As one saying goes, where there are Chinese people, there are kung fu legends.
Jin Yong, also known as Louis Cha Leung-yung, was regarded as one of the greatest kung fu fiction writers in China. And for many people, Cha built a magical kung fu kingdom that they could escape into every now and then.
But this kingdom is falling apart now, because Cha passed away on Oct 30, at the age of 94.
Cha wrote all of his 15 wuxia novels between 1955 and 1972. While the values and tastes of readers have changed greatly in recent decades, his books continue to attract people. His works have been adapted into movies and TV series so many times in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland that the comparison of these versions is of great interest to his fans.
There is always a knight with a spirit that is sincere in love, friendship and patriotism at the center of his stories. Such characters move both men and women.
For example, in The Return of the Condor Heroes, the young knight Yang Guo waits for his lover Xiaolongnü faithfully for 16 years, believing that she is still alive, even though she has jumped from a mountain into a ravine. And in Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, powerful Xiao Feng treats his friends with sincere affection, ready to die for the peace of his homeland.
Cha has an extraordinary command of language. He has a theory about writing an appealing plot: “To make a lie believable it’s better to tell 10 truthful things along with it.” This theory works well for Cha’s writing. His stories are always full of rich history; the rationale of martial arts are described in detail. As a result, he achieves a sense of realism with his martial arts heroes.
Cha’s books bring readers joy, and Cha himself has equal fun creating them. “Writing gives me space for imagination, just like a director,” Cha told China Daily.
However, Cha’s real aim in writing novels is to show traditional Chinese values and qualities. “Kung fu novels must depict justice and righteousness. The good fight the wicked. Traditional values are shown through the characters and their stories, not by lecturing readers,” he said.