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Ruyi Jingu Bang

that the monkey is fated to own it. The novel never explains how the pillar was made, only that it was originally
used by Yu the Great to measure the depths of the world
ood during times immemorial.[3]
The sta is initially described as a pillar of black iron
twenty feet in height and the width of a barrel. It is
only when Monkey lifts it and suggests that a smaller size
would be more manageable that the sta complies with
his wishes and shrinks. This is when Sun sees that the
weapon is banded with a gold ring on each end, as well
as the inscription along the body reading The Compliant Golden-Hooped Rod. Weight: thirteen thousand ve
hundred [catties]" (
).[4] The inscription indicates that the sta follows the commands of its
owner, shrinking or growing to their whim, make copies
of itself, and that it is immensely heavy, weighing 17,550
lbs (7,960 kg).[5]
When not in use, Monkey shrinks it down to the size of a
needle and keeps it tucked behind his ear.

2 Literary predecessor
The oldest edition of Journey to the West, the 13thcentury Kzanji Version (
) published during the late
Song Dynasty,[6] diverges in many points from the nal version published during the Ming. For instance,
the episode where Monkey acquires the sta is completely dierent, as is the sta itself. Sun takes the
monk Xuanzang to heaven to meet the supreme god
Mahabrahma Deva. After the monk impresses the gods
with his lecture on the Lotus Sutra, Monkey is given a
golden monks sta (among other items) as a magical
weapon against the evils they will face on their journey to India. Sun later uses the sta in a battle with a
white-clad woman who transforms into a tiger demon. He
changes the sta into a titanic red-haired, blue-skinned
Yaksha with a club, showing that the predecessor of
the Compliant Golden-Hooped Rod has more magical
abilities.[7]:32, 35

A 19th-century drawing of Sun Wukong featuring his sta.

Ruyi Jingu Bang (Chinese:

; Pinyin: Ry Jng
Bng), or simply as Ruyi Bang or Jingu Bang, is the
poetic name of a magical sta wielded by the immortal monkey Sun Wukong in the 16th-century classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. Anthony Yu translates the
name simply as The Compliant Golden-Hooped Rod,[1]
while W.J.F. Jenner translates it as the As-You-Will
Gold-Banded Cudgel.[2]

Origin and general description

The sta rst appears in the third chapter when the Monkey King goes to the underwater kingdom of Ao Guang,
the Dragon King of the East Sea, looking for a magic
weapon to match his strength and skill. When all of
the traditional magic weaponsswords, spears, and halberds weighing thousands of pounds eachfail to meet
his standards, the dragon queen suggests to her husband
that they give Sun a useless iron pillar taking up space
in their treasury. She claims that the ancient shaft had
started producing heavenly light days prior and suggests

A weapon that predicts the Compliant Rod from the Ming

version is mentioned in passing early on in the tale. Monkey mentions that the Queen Mother of the West had
ogged him with an Iron Cudgel ( ) on his left and
right sides for stealing 10 peaches from her heavenly garden. He later borrows the cudgel to use in tandem with the
monks sta to battle 9 dragons.[7]:3738 The rings on the
latter may have inuenced the bands on the former.[7]:38

Inuence/use in media


[8] West, Mark I. The Japanication of Childrens Popular

Culture: From Godzilla to Miyazaki. Lanham: Scarecrow
Press, 2009, p. 203.

The sta inuenced the weapon used by Son Goku

(himself based on Sun Wukong),[8] the main char- [9] Camp, Brian, and Julie Davis. Anime Classics Zettai!:
acter of the Dragon Ball franchise. It is named
100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpieces. BerkeNyoi Bo, the Japanese transliteration of Ruyi Bang
ley, Calif: Stone Bridge Press, 2007, p. 112.
, Compliant Rod), and is commonly called
Power Pole in English language media.[9] The sta [10] Toriyama, Akira, and Gerard Jones. Dragon Ball (Vol.
2). San Francisco, Calif: Viz LLC, 2003, 4.
is given to him as a child by his grandfather Gohan, a
human who adopts and teaches him martial arts.[10] [11] Naruto (Vol. 14)
In the anime and manga Naruto, the character Enma, [12] Negima! Magister Negi Magi (Vol. 30)
who is based on Sun Wukong, is able to transform
[13] The Librarians (Season 2, Episode 2) (Vol. 30)
into a multiplying and size-shifting sta.[11]
In the manga Negima! Magister Negi Magi, the character K Fei gets the artifact Shintetsu Jizaikon,
which is able to change its size.[12]
In the web series RWBY, the character Sun Wukong
wields Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang, a sta that can
separate into two nunchaku/shotgun hybrids.
The Ruyi Jingu Bang was mentioned in The Librarians episode And the Broken Sta, as one of the
missing stas.[13]


[1] Wu, Cheng'en, and Anthony C. Yu. The Journey to the

West (Vol. 1). Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press,
2012, p. 104
[2] Wu, Cheng'en, and W.J.F. Jenner. Journey to the West
(Vol. 1). [S.l.]: Foreign Languages Press, 2001, p. 56.
[3] The less accurate W.J.F. Jenner translation says the pillar
was used to x the milky way in place (Wu and Jenner,
Journey to the West (Vol. 1), p. 55).
[4] Anthony Yus original translation uses the word pounds
(Wu and Yu, Journey to the West (Vol. 1), 104). However, Chinese versions of the novel use jin ( ). Jin and
pound are two dierent measures of weight, the former
being heavier than the latter. Therefore, the English text
has been altered to show this.
[5] The jin during the Ming Dynasty when the novel was compiled equaled 590 grams (Elvin, Mark. The Retreat of
the Elephants: An Environmental History of China. New
Haven (Conn.): Yale university press, 2004, p. 491 n.
[6] This edition is named after the Japanese temple in which
housed a 17th-century document mentioning the work
(Mair, Victor H. The Columbia Anthology of Traditional
Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia University
Press, 1994, p. 1181).
[7] Dudbridge, Glen. The Hsi-Yu Chi: A Study of Antecedents
to the Sixteenth-Century Chinese Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1970.

Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



Ruyi Jingu Bang Source: Contributors: Bryan Derksen, WhisperToMe, Opponent, Korath, Oberiko, BCKILLa, Louisisthebest 007, Jrp, Guanabot, Jeodesic, Knucmo2, Baka toroi, GRider,
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Chinese work Illustrations for the Original Gist of the Journey to the West (
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