Faction/Affiliation Independent, Alliance
Character classes Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior, Waterspeaker
Racial capital Pearlfin Village
Racial leader(s)  Elder Lusshan
Racial mount IconSmall SeaTurtle.gif Sea turtle[1]
IconSmall WaterStrider.gif Water strider[2]
Homeworld Azeroth
Area(s) Pandaria; Great Sea
Language(s) Mogu,[3] Common
Organization(s) Tribes

The jinyu are a race of humanoid fish-like creatures that live in Pandaria.[4] They are an elder and wise race, looked up to even by the pandaren. Masters of the water, they have been known to stick their staffs in rivers and literally hear what the land is saying. The waterspeakers are an upper caste, spiritual leaders that use the river to listen to the future.[5]

The ankoan are descended from jinyu who left Pandaria long ago to hunt in the depths of the oceans.[6]


Early history

The jinyu originated from murlocs who were fortunate enough to live near the enchanted pools of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The magic of the pools expanded their minds and grew their bodies until they became one of the great ancient cultures of Pandaria.[7] They worshipped the August Celestials, and in return, the spirits offered them knowledge and guidance. For a time, there was peace.[8] The Temple of the Jade Serpent particularly later became sacred to the jinyu, who now use its scrying pool to serve as their eyes and ears throughout the continent.

In the days before the Sundering, legend has it that all rivers flowed to Pandaria. Few were more aware of this than the clever jinyu. Over time the wisest of their people learned to commune with the waters of the river and listen for the future and news it would bring. These elders were respected by most races and earned their title of "Waterspeakers".[9] The jinyu also had a written language before the rise of the first mogu dynasty, though today it is not possible to understand it anymore.[10]


In time a jinyu empire emerged,[11] ruling all of Pandaria from the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.[12] In the years before Lei Shen's rise to power, the mogu clashed against the other races of Pandaria. The mogu fought against the jinyu empire in a battle that lasted forty days and forty nights. The power of the jinyu waterspeakers nearly defeated the mogu, but at the last moment they were slain by an unknown mogu foot soldier, who hurled the jinyu's own fishing spears back at them, piercing the waterspeakers' shields and deciding the battle. After this, the jinyu resistance ended.[11] During the reign of mogu emperor Lei Shen, the mogu invaded the jinyu kingdoms and slaughtered all who opposed them. Afterwards, the jinyu were enslaved along with the other mortal races of Pandaria.

The jinyu took part in the Pandaren Revolution, listening to the waters to divine where the mogu would first respond when the rebellion started.[13] After the revolution, they apparently swore allegiance to the pandaren emperors.

Feud with the hozen

A jinyu waterspeaker.

The jinyu have been at war with the hozen for a very long time.[5] Many thousand years ago, the Pearlfin tribe stood on the throne of all Pandaria. At some point the hozen approached them for help; the jinyu felt sorry for them and taught them how to survive. The jinyu gave them their trust, but over time the hozen grew strong and bold and began taking the land for their own,[14] leading them to betray the ones that had helped them. Over time the jinyu experienced a waning of their numbers and influence, with Pearlfin Village now all that is left of their people. The jinyu appear to blame the hozen for the fall of their people and have been distrustful of outsiders and at war with the hozen ever since.[15] Facing the hozen's "dirty guerilla tactics", the jinyu are outwitted by the hozen at every turn. The hozen are vastly superior on land, especially in areas with thick tree cover, but the jinyu have a strong advantage on or near water, allowing them to defend Pearlfin Village.[15] The jinyu consider the hozen "careless, filthy beasts".[16]

The source of this hatred stems from a betrayal suffered by the jinyu at the hands of the hozen during the war against the Thunder King. During the final battle against the mogu, the hozen betrayed the jinyu, believing that they would receive preferential treatment under the reign of the mogu empire. This betrayal ensured the jinyu's defeat.[17]

Great Sundering

All pandaren emperors began their reign by consulting great jinyu elders. When Shaohao was crowned emperor, a great waterspeaker consulted the rivers and saw a vision of the Burning Legion and the Great Sundering of Kalimdor.[18]

Following the Sundering, the Monkey King went home and hurled Fu Zan into a river in a fit of rage because his friend, Emperor Shaohao, had vanished. Eventually, he went to the river to retrieve the staff, but only because those waters were sacred for a jinyu tribe, and they could not remove it themselves-it was too heavy and still belonged to the Monkey King.[19]

Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria This section concerns content related to Mists of Pandaria.

