aka: Jiang Shi
"Stop shooting! I'm not a zombie! I'm a jiang shi! I don't even eat people OR their brains!"
The monster called a 'Chinese Vampire' has also been translated as a hopping corpse
or hopping vampire
, among other names. The Mandarin name is romanized as jiangshi
As the Chinese are always proud to claim, the concept of this monster developed independently of Slavic vampires - though there are similarities, such that 'Vampire' has often made it into the translated name. A typical Chinese Vampire drains life energy, like the Slavic vamps of old, though more and more jiangshi
are draining blood while they're at it due to cross-cultural influence. Behaviour-wise, however, the Chinese Vampire is much more bestial in its monstrosity than its Slavic counterpart; it cannot speak, has pale skin, long claw-like fingernails, and a long prehensile tongue
. In what would probably be a particularly huge display of the Uncanny Valley
, it moves by hopping and always has its arms outstretched in rigor mortis. Often a bit on the decayed side, they typically wear shabby robes of the kind worn by the nobility in times gone by - nowadays, Qing Dynasty-style robes are the thing. Interestingly, a literal translation of jiangshi
is "Stiff Corpse"; being dead, of course, the body is stiff from rigor mortis and has to hop as the subtle motions of walking are beyond it.
In some versions, it detects potential victims by the energy fluctuations caused by their breathing - one can hide, for a while, from one by holding one's breath. Some of these stories purport that if one manages to suck the creature's dying (and still held) breath out of it, it will fall inanimate and become an ordinary corpse. Folklore may also suggest escaping it by strewing many small objects in its path which it would feel compelled to count (usually grains of rice). It may be controlled with a parchment inscribed with runes
placed on its head. Legend has it that the jiangshi were corpses enchanted by sorcerers to return to their ancestral burial grounds, where they might be buried among their family, because actually transporting the corpse through conventional means from far away places was usually far too expensive for the average peasant.
Like Slavic vampires and Anglo zombies, a person drained of life-energy will become another of its kind - minus the robes, of course. Unless they were wearing them at the time.
Typical weaknesses of a jiangshi include the blood of a black dog, a wooden sword made from a peach tree, a hen's egg, glutinous rice, and the urine of a virgin boy. In case you were wondering, the classic Kill It with Fire
is implied by the text of Zi Bu Yu
to work as well. It's been suggested due to the jiangshi's lack of advanced motor function, one could pull off Flipping Helpless
on it if it was knocked onto its back.
Subtrope of Our Vampires Are Different
. Compare Classical Movie Vampire
, Looks Like Orlok
. Not to be confused with a western-style vampire who is Chinese.
Not to be confused
with the actual Chinese poet Jiang Shi
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Anime & Manga
- The corpse servants of the Tao family in Shaman King. Fitting for a Chinese family of shamans. The family tends to kill people with strong bodies to fill out their army of corpses. Lee Pai-Long, Jun's personal servant, has the full outfit and everything, but is much less stiff, seeing as he's a Bruce Lee Clone.
- The CMX manga Zombie Fairy features one of these in the title role.
- Chiaotzu from DragonBall appears to be based on these, wearing a Qing Dynasty outfit and having extremely pale skin. His telepathic attacks also require him having his arms outstretched, in a rather jiangshi-esque way.
- Ling-Ling from Rosario + Vampire is a Chinese Jiang Shi, who can freely dismember and reassemble herself. She commands an army of Zombies, though it's seen that her "friends" have some degree of independence. She's also capable of using the Jigen-Tou, though she's the least skilled of its three users.
- Rin Azuma from Yozakura Quartet is one, though she doesn't quite look the part. In fact, her only vampiric traits seem to be her need to keep a talisman on her person and her vulnerability to a Necromancer's mind-control. Also matter-destroying forcefields in the anime.
- Turn up in Top 10 as the Triad-analogue rivals of the Mafia-analogue European vampire mobsters.
- Mr. Vampire from 1985 is the classic example of a Chinese vampire in films. It started off a small craze of supernatural-themed movies in Hong Kong at the time, and had four sequels.
- The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) is a co-production with Hammer Horror, and features Western and Chinese vampires in the same film. It has been released cut with various titles such as Seven Brothers Meet Dracula.
- Crazy Safari, a Hong Kong-made Spin-Off of the The Gods Must Be Crazy (also known as The Gods must be crazy 3, Vampires Must Be Crazy). A corpse of a Chinese vampire is brought from an auction and flought with a plane to China in order to give it a proper burial. The plane chrashes and a group of tribesmen (Bushmen) come across the vampire, and use it to get fruit out of a tree, by having it hop into it repeatedly. Yeah.
