Yan Yan
Yan Yan (DWB)
Character Information
Force(s): Liu Yan's Forces
Liu Zhang's Forces
Weapon Type: Polearm (2~4, 6)
Sword (5)
Club (7)
Great sword (8)
Podao (Blast)
Unit Type: Hero (2~3)
Warrior (4~5)
Large warrior (6)
Elder (7~8)
Significant Battle(s):
First Appearance: Dynasty Warriors 2
Historical Information
Real name:
Yán Yán
Chinese name:
嚴顏 - 严颜
Style name:
Chinese name:
Possibly born around 153 and died in 220.

Yan Yan (onyomi: Gen Gan) is a general who served under Liu Zhang. Praised as a loyal and devout retainer, he is immortalized as a noteworthy general in the Zeng Qi Ge composed by the poet Wen Tianxiang. Romance of the Three Kingdoms has him serve Liu Bei in one campaign after his historical surrender.

His design concept for Blast is to reinforce an "unexpected youthful vigor" from an elderly man. He placed seventh with fans in Gamecity's first card promotion poll for the game.

His height in Kessen II is 170 cm (5'7").

Roles in Games

Yan Yan and Huang Zhong will intend to meet each other on the battlefield at Cheng Du in Dynasty Warriors 5. Before the fight with him, Huang Zhong will force the officer to dismount, thanks to one of his arrows to his horse. Dynasty Warriors 7 has him lead an ambush unit upon Pang Tong and Wei Yan in the south-east base at Luo Castle.

In Warriors Orochi, Yan Yan serves as Huang Zhong's replacement officer when players assume the latter's role. He also does the same for Zhao Yun in Musou OROCHI Z.

In Kessen II, he first appears as Liu Zhang's subordinate and good friend. Described as an elder himself, he boldly leads his crossbow unit to prove his worth to the younger generals. He shares special dialogue with Liu Zhang if he asks for assistance at Cheng Du. The player can recruit him at Zhao Yun's suggestion before the defense of Chen Cang. He is a good supportive unit with morale affecting abilities and possesses the unique skill to snipe incoming armies.

Yan Yan is a decent officer in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, where he is given high battle skills, charisma and above average domestic skills. Akin to the novel, he is given a very high archer aptitude. He appears in Yi Province as a general of Liu Yan and his son Liu Zhang before serving Shu.

Voice Actors


  • "The people of Yi reject the chaos of war! Specter of ambition! I shall drive you back!"
  • "Bring me the thief Liu Bei! I shall administer his punishment!"
  • "Thank you for saving me the other day."
"I don't like people who make up lame excuses. But at least you admit your shortcomings like a man."
"Then I will stop using empty words as thanks. I will repay my debt to you in battle."
"Yeah, that's the spirit! I look forward to seeing you in action!"
~~Yan Yan and Zhang Fei; Dynasty Warriors 8

Historical Information

Yan Yan is given a brief mention in Zhang Fei's scroll in the Records of the Three Kingdoms. He was the Grand Administrator of Bajun under Liu Zhang. The dubiously accurate Hanyang guozhi argues that he is actually a native of Bajun, Baishan and that his rank is a misconception of his birthplace. It also states that he was known as the "brave General Yan Yan". When Liu Bei's forces were invited by Liu Zhang, Yan Yan grieved, "It's as if I am alone in a remote mountain, trying to defend a body from the released tiger."

Zhang Fei accompanied Zhuge Liang's entry into Yizhou and approached Bajun. Yan Yan resisted them without applying for a surrender. Yan Yan's forces were defeated and he was captured alive. Zhang Fei angrily barked for Yan Yan's reasons for not submitting. The captured man replied, "Even if Yizhou has generals with their heads cleaved off, it will never have a general who has surrendered." His confidence made Zhang Fei furious and he threatened to kill Yan Yan on the spot. In response, Yan Yan said, "If you are to kill me, then do it. It is not necessary for you to be this angered." Impressed by the utter boldness of the prisoner, Zhang Fei instead untied the ropes bounding Yan Yan and entertained him as an honored guest.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

A Graying Bull

Yan Yan was aging, yet still a bold and famous general of Yizhou when Liu Bei attacked Liu Zhang. He was also the Governor of Bazhou, yet when he heard Liu Zhang invited Liu Bei to Yizhou, he sighed, "This is like calling a tiger to protect a person when that person is alone on a bare hill side." When Liu Bei seized the River Fu Pass, Yan Yan constantly offered to lead an army against him.

The scouts of Yan Yan reported that Zhang Fei, a general of Liu Bei, was approaching, and those that surrendered to him would not suffer. Yan Yan refused to surrender, and mustered some five thousand troops to oppose Zhang Fei. He was advised, "You must be careful how you oppose a man who by the mere sound of his voice scared the many legions of Cao Cao at Long Slope Bridge. Even Cao Cao himself was careful to keep out of his way. Your safety is in defense, lying behind your ramparts and within your deep moats till hunger shall have vanquished your enemies. This Zhang Fei has a very violent temper. If he is provoked, he vents his anger in flogging his soldiers. If you avoid battle, he will be irritated; and his cruelty to his soldiers will cause them to mutiny. Then you can attack and will succeed." And so Yan Yan stayed in Bazhou to defend until Zhang Fei's cruelty instigated his men to mutiny. Soon, he received a messenger from Zhang Fei, warning him to surrender or nobody in the city would be left alive. Yan Yan cut off the messenger's ear and nose, and responded, "Fool that you are! How dare you speak thus to me? Think you that I, General Yan Yan, will surrender to such as him. By your mouth indeed will I send a message."