Alliance adventurers encounter a jinyu named Bold Karasshi and enlist his aid in rescuing Admiral Taylor from a hozen prison. After escaping their captors, the Alliance and jinyu prisoners seek sanctuary in Pearlfin Village, home of the Pearlfin tribe. After discovering that the Horde has allied with the hozen, the Alliance group attempts to recruit the jinyu into the Alliance. After consulting with their water spirits and the spirit of the former jinyu emperor of Pandaria, Rassharom, the Pearlfin jinyu agree to ally themselves with the Alliance. The Alliance group train the Pearlfin in their superior military knowledge and arm them with weaponry. In exchange, the Pearlfin pledge their support in the Alliance's war against the Horde.

Fallsong Village in Krasarang Wilds was recently pillaged by the saurok and asks adventurers to recover their stolen supplies and kill the leader of the raiding party.

Some of the jinyu of Inkgill Mere were corrupted by tainted sha waters under the command of a sha-infused Elder Shai Hu. Waterspeaker Gorai asks adventurers to free what remains of his uncorrupted tribe from Shai Hu's tyranny and help him cleanse the Mere's waters.

When Garrosh Hellscream unleashed the Heart of Y'shaarj, the jinyu wardens of the underground halls became corrupted and were fought by the adventurers of the Alliance and Horde.

Battle for Azeroth

Battle for Azeroth This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.

Several jinyu can be found in Boralus Harbor in Boralus and the Grand Bazaar in Zuldazar, selling their wares on the two islands. A hostile tribe of jinyu called the Razorfin can be found in the Rotting Mire during island expeditions.


A typical jinyu.

Pandaria is surrounded by and shot through with clear blue waters, and it is in these bodies of water that the amphibious jinyu flourish. In a sense, the jinyu maintain and cultivate natural water sources, even creating smaller streams with elemental magic. But the jinyu also exercise dominion over Pandaria's rivers and lakes that can bring them into conflict with other races. They regularly stop up rivers to create their homes and breeding pools, and the multifaceted dwellings they create aren't simple mud lodges – they are towns and camps that can extend beneath the water.[20]

Jinyu society is caste-based. Jinyu are chosen for their roles (such as warriors or priests) at a young age, and final say in all communal decisions is granted to the elder jinyu in a tribe. While this rigid structure can seem constricting, the elders' roles are often deserved: they can speak and listen to the waters that flow throughout Pandaria, making them extremely wise and terribly powerful.[20] Eggs are sorted early on based on the needs of the community. Many jinyu are cast as workers, diligently put to work building dams or other structures. Others are selected to be craftsmen and immediately undergo a rigid apprenticeship on hatching. Only warriors and priests are given access to the most food and finest shelters, and only the most successful of priests can ascend to the role of elder or waterspeaker. It is a taboo for the jinyu castes to intermingle.[21]

Resourcefulness is a trait admired by the jinyu.[16]

Jinyu pray over heirlooms or tokens of their dead in order to properly lay them to rest, and move on.[22] Hozen skulls are prized tokens among the jinyu. They use them to perform ceremonial rites, and the older the skull, the more potent its magic.[16]

Jinyu assassins employ the ashwing moth as both a portable decoy and a light source to reveal weak spots in their enemy's armor.[23]

Water forging

Unlike the fire and heat forges of the pandaren and mogu, the jinyu have mastered the art of water forging. They shape stone and metal by using the pressures and currents of water. Originally they would scavenge for polished stone and materials in the river. They developed an eye for the places that would provide the best quality baubles and rocks. Over the ages, they have learned to manipulate water through their magics to craft exceptional edifices of the rock and stone that defy rivalry. Their weapons and armor are as hard as any forged steel, and their walls often appear to be constructed without seams.[24]

Strider taming

Water striders serve an important role in Jinyu culture, acting as mounts, a means of sending communications, and even family pets.[25]


