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Xiahou Dun

Xiahou Dun

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Encyclopedia
Xiahou Dun was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao
Cao Cao
Cao Cao was a warlord and the penultimate chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty who rose to great power during the dynasty's final years. As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid the foundations for what was to become the state of Cao Wei and was posthumously titled...

 during the late Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 period of Chinese history
History of China
Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

. Cao Cao's original family name was Xiahou
Xiahou
-Famous people with the surname Xiahou:*Xiahou Ba*Xiahou De*Xiahou Dun*Xiahou En*Xiahou He*Xiahou Hui*Lady Xiahou Hui*Xiahou Mao*Xiahou Shang*Xiahou Wei*Xiahou Xuan*Xiahou Ying*Xiahou Yuan...

, but his father Cao Song
Cao Song
Cao Song was the father of the late Han Dynasty warlord Cao Cao. He was originally surnamed "Xiahou", but changed his surname to "Cao" after becoming the foster son of the eunuch Cao Teng. Cao Song's descendants also adopted "Cao" as their family name.By the year 193, China had been divided into...

 was the adopted son of the eunuch
Eunuch
A eunuch is a person born male most commonly castrated, typically early enough in his life for this change to have major hormonal consequences...

 Cao Teng
Cao Teng
Cao Teng was a eunuch who served the Eastern Han Dynasty in its later years. He served four Han emperors . Through his adopted son Cao Song, he was the adoptive grandfather of Cao Cao, a major player in the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history...

, so Xiahou Dun and Cao Cao share blood relations. As one of Cao Cao's most trusted generals, Xiahou Dun aided the warlord in his campaigns against Liu Bei
Liu Bei
Liu Bei , also known as Liu Xuande, was a warlord, military general and later the founding emperor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history...

, Sun Quan
Sun Quan
Sun Quan , son of Sun Jian, formally Emperor Da of Wu, was the founder of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. He ruled from 222 to 229 as King of Wu and from 229 to 252 as Emperor of Wu....

, and Lü Bu
Lü Bu
Lü Bu was a military general and later a minor warlord during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. According to the Records of Three Kingdoms, Lü Bu was highly-skilled in horse-riding and archery, and was thus nicknamed "Flying General"...

.

Xiahou Dun lost his left eye during the Battle of Xiapi
Battle of Xiapi
The Battle of Xiapi was a battle fought by the forces of Lü Bu against the allied armies of Cao Cao and Liu Bei in 198 during the prelude to the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history...

 in 198, and subsequently became known among the rank and file as "Blind Xiahou", which greatly irked him. His image as a one-eyed warrior was later popularized by Luo Guanzhong
Luo Guanzhong
Luo Ben , better known by his style name Luo Guanzhong , was a Chinese writer of the early Ming Dynasty period of Chinese history. He was also known as Huhai Sanren...

's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based on the events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in...

, in which he was said to have yanked the arrow fired by enemy general Cao Xing
Cao Xing
Cao Xing was a military general serving under the warlord Lü Bu during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. Little was documented about Cao Xing in historical records except for an incident described in Wang Can's Records of Heroes ....

 out of his eye and devoured his own eyeball to instill fear in his enemies.

Early life


Xiahou Dun was born in the county of Qiao (譙; present-day Bozhou
Bozhou
Bozhou is a prefecture-level city in northwestern Anhui province, People's Republic of China. It borders Huaibei to the northeast, Bengbu to the southeast, Huainan to the south, Fuyang to the southwest, and the province of Henan to the north.-Administration:...

, Anhui
Anhui
Anhui is a province in the People's Republic of China. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny...

). At the age of 14, he killed a man who insulted his teacher. His fiery personality had been well-known ever since. In 190, Xiahou Dun joined Cao Cao as the latter was raising an army to join the coalition
Campaign against Dong Zhuo
The Campaign against Dong Zhuo was a punitive expedition initiated by a coalition of regional officials and warlords against Dong Zhuo, Chancellor of State, in 190 during the late Han Dynasty of Chinese history...

 against Dong Zhuo
Dong Zhuo
Dong Zhuo was a politician and warlord during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. He seized control of the capital city Luoyang in 189 when it was in a state of turmoil following the death of Emperor Ling and a clash between the eunuch faction and some court officials led by...

