In a Buddhist novel Saiyuki (written 1570 in China, based on a real travel made in 629 - 645 by Genjou), Son Goku is a rascal monkey in heaven that causes quite a ruckus with his nyoibou (super extendable stick), kintoun (a cloud-mobile), and his mischeviousness. As a punishment, Buddha places him under a mountain. Poor Son Goku is trapped there for years and years to come, until a travelling female Buddhist monk Sanzouhoushi sees him and frees him with her magical Buddhist powers. Sanzouhoushi fixes a non-detachable ring around his head as a safety precaution. Just in case the monkey misbehaves, a splitting headache will be given as a punishment.

During Sanzouhoushi's time, it had been a while since anyone brought Buddhist teachings straight from India to China, and the authenticity of rewrites after rewrites of the Buddhist texts are in question. Sanzouhoushi is on a mission from China to travel to India and translate the original Buddhist scriptures into Chinese and to bring it back. Son Goku, along with Chiyo Hakkai, a pig, and Sa Goshou, an evil spirit that lives in the Gobi Desert, are protectors of Sanzouhoushi from evil spirits that want to prevent her from reaching Tenjiku (India). The three followers of Sanzouhoushi are former gods in heaven, each of whom were either kicked out of heaven or descended down to Earth on their own will, for either the reasons of mischief, carelessness, or sin.

Son Goku is the main character in the novel. Along with his two tools, some of the super powers he posesses includes incredible strength, and the ability to make miniature clone fighters of himself from his hair.

Note that the names mentioned here is how it would be pronounced in Japanese, which differs greatly from the Chinese pronounciations.

In Dragon Ball, a girl named Bulma discovers Son Goku, a boy with a tail. Later, they find a talking pig. There are some similarities here.

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