Donghua News Glossary of Donghua-Related Terms

Worldwide, Chinese pop culture is nowhere near as popular as Japanese, chiefly due to the latter having been mainstreamed and commercialized.

There are many aspiring donghua fans who have a difficult time finding Chinese animation recommendations and coping with the voluminous, little-known terminology.

Hereby listed you’ll find some of the terms you’re certain to come across in donghua and manhua, in hopes it will help you differentiate between the titles you may or may not like.

  • Dao ‌[‌道‌] — translates as “the‌ ‌path,” but is often used to denote “cultivation.” Hence, practitioners of the path are Daoists, Taoists, and cultivators.
  • Donghua — Chinese animation, the equivalent of anime in Japan.
  • Danmei (dānměi) — A genre depicting boys love. Due to China’s censorship policies, danmei titles are usually equal to Japanese shounen-ai (BL without explicit content), seldom yaoi (BL with explicit content).
  • Manhua— Chinese-language comics. The term is prominent in China and Taiwan and is the equivalent of manga in Japan and manhwa in Korea.
  • Wuxia — a genre of Chinese fantasy detailing the adventures of martial artists in ancient China.
  • Xianxia — a genre of Chinese fantasy influenced by Chan Buddhism (better known by its Japanese term Zen), Chinese mythology, Taoism, and other traditional elements of Ancient China.
  • Self-cultivation (xiūshēn) — self-development through personal efforts rooted in Taoism/Daoism, Confucianism, and other Chinese schools of philosophy (see “Dao”).
  • Wuxian (wúxiàn)— translates as“infinite.” Many characters are named Wuxian, which denotes they are on a high self-cultivation level.
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By Maja D.

2 thoughts on “A Glossary Of Donghua-Related Terms”
  1. Hi Maja,
    Wow, finally someone posted something like this. Haha. This is a topic I’d been meaning to write about in my blog too for so long but wasn’t able to begin (can only blame my lazy self), though I often encounter discussions like this on many donghua communities and even on Reddit, but this one is short and precise. Discovered your blog today and it’s amazing to see another soul enjoying the same passion and interest as myself. Good luck and congrats, I love how clean your layout and theme are. Cheers!

    1. Thanks; glad you’re enjoying my little website! I’m a fan of yours, too. As for this piece, I plan to keep updating it over time but I’m trying to keep it short and sweet for now. There are simply too many terms, and I’ve found out that people are rarely as enthusiastic about the Hanzi as I am. =)

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