.

Xiahou Dun had been a close aide to Cao Cao during the initial battles against Dong Zhuo as well as the Battle of Yan Province
Battle of Yan Province
The Battle of Yan Province was a battle fought between the warlords Cao Cao and Lü Bu for control of Yan Province during the prelude to the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history...

 (兗州; covering present-day western Shandong
Shandong
' is a Province located on the eastern coast of the People's Republic of China. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River and served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese...

), and was made a deputy commander. When Cao Cao was leading a campaign against Tao Qian, the governor of Xu Province (徐州; covering present-day northern Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

) whom Cao accused of killing his father, Xiahou Dun was left with the responsibility of defending Yan Province.

Incident at Yan Province


While Xiahou Dun was guarding the city, Zhang Miao
Zhang Miao
Zhang Miao , style name Mengzhuo , was a minister of the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. He served as prefect of Chenliu Commandery. Zhang Miao led an army during the coalition against Dong Zhuo. In the coalition Zhang expressed displeasure at their leader, Yuan Shao, and Yuan sent Cao...

 and Chen Gong
Chen Gong
Gong Chen was an advisor to the warlord Lü Bu during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. However, he started his career under Cao Cao before defecting to Lü Bu and was executed when the latter was defeated by Cao....

 rebelled. They colluded with Lü Bu
Lü Bu
Lü Bu was a military general and later a minor warlord during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. According to the Records of Three Kingdoms, Lü Bu was highly-skilled in horse-riding and archery, and was thus nicknamed "Flying General"...

, who was leading a wandering army, and quickly occupied most of Yan Province. Xiahou Dun immediately drew on a light cavalry force and headed for Juancheng (涓城), where Cao Cao's family resided.

On the way, Xiahou Dun ran into Lü Bu's army. Lü Bu evaded the encounter and went for the city of Puyang (濮陽), which was the storage base of Xiahou Dun's supplies. With its commander out in the field, Puyang soon fell. Lü Bu then sent envoys to Xiahou Dun, pretending to surrender. Lü Bu's followers then took Xiahou Dun hostage within his own tent, and demanded a heavy ransom.

Xiahou Dun's subject Han Hao
Han Hao
Han Hao, style name Yuansi , was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history....

 was calm and collected throughout the crisis. He quickly took over command of the troops and refused negotiations with the captors, and ordered soldiers to attack. Not expecting such hardline response, the traitors surrendered and were executed.

When Cao Cao learned of the rebellion, he hastily returned and laid siege on Lü Bu in Puyang. After more than hundred days of stalemate, a famine breakout forced Lü to give up his position and seek refuge under Liu Bei in Xiapi (下邳; present-day Pizhou
Pizhou
Pizhou City is a county-level city in northern Jiangsu province, China. As of 2006 it had a population of 163,000. Administratively, Pizhou is under the jurisdiction of the larger city of Xuzhou.-History:...

, Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

).

Lü Bu soon turned on his host, however, and took control of Xiapi, sending Liu Bei to nearby town of Xiaopei (小沛). In 198, Lü Bu even deployed his general Gao Shun
Gao Shun
Gao Shun was a military general serving under the warlord Lü Bu during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. Although he only had 700 men under his command, he was nicknamed as the "camp crusher " for his destructive charges, and came to be known as Lü's most able commander...

 to attack Xiaopei. Under the request from Liu Bei, Cao Cao sent Xiahou Dun to engage Gao Shun. Xiahou Dun, however, lost the battle, during which his left eye was struck by an arrow. After personally leading an army to defeat Lü Bu, Cao Cao compensated Xiahou Dun by promoting him to General of Martial Establishment (建武將軍).

Xiahou Dun then spearheaded an agricultural program in the proximity of Chenliu (陳留; southeast of present-day Kaifeng
Kaifeng
Kaifeng , known previously by several names , is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, Central China. Nearly 5 million people live in the metropolitan area...

, Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

). He instructed workers to dam up the Taishou River (太壽水; a distributary of the Huai River
Huai River
The Huai River is a major river in China. The Huai River is located about mid-way between the Yellow River and Yangtze River, the two largest rivers in China, and like them runs from west to east...

