The Joketsuzoku (女傑族?) (Nǚjié zú in Mandarin) or "Village of Women Heroes", but more commonly known by their Viz Media English translation as Chinese Amazons, are one of the most important social groups in the series. Shampoo, Mousse, and Cologne are Joketsuzoku. Two of their techniques, the Bakusai Tenketsu and Hiryū Shōten Ha, become the signature techniques of Ryoga Hibiki and Ranma Saotome, respectively. Numerous magical items of Joketsuzoku origin are also the focal points of several story arcs. The Joketsuzoku are from a village close to Jusenkyo known as Nyucheizu within the Bayankala Mountains.
The Joketsuzoku train many, or possibly even all, of their womenfolk in martial arts - this is the source behind their Japanese name, which translates roughly and directly as "Village of Woman Heroes", and the reason why their "dub name" is Chinese Amazons. These female martial artists are encouraged to take a great deal of pride in their skills and to be honorable, courageous warriors, though the referenced and displayed conducts of the Joketsuzoku suggests a rather brutal and amoral code of honor that encourages ruthlessness. Joketsuzoku women take such pride in their skills that they are deeply ashamed to be defeated by women from outside the village, and even have a law referred to as the Kiss of Death. Performed by giving the outsider who defeated the Joketsuzoku warrior a kiss on her cheek, it symbolically declares that the Joketsuzoku will continue to challenge the outsider, chasing her to the ends of the earth if need be, until one of them is dead.
Despite this, the Joketsuzoku do not seem to have any stigma against men practicing martial arts. While only one male Joketsuzoku character, Mousse, is given any detail in the series, all grudges and disdain born for him by his fellows stems from his, frankly, Tatewaki Kuno-like personality and his constant harassment of the uninterested Shampoo. In truth, the Joketsuzoku seem to welcome strong martial arts practitioners of the male sex, as their law states that women who are defeated by outsider men must marry those men, and Shampoo makes it clear on several occasions that she finds Ranma's formidable fighting skills to be quite attractive indeed. Though there is no formal name to this law given in canon, it is sometimes referred to in fanworks as the "Kiss of Marriage", due to its apparent nature as the counterpart to the Kiss of Death and the apparent formality with which Shampoo kisses Ranma after his first defeat of her as a male.
In fact, despite common fan belief to the contrary, the Joketsuzoku do not seem to hold any contempt for men, except when they are fighters who prove weaker than the Joketsuzoku they challenged, as is seen in the anime introductory episode for Ling-Ling & Lung-Lung. Ranma is treated with considerable respect by both Shampoo and Cologne, the latter of which even refers to him as "Muko-dono" in the Japanese, and both of them are polite and respectful towards both male customers and men in general. The only man who is ever seen being mistreated repeatedly by the Joketsuzoku is Mousse, whose mistreatments are relatively mild (he is made to do menial tasks at the Nekohanten and sometimes is swatted for being particularly annoying/insulting) and who, it must be noted, has an established bad relationship as a person with both Cologne and Shampoo.
The Joketsuzoku do not seem to know very much about Jusenkyo - at the very least, they do not interact with it much. Residents of the village were unable to recognize the Jusenkyo guide, despite his visible presence alongside Ranma and Genma Saotome when they first visited the village. Shampoo was, similarly, unable to realise the truth about Ranma's Jusenkyo curse even after he revealed that he was cursed to her, being forced to return to China and speak with Cologne before acquiring the knowledge of Ranma's true gender. Information about Jusenkyo may alternatively be restricted, rather than simply unknown. The Joketsuzoku also use Jusenkyo as a means of punishment, as seen when Shampoo returns to China in disgrace and is taken to Jusenkyo to be retrained as punishment for breaking the law by coming home in defeat.
While very little is known about the other residents of the Bayankala Mountains, the Joketsuzoku seem to have or have had dealings with other villages and peoples. They are allied with a nameless village which trades herbs to them, both medicinal and toxic; it was here that Shampoo made enemies of Pink and Link. They also seem to have had some interactions with the Musk Dynasty in the past, as Cologne was able to provide Ranma with the details of that group's history and nature. While they are evidently not closely aligned, as Cologne was surprised to discover that the Musk still lived and had been of the impression that they had died out about a century ago, they are also evidently not hostile towards each other, as Herb displayed no hesitance in speaking to Cologne about his quest to discover the Kettle of Unlocking. From Cologne's own words, they have had no major contact with the Phoenix People and believed them to only be legends until Kiima and her underlings came to Nerima in pursuit of Plum.
