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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Yin-Yang Principle Indiana Jones
"The Yin-Yang Principle"
(Originally TV episode "Peking, March 1910")
(47:30-end on the Journey of Radiance DVD)
Written by Rosemary Anne Sisson
Story by George Lucas
Directed by Gavin Millar
Bookends directed by Carl Schultz
Original air date: June 26, 1993

Little Indy takes a journey through China.


Read the "Spring 1910" entry of the It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage Indiana Jones chronology for a summary of this episode


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This episode takes near Peking, China in March 1910.  


Didja Know?


The title of this episode, "The Yin-Yang Principle", was assigned by me based on the concepts of Chinese philosophy presented in this episode.


    Some new introductory and interstitial scenes were filmed in order to turn this Young Indiana Chronicles episode into the second half of the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Journey of Radiance TV movie. Actor Lloyd Owen, portraying Henry Jones, Sr. had worn brown contact lenses to cover his own blue eyes in order to match the eye color of actor Sean Connery (1930-2020)who had played the character earlier in 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade during the first season of the TV series, but did not during the second season and for the new material shot in 1996 for the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones TV movies. Hence, we see the senior Jones sometimes with brown eyes, but more often with blue!

    New scenes shot with Little Indy actor Corey Carrier are also noticeable for his contradictory heights between scenes due to much the actor had grown! 


Notes from the Old Indy bookends of The Young Indiana Chronicles


The bookends take place in Princeton, New Jersey, on Thanksgiving Day in November 1993 at what seems to be the home of a member of the Jones family.


The woman who carries the cooked turkey into the dining room asks Old Indy, "What do you think, Grandpa?", establishing she is his granddaughter. The closing credits of the episode give her name as Caroline Jones. Does this also mean she's unmarried?


Old Indy refers to China as "the Middle Kingdom". The Chinese adopted the name of Zhongguo, "Central Kingdom" (or "Middle Kingdom") over 2,000 years ago. It's far from the only country that has considered itself the "central kingdom" throughout history!


Beginning his story, Old Indy mentions his father meeting the great translator Yen Fu in Peking. In the episode proper, the man is referred to as "Fen Yu" instead, but there was an historical figure named Yen Fu (1854-1921) who was a great translator of Western literature in China. He was the principal of Peking University in 1912, but not in 1910 when the Jones family visited the city. It seems likely the "Fen Yu" of this episode is this same man (possibly the reversed/scrambled name is an intentional nod to the fact that Westerners often get Eastern names backwards; in China, the family name comes first, not last).


Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones


The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB. The FSB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 


The journal as published skips over this time in Indy's life. In fact, it goes from September 1909 to June 1912...a period of almost three years! Are we to believe that Indy made no journal entries that entire time? Perhaps the entries were excised by the Russians for some reason when it was in their possession?




Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Caroline Jones

Annie Jones

Indiana Jones

Harry Jones

Harry's mother

Henry Jones, Sr.

Yen Fu/Fen Yu

Anna Jones

Helen Seymour

Li Shung Sui


Ah Pin

Huang Feng





Dr. Wen Ch-Iu

Susie Jones (mentioned only, deceased)

Dr. James Morton

debt collector 


Didja Notice?


It's not explained what illness Anna had at the end of "Journey of Radiance" and the beginning of this episode. She just gets over it with plenty of rest and soup on the train ride to Peking (now more commonly known as Beijing).


At 49:05 on the DVD, Indy is seen juggling three oranges. Add juggling to the list of Indy's talents.


Henry, Sr. gets an invitation from Fen Yu to meet to him, said to be the greatest translator of Western literature in Peking. Henry, Sr. remarks to Anna that he hopes to read Fen Yu's translation of the Arthurian legends. The Arthurian legends relate to the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table in England. The legends also tie into the quest for the Holy Grail, which is a prime interest of Henry Sr.'s, as seen in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.


At 50:28 on the DVD, the establishing shot of Fen Yu's home is actually that of the Huangqiongyu (Imperial Vault of Heaven) at the Temple of Heaven in Tiantan Park, Beijing.


After the Jones family arrives at Fen Yu's Peking home, Anna assures her husband she's over her recent ailment and strong enough to take a trip further into China without him, saying, "I was over the fever a week ago." Since she got the fever just before boarding the train out of Benares, India in "Journey of Radiance", this means they spent over a week getting to Peking. This is about right when travelling by train a distance of 2,000 miles, with various stops and connections, through three countries (India, Nepal, and China).


Indy visits the Great Wall of China, which Miss Seymour tells him was built by the great emperor Qin. Qin Shi Huang (259–210 BC) was the first Emperor of China and chief instigator of the construction of the Great Wall.


