Who Is Jin Yong? "China's Tolkien," Creator of Vast Universe of Wuxia Martial Arts Novels, Dies at 94; He Was a Master of the Wuxia Genre

By Cole, Brendan | Newsweek, November 16, 2018 | Go to article overview

Who Is Jin Yong? "China's Tolkien," Creator of Vast Universe of Wuxia Martial Arts Novels, Dies at 94; He Was a Master of the Wuxia Genre


Cole, Brendan, Newsweek


Byline: Brendan Cole

Fans have been paying tribute to one of the Chinese-speaking world's most loved authors who died after a long-standing illness.

Louis Cha Leung-yung, whose pen name was Jin Yong, may not have been widely known among English-speakers but his martial arts novels sold in their tens of millions in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and among the Chinese diaspora.

He was a master of the "wuxia" novel, a genre which would combine martial arts, fantasy, and romance and led people to compare him with J.R.R. Tolkien. The first part of his most popular series, Legends of the Condor Heroes, was published in English earlier this year.

He died on Tuesday at the Hong Kong Sanitarium and Hospital in Happy Valley aged 94 after suffering from liver cancer and dementia in his final years, the South China Morning Post reported.

His friend and fellow writer Chip Tsao posted on Facebook how he had met Cha last week and they spoke in their native Shanghai language.

"His eyes lit up bright, and he was holding my hand. I told him what the date was and what had been happening between China and the United States. He listened with rapt attention, like an innocent child," he said, according to the Post.

Cha was born in China but moved to Hong Kong before the Chinese Communist Party's takeover of the country. He co-founded the Hong Kong daily newspaper Ming Pao in 1959 and was its first editor-in-chief. …

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