kuei jin

thedrunkenminstrel  asked:

Question: Are the Kuei-Jin from Vampire: The Masquerade an actual mythological thing or did Whitewolf make them up? Since any searches I do just bring up V:tM stuff.

I’d say that they made stuff up, parts from Daoist ideas and a bunch of other stuff.

The name “Kuei-Jin” is a combination of two different languages. “Kuei” is a corruption of 鬼 (gui), and “Jin” is the Japanese pronunciation for 人, “people”. That’s bad, kids. Don’t do that.

(also White Wolf’s refusal to actually add Chinese words to their texts makes things very difficult for me)

Secondly, Kuei-Jin are apparently the corrupted Ten Thousand Heroes, the wan xian (万仙), who fed upon ambient Qi. “Xian” (仙) is usually translated as immortal, individuals who have achieved transcendence and liberation from death through intensive Daoist living, and instead of eating food they can just subsist upon Qi. The word (仙) contains the character for “mountain”, so to be an Immortal can be understood as “growing old, moving to the mountains, and not dying.”

Right so here’s where things get muddy. (仙) is also used to refer to beings who may or may not have ever had a human origin. Like (仙女) Xian Nu, referring to celestial maidens, and is sometimes used to refer to Hindu Apsara. Or (狐仙) Huxian, which most of you might understand as Kitsune.

So here’s the thing, yes? The thing about rebirth. If you lived a righteous and illustrious life, after death you became a god. And if you lived an evil life and/or died with hate, you became a ghost, or a monster (魔, interestingly, that word also contains the character for ghost).

Kuei-Jin are thus something like this Daoist concept; living in righteousness made them Xian, while living in wrongness made them monsters.

Clawing their way out of hell is not something I’ve ever seen. I think that may be a more western idea, as it is generally understood that once someone goes to the underworld, they cannot come out until their bad karma is purged.

As for how they use Hun, Po, Yin, and Yang, I dislike it greatly. Like, Hun have the quality of Yang, of light and fire, and Po has the quality of Yin, of darkness and ice. But it’s not all that it is. Neither thing can work without the other. They harness each other to produce something. That’s mostly personal interpretation, as I am still learning about Daoism and have seen Yin and Yang be used as used as overriding principles instead of symbiotic, yoked properties by Chinese individuals as well.

I don’t know what Chih-Mei is supposed to be, in Chinese characters. The Mandate of Heaven is strictly applied to mortal government, not to immortals or gods. If a ruler is bad, then bad fruits will arise, such as bad harvests or ineptitude or corruption. How you rule informs what you’re going to get out of it. Cursing someone or an entire people because of their sins seems to me to be something of a Christian idea, such as the Mark of Cain and so forth.

Oh look this wiki says that Kindred of the East is inspired by wuxia, I guess I can add this to the “go fuck yourself” section of that post.

Really, the more I look at the Kuei-Jin, the less I see of the Jiangshi.

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