My new project: Journey to the West

The main cast of Japanese 1970s TV series Monkey

The main cast of Japanese 1970s TV series Monkey

“Dangerous Meredith’s rapturous rant about cult classic Monkey Magic…”

So raves a small part of a promotional blurb about an event being held at the end of February at which I am pledged to give a talk.

Some long time and very dear friends are organising this event. Over the years they have been exposed, probably too often, to my “rapturous rants” about kung fu movies. When they were putting together a collection of performers and presenters for their event I volunteered a talk about chopsocky and, more fool they, they accepted.

I decided to talk about ‘Journey to the West’ and its many interpretations into film. I decided to do this for a few different reasons:

  • Many people my age and a bit younger / older have fond memories of the Japanese TV show ‘Monkey’ (which we used to refer to as ‘Monkey Magic’) when it was screened here in Australia in the 80s. If you want to know why, read this blog where I described the impact it had on me.
  • Despite the fact that ‘Monkey’ was popular when it aired I doubt if many of the people who watched it have any idea of the importance of The Journey to the West in Chinese culture. I thought they might be interested to know that it is a classic piece of Chinese literature, originally dating from the 16th century, that it has been adapted for Chinese Opera and film many times and that it continues to be a source of inspiration in Chinese culture even today.
  • This year is the year of the monkey! And I was born in the year of the monkey myself, so how could I resist doing a talk about something monkey related.

One of the organisers, Erin Ender, is a fantastic artist who, years ago, created a giant inflatable sculpture of Sun Wukong. When I reminded her of this, and described my reasons for choosing Journey to the West as the topic for my talk she decided that she would install the sculpture during the Love Fest.

I will be spending February creating my talk and to do this I have to choose movies to speak about. Which of the Sun Wukong / Journey to the West movies do you find the most interesting? If you are a Gen X Aussie like me, which of the Monkey Magic TV show episodes was your favourite? Please leave a comment below.

cast

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2 Responses to My new project: Journey to the West

  1. Tim Chuma says:

    I still do not have the full box set of the Japanese show. I bought the first half of the first series via the UK and then the rest of the first series. Can’t seem to find the second series by itself. There is a more recent Japanese series that the movie with Masaki Saaki featured in the SBS likes to play a bit. I liked the one where the followers get pregnant and Pigsy’s little pig says “mummy!” also the one with the “Good dog”

    Like

  2. Pingback: Welcome to the Year of the Monkey! – Dangerous Meredith

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