Tien Shinhan

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Tien Shinhan
Dragon Ball character
Tien Shinhan, drawn by Akira Toriyama
First appearanceDragon Ball chapter #113 The 22nd Tenka'ichi Budōkai: 24 February 1987 (1987)
Created byAkira Toriyama
Voiced byVoice actors

Tien Shinhan (Japanese: 天津飯 (テンシンハン), Hepburn: Tenshinhan), known as Tenshinhan in Funimation's English subtitles and Viz Media's release of the manga, is a fictional character in the Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama. He is introduced in chapter #113 The 22nd Tenka'ichi Budōkai (第22回天下一武道会, Dainijūnikai Tenkaichi Budōkai), first published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on February 24, 1987,[1] entering the martial arts tournament to kill Son Goku and his fellow-students. However, he later teams up with them to defeat Piccolo Daimao, accompanied by his friend Chaozu. Tien becomes Goku's rival for a period and is notable for being the first person in the series to fly using Bukū-jutsu (舞空術, lit. "Air Dance Technique") and to use the Taiyōken (太陽拳, lit. "Fist of the Sun", "Solar Flare" in Funimation's anime dub) technique.

The character of Tien has received praise from reviewers of manga and anime. They praised his quest for redemption in the Piccolo arc and his fights have been celebrated as dramatic, intense, and entertaining. Numerous pieces of merchandise have been released bearing his likeness including action figures, key chains, and capsule toys.


The Daizenshuu and other guidebooks mention that Tien is a descendant of the Three-Eyed clan (三つ目族, Mittsume-zoku).[2][3]

The character's name is a pun on tenshindon, a quasi-Chinese dish actually invented in Japan and consisting of a crabmeat omelet over rice. Toriyama said that although Tien is strong and cool, he based his name on a well-known Chinese food just to be "silly."[4]

Tien is loosely based on Erlang Shen from Journey to the West, a three-eyed taoist deity who first appears as an adversary of Sun Wukong, later becoming his ally and rival.[citation needed]


In Dragon Ball[edit]

Tien is introduced as the star pupil of Kame-Sen'nin's rival, Tsuru-Sen'nin (鶴仙人, "Crane Hermit" in Funimation's anime dub), who has him and Chaozu enter the Tenka'ichi Budōkai to prove his students' superiority. He begins as an arrogant, but talented martial artist, antagonizing Goku, Krillin, and especially Yamcha.[5] He first fights Yamcha in the tournament, whose leg he ruthlessly breaks to win. Upon learning that Goku killed Taopaipai, the brother of Tsuru-Sen'nin and a mentor of Tien's, he decides to kill Goku in revenge. He fights Kame-Sen'nin (disguised as Jackie Chun) in his next match, and Kame-Sen'nin shakes his resolve to kill Goku. In the final fight, he battles Goku and brutally beats him down early in the fight, before Goku uses his full power, making the fight more even. Chaozu interferes with the fight by using his psychic powers to paralyze Goku without Tien's knowledge or consent, but once Tien realizes that Chaozu is cheating, he defies his master and refuses to kill Goku.[6] Tien wins the Tournament after destroying the stage with the powerful but potentially life-threatening Kikōhō, and after abandons Tsuru-Sen'nin with Chaozu. Launch falls in love with him and asks him to live at Kame House with her and Roshi, but Tien refuses, saying that he doesn't want to live with the rival of his former master.

