Talk:Yue Fei

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I am the person who totally rewrote and expanded the Yue Fei page to its current status. I realize the page is no where near as good as it could be, but it's A LOT better than it was. The page was originally full of fiction presented as fact (not to say that the current page is free of that since even Yue's historical bios are steeped in myth). But since I have managed to pass Zhou Tong (archer), Yue's archery teacher, as FA-class I think more effort should be made to get this page up to standard. However, I don't feel like expanding the page myself since I have already done so much work to it. So, I hope that somebody in Wikiproject China will take on the task.

I have in my possession a huge 621 page English language biography on Yue Fei written by Dr. Edward H. Kaplan. Here is the book's citation:

Kaplan, Edward Harold. Yueh Fei and the founding of the Southern Sung. Thesis (Ph. D.) -- University of Iowa, 1970. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1970.

I'm sure someone can track this down. The only place to find it is in univeristy libraries, but I'm sure you can get it with an inter-library loan through your local library. I know of a website that sells a made-to-order reprint of the book for $41. It's a bit costly, but it's definitely worth it.(Ghostexorcist 20:23, 27 July 2007 (UTC))

As an outsider, who does not know this story at all, I can tell you that this article makes no sense at all. As far as I could tell, it seems to say that Yue Fei was recalled from a campaign in 1127 and executed as a direct result of those events (almost taking Kaifeng back from the Jin, which would have threatened the new Song emperor's rule). Yet Yue Fei's death is listed as being in 1141! So how come the 14 year delay between his arrest and his execution is never even discussed, as though this is common sense? More terrible and nonsensical scholarship on the English language Chinese history related material. Sigh... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:28, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Conflicting views on why Yue Fei was recalled and killed[edit]

Legend tells that Yue Fei was killed wholly because of Qin Kuai's defamation and Gaozong's foolishness; however, in the recent decades a more in-depth view has been made by scholars and is quickly gaining popularity - That Gaozong would have killed Yue Fei anyway, even without Qin Kuai's influence. Search for "The Death of Yue Fei" in Google and you will barely find anyone blaming only Qin Kuai for his death. I have found three reasons which are now commonly proposed by scholars regarding why Gaozong would have wanted to kill Yue Fei (the Chinese quotes are all from the traditional historical account of Song, 宋史; sources given are articles written in Chinese by ordinary people, detailing the various points I would make):

  1. [1] Gaozong feared that Yue Fei might recover the two captured Emperors in the Jingkang Incident, Huizong and Qinzong, threatening his throne. Being a not-so-legitimate emperor himself (the reason he became Emperor was because all of Huizong's other sons are either dead or captured, due to him being away on a mission when Kaifeng fell; which in turn was because he was not among Huizong's favored sons), Gaozong simply wished to retain his throne. This view, though most popular, is also often discredited by scholars, first because Huizong was already dead by the time Yue Fei was recalled, and also because several times Gaozong had shown his intention to recover the two Emperors, such as making it one of Yue Fei's objectives.
  2. [2] Yue Fei was stubborn ("不挫於人") and arrogant, offending the Emperor - First, Yue Fei, despite holding a minor post in the Imperial Court, suggested the Emperor in person to lead the army in the northern expedition ("愿陛下亲率六军北渡"), even when the Gaozong has no military experience whatsoever beforehand. Second, he suggested Gaozong to set an heir, a sensitive political subject at the time because Gaozong was not completely legitimate (see above). Third, he had no respect of the Emperor's wishes - in one instance, he had an argument with the then highest ranked military officer, Zhang Jun, and resigned his post afterwards, leaving no choice but for the Emperor to beg him to resume his post ("...即日上章乞解兵柄,終喪服,以張憲攝軍事,步歸,廬母墓側。浚怒,奏以張宗元為宣撫判官,監其軍。帝累詔趣飛還職,飛力辭,詔幕屬造廬以死請,凡六日,飛趨朝待罪,帝尉遣之。") [3] [4]
  3. Gaozong feared the Yue Fei may be too difficult to control if he does indeed recover the lost capital. Yue Fei had immense popularity with the people ("...舉眾來歸" "飛班師,民遮馬慟哭") - coupled with the forementioned arrogance, Gaozong predicted that Yue Fei may even threaten his throne if he indeed succeeds in his northern expedition. Having painful experience with internal strife during his first years as an Emperor, Gaozong may prefer an unstable peace with Jin rather than a civil war (He once said "敗北不足喜,諸將知尊朝廷為可喜。" i.e. "Defeating the north is not sufficient for joy; the generals respecting the Imperial Court would be a joyous matter.")