) so as to create a large pond. He then encouraged the people to grow paddy rice in the inundated land. The program greatly aided the people during the years of severe famine.

Battles of Bowang and Hefei



In 202, Xiahou Dun was sent as the vanguard to invade Jing Province (荊州; covering present-day Hubei
Hubei
' Hupeh) is a province in Central China. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of Lake Dongting...

 and Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

). In the Battle of Bowang
Battle of Bowang
The Battle of Bowang, also known as the Battle of Bowang Slope, was a battle fought between the warlords Cao Cao and Liu Bei in 202 during the prelude to the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history.-Background:...

, Xiahou Dun chased Liu Bei, who feigned retreat by suddenly setting his own camp on fire. Despite warnings by Li Dian
Li Dian
Li Dian was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. He participated in the Battle of Guandu between Cao Cao and Yuan Shao...

, Xiahou Dun led the main army into Liu Bei's ambush, and was defeated.

Later, he was stationed in Juchao with 26 juns (Jun was a military unit. Every 12,500 soldiers were counted as one jun. However, in this case, the number of troops under Xiahou Dun's command might not amount to 325,000, because there were flexibility on forming a jun), along with Zhang Liao
Zhang Liao
Zhang Liao was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Han Dynasty and early Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history. He participated in many campaigns, including those against Yuan Shao's clan and the Wuhuan tribes...

 at Hefei
Hefei
Hefei is the capital and largest city of Anhui Province in Eastern China. A prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, and cultural centre of Anhui...

, to resist Sun Quan
Sun Quan
Sun Quan , son of Sun Jian, formally Emperor Da of Wu, was the founder of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. He ruled from 222 to 229 as King of Wu and from 229 to 252 as Emperor of Wu....

. However, Xiahou Dun did not seem to achieve anything during his tenure as the chief commander in the southern front, except for staying in the same place with a huge army.

Death


After Cao Cao's death in 220, his successor Cao Pi
Cao Pi
Cao Pi , formally known as Emperor Wen of Wei, was the first emperor of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. Born in Qiao County, Pei Commandery , he was the second son of the late Han Dynasty warlord Cao Cao.Cao Pi, like his father, was a poet...

 forced Emperor Xian of Han
Emperor Xian of Han
Emperor Xian of Han , personal name Liu Xie, style name Bohe, was the last emperor of the Han Dynasty period of Chinese history...

 to abdicate and subsequently assumed the throne as the first emperor of the state of Cao Wei
Cao Wei
Cao Wei was one of the states that competed for control of China during the Three Kingdoms period. With the capital at Luoyang, the state was established by Cao Pi in 220, based upon the foundations that his father Cao Cao laid...

. Cao Pi then appointed Xiahou Dun as General-in-Chief (大將軍). Xiahou Dun, however, died of illness just months later.

Family

  • Ancestor: Xiahou Ying
    Xiahou Ying
    Xiahou Ying was a Minister Coachman of the early Han Dynasty. He also participated in the Chu–Han contention on Liu Bang 's side and contributed to the founding of the Han Dynasty.-Biography:...

    , served Emperor Gaozu of Han

  • Siblings:
    • Xiahou Lian (夏侯廉), younger brother, granted the title of a marquis

  • Cousin: Xiahou Yuan
    Xiahou Yuan
    Xiahou Yuan was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. He was killed in the Battle of Mount Dingjun against Liu Bei's general Huang Zhong in 219, and was given the posthumous title of Marquis Min , literally meaning "sympathetic...

    , served as a general under Cao Cao
    Cao Cao
    Cao Cao was a warlord and the penultimate chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty who rose to great power during the dynasty's final years. As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid the foundations for what was to become the state of Cao Wei and was posthumously titled...

    , killed by Huang Zhong
    Huang Zhong
    Huang Zhong was a military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. He was most noted for his victory in the Battle of Mount Dingjun, in which his force routed that of Xiahou Yuan, who was slain during battle...

     at the Battle of Mount Dingjun
    Battle of Mount Dingjun
    The Battle of Mount Dingjun was fought between the warlords Liu Bei and Cao Cao in 219 during the prelude to the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. Liu Bei's victory in the battle marked a major milestone in his Hanzhong Campaign.-The battle:...


