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King Zhou
Kingzhou-portrait
Character Information
Allegiance(s): Shang Dynasty
Element:
Metal
Initial Weapon:
Spear
Magic
Age:
32
First Appearance: Fengshen Yanyi
Voice Actor(s):
Ryōtarō Okiayu [FY, jp]
Kentarō Itō [FY2, jp]
Takuya Kuroda [MH, jp]
Takehito Koyasu [drama CDs]
Peter Barto [eng]
Mythological Information
Real name: Di Xin
Chinese/Japanese: 帝辛
Also known as: Zhou Xin
Zhou Wang
Chuu Ou or Teishin
Ju Wang (주왕)
Divine name(s): God of the Heavenly Happy Star
His given name is Zi Shou (子受) or Zi Shoude (子受德).

King Zhou (紂王) is Wen Zhong's younger foster brother, Da Ji's lover, King Shou's father, and the last ruler of the Shang Dynasty. He has the trust of the Nine Dragon Sect and several unworldly servants. Though portrayed as a tragic figure in the first title, he acts as one of the series' villains in the sequels.

In Mystic Heroes, he is called Emperor Kang in the English port.

Role in GamesEdit

Since his mother died when he was young, Wen Zhong's mother offered to care for him. The young King Zhou was very unsure of his standing in the world and, though he had his older brother fiercely guarding him, he began to doubt his abilities as a future ruler. These feelings of unrest continued when he ascended the throne years later. While he did enjoy ruling the populace through peaceful means, he always wondered if he was truly fulfilled with merely being a "good leader" and began to felt empty. When he first laid eyes on Da Ji, he felt happiness for the first time in his life.

Unfortunately, his love was soon possessed by the fox spirit and the new Da Ji used him as a tool for her own means. Placed under a spell of obedience, King Zhou became her devious puppet as a harbinger of anarchy. Though he was partially conscious during his possession, King Zhou later admits that he did not want to fight against her since he still loved his concubine. He allowed her to do as she pleased and inevitably lost the people's trust, his older brother and several of his retainers. When Taigong Wang's party confronts Da Ji and defeats him in battle, he confesses his sins to Huang Feihu. He requests for his vassal to end his life but the general quaintly refuses, saying the act would break his oath to Wen Zhong. King Zhou flies into grief upon hearing his brother's name and apologizes to his loyal retainer. Thanking Taigong Wang and his vassal for freeing him from the demon's grasp, he leaves to set his room on fire in a bid for his soul's redemption. Before his body could burn completely in the flames, he was teleported away from the scene at the last second.

Fengshen Yanyi 2 reveals his whereabouts and his remains were rescued by the Nine Dragon Sect. They scheme to use his son, Shou, to harness his and Da Ji's bodies into one form. Becoming one with King Shou, any remnants of King Zhou's humanity have been erased and he becomes a tool of destruction. He and Da Ji are sealed away by the end of the game. However, he frees the seal over their souls in Mystic Heroes to recreate his kingdom.

PersonalityEdit

As a human, King Zhou is a benevolent and kind person who wishes the best for his people. He deeply cares for his vassals, especially Wen Zhong, Yang Ren, and Huang Feihu. Since he gave into his selfish desires, he blames himself for the tragedies that befell his people and is torn with his right as a leader. He truly loves Da Ji and claims that she is innocent of any fault.

King Zhou is usually seen as a callous being who lives for devastation. He relishes the carnage his new powers can cause and does not feel any noticeable guilt for his actions.

Fighting StyleEdit

King Zhou is a hard hitter who possesses above-average speed. He will usually attack with the more powerful attacks in the games and will do so mercilessly. He has a high endurance and a high quantity of life to spare. His attacks can hit from a close or from afar, making him a tough opponent. King Zhou cannot usually heal himself in most titles so players can use this weakness to their advantage.