- The Hong Kong film Vampire vs. Vampire also features both types. The jiangshi is a child and friendly (it is shown sucking a tomato dry rather than drinking blood or lifeforce). The Western vampire is dug out of the ground but associated with an old church. They don't directly fight each other nearly as much as you might think from the title.
- Featured prominently in the film Robo Vampire, along with cyborgs, Taoist priests, drug cartels and a ghost married to a super-vampire who looks like a gorilla for some reason.
- These feature heavily in the 2004 film Shaolin vs Evil Dead.
- One of the blonde heroine's costume changes in Asian Dynamite is one of these.
- The Jitters, an old movie inspired by Mr. Vampire, involves a jiangshi getting loose in modern America.
Live Action TV
- The mook enemies in Juken Sentai Gekiranger, the Rinshi, are based on the jiangshi, though they feed off fear instead of life energy. That and jumping headfirst into cars and making them explode. A Rinshi that passes through the Chamber of Trials is worthy of becoming a Monster of the Week. Dark Action Girl main character Mele is a really strong one.
- Aside from parsing the name as two words rather than one, no significant changes seem to be made to the Rin Shi in Gekiranger's adaptation, Power Rangers Jungle Fury.
- In Choujuu Sentai Liveman, a Monster of the Week transformed the departed souls lingering on Academia Island into Jiangshi in order to have a private army.
- Forever Knight: Nick Knight is captured by a Chinese acupuncturist who (incorrectly) believes he killed his mother years before. He identifies Nick as a jiangshi.
- Featured in the initial episodes of Chinese Paladin 3; referred to as zombies.
- While not present in Blood Ties, they are mentioned by Coreen in reference to "Illuminacion del sol," a sun-shaped weapon that paralyzes a vampire when stuck in his or her chest. Despite the Spanish name, possibly given by its previous owner Monsignor Javier Mendoza, it was actually created at the request of a Chinese emperor to battle jiangshi. Given that the weapon works on a Western vampire, it can be assumed that these jiangshi are the same, although the number of supernatural beings in existence in this verse could indicate otherwise.
- The "Okami" from Supernatural, who looks like a growling asian teenager who feeds on people. Apparently, since Western vampires must be staked in the chest, Eastern ones must be impaled with a bamboo stake. Seven times. Oh, and the stake must have been blessed by a Shinto priest.
- Kindred of the East, an entire roleplaying supplement in the Old World of Darkness. Calling themselves the Kuei-Jin, they are spirits of the dead who fought their way back from one of the 1001 hells and back into their bodies, which they reanimate and keep alive by feeding on the chi of other people. In the setting's present day, they're usually involved in turf wars with western vampires. Only people of Asian descent can become Kuei-Jin. Primarily another example of the setting's many conflicting religions which are all somehow true and mutually exclusive from one another.
- And a book for the new line, Vampire: The Requiem, features the jiangshi, ghosts bound to their bodies and graves who seek out the life of the living. It's part of a whole book on things in the setting that are vampiric without being, well, vampires.
- One of the many monsters used by the Eaters of the Lotus from the Tabletop RPG Feng Shui. The Architects of the Flesh also use them, modifying them with Arcanowave technology to become Bouncing Benjys.
- The Deadlands faction known as the Maze Rats, which were a gang of mostly Chinese pirates, had one of these, with the instructions to "remove the paper from its forehead and stand back" in case of emergencies.
- All Flesh Must Be Eaten is mostly geared toward survival horror and monsters in the Romero tradition, but the Atlas of the Walking Dead supplement features information and stats for various monsters from around the world, including "gyonshi" (alternate romanization).
- Hungry ghosts from Exalted.
- Ghostrick Jiangshi is a Lighter and Softer version of a Jiangshi in Yu-Gi-Oh!. He can search out his comrades very easily.
- Phantom Fighter puts you in the role of a traveling monk who goes around fighting jiangshi (or "Kyonshies" as the game calls them- the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters for jiangshi). It's also notable for the fact that, with a special item, an Undead Child Jiangshi is playable. Phantom Fighter was originally a video game adaptation of Mr. Vampire, which was popular in Japan for a while.
