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Yu Opera
— the Oriental Aria
and the Chinese Opera


Yu opera, originated in Henan, included in the first batch of national non-material cultural heritage list, is one of the most significant five Chinese operas, and the top one Chinese local opera. Yu opera is inherited and developed from Henan Bangzi. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Henan’s one-character abbreviation is yu, thus Henan bangzi was officially named Yu opera.

The Distinctive Characters of Yu Opera
Yu opera is characterized as the fluent singing, the distinctive rhythm, the highly colloquial expression and the clear articulation. The style can be described as filled with passionate, unrestrained masculinity, and suitable for performing sublime theme and strong emotion. On the other hand, it has strong local character, featured as simplicity, popularity, and natural quality. There are four major types of Yu opera. Xiangfu tune, the mother tune of Yu opera, is heard around Kaifeng; Yudong tune in the Shangqiu area; Yuxi tune is originated around Luoyang; and the Shahe tune around Luohe. Yudong and Yuxi are the main forms, with Yudong expressing comedy and Yuxi expressing tragedy.

The Long History of Yu Opera
Yu opera came into being during the late Ming Dynasty in Kaifeng, the capital city of Henan province. During the reign of Qianlong and Jiaqing of Qing Dynasty, the outburst of “controversy of the Hua and Ya”, an argument between elegance and popularity of opera, gave an opportunity for Yu opera’s development. And during the reign of Xianfeng and Guangxu of Qing Dynasty, the formation of the “Eighteen Excellent Performers” and “Invincible Troupe” has promoted the status of Yu opera.

After the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, Henan Bangzi participated in teahouses in big cities, and quickly became a competitive opera with Beijing opera. Then, having passing the the War of Resistance Against Japan and the establishment of PRC, Yu opera has gained nationwide development and significant innovation for keeping pace with times.

International Communication of Yu Opera
In 2009, “Restriction”, adapted from the famous comedy of William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, was played in London and highly praised by foreigners. Since then, many classic Yu opera repertoires has been performed in foreign countries, such as Australia, Italy, France, Canada, Venezuela, New Zealand, Germany, America, Thailand, Pakistan, and was praised by westerners as “oriental aria” and “Chinese opera”.

Yu Opera In Henan’s Universities
For advocating traditional Chinese culture, Henan’s universities value the inheritance and the education of Yu opera. In 2014, “Chaoyang Village”, a classic work of Yu opera, was adapted into being accompanying with symphony, and the performance in universities went off splendidly. In 2016, Henan University has got the permission for establishing “the Base of Inheritance and the Protection for Yu Opera”. In 2017, “Henan Li Shulian Opera Art Center” was established in Zhengzhou University.

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Chinese Kung Fu
— Ranks the Best in the World


Chinese Kung Fu (Martial Arts), is another name of Wushu in Qing Dynasty. Generally, it refers to one’s application and achievement in the field of Kung Fu. Kung Fu can only be mastered through hard work and practice, which contains rich and profound Chinese philosophy. From curing diseases and improving health, to subduing the enemy and preventing conflict, Kung Fu can even have an effect on the daily lives of Kung Fu fighters.

Various Schools of Kung Fu
As an indispensable part of Chinese culture, Kung Fu has developed five main schools and countless sects during its long course of history. The five main schools are: Shaolin in Henan Province, Wudang in Hubei Province, Ermei in Sichuan Province, Kunlun in Shandong Province, and Kongtong in Gansu Province. Besides, there are many smaller martial sects, such as Wing Chun, famous for its disciple Ye Wen and its Wing Chun Quan, as well as Jeet Kune Do, created and brought into international community by Bruce Lee. Among them, Shaolin Kung Fu is the most famous and influential one both in terms of scale and quality.