After the death of Krillin at the hands of Piccolo Daimio, Tien and Chaozu offer to help Kame-Sen'nin in the search for the Dragon Balls. But when Chaozu and Kame-Sen'nin are both killed and Piccolo wishes for his youth, he learns the suicidal Mafuba technique in order to seal away Piccolo Daimao.[7] After Piccolo chooses to attack West City, Tien intercepts him despite knowing that he can't be revived by the Dragon Balls, but must defeat Piccolo's strongest son Drum first, having to be rescued by Goku. In the final battle against Piccolo Daimao, Tien uses the last of his energy to save Goku from Piccolo's strongest attack, but is then taken hostage by Piccolo as he cripples Goku. After Goku kills Piccolo, he is taken by Yajirobe to be healed at Karin tower, while Tien reunites with Bulma, Yamcha, and Lunch, the latter of which nurses him back to health.[8]

Tien participates in the next Tenka'ichi Budōkai, where he fights the previously assumed dead Taopaipai,[5] who had been saved by cybernetics and wants revenge on both Tien, for turning his back on him and his brother, and Goku. Tien easily outmatches Taopaipai, but doesn't want to humiliate his former master and tries to drag him out of the ring peacefully. Taopaipai catches Tien by surprise and gives him a scar across his chest, which he retains for the rest of the series, before Tien defeats him with a single punch.[9] Tien then fights Goku again in the semi-finals, is defeated, and later protects their allies from being caught up in Piccolo Jr.'s attacks during the final fight.[10][11]

Tien in the anime

He then trains along with the other heroes at Kami's, in order to fight the invading Saiyans. Tien manages to defeat a Saibaman, but when Chaozu sacrifices his life in a failed attempt to kill Nappa, he knowingly uses the last of his power attempting to kill Nappa, but fails.[12] Along with Yamcha, Chaozu, and Piccolo, he goes to Kaiō-sama's planet to train under him in the afterlife. He is revived by the Dragon Balls and prepares to fight against the returning Freeza, before Trunks appears and beats them to it.[13] He trains for the battle against the Androids, but doesn't bring Chaozu as he believes that he's not strong enough. He accompanies Piccolo and Goku to fight Android 20 and Android 19. He searches for Doctor Gero's hideout. After Androids 17 and 18 are released, he tries to fight them with Vegeta, Piccolo, and Trunks, but they're all defeated. He saves Android 18 and Android 16 from being absorbed by Cell and gives them time to escape by continuously attacking Cell (who had just easily defeated Piccolo and Android 16), expending all his energy and having to be rescued by Goku.[14] He then participates in the battle against the Cell Jr.s.[15] When Goku returns from the afterlife and asks where Tien is, Krillin says that he is not coming.[16] However, after Majin Boo is released, Tien appears and saves, Gohan, Dende, and Mr. Satan from being killed by Boo. He fights Boo, but is unable to damage him, and is defeated by a single kick. He and Chaozu later contributed their energy for Goku's Genki Dama attack to defeat Boo once and for all.

In Toriyama's films and Dragon Ball Super[edit]

Tien appears in four Dragon Ball Z movies; in the third, Tien battles the henchmen of Turles;[17] in the ninth, Tien is involved with an intergalactic tournament and helps Gohan with Bojack's minions;[18] in the fourteenth, Tien, Android 18 and Piccolo attack Beerus after Boo angers him, the three being defeated;[19] and in the fifteenth, Tien assists in the battle against the resurrected Freeza and his henchmen, being saved from death by Whis.[20] After the events of the last two films, Goku learns that Tien and Chaozu have formed a martial arts dojo, deciding to recruit both Tien and Master Roshi for the Tournament of Power team for Universe 7. Tien initially turns down Goku's request and works with Goku, Chaozu, and Master Roshi to reverse the brainwashing of his students by Yurin, a woman that Tien used to be classmates with during his time at Crane School who had sworn revenge on him after he left and declined fighting her. After Yurin brainwashes Master Roshi, the latter defeats Tien, who agrees to join the Tournament of Power as he believes the ten million Zeni promised by Goku will help repair the village.[21] Tien agrees to participate in a fight against Gohan and Piccolo with Goku, calling off the match after Piccolo destroys the mountain fighting stage.[22] Tien is part of the group that adheres to Gohan's plan of remaining together[23] and later fights Universe 2's Harmira, using his multi-form technique to give himself time against Harmira. Three of Tien's four clones are defeated by Harmira, who shoots the ground from underneath Tien to knock him off stage and is grabbed by Tien's three other clones, eliminating them both from the tournament.[24]

In other media[edit]

In a filler episode of Dragon Ball Z, during the Saiyan arc, Tien trains for the Saiyans by fighting members of their race in the past using the Pendulum Room.[25]

Tien makes very brief appearances in Dragon Ball GT, the anime-only sequel to the series.