Name Role Status Location
Mob  Aethis Pandarian champion Killable Jade Forest
Neutral  Clever Ashyo Monk of Tian Monastery Alive Various
Mob  Cournith Waterstrider Pandarian champion Killable Fallsong Village, Krasarang Wilds
Mob  Eshelon Pandarian champion Killable Townlong Steppes
Alliance  Pearlkeeper Fujin Pearlfin pearlkeeper Alive Pearlfin Village, Jade Forest
Neutral  Waterspeaker Gorai Survivor of the corruption at Inkgill Mere Deceased Inkgill Mere, Kun-Lai Summit
Neutral  Husshun Tian Monastery trainee Alive Tian Monastery, Jade Forest
Neutral  Dextrous Izissha Follower of Chi-Ji Alive Cradle of Chi-Ji, Krasarang Wilds
Neutral  Jogu the Drunk Member of the Tillers Alive Halfhill Market, Valley of the Four Winds
Alliance  Bold Karasshi Pearlfin warrior Alive Slingtail Pits, Jade Forest
Neutral  Kuru the Light-Hearted Caretaker of the Shrine of Seven Stars Alive Summer Terrace, Shrine of Seven Stars
Alliance  Little Lu Guide of Rell Nightwind's SI:7 team Alive Pearlfin Village, Jade Forest
Alliance  Elder Lusshan Waterspeaker and leader of the Pearlfin Jinyu Alive Pearlfin Village, Jade Forest
Boss  Wise Mari Sha-corrupted waterspeaker Alive Fountain of the Everseeing, Temple of the Jade Serpent
Mob  Nalash Verdantis Pandarian champion Killable Lake of Stars, Dread Wastes
Alliance  Traveler Nali Trader from the Mists Alive Boralus Harbor, Boralus
Mob  Orachi Captain of the Inkgill Guard Killable Inkgill Mere, Kun-Lai Summit
Alliance  Ot-Temmdo Pearlfin watersmith Alive Pearlfin Village, Jade Forest
Boss  Protectors of the Endless Sha-corrupted protectors Killable Terrace of Endless Spring
Neutral  Elder Fisherman Rassan Elder fisherman of the Anglers Alive Anglers Wharf, Krasarang Wilds
Neutral  Rassharom Ancient Emperor of Pandaria Deceased Spirit appears at Pearlfin Village, Jade Forest
Alliance  Scrollmaker Resshi Lorewalkers representative Alive Summer Terrace, Shrine of Seven Stars
Mob  Sahn Tidehunter Pandarian champion Killable Vale of Eternal Blossoms
Mob  Satay Byu Jinyu Jinja Killable Arena of Annihilation
Mob  Sele'na Pandarian champion Killable New Cifera, Valley of the Four Winds
Mob  Shai Hu Corrupter of the Inkgill jinyu Killable Inkgill Ritual Island, Kun-Lai Summit
Neutral  Tired Shushen Waterspeaker and leader of Fallsong Village Alive Fallsong Village, Krasarang Wilds
Alliance  Instructor Sharpfin Warrior instructor Alive Pearlfin Village, Jade Forest
Mob  Zai the Outcast Pandarian champion Killable Inkgill Mere, Kun-Lai Summit
Neutral  Seeker Zusshi Grand Master Pet Tamer Alive Fields of Niuzao, Townlong Steppes


Notes and trivia

  • There is a jinyu building under the water southeast of the Veiled Isles[70, 76] of the Broken Shore (see gallery below).[26][27]
  • The only known mention of female jinyu in World of Warcraft comes from one Kuru the Light-Hearted's jokes: "Do you know how to pick up a female jinyu in a tavern? Just drop your line!". The Hearthstone cards Gadgetzan Ferryman and Zai, the Incredible appear to depict female jinyu.
    • However, ankoan, who are descended from jinyu, appear to lack dimorphism between males and females. It's possible jinyu are the same.
  • It was initially stated during the panel that the Alliance would try to befriend the hozu (now renamed hozen). This was eventually clarified in a press tour, which stated the Alliance would indeed befriend the jinyu, and the Horde the hozu.
  • Jinyu use the same model skeleton and animations as male night elves.
  • The jinyu's name is Chinese for "goldfish" (金魚, jīnyú), resemble Koi, and with their use of pearls, is likely based upon Chinese merfolk.
  • Their leader, Elder Lusshan, may be based upon the Persian-Turkish general of the Tang dynasty An Lushan.
  • What few instances of Jinyu architectural style exists resemble Khmer architecture, such as the underwater building seen above resembling Ankor Wat's central structure in miniature.
  • The name "ankoan" may be a composite of Angkor with koi, given again reaffirming the Khmer associations through the architecture.


See also