Tien Shinhan (Tenshinhan), is a supporting protagonist and former antagonist in the Dragon Ball series. He is called just Tien in the English version of Dragon Ball Z. He is a disciplined and reclusive character with a strong devotion to martial arts which made him one of the strongest characters in the Dragon Ball series. He is an integral member of the Z Fighters who always engage enemies that are considered tougher than him. He loves spending time with his best friend, Chiaotzu and they spend most of their time training together.
He is a master of martial arts and a very powerful warrior who is often considered as one of the most powerful characters in the Dragon Ball series. He had a rough upbringing which best explains his heartless and harsh attitude with a love for causing pains on his victims. He was convinced by Goku and Master Roshi who made him to see the flaws of his master’s teachings, Tien Shinhan thereafter became their trusted ally. Sometimes, his independent and reclusive nature puts him far apart from the other Z Fighters but he still remains an important member especially, in moments of dire needs.
Tien Shinhan is one of the many characters on Dragon Ball created with clues from Wu Cheng’s Journey to the West. He possesses three eyes which resembles the character Erlang Shen (Yang Jian) from Wu Cheng’s novel. They both possess similar qualities like a perfect knowledge of martial arts and they were supporting protagonists in their respective roles.
He is a triclops (three-eyed creature), because he is a descendant of the three-eyed clan though we were not informed of its existence as another race, it is believed that it is just a rare trait in humans. His origin was questioned by Krillin who defeated him (Tien) for the title of “strongest earthling”, Krillin wondered if Tien originated from earth. However, Piccolo once referred to him as an Earthling.
It is believed that Tien Shinhan was not born with the third eye because, according to Hindu culture, the third eye is gotten after becoming enlightened. It was further evident in the series’ video game “Dragon Ball Z : The Legacy of Goku II” where Tien Shinhan’s third eye is achieved through meditation by scanning the friendly Tien’s NPC with the scouter.
Tien Shinhan loves travelling on ostrich or llama and enjoys eating jiaozi/gyouza (his best friend, Chiaotzu got his name from this food) and shumai (the origin of the names, Shu and Mai). He also loves training in martial arts and volleyball.