Kei Ka/Jin Ke

Credits to fullblue

Note: This character has yet to appear in the manga.

Jing Ke / Kei Ka 荊軻

1.Name

Japanese/Chinese: 荊軻 (荆轲)
Japanese Pronunciation: Kei ka
Chinese Pronunciation: Jing Ke
Ancestral name : 姜 Jiang
Courtesy name : 次非 Chi Fei

He live by several name, 慶(庆)卿、荆卿 and 慶轲. In the past, 慶 and 荊 are probably read the same way. In standard mandarin, 慶 is read as Qing. The japanese read 慶 as Kei also. 卿 is read as Qing (different tone), it was a noble (should be lower than 君) or official title (which is given to court officers in later dynasty). For the sake of convenience, I shall translate it as Mr.

He is probably descendant of 慶封 Qing Feng, a Qi noble.

史記《刺客列傳》
“荊軻者,衛人也。其先乃齊人,徙於衛,衛人謂之慶卿。而之燕,燕人謂之荊卿。”

Shi Ji, Biographies of Assassins
“Jing Ke, native of Wei (minor state), descended from a Qi immigrant who settled in Wei. In Wei he was called Mr. Qing, in Yan he was called Mr. Jing.”

2.Activities in History

Jing Ke was a wandering scholar (who was also proficient in the art of sword) from 衞 (卫) Wei (minor state). He was introduced to Crown Prince Dan of Yan through a youxia (wandering swordsman) called 田光 Tian Guang.

He at first want to serve Lord Yuan of Wei (the sovereign of the minor state) however, Lord Yuan did not take him in. As Qin captured 东郡 Dong Commandery (could also translated as Eastern Commandery) during allied invasion (current arc) which according Sima Qian caused the allied force to withdraw (and possibly the demise of Lord Yuan), Jing was forced to leave is homeland.

Just like scholars in his period, Jing Ke traveled widely and made friends with famous and influential man. In the course of his travels Jing Ke reached the state of Yan, where he became close friends with a dog butcher and a man named 高漸離 Gao Jianli (remember this name! He is very likely to appear, probably translated as Kozenri) who was good at playing the lute. Jing Ke was fond of wine, and every day he would join the dog butcher and Gao Jianli to drink in the market place of the Yan capital. While he is alcoholic, he also made friend with influential man. One of it was Tian Guang, a retired man who was well known for his exploits during his youth.

After escaping from Qin, Crown Prince Dan, consulted his tutor 鞠武 Ju Wu on what could be done to protect Yan from Qin. Ju Wu could not find an answer and requested retirement. Not long after that a Qin general 樊於期 Fan Yuqi came to Yan to seek refuge after his defeat in Zhao. The price came again to his tutor to seek for solution however he was not satisfied as it would require too much time. It was this time that the prince meet Tian Guang. Tian Guang, feeling too old, recommended Jing Ke. To motivate Jing Ke, he killed himself after personally convey the message to him. The prince treated Jing Ke as honoured guest, showering him with gifts, even allowing him to use his personal carriage. He even shared food and clothing with Jing Ke.

Later, the prince expressed his intent to assassinate the Qin king. Jing Ke then requested the map of Dukang (which Qin coveted) and the head of Fan Yuqi. Knowing that the prince would not kill Fan, Jing secretly meet him and shared the plan. Fan slit his own throat without hesitation. The prince was saddened with the news but he proceed with the plan, procuring a sharp dagger boiled in poison by his craftsman. He also assigned thirteen year old 秦舞陽 Qin Wuyang (no idea how he is related with Qin, according to some source, he is grandson of 秦开 Qin Kai, an important Yan minister) who had committed murder to be his page boy.

Jing and Qin were received by 蒙嘉 Meng Jia (who is probably brother of Meng Ao, the white general) and granted audience as envoys. However, King Zheng grow suspicious as Qin start to tremble and turned pale. The king then ordered Jing to come to him alone with the head (which is kept in wooden box) and the map to be examined. After checking the head, the king asked for the map which Jing slowly unfurl until the dagger come into view. When King Zheng of Qin saw it, he jumped back in fright.

Grasping the dagger with his right hand and grabbing the king’s sleeve with his left, Jing Ke plunged the knife straight at the chest of the king. However the sleeve tore as the king struggle violently. Knowing that Jing Ke would be chasing him, the king ran circles around a massive bronze pillar with Jing Ke in hot pursuit, like two person on a merry go round. No one there are armed and the ministers (including Meng Jia) were in panic. It was in this moment that 夏無且 Xia Wuju, a court physician hurled medicine box he was carrying at Jing Ke, who parried with one hand and sent it flying in another direction. This bought the King enough time to draw his sword and sliced Jing Ke’s left leg. Losing his balance, Jing Ke fell to the ground but immediately threw his dagger at the king which the king promptly dodged and the dagger struck a bronze pillar with a bang, sending of sparks.

3.Comments and stuff

Jing Ke knows that his mission is highly suicidal. As he leave Yan, he sang a song which follows:
風蕭蕭兮易水寒
壯士一去兮不復還
Which could be translated as:
Hard the wind blows, frigid the Yi (river) flows
Brave man goes, not to return

Jing Ke’s last word to the King was his regret not finishing him earlier due to his promise with the prince.
“事所以不成者,以欲生劫之,必得約契以報太子也。”
“I failed because I want to threaten you without killing you for the promise I have with the Crown Prince.”

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