Dongfang Bubai

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Dongfang Bubai
Created by Jin Yong
Appearances The Smiling, Proud Wanderer
Personal information
Gender Male
Romantic interest(s) Yang Lianting
Affiliations
Organisations Sun Moon Holy Cult
Skills and abilities
Neigong Sunflower Manual's skills
Unarmed combat skills Sunflower Manual's skills
Weapons Needles
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Dongfang.
Dongfang Bubai
Simplified Chinese 东方不败
Traditional Chinese 東方不敗
Literal meaning Invincible East

Dongfang Bubai is a fictional character in the wuxia novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer by Jin Yong (Louis Cha).

Dongfang is the leader of the Sun Moon Holy Cult (日月神教). He castrated himself to learn the skills in the Sunflower Manual and becomes a formidable martial artist. His castration and supreme prowess in martial arts make him one of the most memorable and classic characters in Jin Yong's wuxia universe, and his name has become synonymous with homosexuality and sexual perversion in Chinese popular culture.[citation needed]

Role in the novel[edit]

Dongfang is first introduced as a deputy to Ren Woxing, leader of the Sun Moon Holy Cult. Through a scheme, he ousts Ren Woxing from power and imprisons the latter in an underground dungeon in Hangzhou, and thereafter seizes the leadership. Dongfang treats his subordinates cruelly, forcing them to submit to him by making them consume poison pills. After taking the pill, the person will be subjected to severe agony and suffer a long and painful death. If the person agrees to submit to Dongfang and obey him, he/she will be given an antidote to temporarily ease their suffering.

Dongfang castrated himself in order to master the skills in the Sunflower Manual and becomes extremely formidable. His personality also becomes more feminine and he develops a close relationship with a male lover, Yang Lianting. He neglects the cult's affairs and leaves them to Yang.

Ren Woxing eventually escapes from the dungeon with Linghu Chong's help and gradually wins back allegiance from his former followers. Ren Woxing, together with his daughter Ren Yingying, Linghu, and another follower Xiang Wentian, sneak back to the cult to confront Dongfang. In the ensuing fight, Dongfang is invincible and remains on the victorious edge despite being outnumbered three to one. However, he loses concentration after Yang Lianting is injured and abused by Ren Yingying on the sideline. His three opponents use the opportunity to deal devastating blows to him. Dongfang is critically wounded and eventually killed by Ren Woxing. Just right before his death, he manages to blind Ren in one eye with his needles.

Sunflower Manual[edit]

The Sunflower Manual (葵花寶典) was written by a eunuch and was first discovered by two members of the Mount Hua Sect (Yue Su and Cai Zifeng) during a visit to Shaolin Monastery. In an attempt to copy the manual, each of them read half of it and memorised his part before returning to Mount Hua. When they tried to reintegrate their parts back into a whole, they found it incomprehensible. Each believed his memory and interpretation of the manual to be the better but neither could come up with something workable; however from what they could understand of their parts of the manual Yue and Cai became formidiable martial artists, one concentrating on Qi and the second on swordplay with complex compound attacks and combinations. Yue and Cai subsequently become rivals and the Mount Hua Sect is divided into the Qi (氣宗) and Sword factions (劍宗), respectively led by them.

The abbot of Shaolin recognises the evil nature and inherent dangers of practising the manual's skills. He sends a monk Duyuan to act as a mediator between the two factions and dissuade them from practising the manual's skills. The two rivals apologise for their folly and enlist Duyuan's help in attempting to understand the manual better. Duyuan is able to make logical conclusions from Yue and Cai's recollections and he compiles a comprehensible version of the manual, which later falls into the hands of the Sun Moon Holy Cult during a raid on Mount Hua.

At the same time, Duyuan gradually becomes obsessed with the manual and his mind is corrupted by it. He secretly creates his own interpretation of the manual on his kasaya and renounces his vows as a monk, returning to secular life and assuming his former name "Lin Yuantu". The manual he created became the 'Bixie Swordplay' Manual (辟邪劍譜), which bears similarities to the original Sunflower Manual. One such similarity is the requirement for one to castrate himself before practising the skills in the manual.

Appearances in media[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

Brigitte Lin portrayed Dongfang Bubai in the 1992 film Swordsman II, a sequel to The Swordsman. The plot differs largely from the novel and Dongfang Bubai is given a more prominent role as the key antagonist. The following year the producers released a film titled The East is Red, which specially focuses on the character of Dongfang Bubai. The East is Red is unrelated to the novel except for its Chinese title Dongfang Bubai zhi Fengyun Zaiqi, which roughly translates to The Return of Dongfang Bubai.

Dongfang Bubai is also referred to as "Invincible Asia" in the subtitles of the films Swordsman II and The East is Red.

Lin's portrayal of the character as a trans woman, has influenced later portryals of the character, and it is now usual for the character to be portrayed in this way.

Manhua[edit]

Analogues[edit]

References[edit]