List of media adaptations of Journey to the West

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Depiction of the Forbidden Temple's Sun Wukong as depicted in a scene in a Beijing opera.
The pilgrims Sun Wukong, Xuanzang, Sandy, and Pigsy at Western Paradise in production The Monkey Sun (Theatre Esence, 1984).

Journey to the West, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, was written in the 16th century and attributed to Wu Cheng'en. Stories and characters were widely used, especially in Beijing opera, and has been adapted many times in modern film, television, stage, and other media.


  • The Japanese artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi published a series of prints in 1865 titled Tsûzoku saiyûki (A Modern Journey to the West).[1]

Stage plays[edit]


  • The Cave of the Silken Web, or Pan Si Dong, a 1927 silent adaptation of one chapter of the novel.[7] It was followed by a 1930 sequel, The Cave of the Silken Web II (alternatively known as Spiders II).[8]
  • Princess Iron Fan, a 1941 liberal adaptation of a short sequence from Journey to the West; the first Chinese animated feature film.
  • Monkey Sun, a 1959 Japanese film produced by Toho, released as Magic Monkey Sun in Japan, as The Adventures of Sun Wu Kung in the United States, and as Monkey Sun internationally.[9]
  • Shanghai Animation Film Studio produced several animated films based on chapters from Journey to the West:
    • Havoc in Heaven, also known as Uproar in Heaven, is a 1961 Chinese animated feature film directed by Wan Lai-ming and produced by Wan and his three brothers. In 2012 it was "restored" in 3D.[10][11]
    • 人參果 (Ren Shen Guo), a 1981 Chinese animated film directed by Yan Ding Xian,[12] in English known as Ginseng Fruit (also known as Stealing (the) Ginseng Fruit and "Monkey King and Fruit of Immortality")
    • 金猴降妖 (Jinhou jiang yao / Jin hou xiang yao), Monkey King Conquers the Demon, a 1985 Chinese animated film directed by Te Wei.[13] in English known as "Monkey (King) Conquers the (white bone) Demon" or "Golden Monkey Subdued the Evil" or "Golden Monkey Conquers the Evil".[14]
  • Alakazam the Great, a retelling of the first part of the story based on the characters designed by Osamu Tezuka. It was one of the first anime films produced by Toei Animation.
  • 1960s Hong Kong film series produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio and directed by Ho Meng-hua:
  • The Fantastic Magic Baby, a 1975 Hong Kong film directed by Chang Cheh.
  • Monkey King With 72 Magic, a 1979 Taiwanese film directed and produced by Fu Ching-Wa,[17] telling the story from the birth of Sun Wu Kong to his imprisonment by Buddha.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Parallel "Journey to the West", a 1988 anime by Fujiko Fujio
  • A Chinese Odyssey, a two-part 1995 Hong Kong fantasy comedy film loosely based on the novel starring Stephen Chow and Athena Chu Yan.
  • Heavenly Legend, a 1998 Taiwanese film by Tai Seng Entertainment that is partially based on the novel.[citation needed]
  • A Chinese Tall Story (2005), a Hong Kong comedy film loosely based on the novel.
  • Fire Ball, a 2005 Taiwanese animated feature film made by Wang Film Productions and directed by Wong Tung.[18]
  • Saiyūki, also known as Monkey Magic: The Movie and Adventures of the Super Monkey, is a Japanese feature film produced by Fuji Television, released in Japan on 14 July 2007.[19] The film was made in lieu of a second season of the 2006 television series by the same name. The film was a box office success, becoming the 8th highest-grossing film of 2007 in Japan.[20]
  • Monkey King vs. Er Lang Shen is a 2007 CG Chinese animated film produced by Yuan Cheng depicting Wukong's fight against Er Lang Shen.
  • The Forbidden Kingdom is a 2008 Chinese-American fantasy-adventure martial arts film featuring Jet Li as the Monkey King.
  • Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is a 2013 Hong Kong comedy film loosely based on the novel.
  • The Monkey King is a 2014 Chinese-Hong Kong film directed by Cheang Pou-soi depicting Wukong's rebellion against Heaven.
  • In March 2011, Neil Gaiman announced plans to pen a screen adaptation of Journey to the West at the request of television producer Zhang Jizhong. Guillermo del Toro is rumoured as a possible director and James Cameron will also consult on the film.[21]
  • Monkey King: Hero Is Back is a 2015 Chinese animation film directed by first time director Tian Xiaopeng. The film is based on the story of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King and his journey to the west to fight a powerful source of evil after being freed from his seal. As of 2015, it was the highest grossing Chinese animated film.
  • Surprise is a low-budget 2015 Chinese fantasy comedy film directed by Show Joy. It had wide previews on December 12 and 13 and was released on December 18, 2015.
  • The Monkey King 2 is a 2016 sequel to the 2014 Chinese-Hong Kong film The Monkey King directed by Cheang Pou-soi
  • Wu Kong stars Eddie Peng as Sun Wukong and Ni Ni as his lover, Zixia
  • Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back is a sequel to Stephen Chow's first Journey to the West movie. The movie stars Lin Gengxin as the Monkey King.
  • Screenwriter Christopher Yost and Richard Taylor are working on a blockbuster retelling of the "Monkey King" for modern audiences for Los Angeles-based Abstract Entertainment and Eracme Entertainment of China.[22]
  • The Monkey King 3, a 2018 sequel and director Cheang Pou-soi's third installment in his Monkey King series, follows the Monkey King and his fellow disciples to the Country of Women.