The Joketsuzoku are an old society and steeped in much martial arts lore; Cologne routinely mentions techniques that date back over three thousand years, and at one point in at least the anime comments she's never heard of anyone being so disrespectful in five thousand years of Joketsuzoku history. How their society is organized is unknown: the anime episode that introduces Cologne has an English title of "This Ol' Gal's the Leader of the Amazon Tribe?", but whether the Joketsuzoku truly are matriarchal, or whether Cologne is an important authority figure either way, is never made clear. Given that Cologne so freely left China to come to Japan, and both Shampoo and Mousse's referance to her by titles of familial respect, it seems doubtful that Cologne is the leader of the Joketsuzoku.
- Shampoo: The first member of the tribe introduced, Shampoo had just been declared the winner of a yearly tournament held for Joketsuzoku women when Ranma and Genma thoughtlessly devoured her prize out of hunger.
- Cologne: Shampoo's great-grandmother is a wise old woman who is rich in lore both martial and mystical.
- Mousse: Having been in love with Shampoo since they were three years old, Mousse annoys her considerably with his constant insistence on trying to woo her, despite her frequent and frequently violent attempts to deter him.
- Shampoo's Father: Initially appeared as a background character seen when his daughter was cursed and later working in the kitchen at the Cat Café.
- Ling-Ling & Lung-Lung: Only present in the anime, these two young girls are non-identical twins who look up to Shampoo as an elder sister, though the dubbed anime specifies that this is a "social" relationship and not an actual genetic relationship.
Two unnamed anime only girls, one using a spiked club and the other utilizing a trident and shield, who appeared at the end of Ling-Ling & Lung-Lung's introduction episode.
The Joketsuzoku have developed and incorporated countless martial arts techniques and training methods over the centuries of their existence. While many doubtlessly remain secret, a considerable number of these techniques are revealed over the course of the anime and manga. While no specific "Joketsuzoku style" seems to be in evidence, except perhaps that used by Shampoo and Cologne, they evidently incorporate other fighting styles into their arsenal: in the manga, Shampoo makes usage of techniques from Martial Arts Takeout, while in either canon Mousse is a stated practitioner of Hidden Weapons Style.
- Pressure points and moxibustion: The Joketsuzoku have a wide variety of techniques that revolve around manipulating the body with the application of pressure or heat to specific points. Three of the most notable are the Xi Fa Xiang Gao (which combinations manipulation of points on the head with the application of herbal extracts to modify memories), the Full Body Cat's Tongue (which renders the victim's whole body ultra sensitive to heat, so much so that Jusenkyo victims can't bear the water they need to resume their true form), and a nameless technique that allows the user to manipulate their victim's body like a puppet.
- Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken: By repeatedly striking with bare hands into an open flame in an effort to retrieve roasting chestnuts, the trainee eventually boosts their striking speed to the point where they may not only achieve this task without being burned, but strike a target hundreds of times in a matter of seconds.
- Bakusai Tenketsu: By repeatedly beating themselves against a solid boulder, the trainee both hardens their flesh to make them almost immune to blunt impacts and gains the ability to see the "breaking point" in any mass of stone. With training, one can similarly see the breaking point in wood and metal, though, despite legends to the contrary, there does not appear to be any way to use this technique on living flesh.
- Hiryū Shōten Ha: The user makes him/herself devoid of emotions while leading opponents in a circular motion, then uppercuts to form a tornado which carries off the opponent.
- Shark Fist: Presumably by usage of her ki, Cologne is able to generate violent bursts of water by touching the surface of a body of water, using these pressurized gouts to knock her opponents flying. This move appears in the manga version of the climatic battle for the Phoenix Pill saga.
- Fist of the Ice Bear: Using her ki, Cologne levitates multiple boulders of ice and directs them as guided missiles. The name may be because she uses this technique while mounted on a life-sized ice sculpture of a bear, which is also manipulated with this technique. This replaces the Shark Fist in the anime, as the Phoenix Pill saga ends in the mountains rather than on the beach.
