|Water Margin character|
|Rank||70th, Full Star (地滿星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends|
|Chief ship builder of Liangshan|
|Origin||Bandit leader from Yinma River|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Zhending Prefecture (around present-day Zhengding County, Shijiazhuang, Hebei)|
|First appearance||Chapter 44|
Meng Kang is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 70th of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 34th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Jade Flagpole".
The novel describes Meng Kang as a tall and thin man with a pale complexion. He is nicknamed "Jade Flagpole" for his appearance. He is from Zhending Prefecture (真定府; around present-day Zhengding County, Shijiazhuang, Hebei).
Becoming an outlaw
Having heard of his expertise in ship-building, the government recruits Meng Kang to construct a vessel for transporting tribute to the imperial court in Dongjing (東京; present-day Kaifeng, Henan). However, after getting punished for failing to meet the deadline and having already felt disgruntled with the supervising officer's demanding attitude, he kills the officer in anger and goes on the run. He meets Deng Fei, who leads a group of bandits active in the Yinma River (飲馬川; in present-day Ji County, Tianjin) region, and becomes one of the gang's leaders together with Deng and Pei Xuan (who joins them later).
While Dai Zong and Yang Lin are searching for Gongsun Sheng, they pass by Yinma River, meet the three bandit chiefs, and invite them to join the outlaw band at Liangshan Marsh. The bandits accept the offer, disguise themselves as soldiers, and make their way to Liangshan.
Campaigns and death
Meng Kang is placed in charge of overseeing the construction of battleships for the Liangshan navy after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. He follows the Liangshan heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong. During the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, while attacking Black Dragon Ridge (烏龍嶺; northeast of present-day Meicheng Town, Jiande, Hangzhou, Zhejiang), he gets trapped by enemy forces and ends up being blasted into bits by cannon fire.
- (Chinese) Li, Mengxia. 108 Heroes from the Water Margin, page 141. EPB Publishers Pte Ltd, 1992. ISBN 9971-0-0252-3.
- Buck, Pearl. All Men are Brothers. Moyer Bell Ltd, 2006. ISBN 9781559213035.
- Zhang, Lin Ching. Biographies of Characters in Water Margin. Writers Publishing House, 2009. ISBN 978-7506344784.
- Keffer, David. Outlaws of the Marsh.
- Miyamotois, Yoko. Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits.
- (Japanese) Ichisada, Miyazaki. Suikoden: Kyoko no naka no Shijitsu. Chuo Koronsha, 1993. ISBN 978-4122020559.
- Shibusawa, Kou. Bandit Kings of Ancient China. KOEI, 1989.
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