Our childhoods were blessed with beloved movie and TV show characters that have changed and influenced our hearts and minds forever.
Here’s a trip down memory lane as we reminisce about these Chinese characters from our childhood:
Mulan (from Disney’s Mulan)
Fa Mulan is the lead protagonist of Disney’s 1998 animated feature film, Mulan. Having been born and raised to uphold her family’s honor, Mulan strives to fulfill her domestic duties and society’s expectations of her. But when her crippled father is called back to fight in a war to defend China from Shan Yu, Mulan takes his place. She runs away from home and disguises herself as a male soldier, eventually defeating Shan Yu and bringing honor to her family.
The Disney classic is based on an ancient Chinese folk song about the legendary heroine Hua Mulan. The song titled, The Ballad of Mulan, and is believed to have been composed during the Northern Wei dynasty.
Apart from the Disney princesses that we all grew up admiring, Mulan showed us that a girl can be admirable, not only because of beauty and elegance, but because of honor, resilience, and strength of character. Because of her, we grew up knowing that we can be strong and rise above society’s perception of women.
Jake Long (from The American Dragon: Jake Long)
Jake Long is the main lead character of Disney’s animated television series, The American Dragon: Jake Long. Being Chinese-American born in New York City, he is a direct descendant of a family of magical Chinese dragons, and he has the power to turn into a dragon himself. In every episode, Jake faces an opportunity to unlock his full potential and protect the people and magical creatures in the city from all sorts of threats — while trying to live his life as a regular boy.
Hay Lin (from W.I.T.C.H.)
Hay Lin is one of the most loved characters of the television show and magazine titled, W.I.T.C.H. She is an optimistic and happy-go-lucky high school girl who is secretly the Guardian of Air. Her powers center on the element of air, which she can manipulate and control as she pleases.
She also loves drawing and hanging out with the rest of her friends — Will, Irma, Taranee, and Cornelia. On the show, all five girls have the ability to fly, but only Hay Lin can fly the highest and quickest. She can move objects with her elemental power and conjure clouds, windstorms, and tornadoes at will.
Kai-Lan (from Ni Hao, Kai-Lan)
Kai-Lan is the main lead in the children’s television series produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio titled, Ni Hao, Kai-Lan. The series is based on childhood memories of the show’s creator, Karen Chau, who grew up in a Chinese-American household.
Kai-Lan is a seven-year-old Chinese-American girl who has anthropomorphic animal companions, Rintoo the yellow tiger, Tolee the gray koala, Lulu the pink rhino, and Hoho the white monkey. In each episode in the series, Kai-Lan takes on different adventures and obstacles, showcasing the value of friendship and teamwork.
Sagwa (from Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat)
Sagwa is a fun and curious Siamese kitten that resides in the palace of the Foolish Magistrate in the 19th-century. The animated television series is based on the children’s book of the same name by famed Chinese novelist Amy Tan.
As the lead protagonist of the series, she is portrayed as the middle child of royal cats who have the ability to write with their tails. The series follows the day-to-day adventures of Sagwa, her siblings, and friends. Each episode also depicts moral lessons and an appreciation of Chinese culture.