The Qin and Ming dynasties of China Miss Seymour speaks of were actual ruling dynasties of the country, Qin from 2216-206 BC and Ming from 1368-1644 AD.


    When the Jones' and Mr. Li arrive at their unnamed destination by train, the shot of a building at 54:36 on the DVD is of Pan Gate in Suzhou. It's not clear whether this is actually meant to represent that particular location or a more generic one closer to Beijing. Suzhou is over 700 miles from Beijing.

    The temple they visit immediately after this shot is Longhua Temple in Shanghai. Shanghai is about 70 miles from Suzhou.

    Miss Seymour reads from a booklet that states that every Buddhist temple has statues of the four guardian kings who protect the world against evil spirits. I haven't been able to confirm whether all Buddhist temples have this, but what she says is generally true.


At 55:39 on the DVD, the Jones' visit Songjiang Square Pagoda in Shanghai.


The information given by Mr. Li and Miss Seymour about the Great Wall is largely accurate.


At 57:41 on the DVD, Miss Seymour advocates for visiting Qufu in Jinan County and possibly the "Mungyeong" temple on the way back. Anna then remarks that it would be truly something to see the birthplace of Confucius. Mount Ni, about 20 miles from the city of Qufu is said to be the birthplace of Confucius. The temple mentioned by Miss Seymour is spelled "Mungyeong" in the subtitles of the DVD. There is a Korean city by that name, but not in China and a visit to Korea seems a bit beyond the scope of what is essentially a few days' "road trip" from Beijing. The comic book adaptation spells the temple name as "Meng Jiang" and there is a Temple of Lady Meng Jiang, built in honor of a Chinese folk tale around 1594, in Qinhuangdao, about 200 miles from Beijing.


We see here, as in previous adventures, that Indy has taken T.E. Lawrence's personal advice, of learning the language wherever you go, to heart. Lawrence gave him this advice in "My First Adventure".


During the boat ride down the river, Indy sees the same man on the boat who was watching them on the train and gets suspicious of his intent. He speculates to Mr. Li that the man is a revolutionary and might be carrying a bomb or something because Indy's father had told him that some Chinese want to expel all foreigners. The fact is, China was going through a tumultuous time, with the 250-year reign of the Qing Dynasty about to end in the Xinhai Revolution of 1911–12 and the country struggling to find a new path in the world, with all the accompanying argument and controversy that brings.


At 1:00:00 on the DVD, Miss Seymour and Mr. Li are discussing the Five Elements: fire, wood, metal, earth, and water. This is from the Chinese philosophy of wŭxíng, used to describe a wide variety of phenomena from personal health, to politics, to cosmic cycles.


At 1:00:20 on the DVD, Anna appears to be playing a game of solitaire while Indy sleeps against her shoulder.


    At 1:03:40 on the DVD, Anna and Miss Seymour are standing near the top of the staircase of Tiger Hill in Suzhou. At 1:04:32 on the DVD, the tower seen in the background as Mr. Li talks to Indy is Yunyan Pagoda on Tiger Hill.

    In this scene, when Ah Pin runs up to Mr. Li and the others saying he was told they wanted him, Mr. Li says it must be a misunderstanding, then says something to Ah Pin that sounds angry. The comic book adaptation confirms this, translating Mr. Li's Chinese retort to, "Fool! How could you leave the wagon unattended?"


    As Indy lies feverish in the shack of the peasant family, Anna mentions Indy's Uncle (named as Pete in the comic book adaptation), saying they'll go to his farm and he can feed the chickens and ride the pony when they go home. This is the only mention of an Uncle Pete in all of Indy's adventures.

    The song Anna sings to Indy is an old lullaby called "All the Pretty Little Horses".


At 1:12:15 on the DVD, notice that Huang Feng is chopping up some of the family's bamboo furniture to use as firewood to keep his foreign houseguests warm in the storm. In the comic book adaptation, we also see that Miss Seymour sacrifices her bagful of books to the fire as well.


At 1:12:25 on the DVD, Anna says Xièxiè to Choy as the woman hands them cups of tea. Xièxiè is Chinese for "thank you".


As he lies sick, Indy asks his mother if he's going to die like Susie. Susie was Indy's sister who died at a young age and was very little with not a lot of strength. This is the only time she is mentioned in Indy's adventures.


Dr. Wen Ch-Iu uses acupuncture on Indy to balance out the functioning of his organs during his illness. Mr. Li's description of this to Anna is essentially correct, part of the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang, the concept of dualism.


When the western doctor, Dr. James Morton, arrives, he diagnoses Indy's illness as typhoid.


