18 January 2012

Battle of Red Cliffs

Chapter 152 is now done, bringing both v26 and the famous Battle of Red Cliffs to a close. Even though this is the battle that is best remembered in the story, by no means does that mean later events will be a letdown compared to this one. On the contrary, the story only gets even better on from here, now that Cao Cao’s military might has been compromised and each of the three major factions begin to stand on more even grounds.

Also, since my old fluffypress site went down, I’ll mention again Yoshikawa Eiji’s significant change to the events of the last chapter in this volume (spoiler ahead if you haven’t fully read v26 yet). In the original novel, Cao Cao manages to convince Guan Yu to turn a blind eye through a famous story from the Spring and Autumn annals which touches Guan Yu’s sense of virtue. The story, in case you’re curious, is that of Yu Gong the Wei archer, who is sent to kill Zi Zhuo. However, Yu Gong realizes the master who taught him archery, Yin Gong, was in turn trained in archery by Zi Zhuo. Therefore, Yu Gong breaks off the points of his arrows and shoots them, thereby sparing Zi Zhuo’s life but also still carrying out his orders.

However, Yoshikawa Eiji, a famous Japanese historical novelist noted for his tales on samurai, changed this scene to have Guan Yu convinced instead by the loyalty of Cao Cao’s soldiers to better fit the Japanese feudal ethic that emphasized loyalty over all else. Although Yokoyama’s manga does adapt Yoshikawa’s version, I personally feel that it is sort of a compromise between the two versions. Yokoyama’s appropriate usage of the flashback seems to imply that Guan Yu was equally touched by both Cao Cao’s former kindness as well as the unwavering-loyalty of his soldiers. I would be quite interested to know what others thought of this scene, and whether I’m reading too much into what should be a by-the-book adaptation of Yoshikawa’s version or not.

Sangokushi c152:   Mediafire
Sangokushi v26:   Mediafire


  1. Cool! another volume complete! thanks Hox, Sangokushi is way too awesome!

  2. Hmm, I don't know in detail how the Yoshikawa Eiji version goes, but from the sound of it, it seems Sangokushi went for it. I mean, the Yu Gong story isn't there, and stories like that are essentially what pass for arguments in the original novel. If Yokoyama did indeed compromise, I don't see it.

  3. I was really looking forward to the complete volume, thank you again. Interesting also the difference between the original and the Japanese versions.

  4. I appreciate your scanlation and constant effort to provide background information a lot, Hox. I've been trying to bring myself to read The Romance of Three Kingdoms but the novel starts so slow paced and is so long, that I've lately been convinced to just go with your scanlation and progress chapter by chapter into this epic classic. The side note about the archer is indeed very interesting. The Japanese and Chinese have always tried to breed loyalty through schooling and popular literature, while the Chinese put more emphasizes on filial piety than the Japanese, who are more concerned about political stability, due to their violent history of clans, thousand year history of war caused by the unique geographical feature of the island, which makes it easy to go to war with each other, but almost impossible to conquer the whole land.

    Going to look forward to more chapters and side notes of Sangokushi!

    Best greets,

  5. Downloaded the whole thing yesterday, now to read :P

  6. Why is it that the "ts" sound is portrayed as a "c", particularly for the pronunciation of "Cao Cao"? I've seen it as "T'sao T'sao" a few times, but "Cao Cao" seem to be used the most. I won't bother trying to get anyone into a linguistic discussion of it, I'm just wondering if anyone knows why "c" is chosen for the "ts" sound.

    It's ludicrous!!!!!

    1. Cao Cao is how the name would be spelled under the Pinyin romanization system, while Tsao Tsao is the equivalent for the Wade-Giles system which used to be more widely used in the past. I personally prefer the Wade-Giles one, considering something like "qin" is romanized as "ch'in" which actually gives a better idea on pronunciation for the average English-speaker.

      But setting my preferences aside, the Wade-Giles system has been entirely superseded by the Pinyin system, so it makes little sense to keep sticking with it.

    2. That's interesting. Looks like I've got something to look in to. Like just how the Pinyin system took over.