  • Children:
    • Xiahou Chong (夏侯充)
    • Xiahou Mao
      Xiahou Mao
      Xiahou Mao, style name Zilin , was a military general and civilian administrator of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. He was the second son of Xiahou Dun...

      , married Cao Cao's daughter Princess Qinghe, appointed as General Who Pacifies the West
    • Xiahou Zizang (夏侯子臧)
    • Xiahou Zijiang (夏侯子江)
    • Five other sons who were granted titles of marquises after Xiahou Dun's death

  • Grandchildren:
    • Xiahou Yi (夏侯廙), son of Xiahou Chong
    • Two other grandsons who were granted titles of marquises after Xiahou Dun's death

  • Great-grandchildren
    • Xiahou Shao (夏侯劭), son of Xiahou Yi
    • Xiahou Zuo (夏侯佐)

Appraisals


Xiahou Dun was a violent man in nature, as early as a youth, he already had a man murdered just because he insulted his martial arts master (at the same time, he was indeed very respectful to his teachers and masters).

Xiahou Dun was likely not very welcomed by his fellow soldiers and comrades during his early years too. Once, he was held captive by newly surrendered soldiers, despite being Cao Cao's right-hand man, his direct subordinate, Han Hao
Han Hao
Han Hao, style name Yuansi , was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history....

 refused to any kind of negotiation, and ordered an attack. Xiahou Dun was only lucky that his hijackers surrendered to Han Hao at the last minute before the attack.

But he was surely the most trusted general of Cao Cao, as he was said to often ride in the same carriage as his master, a privilege not even extended to Cao's personal bodyguards Dian Wei
Dian Wei
Dian Wei was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. Famed for his enormous strength, Dian Wei excelled in wielding dual halberds, each of which was said to weigh 40 jin...

 and Xu Chu
Xu Chu
Xu Chu was a warrior who lived during the late Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history. He served as a bodyguard to the warlord Cao Cao. Gigantic and strong, yet simple-minded and honest, Xu Chu was referred to as "Dumb Tiger" by his fellow men...

. Yu Huan's Weilüe mentioned that when Cao Cao became King of Wei, he gave titles to his generals but gave Xiahou Dun a title from the Han Dynasty, rather than the land of Wei. Xiahou Dun questioned Cao Cao about it, and Cao stated that great generals should belong to great lands, and that the land of Wei was not grand enough for a general of Xiahou's caliber. While touched, Xiahou Dun refused the Han title and requested a Wei title instead, demonstrating his loyalty to his master over his loyalty to the Han emperor.

While his physical prowess was unquestioned, his military successes were few and far between. It was under his leadership that Cao Cao's forces fell to an ambush at the Battle of Bowang, costing thousands of men their lives when he pursued Liu Bei's forces into a nearby gulley.

However, when he was made a governor, Xiahou Dun quickly found his calling. Besides damming up the Taishou River and encouraging people to plant paddy in the resulting inundated land, he was also said to have personally joined in the planting. He gained a reputation for generosity because of his habit of distributing wealth among his people and keeping very little for himself. Because of this, he was well-loved by his people.

In fiction


Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based on the events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in...

, a historical novel by Luo Guanzhong
Luo Guanzhong
Luo Ben , better known by his style name Luo Guanzhong , was a Chinese writer of the early Ming Dynasty period of Chinese history. He was also known as Huhai Sanren...

, was a romanticization of the events that occurred before and during the Three Kingdoms era. In the novel, Xiahou Dun was said to be a cousin of Cao Cao, while his loss of an eye was also made much more dramatic than it probably was.

In 198, Xiahou Dun was sent to engage Gao Shun
Gao Shun
Gao Shun was a military general serving under the warlord Lü Bu during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. Although he only had 700 men under his command, he was nicknamed as the "camp crusher " for his destructive charges, and came to be known as Lü's most able commander...

 and Cao Xing
Cao Xing
Cao Xing was a military general serving under the warlord Lü Bu during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. Little was documented about Cao Xing in historical records except for an incident described in Wang Can's Records of Heroes ....

, two generals under Lü Bu
Lü Bu
Lü Bu was a military general and later a minor warlord during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. According to the Records of Three Kingdoms, Lü Bu was highly-skilled in horse-riding and archery, and was thus nicknamed "Flying General"...

