Loosely based on Journey to the West, a Chinese tale of pilgrims on a holy quest for the Buddhist sutras of India, Dragon Ball is rife with spiritual references of an East Asian perspective. Sun Wukong (Japanese: Son Goku), The Handsome Monkey King, is the character that Goku is based on, and Sun Wukong himself is most likely based on Hanuman, the Indian deity and warrior.
King Enma, lord of the afterlife, is based on a Chinese and Japanese deity that weighs the amount of virtue and karma on a person’s soul to determine where they should be sent, Heaven or Hell, and we find that same character in Dragon Ball.
There is a multitude of other examples and references to the Buddhist stories that Japanese children like Akira Toriyama (the creator of Dragon Ball) would have been taught while growing up.
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