There is also a rather bold but increasingly popular suggestion that Yue Fei is in fact Gaozong's brother - However, this has little historical basis. There is also a suggestion by scholars that Zhang Jun, not Qin Kuai, was primarily responsible for Gaozong's dislike of Yue (Zhang has attempted several times to defame Yue in front of the Emperor, due to his personal rivalry with Yue, see above).

In my opinion, the current article gives little depth on why Yue Fei was killed at all - all it gave was an ambiguous two lines, first describing Qin Kuai's defamation, and then an incomplete description of Gaozong's fears. Being a popular and oft-discussed subject of Yue Fei (search 岳飞 on Google - almost every result is a discussion on his death; find his entry on 宋史, and one third is devoted to his death), it would make the article much more complete to devote a sub-section on why Yue Fei was killed. Discuss? Aran|heru|nar 07:57, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

If you can find good English references (preferably published) for the above views, by all means edit the article and include them. The timing of his recall has always seemed odd to me, since messages would have taken a reasonable length of time to go back and forth - but we need to avoid OR here. -- Medains 15:26, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
All of the modern day english scholarly sources I've read about Yue Fei points the finger at Gaozong, but still states Qin had his part to play in the General's death. Depending on how long it is, I will type up some quotes from a huge 600 page Yue Fei biography dealing with the reasons for his execution.
I am the person that authored the current Yue Fei page. I realize that it is a horrible article, but it is A LOT better than what it was. I first bombarded the page with random quotes, but then strained some sections into actual fluid paragraphs. If I used the sources I currently have on Yue Fei, the page could easily pass for Feature Article status (that is if I completely rewrote the page again). But I am far too busy to do so, that is why I suggested some of these sources above in a previous post. --Ghostexorcist 20:58, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

The Story of Yue Fei[edit]

Regarding the translation "Telling the Complete Biography of Yue Fei," I didn't provide "proof" that it was wrong because it was pretty obvious to any person who had a basic understanding of Chinese, classical or modern. To be honest, it didn't even make much sense to me in English. As for the so-called "linguist" quoted here, I foresee only two possibilities: 1. He was drunk when suggesting the translation. 2. He was a hoax. I checked a few of his contribution simply because of interest, and, based on these edits [5] [6] [7] and this discussion here, I would conclude, frankly, he would not have passed an elementary school test in Chinese language without, of course, his most beloved translations (much like I would not pass an English one.) Please do not take any personal offence in this judgment - it is only an honest opinion, and I respect this user's immense contribution to Chinese and Japanese articles.

Let me first point out a few obvious flaws with the translation "Telling the Complete Biography of Yue Fei". Not only is it a dictionary word-to-word translation that renders it meaningless, it uses modern translations of the words when they were originally Classical Chinese - and there's a big difference. "小说" is a "novel", not a "little telling." "(忠义)水浒传" is Water Margin (or more accurately, "The Story/Epic of the Water Margin"), not "The Biography of Water Margin."

The meaning of "传" in Classical Chinese has two possible translations - One, "biography", and second, similar to the phrase "传奇", a "legend", "story" or an "epic." Since it was never quite obviously not intended as a professional biography (half a millenium later than the original events and with no reason to write an authentic one, for which he was not paid for) and was compiled from tales and basically legends, I see no reason to call it a "biography" instead of the much suitable translation of "legend(s)" or "epic" - I'm fine with "The Story of Yue Fei," though personally I don't like the sound of it as good as "epic."

