Recently, I wrote about how Chinese culture shaped “Genshin Impact.” 

Now “Genshin Impact” is returning the favor to revive Chinese opera.

The Decline of Chinese Opera

Chinese opera has been on the decline in China. 

In fact, the audience for such shows is decreasing at around 5 percent per year. There are also no schools left devoted to teaching this art. 

Many people, particularly the elderly, are distressed that such an important part of Chinese culture is dying. 

This ancient, traditional music is being replaced with more foreign genres like K-pop and J-pop.

Another factor contributing to the decline of Chinese opera is that many people cannot understand it. Even some elderly people cannot understand the singing.

Chinese Opera’s Savior, Yun Jin

In the Version 2.4 update of “Genshin Impact” in January 2022, miHoYo, now known as HoYoverse, released a new character named Yun Jin. 

Yun Jin is the director of an opera troupe. This characterization is shown in her overall appearance and voice lines. These all feature extensive references to Chinese opera.

In several scenes in the story, Yun Jin even sings Chinese opera, regardless of which voiceover language the player uses. 

She accomplishes this by having two separate voice artists for the character. 

The main “speaking” role was dependent on the language. However, the Chinese opera voice actress, Yang Yang, had lines that were used in all four languages. 

Yun Jin is currently the only character in the game with the honor of having a voice kept in all four audio languages. 

Yun Jin carries the presence of Chinese opera with her wherever she goes. 

In combat, she will end her attacks by striking a pose as a traditional Chinese instrument plays alongside it. In her everyday life, she is an accomplished singer and dancer. 

She also tries to impart her knowledge on others who are willing to learn.

“Genshin Impact”’s popularity since its release is exposing Chinese opera to more of the world. This can increase its presence to more people.

Is “Genshin Impact” truly helping Chinese opera?

Yes, Google Trends already shows evidence of this.

The above image shows the search trends for “Chinese opera” on Google. 

As shown, the searches increased dramatically right before Yun Jin’s release, after some of her trailers came out. 

This shows that people were already anticipating Yun Jin’s release and wanted to learn more about her key characteristics.

Additionally, Yang did an interview after the character’s release. She stated that she did not expect such a level of popularity for the character. 

This indicates that more and more people are keen to learn about Yun Jin and subsequently Chinese opera.

Below is a cinematic that is a part of the main “Genshin Impact” story that heavily features Yun Jin. Explore the timeless beauty of Chinese opera in video game format for yourself!

What are your thoughts on Yun Jin acting as a turnaround for Chinese opera? Let us know in the comments!

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Chris Jiang

Chris is a student attending the College of William & Mary studying public policy and public health. He hopes to share the joys of Chinese culture with the rest of the world.
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