Shaolin Kung Fu, the Leader of Chinese Kung Fu
Shaolin Kung Fu, originated in Shaolin Temple, with more than 1500 years history, is the largest school of Chinese Kung Fu. As a kind of Kung Fu with a long history and a comprehensive theoretical system, Shaolin Kung Fu is not only a simple type of Kung Fu, but includes a particular mode of thinking and way of practice. Shaolin Kung Fu has two main aspects: Chan, referring to Chan Buddhism, the religion of Shaolin, and Quan, referring to the martial arts of Shaolin. In Shaolin, these are not separate disciplines and monks have always pursued the unification of Chan and Quan. In a deeper point of view, Quan is considered part of Chan. As late Shaolin monk Suxi said in the last moments of his life, "Shaolin is Chan, not Quan."

Shaolin Kung Fu ‘s “Going Out”
With the popularity of movies about Chinese Kung Fu, Shaolin culture is widely accepted by people of various races, religions, and cultural background. Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, international communication of Shaolin Temple is gradually promoted at a higher level of scale, frequency, and range. After many decades of advancement, Shaolin Temple has already instituted more than 40 overseas culture institution, and held cultural festivals in Europe and North America. In 2004, a bill for the “Day of California’s Shaolin Temple” was passed in Californian House of Representatives. In 2016, the School for Shaolin Kung Fu held a series of activities to celebrate this festival.

Kung Fu in Universities in Henan Province
Apart from that Henan Province is the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu, it is also the biggest Kung Fu education base, for having eight “Wushu Hometown in China” and the largest number of Kung Fu educational institutions around China. For universities in Henan, there are many featured projects for foreigners to experience the culture of Kung Fu closely. Henan University, a famous school in Henan, holds activities for international students to experience Kung Fu culture each year, and Zhengzhou University also has relevant programs for learning and feeling Chinese Kung Fu.

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Chinese Characters Culture
— Born in Henan Province


China is one of the world’s four countries of great ancient civilizations. Chinese characters is the language continuously used by the largest number of people and for the longest time. It is the only language system which is inherited from ancient to present times. Henan Province is one of the main birthplace of Chinese culture. On this land, Henan not only has bred Chinese characters, but also cultivated innumerable calligraphers who have made great contributions to the development and the diversity of Chinese characters.

Chinese Characters Was Born in Henan Province
According to legend, it is Cang Jie, a historiographer of the Yellow Emperor, who invented Chinese characters. In once hunting, Cang Jie had observed prints of goat and horse on the ground, and gained inspirations from it. Then he imitates the shape of mountains and rivers, the distribution of stars and moon, and the traces of animals from which he invented Chinese characters.

According to archaeological findings, Oracle bone script, the predecessor of calligraphy, is the earliest known form of Chinese writing. The vast majority of Oracle were found at the Yinxu site, in modern Henan Province. The finding of Oracle is not only an archaeological achievement in China, but also has shaken international scholars.

Calligraphy Has Been Developing in Henan Province
Calligraphy, the art of writing, is a kind of art of lines based on Chinese characters and culture. In China, calligraphy is officially regarded as one of the “Six Crafts”, the required skills for gentlemen. Chinese regard it as the vehicle for culture’s spreading, the clothes for one’s article, and the appearance of one’s academic and moral achievement. Henan calligraphers have made great contributions to calligraphy. Li Si, a calligrapher in Qin Dynasty, created the official script for the convenience of communication. Cai Yong is the first calligraphic theorist, whose work puts forward the basic theories of calligraphy. Zhong Yao, born in Three Kingdoms Age, one of the “Top Four Best Calligraphers”, was the father of the regular script. His writing was sophisticated, refined, and each character had the same size.

Oracle’s International Influence
The finding of Oracle assured a series of historical classics’ authenticity, and confirmed the existence of Shang Dynasty. Through the interpretation of characters on the bones, the researchers indirectly confirmed the existence of Xia Dynasty. In 2016, BBC launched a series of documentaries about China called “The Story of China”. In an introduction of Oracle in the first episode, it praised Oracle as that “through this the Chinese people are uniquely connected to their deep past and its ways of thinking”.

Chinese Language Education in Henan’s Universities
Universities in Henan Province are the first batch of colleges which hold Chinese language programs. Take Henan University for example: it is established in 1912, located in Kaifeng, the traditional capital city for seven dynasties, and it is one of the three largest and best universities for overseas students. In 1985, Henan University already launched the programs of Chinese language and culture for the students from all over the world.

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