The Story of Mulan.

The Ballad of Hua Mulan: The Legendary Warrior Woman Who Brought Hope to China

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Hua Mulan.

Hua Mulan. ( Lock, Stock, and History )

The Real Mulan

Traditionally, Mulan’s life is placed in the time of the Northern Wei, however, many details of her story were added during the reign of the Tang dynasty around 620 AD. In 621, the founder of the Tang dynasty was victorious over Wang Shichong and Dou Jiande, and another story about a warrior woman appeared at this time. Legends about both of these women were eventually connected into one story.

Statue of Mulan being welcomed home, in the city of Xinxiang, China.

Statue of Mulan being welcomed home, in the city of Xinxiang, China. ( Public Domain )

The history of Mulan came about because in the 4th and 5th century China was suffering under the invasion of a nomadic ethnic group. The central government was completely destroyed by the “barbarian” group. The war was terrible and warriors needed a source of hope. The wars took more than three centuries and affected many parts of the Chinese Empire. Therefore, a woman solider (in the form of Mulan or others) was a phenomenon which inspired soldiers to fight.

Mulan in the Modern World

The legend of Hua Mulan comes back to life every time that China needs hope and inspiration. The character of Mulan has remained a very popular motif in art and literature. She appears as a heroine of more than 10 movies and theater plays. She is also a popular heroine of modern novels and researched books. Her monuments are located in many places around the world. Even a crater on Venus is named after her. Hua Mulan is a symbol of bravery and honor. Chinese people believe that she was a real person… and as long as she inspires them, it may not matter to them whether that is the truth.

A modern artistic representation of Mulan.

A modern artistic representation of Mulan. ( CC BY NC ND 3.0 )

Featured image: The Story of Mulan. Source: Chinese Garden 101

By: Natalia Klimczak


S. Kwa, W.L. Idema, Mulan: Five Versions of a Classic Chinese Legend with Related Texts, 2010

M. H. Kingston, The Woman Warrior, 1975

W. Jiang, Ch. Jiang,The Legend of Mu Lan: A Heroine of Ancient China,1992


Has anyone written a version where Mulan fights the Japanese during world war two?
China and Japan went to war in 1937. After 8 years and 17 million Chinese deaths the war finally ended with the unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allied forces at the end of world war two. (China joined the Allies at the end of 1941 and was represented at the Japanese surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri.)

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