Who Is The Chinese God Of Death?-Yan Luo Wang/King Yan

Do you believe in the existence of hell? If yes, you are not alone. The Chinese concept of hell is easy to comprehend. They call hell Diyu and believe it is a place of great torment for evil souls. Hell is managed by an army of gods, including Yan Luo Wang, the god of death. Read on to find out more!

Who is yan luo wang?

yan luo wang

In Chinese mythology, yan luo wang is the king of hell. “阎罗王” can be translated into English as “King Yama” “King Yan” or simply “Yama”, which is the Buddhist and Hindu god of death and the lord of the underworld. “阎王” can also be translated as “Yanwang”, which is another name for King Yama in Chinese mythology. The Chinese believe that this god rules the underworld, and his role is to judge the dead. The god of death is depicted as a man with huge eyes capable of seeing all man’s sins. He is pictured wearing a hat of a judge and traditional Chinese robes. The god of death has a scowling red face and long beard and bears the Chinese character for a king.

What happened to yan luo wang?

Yan luo wang was the first king to receive the dead, and his work was to determine whether one required punishment or to which region they should be sent. Though yan luo wang used to sit on the first court of Di Yu, some people believe that he was demoted to the fifth court for being too lenient.

Jade’s emperor decided that Yan’s punishments were not severe enough. He believed that so many souls were crossing the Golden Bridge to Heaven, and the place was overcrowded. Therefore, he demoted the god of death and replaced him with a much less forgiving Yama called Qin Guang Wang. The Chinese believe that the god of death is now the Yama of the fifth court and that he passes judgment on the souls sent to him by Qin Guang Wang.

Yan luo wang story

Yan luo wang was not immune to the punishments of hell. He was doomed to live in hell. Whenever he was not passing judgment, the god of death was strapped to a hot metal surface while a molten metal was poured down his throat. This explains why his skin is quite red.

When administering judgment, Yan Luo wang is accompanied by a scribe that holds a book listing each soul and the allotted death date for every life. The god of death rewards good future lives to people with merit and sentences those who have committed misdeeds to torture or miserable lives.  

Since people believe in Yan Luo Wang up to date, hell money features his face or symbol. They buy and burn hell money for the dead so that they can have money for their basic needs in the afterlife. Yan Luo Wang appeared on hell money in the position that is reserved for regular currency or political figures.


The Chinese gods of hell are among the most feared deities in Chinese culture. One of them is Yan Luo Wang, who is referred to as the God of Death. He is believed to be the fifth judge who punishes different crimes. The Chinese believe that every soul must face Yan Luo Wang in Diyu.

1 thought on “Who Is The Chinese God Of Death?-Yan Luo Wang/King Yan”

  1. Carmel Bday Special Night

    Good postt but I was wondering iif you could wreite a litte moee onn tnis subject?
    I’d bbe veery thankful if yoou could elaborate a little bit further.
    Many thanks!

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