As for the much harder "说", I could provide two translations, one based simply on Classical Chinese and translation at first glance, and the other based on a professional inquiry to the original format of 說岳全傳. I have not been able to find a semantical explanation of the word "说“ online, though I am certain that like 论,言, 话, and other similar words, it was originally used as both a noun and a verb, similar to "to say" and "a say" - examples are ”说“, ”小说“, ”学说”, etc. Classical Chinese makes little distinction between nouns and verbs - a noun could often be used as a verb, and sometimes vice versa. The Chinese concept of "novel", 小说, began around the Han Dynasty. At times, these "novels" were compilations of folktales, which are usually sang (说唱), some of which were simply complied leisurely by interested scholars, others which an official from the Imperial Court directly collects from different parts of the country, then to be sang or read by the Emperor. The idea of writing a work (read or sang) based on folktales and not just a compilation started to form around the era of Three Kingdoms and by the Tang dynasty, these novels were very popular. However, true novels based on folktales, with chapters, only began to form during and after the Yuan Dynasty - 說岳全傳 being one of them. If a translation must be given for "說" in this instance, I would suggest "Tales about..." Since meanings of "Tales about..." and "The Legends" slightly overlap, "The Complete Legends of Yue Fei" or, as I suggested before, "The Epic of Yue Fei" would probably be fine. However, as I have said about, this is a translation on first glance and based on logic - there is a far more likely meaning for "说” as explained below: In fact, the complete name of the book is "精忠演义说本岳王全传" - "說岳全傳" was only a short title, much like "三国演义" is short for "三國志通俗演義“, "水浒传" is short for "忠義水滸傳". "精忠演义" from the original title is largely useless and can be ignored; 岳王 is short for 岳武穆(鄂)王, or probably 忠武王, two titles commonly given to Yue Fei. The most important bit, however, is "说本", which means "original script" - significantly different from "tales" or the absurd "telling." As I have explained above, a 说 is a compilation of folktales usually sang, as if in a performance. A 说本 would be the original script from which a "说" would be made - and "精忠演义说本岳王全传" would be a novel rewritten or edited from this script. Here is a Chinese source I found supporting this interpretation. - All of which make matters quite complicated than expected, indeed. Discuss. Aran|heru|nar 14:42, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

I suggest you take up the matter with the linguist who suggested the translation as I am not a scholar of Chinese. I take no offense at all since I am not the person in question. --Ghostexorcist 14:50, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Neither do I, the person in question, take offense at your amusing evaluation of my Chinese fluency. However, what's the problem? This context clearly says "literally "Telling the Complete Biography of Yue Fei"" and a literal translation is what you (literally, if you see the irony) describe as a "dictionary word-to-word translation". I found this literal paraphrase online and linked it. Perhaps you have a better literal translation. For the literary title, "The Complete Legend/Story/Tale of Yue Fei" seems OK, mutatis mutandis. Also, if you're unable "to find a semantical explanation of the word 说 online", may I suggest Lin Yutang's dictionary. Best wishes Keahapana 02:56, 14 October 2007 (UTC)


Once again, before someone reverts my changes, and The tattoo is 尽忠报国, as indicated at the shrine. The correct pronunciation is "jìn zhōng bào guó" which translates to, literally or colloquially, to "serve the country with utmost loyalty" The previously mentioned 精忠报国 has been removed and should remain that way unless someone finds concrete evidence to the contrary.

There is currently a discussion about Yue Fei's tattoo taking place here If you would like to contribute please do so. Philg88contact 04:35, November 26, 2014 UTC (purge)

Book of Wumu (武穆遺書)[edit]

How about this book of Yue Fei? Is it fictional or is it real? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sophisticate20 (talkcontribs) 02:02, 3 May 2010 (UTC) Sophisticate20 (talk) 21:44, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

No, it's a fictional book. It was mentioned in Jin Yong's wuxia novel The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (see the article for more details). There is supposedly a martial arts manual bearing that name, but it has no historical tie to Yue Fei at all. It is not mentioned in contemporary records from that time and was probably written sometime in the last century. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 02:16, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Kneeling Iron Statues[edit]

I recall reading in Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming's book XINGYIQUAN that the Kneeling Iron Statues are replaced every six months or so because people continue to deface them.

Is that a question or a statement? Either way, Dr. Yang is not a very good source for history (the doctorate is in engineering by the way). The biography he presents in his book about Yue Fei is not accurate. Read this for more details. Anyway, if it was a question, they've had to replace the statues once before, but now there is a gate around them and a sign that asks people not to spit. Replacing something every six months would be quite costly. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 18:51, 4 December 2010 (UTC)