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[ Monkey | Pigsy | Sandy | Tripitaka | Yu-Lung ]


Actor: Masaaki Sakai.
Other Names: Great Sage Equal of Heaven,
King Monkey,
King of the Apes,
The immortal egg.
From: Water Curtain Cave on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit.
Features: Large, full-on sideboards,
Indestructible ('well, you know - a bit'),
Covered from head to toe in hair at times,
Made of stone.
Weapon: Magic Wishing Staff (which can grow to any size).
Skills: Bojutsu,
Cloud flying,
Kung Fu,
Magical powers,
Able to complete 72 transformations,
Able to transform clumps of his hair into any object.
Traits: Restlessness and genius.
Phrase: 'Oi, you!',
'I love a good fight!',
'I don't like it!'
Details: The Monkey King is a rebellious soul, but is in fact not an ordinary being. He was born out of a stone egg, fertilized on top of a mountain by the grace of Heaven. Being extremely smart and capable, he learned all the magic tricks and kung-fu from a master Taoist. He is able to transform himself into seventy-two different forms - a tree, a bird, a beast or even a bug as small as a mosquito enabling him to sneak into an enemy's belly to fight them from the inside out! Using clouds as a vehicle he can travel 180,000 miles a single somersault. After acquiring the magical wishing staff he gets pretty handy at disposing of the demons that the troupe meet on their journey.


Actor: Toshiyuki Nishida (seasons 1 & 2, shown above),
Tonpei Hidari (season 3).
Other Names: Pig spirit,
Stupid swine,
Lord hog,
Martial of the Heavenly host.
From: Cloud Ladder Cave on Mount Fu-ling.
Features: Large, pointed pig ears,
Pig-snouted on occasions,
Able to consume vast quantities of food in mere seconds.
Weapon: Muck rake.
Skills: Bojutsu,
Not being able to woo any female.
Traits: Greed, lust and strength.
Phrase: 'Look! A woman!'
Details: Zhu Ba Jie (or Ba Jie for short) translates as Pig or Piggy, but for the TV show the more catchy name Pigsy was used. Pigsy, who used to be a General in Heaven, has a penchant for beautiful women and made a big mistake by getting a bit too friendly with the Moon Princess. The angry Gods punished him by throwing him down into the mortal world, re-incarnated as a big, fat, rude, smelly Pig Monk! After all, what else could make a person more unattractive to the opposite sex?


Actor: Shiro Kishibe.
Other Names: Water monster,
Fish spirit,
Commander of the Heavenly host.
From: River of Flowing Sands.
Features: Bald patch,
Necklace of nine human skulls.
Weapon: Water staff.
Skills: Bojutsu.
Traits: Mystery and trust.
Phrase: 'Oh do shut up!'
Details: Sandy is a famous kind of mischievous water spirit called a Kappa. The Kappa delights in playing tricks on people and generally causing bother. The Kappa has a small indentation on the top of its head which contains water. If there is no water there then the Kappa loses its magical powers. So to defeat a Kappa you have to do a very Japanese thing, Bow. The Kappa must then reply with a bow and the water spills out rendering it powerless.

Thanks to Lee Carragher for this information.


Actor: Masako Natsume (female).
Other Names: Boy Priest,
Holy fool,
Master (pron. Mosta).
From: The city of Ch'ang-an.
Features: Knows about Buddhism,
Looks like a girl,
Speaks like a girl,
Wears lipstick,
For all intents and purposes is a girl.
Weapon: His mind,
Budhist sceptre.
Skills: Praying,
Headache sutra.
Traits: Faith and normality.
Phrase: 'Buddha says...',
'Remember - no violence Monkey!'
Details: Tripitaka is actually a Mahayana Buddhist (Greater Vehicle) which teaches love and compassion - Tripitaka always wants to help people and forces Monkey to help. The Mahayana tradition was founded by Je Tsongkhapa who was an emanation of Manjushri (The Wisdom Buddha). This Tradition teaches that everyone has a Buddhaseed and can become a Buddha.

Tripitaka means 'Three Baskets' in Sanskrit:

  1. Vinaya Pitaka (Basket of Discipline)
  2. Sutra Pitaka (Basket of Discourses or Teachings)
  3. Abhidharma Pitaka (Basket of Ultimate Doctrine)
Mantra means 'Mind Protection' - Tripitaka's ultimate goal is of course Enlightenment or Buddhahood. Which means escaping Samsara and suffering (being reborn). In Samsara you can be reborn in one of the six realms see The Wheel of Life. Also in some episodes you can see a Mala (beads tied together on string) which you can count Mantras on hanging around Tripitaka's neck.

Thanks to Michael Mellor for this information.


Actor: Shunji Fujimura (season 2 only).
Other Names: Horse,
Jade dragon,
White dragon horse,
Son of the Dragon King of the Western Ocean.
From: The Western Ocean and then Falcon Grief Torrent.
Features: Pony tail,
Can't change form on his own,
Corny references to horsey things.
Weapon: Horse kick.
Skills: Horsing around.
Traits: Foolishness and reliance.
Phrase: 'What about me!'
Details: Yu-Lung, a ferocious white water dragon, actually ate Tripitaka's horse when he was a bit hungry. A suitably furious Monkey challenged him to a big fight under the sea, which resulted in defeat for Yu-Lung and him being banished to Falcon Grief Torrent by the Buddha. It was here where he had to wait for the band of adventurers to pass by, bound by faith to offer his services as their new steed - a trusty, but quite shy, talking horse! Quite handily he could be changed back into human form to help out in the odd demon-kicking.

Monkey ©NTV/KHK 1979/81.
This web page by Matt Sephton.