Songoku, the Monkey King (Sun Wukong in Chinese) is the hero of the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West. He was a mischievous deity whose pranks wreaked havoc in Heaven. To atone for his misdeeds, he was assigned to serve as a bodyguard for a pious monk traveling between China and India carrying the Buddhist scriptures. In this print, Songoku holds his iron spear, cavorting with another legendary animal, the Jade Rabbit. The association between a white rabbit and the moon can be traced deep into Japanese folklore. According to the Kojiki, the waning and waxing of the moon is tied to a mythical rabbit losing and finding its skin. The character of the Jade Rabbit bears Chinese and Indian origins. According to Chinese tradition, this immortal rabbit can be seen silhouetted against the full moon, preparing ingredients for the elixir of life.