, outside Xiaopei (小沛). As his force came upon the enemies, Xiahou Dun rode forward with spear set to offer a challenge. Gao Shun took him on and the two dueled for 40 or 50 bouts before Gao, feeling outmatched, retreated. Xiahou Dun pursued him deep into the enemy lines. While Xiahou Dun was giving chase, Cao Xing secretly took aim and fired an arrow at him. The arrow hit the target right in the left eye. With a cry, Xiahou pulled out the arrow along with his eyeball. "Essence of my father, blood of my mother, I cannot throw this away," he exclaimed and swallowed the eye.

His spear firmly held up, Xiahou Dun then came straight for Cao Xing. With no time to react, Cao Xing was impaled right in the face and died beneath his nemesis' horse.

When Guan Yu
Guan Yu
Guan Yu was a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty of China. He played a significant role in the civil war that led to the collapse of the Han Dynasty and the establishment of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period, of which Liu Bei was the...

 surrendered to Cao Cao after Liu Bei was defeated at Xu Province, Xiahou Dun was one of those skeptical of Guan. After Guan Yu slew six commanders of the five passes after leaving Cao Cao in search of Liu Bei, Xiahou Dun chased Guan and was about to fight the latter when Zhang Liao
Zhang Liao
Zhang Liao was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Han Dynasty and early Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history. He participated in many campaigns, including those against Yuan Shao's clan and the Wuhuan tribes...

 arrived with orders from Cao Cao to let Guan leave.

Xiahou's death in the novel was attributed to the shock he received from an encounter with the ghost of Guan Yu rather than illness.

Modern references


  • Xiahou Dun is featured as a playable character in Koei's Dynasty Warriors
    Dynasty Warriors
    is a series of tactical action video games created by Omega Force and Koei. The award-winning series is a spin-off of Koei's turn-based strategy Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, based loosely around the Chinese classical novel of the same name. The first game titled Dynasty Warriors,...

    video game series, as well as Warriors Orochi
    Warriors Orochi
    , is a PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 hack and slash video game developed by Koei and Omega Force. It is a crossover of two of Koei's popular video game series, Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors...

    , a crossover between Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors
    Samurai Warriors
    is the first title in the series of video games created by Koei's Omega Force team based loosely around the Sengoku period of Japanese history and it is a spinoff of the Dynasty Warriors series...

    .

  • Xiahou Dun appears in all 11 installments of Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms
    Romance of the Three Kingdoms (video game series)
    , or Sangokushi in Japanese, is a series of turn-based tactical role-playing simulation grand strategy wargames produced by Koei. Originating from Japan in 1985, eleven installments of the game have been published in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and North America to date.-Overview:The games are...

    strategy game series.

  • There is a card based on Xiahou Dun, named "Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed" in the Portal Three Kingdoms
    Portal Three Kingdoms
    Portal Three Kingdoms is the third Magic: The Gathering expansion of the Portal block, and the third starter level set. Like the other expansions in the Portal block, Portal: Three Kingdoms is designed for beginners to Magic. The setting is heavily based on the Chinese historical novel Romance of...

    set of the Magic: The Gathering
    Magic: The Gathering
    Magic: The Gathering , also known as Magic, is the first collectible trading card game created by mathematics professor Richard Garfield and introduced in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast. Magic continues to thrive, with approximately twelve million players as of 2011...

    collectible card game.

  • Kakōton (Xiahou Dun's name in Japanese) is portrayed in the manga and anime Battle Vixens. He is nicknamed Ton-chan and is portrayed as an honorable fighter for Kyoshou (Wei). He is shown to be best friends with Sou-Sou (Cao Cao) and later on loses his left eye and wears an eyepatch similar to Xiahou Dun.

  • Kakōton (Xiahou Dun's name in Japanese) is portrayed in the visual novel and anime series Koihime Musō
    Koihime Muso
    is a Japanese adult visual novel and strategy game based on the classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It was developed by BaseSon, and was first released on January 26, 2007, for the PC as two DVD-ROMs, followed by a re-release on April 11, 2008, containing an extra CD-ROM...

    . She is much like her counterpart in the classic novel and in the visual novel, she has an eyepatch (she does not wear one in the anime), like how Xiahou Dun lost his left eye.