At 1:31:14 on the DVD, Indy is playing what is commonly known today as Chinese Checkers with Mai-Ling. Mai-Ling is seen to win this game. The game is not actually Chinese, but was invented in Germany in 1892 with the name of Stern-Halma, based on the American game Halma. "Stern-Halma" means "Star-Jump" from the German stern and Greek halma, based on the star-shaped game board pattern and the jumping style of the game pieces. Presumably, the game was in the Jones' luggage recovered by Ah Pin.


   Huang Feng's family prepares what, for them, is a feast dinner before the Jones party leaves (the closing Old Indy bookend of this episode reveals that Anna had bought a couple of chickens for the feast to thank the native family). Anna remarks that it reminds her of America's Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is a holiday for giving thanks for one's blessings in various countries. Anna is thinking specifically of the U.S. holiday, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year.

   Anna asks Indy if he would like to say grace. Grace is a prayer of thanksgiving said before (or sometimes after) a meal. Indy's grace is that, " my friend Krishnamurti said, that God is in every person and every thing...and that there's one that all religions say: God is compassion and God is love." This refers to Indy's time with Krishnamurti in "Journey of Radiance". (This grace scene appears only in the The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Journey of Radiance TV movie, not in the original "Peking, March 1910" episode.)


The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #11 Notes from the comic book adaptation of this episode

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #'s 11 and 12
Dark Horse Comics
Script by Dan Barry
Pencils by Gordon Purcell
Inks by Andy Mushynsky and Louis Daniel

Colors and letters by Gail Beckett
January and February, 1993


Additional characters appearing in the novelization, not in the episode


Uncle Pete (mentioned only) 


The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #11


On page 4, Miss Seymour tells Indy that Emperor Qin (Chin) reigned from 210-201 BC. This is correct.


Page 5 reveals that the section of the Great Wall the Jones' are seen visiting is the Badaling wall near Zhangjiakou, which is the most famous stretch of the Great Wall.


On page 6, Indy asks if anyone has walked the length of the Great Wall and Mr. Li tells him that a few years ago an American man was the first foreigner to travel the length with a caravan of mules. He is probably referring to Dr. William Geil (1865-1925), but it's not quite accurate to say he "walked" the length, as parts of the journey were by wagon or horseback or muleback.


On page 7, when Miss Seymour suggests visiting the Meng Jiang temple at the end of their trip, Mr. Li says, "The temple? One hundred and eight steps, remember." Anna responds, "Well, Henry will enjoy them, at least." Many Buddhist temples, including the Temple of Lady Meng Jiang, have 108 steps leading up to the temple, sometimes called "108 steps to enlightenment". The number 108 is important in many Buddhist sacred myths, scriptures, rituals, and architecture.


    On page 12, the Jones' and Mr. Li visit the Big Goose Pagoda instead of the Longhua Temple as in the TV episode. The Big Goose Pagoda (also called Giant Wild Goose Pagoda or Big Wild Goose Pagoda) is located in Xi'an, over 1,000 miles from Beijing and 1,300 miles from Suzhou, suggesting quite a different geographical journey than the one in the TV episode. The Little Goose Pagoda also mentioned by Miss Seymour from her guidebook is also located in Xi'an. 

    On page 14, the Jones' visit the Meng Jiang Temple instead of Tiger Hill as in the TV episode, so now they've finally gone the 1,300 miles to Suzhou!


Mr. Li seems to be fairly short-tempered with the hired help! He calls their driver Ah Pin a fool on pages 14 and 21!


On page 16, Mr. Li takes down the wagon thief in a more martial arts manner than in the TV episode, where he simply knocked the thief onto the ground and then gave him a kick in the side.


The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #12


Page 3 features a brief interlude in the main story to depict Old Indy telling the story to his great-grandson, little Harry, as begun in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #3.


On page 5, Anna sings a different lullaby to Indy than the one in the TV episode. She sings, "...and the cotton is shush little baby, don't you cry..." This is an old lullaby that has been recorded a number of times throughout the 20th Century by various artists as the song "Summertime".


In the comic, Anna tells Dr. Wen Ch-Iu that Indy's symptoms first appeared about two days ago. In the TV episode, she says it was about three or four days ago.


On page 19, Anna says Xièxiè to Dr. Wen Ch-Iu as he is leaving. Xièxiè is Chinese for "thank you".


In the comic, Indy plays Checkers with Mai-Ling instead of Chinese Checkers as in the TV episode.


Memorable Dialog


what could be better?.mp3

more important.mp3

a man does not act without thinking.mp3

he would lose too much face.mp3



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