Who is Monkey King?


The first question you're asking if you're new to the Greatness that is Monkey King is just who is this guy?  Monkey, also known as Sun Wu'Kung, is the hero of the Ming Dynasty Chinese novel, Journey to the West (HsiYuChi).   Although all translations have come out with that name, a better translation would be Pilgrimage to the West.

Monkey received his title "Great Sage Equal to Heaven" from the Jade Emperor after his first raid on the Heavenly Palace.  The Emperor realized that Monkey was a great force to be reckoned with, and with the patience of a ruler tried to pacify the demon.  Of course this only worked for a short time, as a little while later Monkey made trouble again and this time was given a Heavenly Position and the Title of Pi-Ma-Wen (Lord High Protector of the Horses).   Monkey soon learned that his position was of little importance, (although he did his job well) and again left Heaven and made a row.

The name Sun Wu'Kung (Awakened to Emptiness) is the one he received from the Taoist Immortal who first taught him how to refine his body so that he would attain a long life, do his famous cloud somersault (which could carry him ten thousand miles), and to change his form.  Pilgrim Sun is the name that the Tang Monk bestowed on him when they started their journey together.

Monkey King is a character of mythical proportions.  He lies, he fights, he rejects authority, but then he comes back to the "right fruit", learns to obey and becomes wholly dedicated to his quest.  When he has to do a job, even if at first he finds the job distasteful, he will do it well.  Another amazing fact about Monkey is that he is neither tall, as most heros are, nor handsome.  He is about four feet tall and described as having a "Thunder God Face."  He scares most of the mortals he comes in contact with and often when people see the Tang Monk and the Pilgrims they say: "Why is this handsome monk traveling with such ugly disciples?"  He is a hero with incredible powers and confident in himself.  He only bows to those he believes deserve respect.  This not include the Jade Emperor, or any of the earthly emperors.  In the restrictive atmosphere of the Chinese Heaven, Monkey King is a welcome release.  He makes friends with his enemies, subdues evildoers, gives good its due, and manages to get an incompetant monk all the way to India.