Historical InformationEdit

Personal InfoEdit

Di Xin was the 31st and final king of the Shang Dynasty. He was later called the more derogatory, King Zhou (紂王). His reign was from 1075 BC - 1046 BC. He was the youngest son of the previous ruler before him, Di Yi. His two older step-brothers were named Song Weizi (宋微子) and Song Weizhong (宋微仲). He was Jizi and Bi Gan's nephew. His beloved wife was Daji, and he fathered one known son named Wu Geng (武庚, also known as Lu Fu, 祿父).

He was said to have had beautiful features and was a talented, quick-witted speaker. He had the strength to kill wild beasts by himself. His intellect helped him skillfully besmirch his admonishing vassals; his enlightening speeches would make them look foolish and illustrate a better image for him. The Shihchi jijie describes him as someone who cared little for virtue and caused destruction for the mere pleasure of it. The Lunyu notes Ziyi's son to have said that no amount of evil in the world could ever amount to Di Xin. Called a corrupt tyrant, he ironically shared several parallels with Jie of Xia.

Recent theories have been surfacing on Di Xin's real character, as a few researchers argue that his bad traits have been overblown after his death. The Jiaguwen implies that Di Xin was heavily religious and worshiped gods with great respect. When the eastern native tribes attacked his lands, he went to war to defeat them. To gain the courage his army needed, he performed many ceremonies with blood sacrifices. His rituals required several lost lives, which some believe could have been done for attempts to become a saint. They argue that his actions were considered by future generations to be horrible and vile, criticizing the possible misinterpretation caused by cultural differences. It has also been said that he became mad while sacrificing so many people, thus leading to his crippled reign in his later years.

Life and DeathEdit

As he ruled, Di Xin neglected religious festivals and disrespected the gods. Favoring overtaxing the people, he also desired to have all of the land's treasures for himself. He praised his certain vassals, such as You Hun and Fei Zhong, and granted any of Daji's desires without question. He especially adored his wife, hosting banquets for her during the day and having promiscuous sex with her during the night. Known to throw extravagant and indulgent parties, he ate and drank wine with her as he pleased. His parties are described in the Records of the Grand Historian as "wine pool, meat grove", though the compound phrase is often associated with his wife than himself. While it is generally used with negative connotations, there are a few theories that suggests that these feasts were rituals for gods or an old-fashioned festival with a twist. It's still unclear if his parties actually served any religious purposes.

Hearing that Di Xin's chopsticks were made of ivory, the wise man Jizi commented on the piece. He warned, "If you can make ivory chopsticks, then it is not out of the imagination to fashion extravagant pottery. They might as well be gems. You can pile them high as a mountain until you think it meets your satisfaction. Even so, I am afraid this would not bring an end to your need for luxury." Jizi then tried to admonish his relative to be more practical. Bi Gan approached Di Xin around the same time to protest the brutal capital punishment that was devised, the Paolao. Di Xin responded, "They say that saints have seven holes in their heart. Let us see if that is the truth." He then ordered Bi Gan's heart to be removed from his chest, brutally causing his uncle's death. Jizi heard of Bi Gan's fate and feigned insanity to escape the same demise.

Within his kingdom, his Three Excellencies were Ji Chang (later known as King Wen of Zhou), Ji Hou and E Gong. Ji Hou had a beautiful daughter who was married to Di Xin. As soon as there talks of rebellion, however, Di Xin decided to execute Ji Hou, E Gong and his new wife. Ji Hou was ordered to be gutted like an animal for slaughter, and E Gong was sliced and hung as if he were dried meat. Ji Chang doubted that there was any actual plans for a revolt and expressed his opinions to Fei Zhong, advising him to be careful. Di Xin responded by imprisoning Ji Chang at Jiuli. Afterwards, Ji Chang gave his treasure and territory to Di Xin in order to be released from his prison.

Di Xin's downfall did not start until King Wu raised an army to defeat him. At first, the Shang Dynasty successfully repelled their attackers, but the decisive blow against him was dealt two years later at the Battle of Muye. During the battle, Di Xin had a large army of over 70,000 men, but it mostly consisted of slaves who didn't have the will to fight. King Wu took advantage of the weakness and Di Xin was dealt a crushing defeat. As King Wu's army invaded the capital, Di Xin retreated to Lu Tai, which was a large building that he held his parties with Daji. He set fire to the building and committed suicide. King Wu later had his burnt corpse recovered from the wreckage and had it decapitated.

