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Heavenly Emperor

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Heavenly Emperor
Jade Emperor (WO3U)
Character Information
Weapon(s): Sword
Type: Special
First Appearance: Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate
Historical Information
Real name:
Shàngdì or Tiāndì
Chinese/Japanese name:
上帝 or 天帝
Mythological figure. As the Jade Emperor, he is alternatively called Yù Dì (玉帝), Yù Huáng (玉皇), Tiān Gōng (天公), Yu Huang Shangdi (玉皇上帝), or Yu Huang Dadi (玉皇大帝).

Shangdi is a Chinese mythological figure who rules Heaven and is considered one of the most important deities in Taoism, Buddhism, and other folk religions. According to Taoist beliefs, he watches over the realms of Earth and Hell as the Jade Emperor while assisting his predecessor, Yuanshi Tianzun, maintain universal order. He is also responsible for the deification of the other gods and the punishment of heretics through his subordinates.

The Warriors Orochi series refers to him as Tiandi (天帝, onyomi: Tentei) or the Heavenly Emperor.

Role in GamesEdit

Warriors OrochiEdit

The Heavenly Emperor is first seen using the Divine Mirror to seal the demonic troops surrounding him in his throne room. A misled Yinglong turns against him by shattering the enchanted mirror. Even the emperor can do nothing to prevent his retainer's transformation into Orochi, and is slain in the original timeline. While some mystics wanted to travel back in time to rescue the Emperor, most were busy fighting demons at the time, and altering the Emperor's fate was considered as a major taboo. A future Fu Xi later opts to rescue the emperor, and Kaguya allows the mystic to return back in time, and they are able to prevent the emperor's death. Tiandi assists the other mystics subjugate the demon army. Despite his regrets sealing Orochi away, the emperor expresses his gratitude to the heroes by lending them the unbroken mirror for their final conflict against Tamamo.

Fengshen YanyiEdit

The Fengshen Yanyi series establishes him as the ruling emperor of the mystic realm. While he never makes a personal appearance within the games, various characters will acknowledge his existence. Yuanshi Tianzun and other mystics may occasionally mention his judgments, particularly within the first game of the series. Yang Jian reveals at the end of the game that he is Princess Longji's father. The second title roughly establishes him as the one who had judged to seal away the forgotten hero who had once gifted the human world with tao energy, thus leading to the creation of the "Source of Tao". Aside from using the mystical tao power to resurrect monsters and reshape the human world, the resurrected Da Ji schemes to use it to vanquish him in Magical Fengshen.

Saiyuki: Journey WestEdit

The final conflict in Saiyuki: Journey West has the heroes seek to protect the unseen emperor and the realm he had created. Asura's grand scheme for his rebellion is to reshape his realm to desires. The Japanese script states that it is the Jade Emperor, yet the English script changes it to Buddha.

Chinese MythologyEdit

Jade Emperor Illustration

Illustrated print of the Jade Emperor.

Shangdi's origins can be traced back to the oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty. In those times, people regarded Shangdi as a patriarchal deity and creator god who had power over victories, harvests, weather conditions, and even the fate of kingdoms. He was also said to have ruled over other gods and the spirits of the deceased. Sacrificial rituals were done to appease him. His birthday is celebrated by worshipers on the ninth day of the first lunar month.

While it is believed that Shangdi rose to prominence in the Shang Dynasty, various historical texts like the Sishu and Wujing prove that his existence predated the Xia Dynasty instead. During the early Zhou Dynasty, he had been given the name Tian (天) and was more or less supplanted by the Mandate of Heaven concept which explained that the right to rule lied in good governance and conduct rather than through familial ties. In later eras, Taoist practitioners began calling Shangdi the Jade Emperor, merging both identities into one.

Legends claim that the Jade Emperor was originally the crown prince of a nation called the kingdom of Pure Felicity, Majestic Heavenly Lights, and Ornaments. As a newborn baby, his body shined so brightly it illuminated the whole kingdom and alerted them of his birth. He spent his formative years aiding the poor and unfortunate before inheriting his father's throne to further ensure the happiness of the people. Afterwards, he spent more than three million years cultivating his Tao, eventually attaining true immortality in the process.

Another myth describes the Jade Emperor's exploits and his ascension to godhood. At the beginning of time, the world was festering with all kinds of demons who brought suffering and torment wherever they went. Not even the gods were enough to quell their rampage. It was at this time that the Jade Emperor, who lamented his inability to help those beyond his reach, decided to isolate himself in a mountain cave and pass 3,200 trials to cultivate his Tao. While meditating in solitude to increase his wisdom, an ambitious demon did the same thing for a different purpose, to fulfill its own desire of ruling the universe. Once the demon felt strong enough, it gathered an army of monstrosities to wage war on Heaven. Though the gods themselves were put at a disadvantage, the tide of battle shifted in their favor when the enlightened Jade Emperor saw their plight. He challenged the demon and was able to overcome it with his more meaningful cultivation. As a result, he was made ruler over all by humans and immortals alike.

The hierarchy of the Jade Emperor's court is said to be a reflection of Chinese bureaucracy, with each department overseen by a leading deity. The emperor is assisted by two other divine figures: Cheng Huang, the God of Fortifications, and Tu Di Gong, the God of Households. A third assistant, the Kitchen God Zao Jun, is responsible for inspecting the activities of every household on an annual basis.

Despite his position within the Chinese pantheon, the Jade Emperor had no direct involvement in the world's creation. One myth contradicts this by crediting him as the creator of humanity. But upon building the first humans out of clay, he inadvertently gave some of them illnesses and other abnormalities when several figures left to dry were deformed by rain. The Jade Emperor is a relevant character in other famous legends, sometimes playing the role of instigator. One of the stories behind the Chinese zodiac has him invite twelve different animals to Heaven and divide the years between each of them.

Fengshen YanyiEdit

In the novel, the Jade Emperor is the father of Nuwa and the uncle of Erlang Shen. While not a relevant character, he grants the Dragon King Ao Guang permission to punish Nezha who arrogantly killed the latter's third son Ao Bing.

Journey to the WestEdit

Upon hearing of Sun Wukong's mischief from the other gods, the Jade Emperor initially pacifies the Monkey King by granting him a minor position in Heaven. This solution fails when Sun Wukong discovers the meagerness of his given title and declares himself the "Great Sage Equal to Heaven" before causing more havoc. The Jade Emperor's next attempt has him appoint the monkey as guardian of the heavenly peach garden tended by Xi Wangmu. His efforts are rendered fruitless when Sun Wukong eats the peaches of immortality in protest of not being invited to a royal banquet held for the gods. Left with no other option, he then calls upon the Buddha for divine intervention resulting in the Monkey King's imprisonment under the Five Finger Mountain.

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