Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Master of Wuxia Novel Writer: Jin Yong

Louis Cha, GBM, OBE  born 6 February 1924), known with his pen name Jin Yong is one of the most influential modern Chinese-language novelists. Co-founder of the Hong Kong daily Ming Pao, which he started in 1959, he was the paper's first editor-in-chief and held this position until 1993, when he retired. He has also written and directed two films.

Cha's fiction, which are of the Wuxia ("martial arts and chivalry") genre, has a widespread following in Chinese-speaking areas, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and United States. His fourteen novels and a short fiction composed between 1955 and 1972 earned him a reputation as one of the finest Wuxia writers ever. He is currently the best-selling Chinese author alive; over 100 million copies of his works have been sold worldwide (not including unknown number of bootleg copies)

Cha's works have been translated into Korean, English, Japanese, French, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Burmese and Thai and he has many fans abroad as well, thanks to the numerous adaptations of his works made into films, television series, manhua (comic books), and video games.
A native of Haining county, Zhejiang province, Republic of China, with ancestry from Wuyuan, a county of Shangrao prefecture in Jiangxi province, Cha is the second of seven children from an illustrious family of scholars; his grandfather was a jinshi. Cha was an avid reader of literature from an early age, especially of wuxia fiction, and of the classical fiction. He was once expelled from his high school for openly criticizing the Nationalist regime as autocratic. He first studied at the famous Hangzhou High School  in 1937 but was dismissed in 1941 and then he studied in Zhejiang Province Jiaxing High School, and was admitted to the Faculty of Foreign Languages of the Central University, located in Chungking (Chongqing).Cha later transferred to the Faculty of Law at Dongwu University to major in International Law, with the intention of working as a foreign relations official.

In 1947, Cha entered Shanghai's newspaper Ta Kung Pao as a journalist. One year later, he was posted to the Hong Kong division as a copyeditor. He would reside in Hong Kong for the rest of his life. When Cha was transferred to Hsin Wan Pao as Deputy Editor, he met Chen Wentong, who in 1953 wrote his first wuxia novel under the pseudonym Liang Yusheng . Chen and Cha became good friends, and it was under the former's influence that Cha began work on his first serialized martial arts novel, The Book and the Sword, in 1955. In 1957, while still working on wuxia serializations, he quit his previous job and worked as a scenarist-director and scriptwriter at the Great Wall Movie Enterprises Ltd and Phoenix Film Company.

In 1959, together with fellow high-school mate Shen Pao Sing  Cha founded the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao. Cha served as its Editor-in-Chief for years, writing both serialized novels and editorials, amounting to some 10,000 characters per day. His editorials were well respected, and Ming Pao gradually gained a reputation as one of Hong Kong's most highly rated press. His novels also earned him a large readership. Cha wrote his last wuxia novel in 1972, after which he officially retired from writing, and spent the remaining years of that decade editing and revising his literary works instead. The first complete definitive edition of his works appear in 1979. In 1980, Jin Yong wrote a postscript to Wu Gongzao's tai chi classic Wu Jia Taijiquan, in which he described influences from as far back as Laozi and Zhuangzi on contemporary Chinese martial arts.

By then, Cha's Wuxia novels have earned great popularity in Chinese-speaking areas. All of his novels have since been adapted into films, TV series and radio series in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China. The important characters in his novels are so well-known to the public that they can be alluded to with ease between all three regions.

In later years in the 1970s, Cha was involved in Hong Kong politics. He was a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law drafting committee, although, after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, he resigned in protest. He was also part of the Preparatory Committee set up in 1996 to supervise Hong Kong's transition by the Chinese government.

In 1993, Cha prepared for retirement from editorial work, selling all his shares in Ming Pao. Together with the royalties from his works, Cha's personal wealth is estimated at some HK$600 million.

No comments:

Post a Comment