Encyclopedia: Gan Ji

Gan Ji; Kan Chi; 干吉

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Gan Ji 干吉

Game Name:
Yu Ji

Lived: AD ?–200

None Available

Served: Miscellaneous

A Taoist priest. In the novel, sent to execution by Sun Ce and said to have cursed him to death.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Kan Chi
Simplified Chinese: 干吉
Pronunciation: Gan4 Ji2 [Yu2 Ji2Pronunciation
Cantonese (Yale): Gon Gat
Cantonese (Jyutpin): Gon Gat
Min-Nan: I Kit

Birthplace: Langye

Other Names: Yu Ji

Name Notes: Gan Ji frequently referenced as ‘Yu Ji’, especially in games. Historically, ‘Gan Ji’ (干吉) is correct, and it is thought Luo Guanzhong may have confused the character for his family name and thus entered him as ‘Yu Ji’ (于吉). Notice the similarity between Gan ‘’ and Yu ‘’. Our recording features both “Gan4 Ji2” and “Yu2 Ji2.”

Fact vs. Fiction

Differences Between Fact and Common Fiction

  • Did not harass Sun Ce to his death.
  • Most likely was not executed by Sun Ce, though there is debate. As Gan Ji himself is an historic person he would have had to live to 200 to witness Sun Ce’s campaign into Wu. There is reference to a charlatan claiming to be Yu Ji who may have been killed by Sun Ce. (more)

Literary Appearances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: 29

Search Results

Zuo Ci and Yu Ji
Date: 06/06     Replies: 13
Yu Ji
Date: 07/03     Replies: 14


Source Undefined

Gan Ji, referred to as Yu Ji in the novel, was a Taoist priest hailing from Langye. According to Xiang Kai’s biography in Hou Han Shu, Gan Ji was the discoverer of the sacred text, “The Book of Great Peace and Pure Guidance.” Though Gan Ji supposedly found this book near a spring, he probably historically wrote the book. Gong Chong, a student of Gan Ji’s, then proceeded to give this book to the Han court under Emperor Shun (father of Emperor Huan, grandfather of Emperor Ling). The book was kept in the Han Imperial Library for a time, and supposedly was used by Zhang Jiao sometime later.*

Gan Ji, a devout Taoist, would then spend the rest of his life healing people, building spirit houses and burning incense. Over a long period of time (Emperor Shun’s reign, where Gan Ji is first referred to, lasted from AD 125–145 and Gan Ji died in AD 200), Gan Ji acquired many followers in the Southlands. On one occasion, Sun Ce was about to deliver a speech from the gate tower of his capital. Though his officers were assembled in the city square, when Gan Ji came, many of Sun Ce’s generals left the assembly to welcome the old man. Several of Sun Ce’s officials tried to stop Sun Ce’s officers, but to no avail. Sun Ce, infuriated, arrested Gan Ji immediately.

Many of Gan Ji’s followers then pleaded that Sun Ce should not to kill Gan Ji. Sun Ce’s own mother, Lady Wu, said, “Master Gan protects our troops with medicine and charms. You cannot kill him.” After Sun Ce’s officers petitioned to have Gan Ji freed, Sun Ce became enraged. Sun Ce, a pragmatist and non-believer in mystics, blew off all the protests he received, and had Gan Ji beheaded.

Following this incident, however, Sun Ce supposedly suffered from some sort of schizophrenia related to his slaying of Gan Ji. After he was wounded by retainers of Xu Gong (whom Sun Ce had killed), Sun Ce frequently saw an illusion of Gan Ji appearing in the mirror, in his wound, and by his side when he sat down to eat. When Sun Ce struck his mirror on one occasion, thinking he had seen Gan Ji, Sun Ce’s wounds re-opened and he died.

*-I think the name of the book appears as ‘The Essential Arts of the Millenium,’ in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This would explain Nick’s below note. It’s unclear if Zhang Jiao actually saw, read and used the teachings of this text.



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May 13, 2014