Chinese Vampire

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Chinesevampire 330 6492.jpg
Stop shooting! I'm not a zombie! I'm a jiang shi! I don't even eat people OR their brains!

The monster called a Chinese vampire is also known as a hopping corpse, hopping vampire or similar names, and in Chinese is known as jiangshi, or other variations depending on how you romanize the name.

Despite the name, the idea developed independently of Western vampires and they aren't completely similar (they have more in common with zombies). A typical Chinese vampire drains life energy (though actual Western vamps originally did something like this too; because of modern Western influence, some jianshi do now drain blood instead too). It is more of a monster than a Western vampire; it doesn't speak and has pale skin, long clawlike fingernails, and a long prehensile tongue. It can move only by hopping and has its arms outstretched in rigor mortis. The Chinese vampire is usually dressed in Qing Dynasty robes. Interestingly, jiangshi is Chinese for "Stiff Corpse", which is the reason for its odd method of locomotion: being dead, the body is stiff and therefore cannot walk and has to hop.

In some versions, it detects potential victims by their breath and holding one's breath will temporarily hide from one; some stories report that if you suck the unexpelled last breath out, the corpse will fall inanimate. It may be controlled with a parchment inscribed with runes placed on its head. Legend has it that the Jiang-shi were corpses enchanted by sorcerers to walk home to be buried in their ancestral burial grounds.

Like Western vampires and zombies, its attack can infect a person and turn the victim into another of its kind.

Typical weaknesses of a jiangshi are the blood of a black dog, a wooden sword made from a peach tree, a hen's egg, glutinous rice, and the urine of a virgin boy.

Subtrope of Our Vampires Are Different. Compare Classical Movie Vampire, Looks Like Orlok.

Examples of Chinese Vampire include:

Hong Kong/Chinese Movies[edit | hide | hide all]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Mr Vampire from 1985 is the classic example of a Chinese vampire in films. It started off a small craze of supernatural-themed movies in Hong Kong at the time, and had four sequels.
  • Spooky Encounters.
  • Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters.
  • The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) is a co-production with Hammer Horror, and features Western and Chinese vampires in the same film. It has been released cut with various titles such as Seven Brothers Meet Dracula.
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy in China. A group of tribesmen come across the vampire, and use it to get fruit out of a tree, by having it hop into it repeatedly. Yeah.
    • It's also known as Crazy Safari, Vampires Must Be Crazy, and The Gods Must Be Crazy 3. It has a lot of titles.
  • The Hong Kong film Vampire vs. Vampire also features both types. The jiangshi is a child and friendly (it is shown sucking a tomato dry rather than drinking blood or lifeforce). The Western vampire is dug out of the ground but associated with an old church. They don't directly fight each other nearly as much as you might think from the title.
  • Featured prominently in the film Robo Vampire, along with cyborgs, Taoist priests, drug cartels and a ghost married to a super-vampire who looks like a gorilla for some reason.
  • These feature heavily in the 2004 film Shaolin vs Evil Dead.


Non-Chinese uses[edit | hide]

Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • The corpse servants of the Tao family in Shaman King. Fitting for a Chinese family of shamans. The family tends to kill people with strong bodies to fill out their army of corpses. Lee Pai-Long, Jun's personal servant, has the full outfit and everything, but is much less stiff, seeing as he's a Bruce Lee Clone.
  • The CMX manga Zombie Fairy features one of these in the title role.
  • Chiaotzu from Dragon Ball appears to be based on these, wearing a Qing Dynasty outfit and having extremely pale skin. His telepathic attacks also require him having his arms outstretched, in a rather Jiangshi-esque way.
  • Ling-Ling from Rosario + Vampire is a Chinese Jiang Shi, who can freely dismember and reassemble herself. She commands an army of Zombies, though it's seen that her "friends" have some degree of independence. She's also capable of using the Jigen-Tou.
  • Rin Azuma from Yozakura Quartet is one, though she doesn't quite look the part. In fact, her only vampiric traits seem to be her need to keep a talisman on her person and her vulnerability to a Necromancer's mind-control. Also matter-destroying forcefields in the anime.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Turn up in Top Ten as the Triad-analogue rivals of the Mafia-analogue European vampire mobsters.


Film[edit | hide]

