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Wuxia (simplified Chinese: 武侠; traditional Chinese: 武俠; pinyin: wǔxiá) is a broad genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists. Although wuxia is traditionally a form of literature, its popularity has caused it to spread to different art forms like Chinese opera, manhua (Chinese comics), films, television series, and video games. Wuxia is a component of popular culture for many Chinese-speaking communities worldwide. Adventures of popular fiction is based on characters throughout Chinese history, such as Tang Yin, Li Bai, and Gan Ning.[citation needed]

The word "wuxia" is a calque of the Japanese bukyō (a genre of oft-militaristic and bushido-influenced adventure fiction)[1][2] and is a compound word composed from the words xia (俠), meaning "honorable", "chivalrous", or "hero", and wu (武), which means "martial", "military", or "armed." A martial artist (or pugilist) who follows the code of Xia is often referred to as a xiake (俠客, lit: "follower of xia", "hiệp khách") or youxia (游俠, "wandering xia", "du hiệp"). In some translated works of wuxia, the pugilist is sometimes termed as a "swordsman" although he may not necessarily wield a sword.

Typically, the heroes in Chinese wuxia fiction do not serve a lord, wield military power or belong to the aristocratic class. They are often from the lower social classes of ancient Chinese society. Wuxia heroes are usually bound by a code of chivalry, that requires them to right wrongs, especially when the helpless or the poor are oppressed. The wuxia hero fights for righteousness and seeks to remove an oppressor, redress wrongs, or to bring retribution for past misdeeds. The Chinese xia traditions are similar, but not exactly the same, to those of the Japanese samurai's bushido, the chivalry of the Medieval European knight traditions and the gunslingers of America's Westerns.


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