I have come across this term (返老還童) in a few of the manhwas and novels that I have been reading, and each work translates it to a different name and the rules are all a bit different. I know generally that this is meant to be "Returning to Youth" or "Returning to Origin" and it is when an elderly martial artist achieves enlightenment and returns to a younger state. I'd love to find the original work that this comes from or a foundation of rules or naming conventions for this concept. Does anyone know where I can read more about this topic?


1 Answer 1


The oldest novel I know that used that term was by Jin Yong, a wuxia author.

He is the one who started the wuxia era in Chinese novels. His work existed pre-"Jade Dynasty", the one that started the xian xia novels and which many books got inspired by.

The main character described like that is 天山同老. 100-year-old grandmaster, but is in the body of an 8-year-old girl. The term was used at that time to describe some figures who looked very young while their actual age was much older than they looked. 

The book was published in 1963 and called Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, or 天龍八]部.

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