- Dance of the Great Fire Dragon: Ling-Ling & Lung-Lung's first "super secret attack". In a badly-made Chinese dragon intended to be carried by the two of them, they conceal a tape deck player which is running a tape bearing a recording of a magical melody that causes whoever else hears it to dance uncontrollably.
- Great Dragon Fireball: The aforementioned "Great Fire Dragon" conceals a flamethrower in its mouth, which the twins may use to burn enemies that are hypnotized by the music.
- Great Dance of the Super Phoenix: Ling-Ling & Lung-Lung's second "super secret attack". The twins take to the skies in a rattletrap pedal-powdered bird and proceed to drop exploding eggs on their foes while safely out of reach. If this fails, they erect a previously constructed and concealed plywood painting of an intimidating phoenix, which is then allowed to fall onto their foe.
Video game only
Shampoo and Mousse are both playable characters in the RPG Ranma ½: Akanekodan Teki Hihou, in which they both use techniques which do not appear in other media.
- Chiryo: A healing technique that allows Shampoo to restore a small amount of health to herself or an ally, which may be based around pressure points, herbal remedies, or a combination of the two.
- Hengo Shiatsuken: Despite its name suggesting that it is a pressure point strike, the (admittedly limited) game sprite depicts Shampoo blowing herbal poison powder at her foe when she uses this technique. It allows her to daze and confuse a foe, rendering them unable to think clearly and forcing them to act randomly until
- Gorikki Nanka: Uses a special sort of flute music to paralyze a foe temporarily.
- Fukkatsu: A more powerful healing technique than the Chiryo.
- Reppu Kikoheki: Presumably by pressure point manipulation, Shampoo is able to temporarily bolster the resilience and durability of herself or an ally.
- Gowanriki: By bolstering a person's aura, this technique makes that person's attacks far more powerful.
- Koteki Seiryuken: With a mighty expenditure of ki, an ethereal dragon takes form and savages multiple foes before vanishing.
- Mokumetsudama: The user unleashes a flurry of smoke bombs laden with paralysis powder.
- Gyakuko Mashoken: A lighting fast series of feinted blows intended to confuse multiple opponents.
- Shippo Kikoheki: A variant of Shampoo's Reppu Kikoheki that affects multiple targets at once.
- Ryuo Gowanriki: Boosts multiple people at once.
In addition to having acquired many martial arts secrets, the Joketsuzoku are quite familiar with magic and a number of magical items are revealed to have been created by them.
- Nanban Mirror: Only present in the anime, this magical mirror can take any person nearby to any point in time or space they want by having a human tear shed on it. Happosai also stole this item from the Joketsuzoku in his youth; it is, in fact, a family heirloom of Cologne's. In the episode in which it debuted, Nabiki stepped on it by accident and broke it. Though Ranma, Genma and Happosai would make use of the broken mirror in a later episode, the episode turns out to all be a dream.
- 不死鳥丸 - lit "Fushichougan", English "Immortal Bird (Western Phoenix) Pill": The medicine that counteracts the dreaded Full-Body Cat's Tongue pressure point attack. The introduction of Cologne saw Ranma struggling to recover this item from her. The kanji used differ from the typical 鳳凰 ("Houou") kanji, because those kanji refer to the Eastern Phoenix (the Chinese Fenghuang), which lacks the cultural associations with fire that the Arabic Phoenix possesses.
The following weapons were given by Cologne to fight against Pink and Link.
- Suggestion Incense: When inhaled, this incense renders the victim extremely open to hypnotic suggestions, allowing others to take advantage of their mental malleability. Ranma uses this on Happosai in the manga version of the first Pantyhose Taro story, in order to enhance the play he put on in an effort to convince Happosai to change Taro's first name.
- Woman Repelling Incense/Girl Away: In the anime, this mystical incense, which produces a stink that only girls can detect and which drives them away, was given to Ranma by Shampoo as a way to protect himself. In the manga, Ranma bought it himself at a Chinese drugstore. It was used as part of a plan to weaken and punish Happosai. According to the anime, its name is "Nyokenko".
Self-defense weapons for the weak
Weapons designed to give those who are too weak to fight for themselves a means of self-defense that are in the form of ordinary objects to disguise their purpose.
- Unnamed crutch: Another one of the weapons that Ranma borrowed from Cologne to fight Mousse back by using underhanded methods. It is a self-defense weapon for the "weak-hipped elderly", but was not named, as Ranma did not get to use it.