For two days, Zhang Fei challenged the defenders of Bazhou to fight, but only received abuse in return. On one occasion, Yan Yan shot an arrow that struck Zhang Fei's helmet. Zhang Fei tried to hide his troops to make the defenders think they had left and to lure them out, but his ploy failed. Zhang Fei eventually stopped sending men to insult the defenders, so Yan Yan sent some spies to discover what his enemy was up to.

The spies successfully reported that Zhang Fei was going to try and sneak past the city using a narrow road in the night. Yan Yan planned an ambush, hiding his troops in the woods. When Zhang Fei and his soldiers passed, Yan Yan sprung the ambush and attacked. However, this Zhang Fei was another man dressed as him, and the true general ambushed Yan Yan instead.

Yan Yan and Zhang Fei fout several bouts before Zhang Fei quickly left an opening on Yan Yan on purpose, and the aged general rushed in for the kill. Zhang Fei evaded the slash, seized Yan Yan by the lace of his armor, and flung him on the ground. Yan Yan was now a prisoner, and was bound with cords. His men surrendered, and Bazhou quickly fell, with Zhang Fei ordering no one be harmed.


"A graybeard ruled in western Shu,
Clear fame is his the whole world through,
As radiant sun his loyalty.
Unmatched his soul’s nobility.
When captive taken rather he
Would suffer death than crook his knee.
Bazhou he ruled for many a year,
The world cannot produce his peer."
―A poem from the novel about Yan Yan's surrender

When Yan Yan was taken before Zhang Fei, he refused to kneel, and when Zhang Fei demanded to know why Bazhou hadn't been surrendered, Yan Yan replied, "Because you are a lot of unrighteous and lawless invaders! You may behead me as you will, but I will not surrender to you." An angered Zhang Fei ordered Yan Yan to be executed, causing Yan Yan to reply once more, "Strike, if you want to fool. Why so angry?"

Zhang Fei was taken aback by Yan Yan's words, left his set, and loosened Yan Yan's bonds before dressing him in new garments. Seating Yan Yan in the high seat, Zhang Fei bowed and said, "I have always known you were a hero. Now I pray you not remember against me the roughness of my speech." Yan Yan, touched by Zhang Fei's kindness, surrendered.

The Defense of Jiameng Pass

Later, Zhang Fei asked Yan Yan for advice in conquering the city of Yizhou. Yan Yan replied, "I am but the defeated leader of a defeated force, indebted to the victor for my life. I have nothing but my humble services to offer, but I can tell you how to get possession of Chengdu without drawing a bow or shooting an arrow." All the fortifications between Bazhou and Luocheng were under Yan Yan's control, and their commanders owed Yan Yan their positions, so Yan Yan offered to make them yield to Zhang Fei. If a commander hesitated, Yan Yan would ask, "You see I have submitted. How much more ought you to do so?"

All of the garrisons submitted to him as Zhang Fei's force traveled to Luocheng. There, he saw Liu Bei being chased by Zhang Ren. Zhang Fei rode ahead and engaged his oath brother's pursuer, and when Yan Yan arrived with the army, Zhang Ren fled. Zhang Fei explained Yan Yan's deeds to his brother, after which Liu Bei gave Yan Yan the golden chain mantle he'd been wearing.

Liu Bei and Yan Yan worked in conjunction to ambush Zhang Ren, whose army was quickly destroyed by multiple ambushes. Zhang Ren himself was executed. Yan Yan then was sent with the other surrendered generals to pacify the outlying adjacent counties, and also reassuring the people and repressing any possible uprising. He was eventually made General of the Front army once Liu Zhang surrendered.

Cao Hong then launched an attack on Baxi, sending Zhang He to take Jiameng Pass. Despite the doubts of many others regarding the sent ages, Liu Bei ordered Huang Zhong and Yan Yan to defend the pass. Huang Zhong dueled Zhang He while Yan Yan led his own force to attack the Wei army's rear. The Wei army was soon routed, and Zhang He was pursued until nightfall.

Huang Zhong and Yan Yan rested their soldiers, with Huang Zhong sending out spies to survey the local country. Zhang He was reinforced by Xiahou Shang and Han Hao who himself marched out to face Huang Zhong. Yan Yan noted how Cao Hong stored his supplies at Tiandang Mountain, and if they could gain the mountain, they could reduce the enemy enough to claim Hanzhong. The two Shu generals agreed on the plan, and Yan Yan set out for his part.

Huang Zhong feigned a multitude of defeats, making his enemies overconfident, and soon severely defeated the Wei army, driving them off back to Tiandang Mountain. Yan Yan gathered wood, and set fire behind the mountain as Zhang He and Xiahou Shang battled Huang Zhong. Xiahou De, seeing the red glare of the fire, raced to meet the danger, but was ambushed and killed in one blow by Yan Yan. He then led his army to attack Zhang He's from the rear, forcing the enemy to Mount Dingjun.

He was rewarded well for his achievements in the defense of Jiameng Pass. He was later made Inspector of the Army in the first Northern Campaign against Wei.

Yan Yan is not mentioned in the novel from then on.