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Manuscripts of martial arts novelist Jin Yong on display at exhibition

By Wu Jie| Global Times| Updated: October 31, 2023 L M S


Photo: Courtesy of organizers

Manuscripts of the martial arts novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils by China's literature legend Louis Cha (Cha Leung-yung) are on display at an exhibition being held in East China's Zhejiang Province.

The exhibition, held in the newly opened Zhejiang Literary Center (ZLC) in Hangzhou, is dedicated to commemorating the 5th anniversary of the death of Cha, who is more widely known by his pen name Jin Yong. 

An anthology of Jin published by a Hong Kong press also made its debut at the exhibition, which opened to the public for free on Saturday and displays rare manuscripts, books and photos of the martial arts and chivalry novelist. 

It's one of the efforts to mark Jin's 100th birthday in 2024. Born in Haining, Zhejiang Province, in 1924, Jin is regarded as one of the greatest and most popular martial arts writers. 

In March next year, a host of activities will be launched in the author's former residence in Haining to celebrate the centenary of his birth. 

Xu Jing, an official with ZLC, told the Global Times that the exhibition shed light on Jin's life and works, and also marks the first time that certain precious information about the writer and his hometown Haining has been presented.

"We were fortunate to collect a large amount of information. Thanks to the joint efforts of the organizers, many precious photos of Jin will be made public for the first time," Xu Lingyi, an official with the publicity department of ­Haining, told the Global Times.

In order to offer visitors an immersive experience of Jin's "martial arts world" and a better understanding of his life, the hall set up a reading space, allowing people to read or listen to his novels.

Various versions of Jin's novels are on display, including the earliest versions originally serialized in newspapers, widely circulated versions in the Chinese mainland, as well as foreign language versions in English, French and Japanese. 

Divided into four themes, the exhibition showcases Jin's career development, novel creation journey and the impact of his works on popular culture.

In 1955, Jin started writing his first martial arts fiction The Book and the Sword under the influence of another martial arts novelist known as Liang Yusheng.

After 17 years of writing, Jin's 15 classics established him as the godfather of Chinese martial arts literature. With riveting stories and a focus on chivalry, Jin's epic stories feature not just gravity-defying kung fu masters, but also complex character relationships woven into dramatic historical events.

His works have enjoyed tremendous popularity in Chinese communities worldwide by selling over 300 million copies, and have been translated into many languages including English, French, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai.

The first volume of Jin's Legends of the Condor Heroes, was published in English for the first time in February 2018.

Jin's exhibition is part of the exhibitions featured at ZLC, which officially opened to the public on Saturday. With a total of nine exhibition halls, ZLC is the second largest literature museum in China, only surpassed by the National Museum of Modern Chinese Literature in Beijing. 

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