Dongfang Bubai

Dongfang Bubai
Dongfang Bubai
Created by Jin Yong
Novel appearances The Smiling, Proud Wanderer
Gender Male
Spouse(s) Yang Lianting (male lover)
Sects and organizations Sun Moon Holy Cult
Skills and abilities
Neigong Sunflower Manual's skills
Unarmed combat skills Sunflower Manual's skills
Weapons Needles
Dongfang Bubai
Traditional Chinese 東方不敗
Simplified Chinese 东方不败
Literal meaning Invincible East

Dongfang Bubai is a fictional character in the wuxia novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer by Jin Yong.

Dongfang is the leader of the Sun Moon Holy Cult (日月神教). He castrated himself to learn the skills in the Sunflower Manual and becomes a formidable pugilist. His castration and supreme prowess in martial arts make him one of the most memorable and classic characters in Jin Yong's wuxia world, and his name has become synonymous with homosexuality and sexual perversion in Chinese popular culture.[citation needed]



Sun Moon Holy Cult's leader

Dongfang is first introduced as the second leader of the Sun Moon Holy Cult. Through a scheme, he removes the leader, Ren Woxing, from power and takes over Ren's place and imprisons Ren in an underground dungeon in Hangzhou. Dongfang treats his subordinates cruelly, forcing them to submit to him by making them consume poison pills. After taking the pill, the person will be subjected to severe agony and suffer a long and painful death. If the person agrees to submit to Dongfang and obey him, he / she will be given an antidote to temporarily ease their suffering.


Dongfang is arguably the most powerful character in the novel in terms of martial arts prowess. He castrated himself in order to master the skills in the Sunflower Manual and becomes a formidable pugilist. His personality becomes more feminine after that and he develops a close relationship with a male lover, Yang Lianting. He neglects the cult's affairs and leaves them to Yang to handle.


Ren Woxing eventually escapes from the dungeon with Linghu Chong's help and gradually wins back allegiance from his former followers. Ren, together with his daughter Ren Yingying, Linghu, and another follower Xiang Wentian, sneak back to the cult to confront Dongfang. In the ensuing fight, Dongfang is invincible and remains on the victorious edge despite being outnumbered three-to-one. However, he loses concentration after Yang Lianting is injured and abused by Ren Yingying on the sidelines. His three opponents seize the advantage to deal devastating blows to him. Dongfang is critically wounded and eventually killed by Ren Woxing. Just right before his death, he manages to blind Ren in one eye with his needles.

Sunflower Manual

The Sunflower Manual (葵花寶典) is written by a eunuch and was first discovered by two members of the Mount Hua Sect (Yue Su and Cai Zifeng) during a visit to Shaolin Monastery. In an attempt to copy the manual, each of them reads half of it and memorizes his part before returning to Mount Hua. When they try to compile their parts, they find it to be incomprehensible. Each believes his memory and interpretation of the manual is better but neither can come up with something substantial. Subsequently, Yue and Cai become rivals and the Mount Hua Sect is split into the Qi (氣宗) and Sword factions (劍宗), respectively led by them.

The head abbot of Shaolin recognises the evil nature and inherent dangers of practising the manual's skills. He sends a monk named Duyuan to act as a mediator between the two factions and dissuade them from practising the manual's skills. The two rivals apologise for their folly and request Duyuan's help in understanding the manual better. Duyuan is able to make logical conclusions from Yue and Cai's recollections of the manual and compiles a comprehensible version of the manual, which later falls into the hands of the Sun Moon Holy Cult during a raid on Mount Hua.

At the same time, Duyuan gradually becomes obsessed with the manual and his mind is corrupted by it. He secretly creates his own copy of the manual on his cassock and renounces his vows as a monk, returning to a secular life and assuming his former name "Lin Yuantu". The manual he secretly copied becomes the "Bixie Swordplay" manual (辟邪劍譜), which bears similarities to the original Sunflower Manual. One of the similarities is the requirement for one to castrate himself before practicing the skills in the manual.

Media appearances

  • In 1992 Tsui Hark's Film Workshop Co. Ltd. produced a film Swordsman II as a sequel to The Swordsman. The plot of the film was based on the novel but differs largely and Dongfang was featured more prominently. Taiwanese actress Brigitte Lin played Dongfang Bubai.
  • In 1993, the film The East is Red was produced specially to showcase the character of Dongfang Bubai, with Brigitte Lin reprising her role. The film is largely unrelated to the novel except for its title.


  • Dongfang Bubai inspired the character Master Asia in the Japanese anime Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Master Asia is also known as Tohō Fuhai, which is the Japanese translation of "Dongfang Bubai".
  • In the manga Rosario + Vampire, a character named Dongfang Bubai is a yōkai and the leader of a triad family.
  • A set of manhua titled Dongfang Bubai was drawn in 1991 by Hong Kong artist Khoo Fuk-lung.
  • Dongfang Bubai was also known as "Invincible Asia" in some translated subtitles of the films.


External links

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