Fengshen YanyiEdit

Known mainly as King Zhou, Prince Shou ascends the throne after his father's death in the first chapter. Relying on the advice of his Grand Tutor, the Shang Dynasty lived in harmony for seven years. As news of rebellion came from the North Sea, Wen Zhong volunteered to deal with the threat. King Zhou, who felt lost without his close advisor, fell into depression and began to neglect his duties. His Prime Minister informed him of the Goddess Nuwa's birthday and bade that he attend. Begrudgingly leaving for the temple, he saw Nuwa's beauty through a statue -sometimes translated as the screen she was sitting behind- and lusted for her. Against the advice of his vassals, he left a yearning poem dedicated to her beauty on one of the temple's pillars. King Zhou reasoned that it was a sign of respect, but Nuwa saw the scribbled poem after he left and was repulsed. Foreseeing that the crude ruler still had twenty years left to live, she decided to send her three demons to cause decay and destruction to his dynasty.

Back in his capital, Morning Song, King Zhou continued to pine for Nuwa and neglected his political affairs even further. To remedy his depression, he called Fei Zhong to his side and was given the suggestion to take one hundred virgin ladies from each of the four dukes in his lands. Prime Minister Shang Rong rejected the notion as it would cause riots within his kingdom. King Zhou retracted his desires and began to favor the decrepit Fei Zhong and You Hun over all of his other advisors. After the year's end, Fei Zhong informed him that Su Hu had a beautiful daughter and King Zhou desired to obtain her -with force if necessary. Su Hu, who was well aware and sickened with the decline of the political court, refused to accept losing his home or his daughter and fought the Shang army. They fought for a few bloody conflicts and Su Hu's army gradually gained the upper hand over the Shang troops. He eventually agreed to the new conditions to keep his title and lands if his daughter was handed to King Zhou. The king was stricken by the maiden's beauty, pardoned the girl's father immediately, and took her away to have his way with her. By this time, however, the spirit of the real Daji was killed and replaced by the 1,000 year old fox spirit sent by Nuwa.

Convinced by the demon Daji to commit several audacities to his people, King Zhou ignored their strife and absorbed all of his attention to his new concubine. His wife, Queen Jiang, was the daughter of the Eastern Duke and was not pleased with his irresponsibility. She expressed her disgust when she visited him in person during a banquet. King Zhou was startled by her sudden words and was surprised to later hear that she wanted her father to replace his spot on the throne. In reality, it was a deception conspired by Daji -who was previously insulted by the scolding the queen gave her- and Fei Zhong. Even so, King Zhou believed them over the queen and interrogated her before the court. Queen Jiang kept true to her innocence on the manner, and she lost one of her eyes and both of her hands due to Daji's insistence. The dying queen was sent away, telling the two crowned princes to avenge her with her last breath. King Zhou's sons, Yin Hong and Yin Jiao, possessed nothing but hatred for Daji, and both fled from the capital to gain help from other lords or dukes.

The queen's death and many other innocents lead to a rebellion with the other dukes in the kingdom. King Zhou lead an expedition to kill two of them, but spared Ji Chang due to the man's virtue and loyalty. Many others who dared to speak against him were executed in a brutal manner, including his most dutiful and honest officers. Aside from Wen Zhong, King Zhou only listened to Daji, her sisters Hu Ximei and Wang Guiren, and his corrupt ministers. He rarely participated in the rebellions against him, though he did don himself in armor during Huang Feihu's revolt. He let his generals and dukes do most of the fighting for him, content to stay with his mistresses at Morning Song.

When the capital was invaded by King Wu and Jiang Ziya's armies, the three demons deserted him at last. His death in the novel is similar to his historical death, except that he curses and reviles his fate during his defeat. When Jiang Ziya was naming gods, King Zhou was named the God of the Heavenly Happy Star, the second named god for protecting the galaxy.

GalleryEdit

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