Television series[edit]


  • Adventures from China: Monkey King, a 20 volume comic series by Wei Dong Chen.[27]
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang features the legend of the Monkey King throughout the book. He uses the story of the Monkey King's quest to become equal to a god to parallel the feelings of the main character, a Chinese immigrant, who is struggling to fit into American society.
  • Digimon has several Digimon modeled after Journey to the West characters. Gokuumon is based on Sun Wukong, Sanzomon is based on Xuanzang, Cho-Hakkaimon is based on Zhu Bajie, and Shawujinmon is based on Sha Wujing.
  • A 4-part arc in season 2 of Dinosaur King is based around the main characters' time machine landing them in Ancient China and meeting Xuanzang (named "Sanzo Hoshi"). Through their adventure to find a mystical Cosmos Stone, hidden behind a stone door only Sanzo can chant into opening, the three realize that they themselves would become the inspirations for Sanzo's companions from Journey to the West.
  • "The God of High School," a Korean manga/game, with protagonist Jin Mori as the Monkey King Sun Wukong.
  • Dragon Ball was initially inspired by Journey to the West. For example, Sun Wukong (pronounced Son Gokū in Japanese) becomes "Son Goku", who wields an elongating staff weapon, can fly using a magic cloud and has the ability to change into a giant ape. The supporting character Oolong was also based on Zhu Bajie and it was said that Yamcha was based on Sha Wujing. The object of sutras are replaced by the seven wish-granting "Dragon Balls".
  • Gokū no Daibōken, a 1967 Japanese anime.
  • Iyashite Agerun Saiyūki, a 2007 adult anime.[citation needed]
  • Monkey Magic is an animated retelling of the legend.
  • Monkey Typhoon is a manga and anime series based on the Journey to the West saga, following a futuristic steampunk-retelling of the legend.
  • Osomatsu-kun a 1988 Japanese anime. Episode 64, is based on Journey to the West.
  • Saint is a Hong Kong manhua created by Khoo Fuk-lung and loosely based on Journey to the West.
  • Saiyūki is a manga and anime series inspired by the legend. Follow-up series include Saiyūki Gaiden, Saiyūki Ibun and Saiyūki Reload Blast.
  • Secret Journey is an erotic doujin by Po-ju that features a travelling priest, a young boy, who encounters a monkey demoness, Son Goku, who becomes his first disciple.
  • Shinzo is an anime loosely based on Journey to the West.
  • Son-Goku the Monkey
  • Science Fiction Saiyuki Starzinger, a 1978-1979 Japanese anime produced by Toei Animation which features a science fiction / space opera reimagination of the story.
  • The Ape, a graphic novel by Milo Manara and Silverio Pisu published in 1986 by Catalan Communications. Previously serialised in Heavy Metal in 1983, this is a more adult adaptation of Journey to the West with a preface by Renata Pisu. ISBN 978-0-87416-019-2
  • The Flying Superboard is a Korean animated television series based on Journey to the West.[28]
  • The Journey West is a series of illustrated ebooks available for the Kindle and Nook that retell Journey to the West using rhyming verses vaguely reminiscent of Dr. Seuss. Book One: The Monkey King was released in 2011.[29]
  • The Monkey King is a dark sword and sorcery manga inspired by the tale.
  • XIN is an American comic mini-series produced by Anarchy Studio.
  • The play in Love Hina episode 16 is also based on Journey to the West.
  • Episode 31 of Yo-Kai Watch has the characters kidnapped by a yokai and forced to act out the events of Journey of the West.
  • Monkey King, an animated series created in 2009 by China Central Television (CCTV). It was honored with the Golden Panda Award at the 10th Sichuan TV Festival in China.[30]



  • Shen Yun Performing Arts has featured several vignettes from Journey to the West in its dance productions, which tour internationally. These include "The Monkey King Triumphs" and "Monkey King Captures Pigsy".[32]
  • Pilobolus staged a dance-theatre work entitled Monkey and the White Bone Demon in 2001. The piece, created by choreographer Alison Chase, one of the founders of Pilobolus, was based on a children's book adaptation of a tale from Journey to the West and featured dancer Matt Kent performing on stilts (as the Demon). The piece, which toured internationally and was critically acclaimed, is also the subject of a thirty-minute "making of" documentary film. Alison Chase has since revived Monkey and the White Bone Demon with her subsequent dance company, Alison Chase Performance.[33]

Books referencing the novel[edit]

