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January 31 2018

Anyone know a good place to upload video that isn’t Youtube?

I know there are several other places, but I don’t know what the difference is between them, why Youtube is so much more successful, or anything else relevant.

January 30 2018

Liu Shan had such defenses as this, and yet he still gave himself over in surrender to others. How could he not have been a man of inferior talents?
— Li Te, marveling at the stout defenses of Jian’ge Pass (via fuyonggu)

January 29 2018

Maybe I’m too quick to shit on this game, since we’ve seen so little from it.

On the other hand, if all of the promotional material - the stuff that’s supposed to get me excited about the game - makes me want to shit all over it, that’s probably a bad sign.

I would like this game to be good. We haven’t had a good DW game since 2011. Another one would be nice.

But I’ve got this mental list of my worst fears for this game, and I feel like it’s ticking every box.



Honestly, maybe I would play the whole Shu story as Zhou Cang. At least he didn’t do anything terrible.

Because, you know, he’s not real.

You’d also get a +10 to boats and suicide.

I have those IRL

Honestly, maybe I would play the whole Shu story as Zhou Cang. At least he didn’t do anything terrible.

Because, you know, he’s not real.

This is going to sound like a weird complaint coming from me, of all people, but:

Why can’t you play as Zhou Cang during the early Shu stages?

Isn’t Zhou Cang being a Turban, like…one of his big selling points? I thought that was a major part of his deal.

He’s a totally fictional character so it doesn’t really matter and they don’t need to include that detail of the story since it’s made up anyway, but…like…wasn’t that part of the package?

January 28 2018

2334 c3be

If you’ve sent me a message and haven’t gotten an answer…well, I’ve got a lot of unanswered messages.

January 26 2018

2345 d996



January 18 2018

I’ve been thinking about, in addition to my other projects, writing sort of a Layman’s Guide to the Three Kingdoms (189-280). Basically a simple explanation/overview of the whole conflict written for the benefit of people who know nothing about it.

Sort of a starter guide for anyone who might be interested. Something that, in simple language, explains the salient events of the conflict in a way that anyone off the street can understand.

I know I’d love to have something like that for other wars/time periods that I have something of an interest in, but no idea how to get started.

I guess it’d sort of be writing the guide I wish existed when I first started studying.

January 13 2018



And I thought the slander of Cao Mao was bad… Reading the full memorial of Sima Shi et al to depose Cao Fang is physically sickening to read. They accuse him of the most vile things.

Is the full memorial translated? The only portion I have is the ending from the ZZTJ translation

Sima Shi’s memorial

Now, the Emperor is not worthy to carry on the celestial line. We request that, in accordance with the precedent of Huo Guang of Han, the imperial seal be taken from the Emperor. The Emperor originally was Prince of Qi, when he acceded to the throne; he should be sent back to Qi as a vassal prince. The situ Gao Rou, with the Tally, should be sent together with the appropriate officials to offer the Major Sacrifice (of oxen, sheep and pigs) to the Ancestral Temple and report this. Braving death, we respectfully submit this memorial.’

Dowager Empress Ming-Yuan’s decree

The Emperor Cao Fang is now of age, yet he does not personally take charge of the myriad affairs of State. Instead he is sunken deep with his women, captivated by female charm. Daily he associates with his singing-girls and gives free reign to their obscene dallyings. He invites the female relatives of his ladies to the palace and detains them in his inner apartments. He has destroyed the regulation of human relationships and disturbed the distinction between man and woman; his reverence and filial piety have warped day by day, and his unruliness and disorder have increased more and more. He is not worthy to carry on the celestial line and serve the Ancestral Temple.

Hereupon shall Gao Rou, acting concurrently as taiyu, take the Proclamation, and by means of the yiyuan dawu report to the Ancestral Temple. Cao Fang shall be sent back to Qi as a vassal prince, abdicating the throne.

I’m inclined to believe at least parts of Dowager Guo’s memorial.  Cao Fang’s SGZ includes a memorial from He Yan warning him against such behavior; ZZTJ includes a segment from it.

The Emperor liked and associated with mean fellows, with whom he used to hold parties in rear garden of the palace.

