A Qing dynasty illustration of Gan Ji
Some believe that the character Yu Ji (于吉) in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a misspelling of Gan Ji. In the novel, he wandered around the Jiangdong region, chatting with soldiers and civilians, making everyone believe that he was a magician and healer. The warlord of Jiangdong, Sun Ce, heard of Yu Ji's magic and grew suspicious of him, thinking that he was casting spells on people. Sun Ce accused Yu Ji of heresy and had him executed. However, Yu Ji's spirit returned to haunt Sun Ce and eventually caused him to die from shock. Some people doubt that Yu Ji was not the same person as Gan Ji, based on Gan Ji's activities in the early second century.
Many historians reject the account of Gan Ji and Sun Ce, suggesting that it is propaganda or merely fiction. Reasons for this include Gan Ji's previously recorded activities (which would have made Gan Ji quite old by the time he even met Sun Ce). Only a select few historical texts mention Gan Ji being killed by Sun Ce. Of those that do, Gan Ji is not necessarily portrayed as an innocent victim; rather, in the Jiangbiao Zhuan (江表傳), Sun Ce believes that Gan Ji is misleading the people (Sun Ce was a strict Confucianist).
In popular culture
In the video games Dynasty Warriors 5 and Dynasty Warriors 7, there is a stage is based on Sun Ce's confrontation with Yu Ji, a fictional event. In the stage Sun Ce has to fight Yu Ji clones, as well as a Da Qiao and Sun Jian clone.
The 1983 Hong Kong film The Weird Man by the Shaw Brothers Studio is loosely based on the story of Yu Ji and Sun Ce. Yu Ji was put to death by Sun Ce and he later comes back as a ghost and wreaks havoc on Sun Ce for revenge by possessing his army and his wife. He also helped Sun Ce kill Xu Gong while killing Sun Ce in the process. In this film, he is seen as the hero while Sun Ce is portrayed as the anti-hero. The Weird Man was remade in 1993 as Ninja in Ancient China.
- Chen, Shou. Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
- Fan, Ye. Book of the Later Han (Houhanshu).
- Luo, Guanzhong. Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi).
- Pei, Songzhi. Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).