Guo Moruo

Guo Moruo

Guo Moruo (zh-cpw|c=郭沫若|p=Guō Mòruò|w=Kuo Mo-jo, courtesy name Dǐng Táng 鼎堂) (November 16, 1892 - June 12,1978) was a Chinese author, poet, historian, archaeologist, and government official from Sichuan, China.


Family history

Guo Moruo, originally named Guo Kaizhen, was born on November 10 or 16 (he was not sure himself),in the small town of Shawan (沙湾, 'Sandy Cove') (now, part of the "prefecture-level city" of Leshan) in China's Sichuan province. Shawan is located on the Dadu River some 40 km southwest from what was then called the city of Jiading (Chia-ting), and now is the "central city" of the "prefecture-level city" of Leshan.

At the time of Guo's birth, Shawan was a town of some 180 families. David Tod Roy, "Kuo Mo-jo: The Early Years". Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971. No ISBN.]

Guo Moruo's father's ancestors were Hakkas from Ninghua County (xian) in Tingzhou fu, near thewestern border of Fujian. They moved to Sichuan in the second halfof the 17th century, after Sichuan had lost much of its population tothe rebels/bandits of Zhang Xianzhong (ca. 1605-1647). Accordingto the family legend, the only possessions that Guo's ancestorsbrought to Sichuan were things they could carry on their backs. GuoMoruo's great-grandfather, Guo Xianlin, was the first in the family toachieve a degree of prosperity. Guo Xianlin's sons established the Guoclan as the leaders of the local river shipping business, and thusimportant people in that entire region of Sichuan. It was only thenthat the Guo clan members became able to send their children toschool.

Guo Moruo's father, one of whose names may possibly have been Guo Mingxing(1854-1939) had to drop out of school at the age of 13, spent half ayear at an apprentice at a salt well, and then entered his father'sbusiness. A shrewd and smart man, who also obtained some local renownas a Chinese medicine doctor, he traded successfully dealings inoils, opium, liquor, and grain, and operared a money changingbusiness. His business success allowed him to magnify family's realestate and salt well holdings.

Guo Moruo's mother, in contrast, came from the scholar-officialbackground. She was a daughter of Du Zhouzhang (Tu Cho-chang), aholder of the coveted jinshi (chin-shih) degree. When serving asan acting magistrate in Huangping prefecture ("zhou") [Now part of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture] (in eastern
Guizhou), Du died heroically in 1858 when fighting Miaorebels, when his daughter (future Guo Moruo's mother) was less than ayear old. She married into Guo family in 1872, when she was just 14.


Guo Moruo - originally known under his birth name, Guo Kaizhen (KuoK'ai-chen) - was the 8th child of his mother. Three of his siblingshad died before he was born, but more children were born later, so bythe time he went to school, he had 7 siblings.

Guo also had the childhood name Guo Wenbao ('Cultivated Leopard'),given due to the dream his mother had on the night he was conceived.

A few years before Guo Moruo was born, his parents retained a privatetutor, Shen Huanzhang, to provide education for their children, in thehope of them later passing civil service examinations. A precociouschild, Guo Moruo started studying at this "family school" in thespring of 1897, at the early age of four and half. Initially, thestudy was based on Chinese classics, but since the governmenteducation reforms of 1901, mathematics and other modern subjectsstarted to be introduced.

When in the fall of 1903 a number of public schools were establishedin Sichuan's capital, Chengdu, Guo children started going there tostudy. Guo Moruo's oldest brother, Guo Kaiwen (1877-1936), entered one of them,Dongwen Xuetang, a secondary school preparing students for study inJapan; the next oldest brother, Guo Kaizou (K'ai-tso), joined WubeiXuetang, a military school. Guo Kaiwen soon became instrumental inexposing his brother and sisters still in Shawan to modern books andmagazines that allowed them to learn about the wide world outside.

Guo Kaiwen continued to be a role model for his younger brothers whenin February 1905 he left for Japan, to study law and administration inTokyo Imperial University on a provincial government's scholarship.

After passing competitive examinations, in the early 1906 Guo Moruostarted attending the new upper-level primary school ("gaodeng xiaoxue") in Jiading. It was a boarding school, located in a formerBuddhist temple, and the boy lived on premises. He continued to amiddle school in 1907, acquiring by this time the reputation of anacademically gifted student but a troublemaker. His peers respectedhim and often elected him a delegate to represent their interests infront of the school administration. Often spearheading student-facultyconflicts, he was expelled and reinstated a few times, and finallyexpelled for good in October 1909.

Young Guo was, in a sense, glad to be expelled, as he now had a reason togo to the provincial capital Chengdu to continue his education there.

In October 1911, Guo was surprised by his mother announcing that amarriage was arranged for him. He went along with his family's wishes,marrying his appointed bride, Zhang Jinghua, sight-unseen in Shawan in March 1912. Immediately, he regretted this marriage, and five days after the marriage, he left his ancestral home and returned to Chengdu, leaving his wife behind. He never formally divorced her, but apparently neverlived with her either.

