Hou Jian

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Hou Jian
Water Margin character
First appearance Chapter 41
Nickname "Long Armed Ape"
Rank 71st, Succeed Star (地遂星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Chief tailor of Liangshan
Origin Tailor
Ancestral home / Place of origin Hongdu (present-day Nanchang, Jiangxi)
Simplified Chinese 侯健
Traditional Chinese 侯健
Pinyin Hóu Jiàn
Wade–Giles Hou Chien

Hou Jian is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 71st of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 35th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Long Armed Ape".


The novel describes Hou Jian as a skinny and agile man with a dark complexion; his appearance earns him the nickname "Long Armed Ape". He is a tailor from Hongdu (洪都; present-day Nanchang, Jiangxi). He is also Xue Yong's martial arts apprentice.

Joining Liangshan[edit]

Hou Jian works as a tailor in the residence of Huang Wenbing, a corrupt official who framed Song Jiang for treason and almost caused Song to lose his life in Jiangzhou (江州; east of present-day Chongzuo, Guangxi). After Song Jiang has been rescued by the outlaws from Liangshan Marsh, he seeks vengeance on Huang Wenbing and learns from Xue Yong that Hou Jian might be able to help them. Xue Yong contacts Hou Jian, who agrees to work as a spy for Liangshan in Huang Wenbing's house. With Hou Jian's help, the outlaws break into Huang Wenbing's house, kill him and his family, and then return to Liangshan together. Hou Jian joins the outlaw band at Liangshan.

Campaigns and death[edit]

Hou Jian is placed in charge of making flags, banners and clothing for Liangshan after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. He follows the 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, Hou Jian accompanies Ruan Xiaoqi and the Liangshan navy on an infiltration mission, but the fleet encounters a storm and is swept far out into the open sea. Hou Jian's boat sinks and he drowns.