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I've heard a great deal about you, Fa Mulan. You stole your father's armor, ran away from home, impersonated a soldier, deceived your commanding officer, dishonored the Chinese Army, destroyed my palace, and... you have saved us all.
~ The Emperor listing Mulan's dishonorable actions, before praising her for saving him and all of China from the Huns.

The Emperor is a supporting character from Disney's 1998 animated feature film Mulan. When the Huns attacked his palace Mulan and the troops helped saved him by getting him to safety and defeating Shan Yu. For her honor the Emperor gave Mulan his crest and the sword of Shan Yu. In the sequel he let Mulan and company guard her daughters on their way to the neighbor country.

In the 1998 movie, He is voiced by the late Pat Morita who played Kesuke Miyagi, while for the 2020 live action version he will be played by Jet Li.

Background

Personality

The prominent aspect of the Emperor is his vast amounts of knowledge and justice; the Emperor is one of the most judicious characters in the series. Contrary to his exterior the Emperor is frank about certain topics, as seen in telling Shang that his [Shang's] tactics of winning Mulan over are wrong. It is implied that he actually dislikes his consul Chi-Fu when he states that Mulan could have the misogynistic consul's own job. Though he is aware of the strict rules that surround a woman's involvement in the army, he is one of the first to recognize Mulan for her bravery. This shows that regardless of what the rules may outline, he still knows when to give credit when credit is due, making him a fair and reasonable man. He also cares for his subjects in a similar manner to a father, as evidenced by his addressing his subjects as being his "children" during the ceremony where Shan Yu was presumed killed. He is also fearless even when facing death, as despite being threatened with death by Shan Yu unless the man surrendered, the Emperor calmly refused to submit, comparing the action to the mountain refusing to buckle to the wind. He also was shown to put his own people's protection above his own, as he stated that the Chinese Army should fend off the Huns instead of increasing security at the Forbidden City. He is also shown to take the enemy seriously if needs be instead of underestimating them, which is made especially apparent with his reaction upon learning that not only were the Huns invading China, but the leader of the invasion was Shan Yu.

Designs

The Emperor is an old, thin man with a long white beard and mustache. His eyes are black and his eyebrows are white and bushy. His hair is also white, though most of it is tucked into the hat or crown that he wears often. His hat is rectangular with a red base with a sky blue oval in its center, a yellow upper half, and a thin, rectangular, black strip of stiff cloth on the top. His earlobes are slightly elongated.

The Emperor dresses in elegant robes with black cuffs and furisode-esque sleeves and a wide, black obi-like sash. His upper robes are mostly yellow on both the inside and the outside, though the outside of his high collar is black. There is also a black and red criss-crossing pattern going over each of his shoulders. His lower robes are mostly brown, though they are tan at the base. A magenta "outline" of rectangular cloth is present over the front of the lower robes

Appearances

Mulan

The Emperor appears near the beginning of the film, and is seen holding a meeting with his generals. General Li reports that the Huns have invaded China. Though his consul, Chi-Fu, doubts that the Huns could get past the Great Wall, the Emperor takes the threat seriously, especially when he learns that they are being led by the warlord Shan Yu. The General offers to set up troops around the city to protect the Emperor, but the Emperor orders the General to protect the people. Not taking any chances, the Emperor also orders Chi-Fu to distribute conscription notices to every family in China, which would require one man from each family to serve in the army.

Towards the end of the movie, the Emperor is captured by Shan Yu, as part of an ambush. Shan Yu attempts to force the Emperor to bow to him at the point of a sword, but the Emperor refuses to cowtow to the barbarian's threats. Meanwhile, Mulan and Shang undertake a rescue mission to save him while Yao, Ling and Chien Po disguise themselves as concubines. The three trick Shan Yu's henchmen, lulling them into dropping their guard. The Emperor is then able to escape to safety with Chien Po. After Shan Yu has been terminated, with considerable damage to the palace in the process, the Emperor walks down the stairs as Shang is about to pummel Chi-Fu, the smoke behind him clearing as though even it respects him and criticizes Mulan for impersonating a soldier, and quite a few other things including the damage to his palace, but he thanks her for saving the country. He bows to her as a way of showing her honor, with the rest of the crowd following suit. The Emperor first offers Mulan a position on his council, and then Chi-Fu's position upon hearing that there are no council positions open, but Mulan refuses both, as she wishes to return home. Instead, he gives her the crest around his neck and the sword of Shan Yu as gifts to take home; he is initially stunned when she hugs him, but quickly shows warmth at it. After she leaves, he subtly encourages Shang to follow her before putting his hat back on and striding off, presumably to see to the restoration of his palace.

Mulan II

When the Mongols are threatening China, the Emperor arranges for an alliance with the neighboring kingdom of Qui-Gong. In order to solidify the alliance, the Emperor orders Mulan and Shang to escort three princesses to Qui-Gong. There, the princesses, his daughters, would be betrothed to the sons of Lord Chin, who adore the girls only for their good looks (similar to Gaston and his attraction to Belle). However, the Emperor warns Mulan and Shang that if the task is not completed within three days, the alliance would crumble and the Mongols would certainly destroy China. After seeing Mulan and company off, the Emperor does not appear for the rest of the film.

House of Mouse

The Emperor only appears in "Mickey and Minnie's Big Vacation" where he is seen in the background sitting at a table with Simba.

Once Upon a Time

The Emperor doesn't appear on the show. However, Mulan mentions him when telling her military past to Belle.

Kingdom Hearts II

The Emperor is the ruler of The Land of Dragons in Kingdom Hearts II.

In the second visit, the Emperor was encountered by Riku, in his Organization attire, whilst his country was under attack by the Storm Rider and an Organization member, Xigbar. Though it was assumed to be an attack, Riku's visit was to inform the Emperor of the dangers and assured that Sora, Donald, and Goofy would take care of things. In the end, following China's safety, the Emperor requested that Mulan served as his protector, beside Shang.

Quotes

My children, heaven smiles down upon the Middle Kingdom. China will sleep safely tonight, thanks to our brave warriors.
~ The Emperor to his generals
No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it.
~ The Emperor to Shan Yu
The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.
~ The Emperor, about Fa Mulan

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