  • One of the blonde heroine's costume changes in Asian Dynamite is one of these.
  • The Jitters, an old movie inspired by Mr. Vampire, involves a Chiang-Shi getting loose in modern America.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • A classic example of a hopping corpse is sent to first threaten and then attack Geneviève Dieudonné in Kim Newman's Anno Dracula.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The mook enemies in Juken Sentai Gekiranger, the Rinshi, are based on the Jiang-shi, though they feed off fear instead of life energy. That and jump headfirst into cars and explode them.
    • Aside fron parsing the name as two words rather than one, no significant changes seem to be made to the Rin Shi in Gekiranger's adaptation, Power Rangers Jungle Fury.
  • In Choujuu Sentai Liveman, a Monster of the Week transformed the departed souls lingering on Academia Island into Jiangshi in order to have a private army.
  • Forever Knight: Nick Knight is captured by a Chinese acupuncturist who (incorrectly) believes he killed his mother years before. He identifies Nick as a Jiangshi.
  • Featured in the initial episodes of Chinese Paladin 3; referred to as zombies.
  • While not present in Blood Ties, they are mentioned by Coreen in reference to "Illuminacion del sol," a sun-shaped weapon that paralyzes a vampire when stuck in his or her chest. Despite the Spanish name, possibly given by its previous owner Monsignor Javier Mendoza, it was actually created at the request of a Chinese emperor to battle jiangshi. Given that the weapon works on a Western vampire, it can be assumed that these jiangshi are the same, although the number of supernatural beings in existence in this verse could indicate otherwise.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Kindred of the East, an entire roleplaying supplement in the Old World of Darkness. Calling themselves the Kuei-Jin, they are spirits of the dead who fought their way back from one of the 1001 hells and back into their bodies, which they reanimate and keep alive by feeding on the chi of other people. In the setting's present day, they're usually involved in turf wars with western vampires. Only people of Asian descent can become Kuei-Jin. Primarily another example of the setting's many conflicting religions which are all somehow true and mutually exclusive from one another.
    • And a book for the new line, Vampire: The Requiem, features the Jiang Shi, ghosts bound to their bodies and graves who seek out the life of the living. It's part of a whole book on things in the setting that are vampiric without being, well, vampires.
  • One of the many monsters used by the Eaters of the Lotus from the Tabletop RPG Feng Shui. The Architects of the Flesh also use them, modifying them with Arcanowave technology to become Bouncing Benjys.
  • The Deadlands faction known as the Maze Rats, which were a gang of mostly Chinese pirates, had one of these, with the instructions to "remove the paper from its forehead and stand back" in case of emergencies.
  • All Flesh Must Be Eaten is mostly geared toward Survival Horror and monsters in the Romero tradition, but the Atlas of the Walking Dead supplement features information and stats for various monsters from around the world, including "gyonshi" (alternate romanization).
  • Hungry ghosts from Exalted.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The NES game Phantom Fighter puts you in the role of a traveling monk who goes around fighting jiangshi (or "kyonshees", as the game calls them).
    • Which is a mistranslation of "Kyonshi", the japanese name for the species. It's also notable for the fact that, with a special item, an Undead Child Jiangshi is playable.
    • Phantom Fighter was originally a video game adaptation of Mr Vampire, which was popular in Japan for a while.
  • Hsien-ko (US)/Lei-Lei (Japan) in the video game Darkstalkers is a Jiang-shi; her sister's soul resides in the talisman on her forehead to protect Lei-Lei from losing control of her powers. A special move allows the two sisters to separate momentarily and let Lei Lei enter a kind of reckless state.
  • The Pionpi in Super Mario Land.
  • The third Sly Cooper has praying mantis Jiang-shi.
  • From Kingdom Hearts II, we have Nightwalker heartless in the Land of the Dragons, Mulan's homeworld.
  • From the MMORPG Ragnarok Online, there are male (Bongun) and female (Munak) versions. They bounce to move. Later expansion adds a bishonen one, Yao Jun. Bongun, Munak, and he have a rather sad little love triangle plot. As usual with monsters in Ragnarok Online, you can tame them as pets (Bongun and Munak are tamed with love letters and diaries from each other) and get their hats.
  • An optional boss in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is a Jiang Shi. Surprisingly, it's the only boss to not be permanently destroyed after you beat it; it is frozen by a talisman upon defeat, and if you attack it again, the talisman will break, causing it to revive and attack you, once more.
  • A particular level in Spelunky features Jiang-shi as relatively weak enemies in a graveyard.
  • Star Wars-based videogame Knights of the Old Republic featured Rakhgouls, a kind of low-level monster which were quite close to the real deal.
  • The final game of the NES Family Trainer series was "Baby Kyonshi's Ladder Adventure". A game played using the powerpad in which a child Jiang Shi attempted to find his parents. The game, as the title suggests, uses a random ladder based system to determine what areas you enter. Aside from the Kid Hero, the game also features evil Jiang Shi as enemies.
  • The Simple 2000 title The Kyonshi Panic, aka Zombie Attack, involves rescuing survivors from a building infested with Jiang Shi.
  • Gaia Online has a "Gung Xi" set, for males and females. The shoes are described as "Special shoes built for hopping." and all the other items make references to being for dead Chinese people; it's pretty likely they're a direct reference to the Ragnarok Online NPCs.
  • Since jiangshi are hopping Chinese vampires, Touhou fans once quipped that Supernatural Martial Arts Anime Chinese Girl Hong Meiling - who premiered in a game of two final boss vampires - may Expy one. She doesn't get this as much anymore since fans now equate her to dragons.
    • Thanks to Ten Desires, we now have an actual jiangshi/kyonshi in Yoshika Miyako.
  • Though this image of him has faded from Mortal Kombat 2 onward, the first appearance of Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat matched this trope well. A pale, wizened old man, he looked like a corpse; he didn't hop, but instead floated off the ground. And wouldn't you know it, his whole modus operandi is stealing souls.
  • In tactics game Shining Force III for the Sega Saturn, one of the maps has you in a grave yard surrounded by zombiefied villagers who insist on hoping everywhere. You can kill them, but doing so would keep them from being cured and turn the town into a literal ghost town. Luckily, a friendly monk who was just passing by joins your party and has a special ability to cure them.
  • The Sega Master System game Kung Fu Kid has kyonshi as enemies on nearly every level.
  • This is one of Rufus's alternate costumes in Super Street Fighter IV.
  • A few of these appear in The Temple of Xi'an in Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix. They are invincible and can paralyze you if they hit you.
  • The Xbox game Kung Fu Chaos has a few of these as enemies.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • One of these is featured in an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures; it drains chi via green beams of light from its victim's eyes. The Jiang-shi has most of the usual weaknesses, but loses them when it has enough chi.