Autumn, seventh month (Aug. 18 – Sept. 16.). The shang-shu He Yan proffered these words: “From now on, whether Your Majesty presents himself in the Shiqian Hall or relaxes in the rear garden, it would be well to be attended by your ministers. Your parties, accordingly, should be held quietly. At the same time state documents should be inspected, government matters studied, and interpretation of the Classics expounded. This may be made a regulation for ten thousand generations.”

Given that Cao Fang was under the control of Cao Shuang/He Yan’s faction, they have no conceivable reason to slander him. Dowager Guo’s memorial does, in my mind, hold some credibility. Cao Fang would hardly be the first child emperor to grow into a life of decadence.

I don’t think I’ve read Sima Shi’s memorial, though. Lies and slander would not be at all surprising. 

January 12 2018

My Patreon


Thank you to everyone who has supported my translation work.

I’ve created a Patreon page covering what I do; please consider donating if you have enjoyed my translations.

Seriously, though, let me stress this to my readers.

This is the individual who has been translating the ZZTJ chapters covering the creation of Jin, the conquest of Wu, and beyond. This is work that has never been done before. No one has translated these passages before.

This is a gift to the English-speaking world. This is information that people like me would never have otherwise. This is a project of exceptional value. It’s a unique contribution.

If you’ve got a couple dollars to spare, this is work that is worth supporting. Work no one else is doing. If you’ve got an interest in the Jin dynasty and beyond, this is worth your money.

January 11 2018

2373 114d 500



Osho Catching a Carp, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)

Osho here is none other Wang Xiang, paragon of filial piety, and also Minister of Work and Grand Commandant under Wei, and Grand Guardian under Jin.

Wang Xiang, courtesy name Xiuzheng, was a native of Linyi in Langye. He was a descendant of Han’s Admonishing and Consulting Grandee, Ji. His grandfather Ren was Inspector of Qing province. His father Rong was nominated by the Excellencies’ Office, but did not go.

Xiang was by nature utmost filial. He lost his parents early, and his stepmother, Ms. Zhu, was not tender. She slandered him several times, and in this way he lost his fathers’ love. They always made him sweep away the cattle droppings, Xiang was even more respectful and attentive. When his father or mother were sick, when dressing he did not untie his belt [?], but was sure to boil medicine and personally taste it.

His mother often desired fresh fish. At a time when the sky was cold and ice had frozen, Xiang loosened his clothes and was about to cut open the ice to search for them, when the ice suddenly dissolved itself and a pair of carps jumped out. He grabbed them and returned. His mother also longed for siskin roast [?]. Again there was several tens of siskins which flew into his screen, and again he thereby provided for his mother. His home town with surprised admiration considered it to be caused by his filial feelings. There was a red crab-apple tree bearing fruit. His mother instructed him to guard it. Every time there was wind and rain, Xiang always embraced the tree and wept. His sincere filial piety was simple and utmost like this.


I hope to finish his biography soonish.

Despite this romantic tradition, and although some modern scholars have sought to use its material as a guide to the history of the Three Kingdoms, it is important to realise that the novel and the dramas are not independent sources of information. They are frequently and sometimes deliberately mistaken in what they recount, and they are of no more value for the study of the time they purport to describe than are the plays of Shakespeare for the history of England, Scotland or Rome.
— Rafe de Crespigny, To Establish Peace Vol.1 (via matthewtulip)

Sing it from the rooftops Rafe.


Low Update Frequency Ahead

For 2018, we are committing to completing a full book for publication, made up of a thematic collection of selected SGZ entries (think Empresses and Consorts by Cutter and Cromwell). As this will consume most of the translators’ time, updates will again be infrequent for this year.

Part of the reason for 2017 radio silence was over ambition by attempting this book alongside numerous other projects. For 2018 we are committing to this book as the sole number one priority.

Progress will be slow because of our high standards on translation accuracy and completeness. This means extensive research into things from obscure idioms and literary references, to calendar and astronomy calculations to translate recorded dates to the modern calendar, to make sure no information is excluded.

Looking forward to this.

