History

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Although it seems like a current flow,  Wuxia stories and history goes back to at least 2000 years.  Wuxia stories have their roots in some early youxia stories from 300–200 BC. Generaly extreme individual and anarchist heroic depiction of stories attracted negative attention of government authorities, as usual. Such as, the Legalist philosopher Han Fei spoke disparaging of the youxias. Actually, this is not suprised that most of heros in these stories assassinate corrupt statesmen to achieve justice for the sake of the praise and public. So government authorities always look negativly about these stories.

During the Tang Dynasty ( 600-900 AD), these stories called Xiake entered the turning point and served as prototypes for the modern wuxia stories. In these stories, main hero generally is lone, behave always in honor and heroism, and tries to ensure fair justice. In the time of the Song Dynasty (900-1280 AD), these stories spreaded over more, circulated as the contents of hauben, or prompt-books for storytellers. During the Ming Dynasty (1370-1650 A.D.), this genre became a considerable literature, and Luo Guanzhong‘s Romance of the Three Kingdoms (possibly actually dating from the late Yuan Dynasty) and Shi Nai’an‘s novel Water Margin were prodeced. The former is a romanticised historical retelling of the events of the late Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period, whilst the latter criticises the deplorable socio-economic status of the late Northern Song Dynasty. Water Margin is often seen as being the first full-length wuxia novel: the portrayal of the characters of the 108 outlaws, and their code of honour and willingness to turn outlaw rather than serve a corrupt government, played an influential role in the development of jianghu culture in later centuries. Romance of the Three Kingdoms is also seen as a possible early antecedent, and contains classic close-combat descriptions that were later borrowed by wuxia writers in their works. In Qing Dynasty (1650-1912 AD), it developed as  detective-crime type stories. Now, heros not only show their fighting skills, but also they show their intellectual and smart sides. In addition, the heroines and some supernatural fighting abilities appeared in this term.  For example, fighters can fly like a bird from one the roof to another, or they can remove the objects with their internal energy. The term wuxia as a genre label itself first appeared at the end of the Qing period.

Unfortunately, many Wuxia stories from the time of the Ming and Qing dynasties have been lost or destroyed. Individual and rebellious heroes in Wuxia stories always stimulate public and government, and government felt obligated to take action against these stories. Such as; Wuxia fiction was banned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after its rise to power in the People’s Republic of China. Although Wuxia stories seem inappropriate for the state sector, Wuxia genre remained enormously popular wider community.

The ban was lifted in the late 1970s with China’s liberalisation. During the ban, wuxia writing continued to prevail in the 1960s in other Chinese-speaking regions, such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Hong Kong. Writers such as Liang Yusheng and Louis Cha (Jin Yong) spearheaded the founding of the “new school” (新派) wuxia genre that differed largely from its predecessors. These writers wrote serials for newspapers and magazines. They also incorporated several fictional themes such as mystery and romance from other cultures. In Taiwan, Wolong Sheng, Sima Ling, Zhuge Qingyun and later Xiao Yi  and Gu Long became her most famous practitioners. Since then, Wen Rui’an and Huang Yi (Hong Kong) were the more prominent writers of a later crop.

Sources; http://kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com/en/176Kaleidoscope5622.html

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