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Most famous wuxia novelist Jin Yong's legacy will continue


In this file photo, Jin Yong addresses the groundbreaking ceremony of an academy named after him in Haining, east China's Zhejiang province, on Sept. 17, 2008. [Xinhua]

The world famous Chinese martial arts novelist Louis Cha, also known by his pen name of Jin Yong, died at the age of 94 in Hong Kong on Tuesday and his legacy will continue to shine through in the coming years.

His son, Zha Chuanti, confirmed to the media that the novelist had "passed away in peace" at Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital. Condolences are pouring in online and offline as many officials, artists, celebrities and fans have rushed to mourn him.

"His passing is absolutely a huge loss to the wuxia world," said megastar Andy Lau, who played the leading role in a TVB TV series based on "The Return of the Condor Heroes" in 1983.

Ni Kuang, a fellow writer and Cha's close friend, praised the latter's novels as number one in the world, with no one comparable to him in terms of achievements.

Zhang Jizhong, the famous Chinese director who adapted several of Cha's novels into TV series, also posted his condolence message on his Weibo microblog account: "[You] will not leave us behind too far away; the wuxia spirit will remain eternal in this world! [So] I can bear the pain of losing you."


A still from the most iconic TV series "The Legend of the Condor Heroes" starring Felix Wong and Barbara Yung. [File photo]

Zhang's words are so true, as Cha's works continue to influence succeeding Chinese generations. More than 300 million copies of his works reportedly have been sold worldwide, making him the best-selling Chinese writer of all time.

Born on March 10, 1924, in Haining, Zhejiang province, Cha moved to Hong Kong in the 1940s and published his first martial arts novel "The Book and the Sword" in 1955, becoming an instant success. He went on to write 14 hugely popular martial arts hero ("wuxia") novels, including the most famous "The Legend of the Condor Heroes" trilogy up to 1972. After that he kept polishing and perfecting his novels and having them reprinted in various editions.

His 15 novels so far have spawned 36 films and 66 TV series, especially "The Legend of the Condor Heroes", which has been adapted 16 times into TV series or films, including the most iconic 1983's TVB version starring Felix Wong and Barbara Yung that many saw it as all-time classic, from the choice of cast members to the music, providing wonderful childhood memories for those born in the 1970's and 1980's.

Other notable films include King Hu's "The Swordsman" (1990) and its sequel "Swordsman II" (1992), Wong Jing's 1992 films "Royal Tramp" and "Royal Tramp II" starring comedian megastar Stephen Chow, and Wong Kar-wai's all-star cast "Ashes of Time"(1994).

His works have also been translated into many languages including English, French, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese, Malay and Indonesian. Even the prominent India actor Aamir Khan knew about Cha and sent a tribute on Tuesday, "I'm his big fan," he wrote on his Weibo microblog, "His book 'The Deer and the Cauldron' gave me a lot of joy. I wish I could have met him."


A poster of a popular TV series "The Condor Heroes 95" starring Louis Koo and Carman Lee. [File photo]

Cha's novels not only inspired TV series and films, but also radio dramas, stage productions, video games and various cultural and creative products, promoting tourism for locations where the TV series and films were shot, and deeply shaping Chinese popular culture development for past decades.

Many megastars, from Andy Lau, Louis Koo, Carman Lee, Zhou Xun to Huang Xiaoming, Liu Yifei, Michelle Chen, Tony Leung, Stephen Chow and Chow Yun-fat greatly benefited in terms of fame and fortune due to participating in the film and TV projects based on Cha's novels. Many characters from Cha's novels and the stars who played them became household names.

More films and TV series are in the pipeline, such as Roy Chow's new film "The Legend of the Condor Heroes" and Tusi Hark's new film "The Return of the Condor Heroes," as well as Jiang Jiajun's new TV series "The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber" and the 60-episode "The Deer and the Cauldron" starring rising actor Zhang Yishan, although the director has yet to be revealed. Meanwhile, several mobile video games based on his novels are also in development by Perfect World Investment & Holding Group and other developers.

Besides being a superb writer, Cha was a prominent figure in media circles, social politics and the study of history. He co-founded the Hong Kong daily newspaper Ming Pao.

"Jin Yong left us with a very deep impression, especially about the wuxia spirit," said one of mainland fans who went to stand outside the hospital in Hong Kong to pay his last tribute. "His works made us all have a sense of justice."


A poster of the smash comedy film "Royal Tramp," directed by Wong Jing and starring Stephen Chow in 1992. [File photo]  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Most famous wuxia novelist Jin Yong's legacy will continue)