- Hsien-ko (US)/Lei-Lei (Japan) in the video game Darkstalkers is a Jiang-shi; her sister's soul resides in the talisman on her forehead to protect Lei-Lei from losing control of her powers. A special move allows the two sisters to separate momentarily and let Lei Lei enter a kind of reckless state. This is lampshaded in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, where Lei-Lei has to remind Chris and Jill that she's completely different from the other type of undead they're used to dealing with.
- The Pionpi in Super Mario Land.
- Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves has praying mantis jiangshi revived by black magic.
- From Kingdom Hearts II, we have the Nightwalker Heartless, which is exclusive to The Land of Dragons, Mulan's homeworld. Some of them happen to be Shang's army, who succumbed to fatigue after marching to the city from the mountains. It's unknown if they were revived upon defeat, though given Organization XIII's desire to collect hearts, it's unlikely.
- Ragnarok Online has male (Bongun) and female (Munak) versions. They bounce to move. Later expansion adds a bishonen one, Yao Jun. Bongun, Munak, and he have a rather sad little love triangle plot. As usual with monsters in Ragnarok Online, you can tame them as pets (Bongun and Munak are tamed with love letters and diaries from each other) and get their hats.
- An optional boss in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is a jiangshi. Surprisingly, it's the only boss to not be permanently destroyed after you beat it; it is frozen by a talisman upon defeat, and if you attack it again, the talisman will break, causing it to revive and attack you, once more.
- A particular level in Spelunky features jiangshi as relatively weak enemies in a graveyard.
- Star Wars-based videogame Knights of the Old Republic featured Rakhgouls, a kind of low-level monster which were quite close to the real deal.
- The final game of the NES Family Trainer series was "Baby Kyonshi's Ladder Adventure". A game played using the powerpad in which a child jiangshi attempted to find his parents. The game, as the title suggests, uses a random ladder based system to determine what areas you enter. Aside from the Kid Hero, the game also features evil jiangshi as enemies.
- The Simple 2000 title The Kyonshi Panic, aka Zombie Attack, involves rescuing survivors from a building infested with Jiang Shi.
- Gaia Online has a "Gung Xi" set, for males and females. The shoes are described as "Special shoes built for hopping." and all the other items make references to being for dead Chinese people; it's pretty likely they're a direct reference to the Ragnarok Online NPCs.
- Since jiangshi are hopping Chinese vampires, Touhou fans once quipped that Supernatural Martial Arts Anime Chinese Girl Hong Meiling - who premiered in a game of two final boss vampires - may Expy one. She doesn't get this as much anymore since fans now equate her to dragons.
- Thanks to Ten Desires, we now have an actual jiangshi/kyonshi in Yoshika Miyako; she is, however, presented in a way more reminiscent of an American zombie. Justified because of how much more common the typical zombie interpretation is, and Gensokyo literally runs on fantasy.
- Though this image of him has faded from Mortal Kombat II onward, the first appearance of Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat matched this trope well. A pale, wizened old man, he looked like a corpse; he didn't hop, but instead floated off the ground. And wouldn't you know it, his whole modus operandi is stealing souls.
- In Shining Force III, one of the maps has you in a grave yard surrounded by zombified villagers who insist on hoping everywhere. You can kill them, but doing so would keep them from being cured and turn the town into a literal ghost town. Luckily, a friendly monk who was just passing by joins your party and has a special ability to cure them.
- The Sega Master System game Kung Fu Kid has kyonshi as enemies on nearly every level.
- This is one of Rufus's alternate costumes in Super Street Fighter IV.
- A few of these appear in The Temple of Xi'an in Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix. They are invincible and can paralyze you if they hit you.
- Kung Fu Chaos has a few of these as enemies.
- Sleeping Dogs "Nightmare in North Point" DLC features jiangshi. Wei has to beat them up to get enough magic power to defeat the yaoguai, and throw them into the Mook Maker to seal it.
- The Capcom side-scrolling beat 'em up Tiger Road had jiangshi enemies on one level.
- Flying Warriors had jiangshi as enemies in the Chinatown level, with a giant jiangshi subboss at its end.
- Jiangshi appeared as enemies in only one level of Double Dragon Neon. Coincidentally, the same level has undead versions of many previous foes.
- Vice Project Doom also had a Chinatown level with jiangshi in it.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines' plot revolves around a conflict between classic Western vampires and Jiangshi, with the latter as the bad guys and the former as the good guys. Well, for a given value of "good", anyway. The game is based on the Old World of Darkness universe, so you may want to check out the Kindred of the East entry on this page for more info.
- In Putty, the Oriental level has caped Chinese Vampires that hop around and drop other enemies.