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Yellow Turbans
Zhang Jiao, Zhang Bao, Zhang Liang.jpg
Historical Information
Main Objective: Religious fight for the people's rights under the teachings, Way of Supreme Peace
Estimated Numbers: 300,000 or 360,000
Start: 184 (at least, most likely undocumented accounts before)
End: 205
Major Figure(s): Ma Yuanyi
Zhang Mancheng
Guan Hai
Major Battle(s) Yellow Turban Rebellion

The Yellow Turbans/Yellow Scarves (traditional: 黃巾賊, simplified: 黄巾賊; pinyin: Huángjīnzéi; onyomi: Kōkinzoku) were a massive, zealous group of people who rioted against the Han Dynasty. Zhang Jue lead the rebellion and was succeeded by his younger brothers, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang. In all of their game appearances, the troops wear yellow clothing and usually wear yellow headbands (along with a good number of NPC generals having models of enemy peon units instead of officers/generals before Dynasty Warriors 4).

Due to the Han Dynasty neglecting the state of affairs throughout the land, commoners were heavily suppressed and without luxury. Bandits started to rise throughout the countryside. Zhang Jue, a supposed practitioner of the "Way/Path of Peace" (太平道, Tàipíng Dào/Taihei Dō), called himself the "Great Teacher" for the starved people. Preaching his beliefs to the hopeful common folk, he and his followers raised against the court, citing unfair taxes and treatment. His followers tried to overthrow royalty with alleged backing from two of the Ten Eunuchs, but their plan was found out and they failed to carry it out. During 184, Zhang Jue supposedly wrote their slogan:

Vin1.jpg The Pale Heavens are dead, the Yellow Heavens arise! In this year of Jiazi, the land will know peace! Vin2.jpg

With the "Pale Heaven" representing the Han Dynasty and the "Yellow Heaven" as Zhang Jue's followers, many of his followers donned yellow scarves. It is said that the slogan was written based on Wu Xing, but the validity of the claim is unknown. This said slogan often appears during cutscenes in the Musou Warriors games, either presented as a graphic or spoken by Zhang Jue/Jiao himself. It is inscribed onto their war banner in several games that involves their rebellion being a playable stage, as well as Zhang Jiao's C5 having its characters (via the Yellow Heaven segment) inscribed on its effects in Dynasty Warriors 5.

Sharing the same teachings as the Way of the Five Pecks of Rice, a massive rebellion broke out soon after. To retaliate, the Han issued a subjugation effort with the various reigning lords of the land. The Yellow Turbans resisted with resounding success until Zhang Jue died due to illness. His brothers lead the forces in his stead but suffered defeat due to Huangfu Song's forces. Even so, the forces didn't completely dispel from their defeat and rebellions continued even after the official declaration of peace in 185. In the Hedong Commandery, there also existed the White Wave Bandits (白波賊), a branch of the same rebels who reportedly wore white head bands after the Yellow Turban Rebellion's end. Their forces were neutralized as a military threat by 205.

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhang Jue and his brothers were born into poverty and sold medicine to help other people. While taking chopped wood to the mountains, Zhang Jue met a mysterious elderly man, who gave his guest the Taiping Jing. The elderly man, who later introduced himself as the immortal from southern lands, stated that Zhang Jue would have the power to indulge his desires if he mastered the book. Zhang Jue did and held the power over the elements, granting the power to feed healing water to the impoverished people. His reputation rose and his followers wore yellow scarves to mimic their leader. Dubbing himself as the Great Teacher and naming the Han Dynasty as corrupt, Zhang Jue strove to preach his harmonious teachings to the people. However, his followers betrayed his original ideals and resorted to plundering, murder, and thievery. Unfortunately slandered as "yellow devils", Zhang Jue's last mention is passing away due to illness. The Yellow Turbans dispersed after his brothers' deaths.



Fictional Followers[]

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

  • Bian Xi - Appeared in chapter 27.
  • Cheng Yuanzhi - Appeared in chapter 1. Slain by Guan Yu.
  • Deng Mao - Appeared in chapter 1.
  • Du Yuan - Appeared in chapter 27. Slain by fellow bandit Liao Hua.
  • Gao Sheng - Possibly fictional. Appeared in chapter 2. Fought with Liu Bei at Quyang, but slain by Zhang Fei.
  • Liao Hua - Not a part of the Yellow Turbans historically.
  • Liu Pi - Not a part of the Yellow Turbans historically.
  • Pei Yuanshao - Appeared in chapter 28. Wanted to join Guan Yu after the Yellow Scarves Rebellion, but was convinced by Zhou Cang not to. Later was killed by Zhao Yun after an attempt to steal his horse.
  • Sun Zhong - Appeared in chapter 2.
  • Yan Zheng - Appeared in chapter 2. Serves under Zhang Bao, but betrays and kills his commander at the siege of Yang.

From Other Sources[]

  • Zhou Cang - First appeared in the Sanguozhi Pinghua. Later popularized in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Former Yellow Turban who came to serve under Guan Yu.

See Also[]


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