January 04 2018

I, loyal gentleman of Wei, Sima Fu of Wenxian in Henei, zi Shuda, have not acted the part of Yi Yin nor of the Duke of Zhou, nor of Boyi or Liuxia Hui; in my conduct of life and practice of truth, I was constant from beginning to end. I shall be buried in an unornamented coffin with a single layer of outer coffin, and shrouded in the vestment of the season.
— Sima Fu’s last will. (via daolunofshiji)

Sima Fu was the best Sima.

December 24 2017

I am pained at the soul’s journeying abroad,
Sad at the hearse’s facing the road.
She has turned her back on the Three Luminaries to conceal herself;
Drawing nigh the Yellow Earth, she shall be placed in the crypt.
Alas! Alack!
Of old,
The two daughters were consorts to Yu,
And his imperial way was thereby distinguished;
The three mothers married Zhou rulers,
And sage goodness attained full brightness.
Since these rulers received so much good fortune,
They enjoyed the prolongation of their kingdoms.
Alack! Alack! My late loving Mother
Brought transformation to the women’s apartments,
Flew dragonlike to the Purple Bourne,
From the start cooperated with the sage sovereign,
And did not expect in middle age
Suddenly to encounter catastrophe.
Pity me, the little child,
All alone, crushed and wounded.
Her soul is forever gone.
How can I hope to pay her morning and evening courtesies?
Alas! Alack.
— Emperor Cao Rui’s eulogy for his stepmother, Empress De (Empress Guo, styled Nüwang); as translated by Robert Joe Cutter and William Gordon Crowell

December 23 2017

All this because I wanted to call out Cao Pi for being a furry but wanted to make sure I had my facts straight.



I swear that, several years ago, I managed to track down a translation of one of Cao Pi’s extant ghost stories (from his Zhiguai or Lieyi Zhuan).

It involved a fox spirit, as I recall, and was very focused on the swishing of her hips.

For the life of me, though, I can’t track it down again. Do I sound like a crazy person, or does someone else know what I’m talking about?

The Zhiguan you are thinking of is probably that of Cao Pí 毗 (great-great-grandson of Cao Xiu), not Pī 丕.

Though Lieyizhuan is attributed to him, there is some doubt since some of the anecdotes believed to originate from it take place after 226 (it is possible that he still authored the base text and these were later additions).

Can’t find anything about a female fox spirit yet.

I’ve seen the Zhiguai attributed to both - but upon closer inspection you’re right. I saw several sites misidentifying  毗 as  丕 (often listing 毗’s lifespan as 187-226). I should have double checked that. Thanks for that correction.

I think it was from the Lieyizhuan - specifically the portion that survived and ended up in Lu Xun’s  古小說鉤沉.

I swear that, several years ago, I managed to track down a translation of one of Cao Pi’s extant ghost stories (from his Zhiguai or Lieyi Zhuan).

It involved a fox spirit, as I recall, and was very focused on the swishing of her hips.

For the life of me, though, I can’t track it down again. Do I sound like a crazy person, or does someone else know what I’m talking about?

December 21 2017

Food poverty 'sparks return of Victorian diseases in Britain'


Health experts have warned of the return of Victorian scourges such as rickets and stunted growth due to child food poverty and malnutrition.

Dr Ellie Cannon, a GP in South Hampstead, posted a tweet revealing how doctors have to ask patients if they can afford to eat when they come to the surgery complaining of fatigue or unexplained illness.

It went viral and was addressed in a food poverty debate in the House of Commons. Now she has told how in recent years doctors have seen a resurgence in rickets – a disease usually caused by lack of vitamin D or calcium in a child’s diet. It causes bones to become soft and weak, and can lead to deformities as well as pain, fragile bones, tooth decay and poor growth.

Meanwhile, the number of children suffering debilitating fatigue has risen, Dr Cannon said. “We have an option to prescribe food through the NHS – that is how bad the situation is. I work on a social housing estate. I have patients who use a food bank. The family who prompted the tweet was a family where a mother drank tea all day in order to feed her kids. We see children who are not growing to their potential.

“It is a sad state of affairs in 2017, especially when we see trends show wealthy children are getting stronger.”

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