Tien appears in most Dragon Ball games. In the 2003 game Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, Tien and Yamcha can be absorbed by Majin Buu to create a form exclusive to the game. In the 2009 game Dragon Ball: Raging Blast, Chaozu is told by Butter and Juice that he drags Tien down, the latter arriving during Chaozu's fight with the pair and defeating them both, Tien afterward asserting that the duo's claim was false.[26] The two are subsequently challenged by Goten and Trunks, who fuse into Gotenks,[27] and Goku and Vegeta, defeating both pairs to assert themselves as the best tag team.[28] In the 2018 game Dragon Ball FighterZ, Tien is guarded by Chaozu while the two are approached by clones until Goku and Krillin arrive. After Krillin explains the situation, Tien states his intent to fight alongside them against the clones and agrees to Chaozu's help on the condition that he does not leave his side.[29] After Android 21 follows the heroes to the Kaiō-shin planet, Tien uses the Neo Tri-Beam to aid in destroying her.[30]

He is referenced by American rapper Soulja Boy in the uncut version of his song "Goku", where he states that he "feels like Tien" along with other Dragon Ball characters and Pikachu.[31]

Voice actors[edit]

Tien is voiced by Hirotaka Suzuoki in most media, with the exception of episodes 82 and 84 of Dragon Ball Z, where he is voiced by Kōichi Yamadera. Suzuoki said that despite joining the cast while the show had already been in production for a while, it was easy for him to relax and find his place.[32] After Suzuoki's death in 2006, Mitsuaki Madono voiced Tien in several video games such as Burst Limit and World's Greatest Adventure, before Hikaru Midorikawa took over the role for Dragon Ball Kai and all media since.

In the Funimation dub of the series, Tien is voiced by Chris Cason and John Burgmeier.[33][34][35][36]


Tien is a popular character in the series, in 2004 fans of the series voted him the sixteenth most popular character for the book Dragon Ball Forever.[37] Tien's voice actor for the original broadcast, Hirotaka Suzuoki, said despite the character not being an ordinary human, the character's interactions with Chaozu showed his humanity.[32] Tien has received both praise and criticism from numerous publications. Theron Martin of Anime News Network stated that it was 'fun' seeing the groundwork for Tien being laid and reflecting on how he later changed.[38] Martin went on to say that Goku's fight with Tien "presents the most dramatic and intense duel to date in the series."[39] Davey C. Jones of Active Anime noted that "Tien's redemption made an interesting side story" and that it was "crucial in the final episodes" of Piccolo Daimao arc.[40]

Chris Beveridge of Mania Entertainment commented on episodes 62-92 of Dragon Ball, saying, "there are some dull moments to be had, especially as I don't find Tien or Chaozu to be interesting characters."[41] However he went on to say that Tien's fight with Goku "was really quite good" and expressed mixed feelings about the character, saying that as a villain "he was fairly one dimensional." But after being influenced by Kame-Sen'nin's teachings Beveridge said, he "becomes a much more interesting character" and was disappointed that he did not have a really "strong story told for him after this series."[42] Sean Connolly of the same site said that Tien "shows his worth" by holding off Cell "with a flurry of high powered attacks."[43] ANN's D.F. Smith said that Tien's fight against Piccolo Daimao's minions was entertaining, but the conclusion of his fight against Goku was random.[44]