Study Abroad

Following his elder borthers, Guo Moruo left China in December 1913, arriving to Japan in the early January 1914.After a year of preparatory study in Tokyo, he entered Sixth HigherSchool in Okayama. After graduation, he entered in 1918 theMedical School of Kyushyu Imperial University (九州帝国大学) in Fukuoka. There he fell in love with a Japanese woman who became his common-law wife. His studies at this time focused on foreign language and literature, namely that of: Spinoza, Goethe, Walt Whitman, and the Bengali poet Tagore. Along with numerous translations, he published his first poem anthology, titled "The Goddesses" (女神 - nǚ shén) (1921). He was one of the co-founder of the "Ch'uang-tsao she" ("Creation Society") in Shanghai, which promoted modern and vernacular literature.

The war years

He joined the Communist Party of China in 1927. He was involved in the Communist Nanchang Uprising and fled to Japan after its failure. He stayed there for 10 years studying Chinese ancient history until he returned in 1937 to join the anti-Japanese resistance. Guo remarried in 1939 to Yu Lichun. After the war, his Japanese wife went to reunite with him but was disappointed to know that he had already formed a new family.

A communist leader

Along with holding important government offices in the People's Republic of China, he was a prolific writer, not just of poetry but also fiction, plays, autobiographies, translations, and historical and philosophical treatises. He was the first President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and remained so from its founding in 1949 until his death in 1978. He was also the first president of University of Science & Technology of China (USTC), a new type of university established by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) after the founding of the People's Republic of China and aimed at fostering high-level personnel of science and technology. He produced his study of inscriptions on oracle bones and bronze vessels, "Liang Chou chin wen tz'u ta hsi t'u lu k'ao shih" (Pinyin: “Liangzhou jinwenci daxi tulu kaoshi”) (1935 “Corpus of Inscriptions on Bronzes from the Two Zhou Dynasties”). In this work, he attempted to demonstrate, according to the Communist doctrine, the “slave society” nature of ancient China. His theory on the "slave society of China" remains highly controversial, although it was praised by Mao and the party.

In 1966 he was one of the first to be attacked in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. He confessed that he had not properly understood the thought of Mao Zedong, and agreed that his works should be burned. However, this was not enough to protect his family. Two of his sons died following persecution by Red Guards.

Unlike the others similarly attacked, Guo Moruo's was spared as he was chosen by Mao as "the representative of the rightwing" in the 9th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 1969. He regained much of his influence by the seventies.

Guo Moruo was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize (1951).


* Encyclopædia Britannica 2005 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, article- "Guo Moruo"
* [ Guo Moruo] (

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • GUO MORUO — est le nom de plume de Guo Kaizhen, écrivain, savant et homme politique. Sa contribution la plus importante au domaine de la culture chinoise consiste sans doute dans ses études, qui font autorité, à propos des inscriptions anciennes sur os… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Guo Moruo — Guo Moruo,   Kuo Mo jo, chinesischer Gelehrter, Schriftsteller und Politiker, * Leshan (Provinz Sichuan) 16. 11. 1892, ✝ Peking 12. 6. 1978; schrieb nach Studien in China und Japan zahlreiche Kurzgeschichten, Gedichte, Dramen mit zunächst… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Guo Moruo — Statue von Guo Moruo im Shichahai Park in Peking Guo Moruo (chinesisch 郭沫若 Guō Mòruò; * 1892 unter dem Namen Guo Kaizhen im Kreis Leshan, Provinz Sichuan; † 12. Juni 1978) war chinesischer Schriftsteller und Politiker …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Guo Moruo — Este es un nombre chino; el apellido es Guo. Monumento a Guo Moruo. Guo Moruo (chino: 郭沫若, pinyin: Guō Mòruò, Wade Giles: Kuo Mo jo) (Leshan, China; noviembre de 1892 Pekín; 12 de junio de …   Wikipedia Español

  • Guo Moruo — Dans ce nom asiatique, le nom de famille, Guo, précède le prénom. Monument en l honneur de Guo Moruo …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Guo Moruo — /gwaw maw rddwaw , zhwaw / 1892 1978, Chinese intellectual, writer, poet, scholar, and government official. * * * or Kuo Mo jo orig. Guo Kaizhen born November 1892, Shawan, Luoshan county, Sichuan province, China died June 12, 1978, Beijing… …   Universalium

  • Guo Moruo — Éste es un nombre chino; el apellido es Guo. Guo Moruo (chino: 郭沫若, pinyin: Guō Mòruò, Wade Giles: Kuo Mo jo) (Leshan, China; noviembre de 1892 Pekín; 12 de junio de 1978) fue un escritor chino contemporáneo. Escritor muy prolífico, fue poeta,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Guo Moruo — pseud. di Guo Khaizen e Kuo Mo jo …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Guo Moruo — /gwaw maw rddwaw , zhwaw / 1892 1978, Chinese intellectual, writer, poet, scholar, and government official …   Useful english dictionary

  • GUO — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Guo Boxiong (* 1942), chinesischer Politiker und General Guo Gengmao, (* 1950), chinesischer Politiker Guo Huai, chinesischer Offizier im 3. Jahrhundert Guo Moruo (1892 1978), chinesischer Schriftsteller… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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