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Tang Monk cosplayer in Chengdu delights crowds with vivid performance

By Xu Zhesheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-13 22:44

A cosplayer of "Tang Monk," a central character of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, has gained popularity on the internet for his vivid imitation and further acting of the role.

The performer, Tian Xiangyang, 34, has attracted over 900,000 followers on the short-video platform Douyin with his videos of himself interacting with visitors at Chengdu Happy Valley in the costume of Tang Monk.

Videos show Tian accurately recreating the appearance of the character from the 1986-aired TV series Journey to the West, which is deeply ingrained in the minds of people born from 1970s to 1990s. He also captures the mannerisms, actions, and language of the iconic role.

In one scene, a female tourist playfully puts her hands on Tang Monk's shoulders, covering her mouth with a smile and flirting with him. In response, Tian first appears startled, then reluctantly tiptoes backward, raises his hand to reject the advances, covers his face in avoidance, and eventually flees, mimicking the behavior of Tang Monk in the TV drama.

In other videos, Tang Monk delights the crowd with square dancing, enjoying street snacks, brandishing a machine gun, and playing mahjong with the "Bull Demon King," another typical character in Journey to the West.

Many netizens have praised Tian for his close resemblance to Tang Monk in the TV series. Some comments include "the expression, the movements look no different even without the costume" and "70 percent resemblance in appearance, 100 percent resemblance in his timidity." A few netizens even said, "We asked you to imitate, not to surpass."

Tian previously worked in the building materials industry. He began imitating Tang Monk three years ago after his friends said he looked like the character in the TV series.

Tian was surprised by the sudden popularity, which extended his performance in Chengdu from one day to three days.

When asked about his acting skills, Tian rated himself a 6 out of 10. He said that Xu Shaohua, the actor who portrayed Tang Monk in the TV series, is his idol. He intends to continue learning from Xu and hopes to promote the legacy of Journey to the West through his impersonation.

To make the TV series appealing to the younger generations, Tian said he incorporates new elements into his performances such as disco dancing.

Tian said he felt sad when leaving Chengdu, as days of performance made him feel that Chengdu is a comfortable and inclusive city. He hopes to return to Chengdu more frequently in the future.

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