  1. ^ "週刊少年ジャンプ 1987/02/24 表示号数13". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  2. ^ Racial Groups, Daizenshuu 4, 1995
  3. ^ Tenshinhan profile, Daizenshuu 7, 1996
  4. ^ Dragon Ball Forever (in Japanese). Shueisha. 2004. p. 158. ISBN 978-4-08-873702-7.
  5. ^ a b Dragon Ball, volume 10, chapter 113 — ISBN 1-56931-848-4
  6. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 11, chapter 132
  7. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 13, chapter 153
  8. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 14, chapter 159
  9. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 15, chapter 170
  10. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 15, chapter 177
  11. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 16, chapter 190
  12. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 03, chapter 24
  13. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 12, chapter 140
  14. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 15, chapter 179
  15. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 18, chapter 214
  16. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 20, chapter 236
  17. ^ Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might
  18. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound
  19. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods
  20. ^ Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'
  21. ^ "An Unknown Beauty Appears! The Tenshin-Style Dojo's Mystery?!". Dragon Ball Super. Episode 89. May 7, 2017.
  22. ^ "See The Wall That Must Be Passed! Goku vs Gohan". Dragon Ball Super. Episode 90. May 14, 2017.
  23. ^ "Survive! The "Tournament of Power" Begins at Last!!". Dragon Ball Super. Episode 97. July 2, 2017.
  24. ^ "Find Him! Death Match With An Invisible Attacker!!". Dragon Ball Super. Episode 106. September 3, 2017.
  25. ^ "Pendulum Room Peril". Dragon Ball Z. Episode 17. July 7, 2005.
  26. ^ Spike (November 9, 2009). Dragon Ball Raging Blast. Bandai Namco Entertainment. Tien: Chiaotzu, that's not true at all! Don't listen to those guys, okay?
  27. ^ Spike (November 9, 2009). Dragon Ball Raging Blast. Bandai Namco Entertainment. Gotenks: Tada-ah! Say hello to Gotenks! The ultimate tag team, all up in your faces!
  28. ^ Spike (November 9, 2009). Dragon Ball Raging Blast. Bandai Namco Entertainment. Narrator: Tien and Chiaotzu... So far as tag teams go, they're the best there is!
  29. ^ Arc System Works (January 26, 2018). Dragon Ball FighterZ. Bandai Namco Entertainment. Tien: Just promise never to leave my side, you got that?
  30. ^ Arc System Works (January 26, 2018). Dragon Ball FighterZ. Bandai Namco Entertainment. Tien: Neo Tri-Beam!
  31. ^ Suen, Michael (23 July 2010). "Why Anime is Doomed: Soulja Boy Records "Anime" and "Goku," Manga Also in Works". Geekosystem. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  32. ^ a b DRAGON BALL 大全集 補巻 TV ANIMATION PART 3. Shueisha. 1996. pp. 107–113. ISBN 978-4-08-102019-5.
  33. ^ "Dragon Ball Z Kai's Buu Saga to Air on Toonami". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  34. ^ "Conversation with DBZ and YYH Voice Actor Greats". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  35. ^ "Dragon Ball Super's New Opening Sequence Previewed in Screenshots". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  36. ^ Template:Url=https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=9199
  37. ^ Dragon Ball Forever (in Japanese). Shueisha. 2004. ISBN 978-4-08-873702-7.
  38. ^ Martin, Theron (June 6, 2010). "Dragon Ball – Season 3". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  39. ^ Martin, Theron (June 26, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season 4". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  40. ^ Jones, Davey (August 18, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season 4". Active Anime. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  41. ^ Beveridge, Chris (February 25, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season 3 Collection". Mania Entertainment. Archived from the original on November 29, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  42. ^ Beveridge, Chris (May 10, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season 4 Collection". Mania Entertainment. Archived from the original on May 12, 2010. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  43. ^ Beveridge, Chris (February 23, 2011). "Dragon Ball Z Dragon Box 4". Mania Entertainment. Archived from the original on June 17, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  44. ^ Smith, David (May 5, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season Four DVD Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 5, 2010.