  • Xiyoubu (西遊補; A Supplement to the Journey to the West) is a Ming Dynasty addendum to Journey to the West written by Dong Yue in 1640. The novel describes events which occurred between chapters 61 and 62 of Journey to the West.
  • The Monkey King is the 1978 debut novel of British novelist Timothy Mo, whose protagonist mirrors the personality of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King.
  • Tripmaster Monkey is a 1989 novel by Chinese American novelist Maxine Hong Kingston, with widespread references to Journey to the West.
  • Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese uses the legend of the Monkey King as a major metaphor throughout the book. He uses the Monkey King's quest to become equal to a god to compare the feelings of the main character, a Chinese immigrant, who is struggling to fit into American society.
  • In the children's novel Michael and the Monkey King by Alan James Brown, the Monkey King's mythical journey to the west becomes a modern-day quest to save the lives of a young boy's parents.[34]
  • The Monkey King's Daughter is a series of books by Todd DeBonis for young readers, about the adventures of Meilin Cheng, a 14-year-old Asian-American girl who learns she is the daughter of Sun Wukong.[35]
  • The Dark Heavens, Journey to Wudang and Celestial Battle series are fantasy novels by Kylie Chan in which Sun Wukong is a frequently occurring character.
  • In Kim Stanley Robinson's novel The Years of Rice and Salt, the first chapter (entitled "Awake to Emptiness") is presented in the style of Journey to the West.[36] The protagonist of that chapter, a Mongol warrior named Bold, is an incarnation of Monkey.
  • Mark Salzman's second book The Laughing Sutra (1991) partially re-imagines the Journey to the West in the context of late 20th century Chinese history. A young man, Hsun-ching, sets out to recover a lost sutra and gains a strange-looking companion, ″the colonel″, who claims extremely long life and carries a metal staff. Stories of the Monkey King and Chinese heroes are referenced throughout.
  • Pu Songling writes of Sun Wukong in "The Great Sage, Heaven's Equal", collected in Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio.
  • "The Epic Crush of Genie Lo" by F.C. Yee a young adult fiction book.

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ "Yoshitoshi's 'A Modern "Journey to the West" (Tsūzoku saiyūki)'". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Opičák Sun" (in Czech). Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Amazing Adventures of the Marvelous Monkey King by Elizabeth Wong". Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Production History". Children's Theatre Company. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  5. ^ "The Monkey King Tickets and Information". Theater Mania. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Journey to the West The Musical (website)". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  7. ^ "The Cave of the Silken Web (1927)". A Journal of Chinese Film History. The Chinese Mirror. Archived from the original on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  8. ^ "The Cave of the Silken Web II (1930)". A Journal of Chinese Film History. The Chinese Mirror. Archived from the original on 25 May 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  9. ^ "Monkey Sun". Toho Kingdom. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Unseen Films". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Interview: Restoring "The Monkey King"". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  12. ^[better source needed]
  13. ^ "Contact Support". Archived from the original on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  14. ^[better source needed]
  15. ^ "Monkey Goes West (1966)". IMDb. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Nu er guo (1968)". IMDb. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  17. ^ "SEE RANK Hou wang da zhan tian bing tian jiang (1979)". IMDb. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  18. ^ "Fire Ball (2005)". IMDb. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  19. ^ "The Adventures of Super Monkey (2007)". IMDb. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  20. ^ "2007 Japan Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  21. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (10 March 2011). "Neil Gaiman To Pen Epic 'Journey To The West'; Guillermo Del Toro Being Courted To Direct". Indiewire The Playlist. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  22. ^ "Monkey King Film to Bring Chinese Fable to America". Variety. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  23. ^ Lewis, Leo (15 February 2006). "Broadcasters in a spin as Monkey swings back to TV". Times Online. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2008.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Lodderhouse, Diana (20 April 2017). "See-Saw & Jump Team On 'Legend Of The Monkey' For ABC Australia, Netflix". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  26. ^ "TILL WE MEET AGAIN - THE PREQUEL 千年来说对不起之前传". 11 October 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  27. ^ "Adventures from China: Monkey King". China Sprout. Retrieved 18 July 2013.[better source needed]
  28. ^ Asian Bureau (16 February 2010). "Spotlight on Korea Production Profile: The Flying Superboard". Animation World Network. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  29. ^ "The Monkey King 1: Sun WuKong [Kindle Edition]". Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Journey To The West by Monkey". Beggars Group. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  32. ^ "Journey to the West". Shen Yun Performing Arts. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  33. ^ "Pilobolus Founder to perform at Fort Knox". Ellsworth American. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  34. ^ "Alan James Brown's novels". Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  35. ^ "The Producers". Words That Cook web site. Words That Cook. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  36. ^ Wilson, Andrew (15 June 2002). "Worlds of wonder". The Scotsman. Edinburgh, Scotland. p. 10.
  37. ^ "China Gate (Saiyou Goumaroku)". coinoexpress. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  38. ^ Thursten, Chris. "Valve announce Monkey King, the first Dota 2 hero that isn't a port from DotA". PC Gamer. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  39. ^
  40. ^ "NES Longplay [172] Saiyuuki World". YouTube. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  41. ^ "Saiyuuki World". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  42. ^ "Saiyuuki World 2 - Tenjoukai no Majin (J) - part 1". YouTube. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  43. ^ a b " - Whomp 'Em". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  44. ^ "Whomp 'Em". Retrieved 7 October 2014.