colored rivers flowing from Kunlun. In his poem "Li Sao", Qu Yuan crosses it on a bridge formed by dragons which he summons for the purpose

White River or White Water: one of the colored rivers flowing from Kunlun

Black River or Black Water: one of the colored rivers flowing from Kunlun

Yellow River: a colored river flowing from mount Kunlun. Often identified with the real Yellow River. Once drunk dry by Kua Fu and elso said to have been ruled by the deity He Bo

Yellow Springs: another name for Hell

List of writing genres

Written genres (more commonly known as literary genres) are those works of prose, poetry, drama, hybrid forms, or other literature that are distinguished by shared literary conventions, similarities in topic, theme, style, or common settings, character types, or formulaic patterns of character interactions and events, and an overall predictable form. Genres are not wholly fixed categories of writing, but their content evolves according to social and cultural contexts and contemporary questions of morals and morés. The most enduring genres are those literary forms that were defined and performed by the Ancient Greeks, definitions sharpened by the proscriptions of our earliest literary critics and rhetorical scholars such as Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Aeschylus, Aspasia, Euripides and others. The prevailing genres of literary composition in Ancient Greece were all written and constructed to explore cultural, moral, or ethical questions; they were ultimately defined as the genres of epic, tragedy, and comedy. Aristotle's proscriptive analysis of tragedy, for example, as expressed in his Rhetoric and Poetics, saw it as having six parts (music, diction, plot, character, thought, and spectacle) working together in particular ways. Thus Aristotle establishes one of the earliest delineations of the elements that define genre.

Literary genres are often defined by the cultural expectations and needs of a particular historical and cultural moment or place.

The major literary genres defined by topic are:


Science Fiction





Detective story

DystopiaOther major genres are clustered together based on the form of how they are written, from the constrained syllables of a haiku to the controlled rhymes of a limerick.








DIY (Do It Yourself)

DictionaryOther genres are defined by their primary audiences:

Young adult fiction

Children's books

Adult Literature (often about sexual behavior)

My Date with a Vampire

My Date with a Vampire is a 1998 Hong Kong television series produced by ATV. The story is based on the future events of the plot of Vampire Expert, a similar two-season television drama aired on ATV in 1995 and 1996. It blends aspects of the "hopping" corpses of jiangshi fiction with those of western vampires, while injecting elements of Chinese mythology and modern horror legends. The series is a tribute to Lam Ching-ying, the lead actor of Vampire Expert and a prominent cast member in the Mr. Vampire franchise, who died of liver cancer in 1997. It was followed by My Date with a Vampire II (2000) and My Date with a Vampire III (2004).

According to Netease Report, Fox Networks Group will remake the series. Cora Yim, the head of Fox Networks Group Asia, claimed that one-third of ATV's inventory had been acquired by Fox Networks Group, including 28 television series; My Date with a Vampire is one of the 28.

My Date with a Vampire II

My Date with a Vampire II is a 2000 Hong Kong television series produced by ATV as a sequel to My Date with a Vampire (1998), but with a completely new story. It was followed by My Date with a Vampire III in 2004. The series starred many cast members from the first season. Like the first season, My Date with a Vampire II also blends aspects of the Chinese "hopping" corpses of jiangshi fiction with those of western vampires, while injecting elements of Chinese mythology and modern horror legends, but in this season, there is an additional touch of eschatology.

My Date with a Vampire III

My Date with a Vampire III is a 2004 Hong Kong television series produced by ATV as a sequel to My Date with a Vampire (1998) and My Date with a Vampire II (2000), but with a new story line that is different from the first two seasons. The series starred many cast members from the first two seasons. Like the first two seasons, My Date with a Vampire III also blends aspects of the Chinese "hopping" corpses of jiangshi fiction with those of western vampires, while injecting elements of Chinese mythology, eschatology and time travel, with more focus on Chinese mythology in this season as compared to the first two.

New Mr. Vampire

New Mr. Vampire (Chinese title: 殭屍翻生; lit. "The Vampire Revived") a.k.a. The New Mr. Vampire is a 1987 Hong Kong horror film directed by Billy Chan and Leung Chung. It stars Chin Siu-ho (as Hsiao Hau Chien) and Lu Fang (as Tai-Fa) as the disciples and Chung Fat and Huang Ha as the rival masters Chin and Wu.


The undead are beings in mythology, legend, or fiction that are deceased but behave as if they were alive. A common example of an undead being is a corpse reanimated by supernatural forces, by the application of either the deceased's own life force or that of another being (such as a demons).

The undead may be incorporeal like ghosts, or corporeal like vampires and zombies. The undead are featured in the belief systems of most cultures, and appear in many works of fantasy and horror fiction. The term is also occasionally used for putative non-supernatural cases of re-animation, from early experiments like Robert E. Cornish's to future sciences such as chemical brain preservation and cryonics.

Bram Stoker considered using the title, The Un-Dead, for his novel Dracula (1897), and use of the term in the novel is mostly responsible for the modern sense of the word. The word does appear in English before Stoker but with the more literal sense of "alive" or "not dead", for which citations can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary. In one passage, Nosferatu is given as an "Eastern European" synonym for "un-dead".Stoker's use of the term "undead" refers only to vampires; the extension to other types of supernatural beings arose later. Most commonly, it is now taken to refer to supernatural beings which had at one point been alive and continue to display some aspects of life after death, but the usage is highly variable.

Vampire Controller

Vampire Controller is a 2001 Hong Kong action comedy horror film produced, written and directed by Tony Leung and starring Gallen Lo, Wayne Lai, Kathy Chow, Joey Meng, Yuen Wah and Kingdom Yuen. The film is considered a throwback of the jiangshi fiction-genre films popularized in the 1980s by Mr. Vampire.

Vampire Expert

Vampire Expert is 1995 Hong Kong television series produced by ATV and starring Lam Ching-ying. The two-season series served as a transition from film to television for the 1980s Hong Kong Chinese vampire film franchise. A third season was planned, but due to the poor health and subsequent death of lead actor Lam Ching-ying, the series was cancelled in 1996.

What the Master Would Not Discuss

What the Master Would Not Discuss (Chinese: 子不語; pinyin: zǐbùyǔ, alternatively known as Xin Qixie Chinese: 新齊諧; pinyin: xīnqíxié) is a collection of supernatural stories compiled by Qing Dynasty scholar and writer Yuan Mei.

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