Guo Jingming

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Guo Jingming
Born (1983-06-06) June 6, 1983 (age 31)
Zigong, Sichuan, China
Occupation Writer, director
Nationality Chinese
Ethnicity Han Chinese
Citizenship China
Education Shanghai University
(dropped out)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Guo.

Guo Jingming (Chinese: 郭敬明; pinyin: Guō Jìngmíng; born on June 6, 1983 in Zigong, Sichuan) is a Chinese YA writer. In addition to being an author and businessperson, Guo is also a teen pop idol and popular celebrity figure.[1] On the other hand, Guo is a polarizing figure. In 2007, he was voted on, one of the country's biggest online forums, as China's "most hated male celebrity" for the third year in a row. Yet three of his four novels have sold over a million copies each, and by 2007, he was one of the best selling authors in China.[2][3]

Guo Jingming is the president of Ke Ai Entertainment Company, which was established in 2004 by himself.[2] Ke Ai mainly produces teen magazines such as "Top Novel" and "Island".[2][3] In 2008, Guo Jingming signed a contract with Tian Yu Entertainment Company.[4] Soon after, Guo was hired by Changjiang Publishing House in 2009 as a vice editor. Guo Jingming was the youngest member in China's Writers Association when he was just 23 years old.[5] Guo is also a screenwriter and film director.[3][6] Guo wrote and directed Tiny Times, Tiny Times 2 and Tiny Times 3, all are based on his own novels.


Early life[edit]

Guo Jingming was born in a middle-class family in Zigong, Sichuan province, located in the southwest of China. Guo's father, Cheng Jianwei, is an engineer who works in a state-owned enterprise; his mother, named Zou Huilan, works in a local bank as a clerk.[1][2][7] Guo showed strong interest in reading during his early years. His mother bought many books to inspire him in reading, explaining everything until Guo was able to understand. Guo was able to memorize what he read or heard, such as stories that people read to him. Guo was able to recite them after listening to it only once. Guo's mother strongly supported his interest in reading, and let him pick any books he liked in the store.[7]

In 1988, Guo went to elementary school in his hometown, Zigong. Guo's reading ability improved in school. He expanded his reading volumes, which built up his foundational ability to write. Consequently, Guo became the best student in writing class.[7]

Guo's writing talent emerged in his middle school years. Guo continued to read, including famous works Chinese literature and Wuxia fiction, especially those written by Jin Yong and Gu Long. Large amount of reading taught and inspired him more in writing, so that Guo started writing for magazines. In 1997, Guo published his first poem, "Loneliness", in a national magazine named "Rensheng Shiliuqi".[7] "Loneliness" is a contemporary poem, expressing Guo's personal feelings of melancholy during school times. Guo received 10 RMB (approximately 1.5 US Dollars) as the remuneration from Rengsheng Shiliuqi magazine, and it meant a lot to Guo as well as his family.[7]

New Concept Writing competition[edit]

With his mother's encouragement, Guo attended the third and fourth New Concept Writing competition, a national writing game sponsored by Mengya Magazine. The "Script" and "Our Last Song on Campus" eventually won the first prize for both of the contests in 2001 and 2002 respectively. Guo's success rapidly spread throughout the nation.[2][6][7] The "New Concept" contest transported Guo Jingming from Zigong to Shanghai, "a bustling and prosperous metropolis", where "I could easily find a lot more books to read than in my hometown," said Guo.[1]


A year later, in 2003, Guo published his first novel—Huan Cheng(幻城).[6] The novel sold 800,000 copies in the first couple months, which won him accolades as "one of the most popular writers" in China.[7] Huan Cheng(幻城) has sold more than 1.5 million copies in the past years, which made Guo well-known and popular throughout the country.[2][7]

While Guo finished his high school, he attended college in Shanghai, and determined to stay there after graduation;[3] but Guo gradually realized that "he was caught up by the abundance of the city". However, Guo still decided to develop in Shanghai "with nothing and no one to help me except for the limited fame I gained through the writing contest".[1] However, on the Christmas Day of 2003, Guo gathered five of his closed friends in the newest McDonald's in Shanghai, decided to establish a writing studio called "island". Since then, Guo has started his writing and business career in a 140 square metres (1,500 sq ft) apartment studio.[6]


Huan Cheng[edit]

Guo's first book, Huan Cheng (幻城) (lit. The City of Fantasies), was first published as a series on the magazine Meng Ya. Guo achieved overnight success in 2003 when his novel "City of Fantasy" launched on the Beijing's book market. Having sold over 1.5 million copies, the book ranked second on the best-seller list, just after the famous writer Chi Li's novel.[citation needed]

Tiny Times[edit]

A series of books containing 3 books entitled 1.0, 2.0, 3.0.

Jue Ji[edit]

A series of books in memory of Guo's 10-year writing career (爵迹).

Critical Response[edit]


In March 13, 2010, Wang Meng published his Lao Wang Series at Beijing Zhongguancun Book City; in his book, he saied that Guo Jingming "has his weakness, which could be melancholy. That is one of the source of power of all writers, best wish to him", "I think that Guo has a special note in language, that one of the word we like is 'the foreignization of language', and he is good at it, therefore, his novel is quite poetic. Besides, his tastes of life is quite rich."[8]


In July 2006, Han Han and Zhang Yueran published blogs which criticized Guo Jingming and his fans. Zhang Yueran said that "Guo Jingming has lost the basic criteria of being a writer", and she felt shame for it; Han Han then criticized his fans, gave remarks of being foolish to them. Fans of both sides began their lip fights on the Internet.

In 2008, The New York Times published articles, commented on Guo Jingming and his business in China, said Guo Jingming had became the "Most Successful Pop Fiction Writer of China". The article made a comparison on the commercial influence of the Nobel Literature Prize Lateral Gao Xingjian in 2000, Wolf Totem and its author Jiang Rong, and that of Guo Jingming; then the newpaper cited the quote from Professor Liu He from Columbia university said:“On one hand, the CPC made oppresion on writers how hold different opinions, on another hand, the CPC relaxed the regulation on post-80-generation writers, allowing them go free in worshipping money and extreme-individualism; this is a conspiracy." The article also mentioned Guo's three successive winning on Tianya BBS's title "My Most Hated Male-Writer".[9]

In June 19, 2008. Han Han and another guest Chen Danqing at Hunan TV program Ling Dian Feng Yun made reference on the New York Times, which named Guo Jingming as "the Most Successful Pop Fiction Writer in China".[10] They reckoned this is another alternative way to humiliate China.[11]

In 2009, Han Han made another remark on Guo Jingming, said "the difference between me and him is being a man or a woman, on his existence, I can only say, I do own less money, but I am better than him in all other respects. Even if you judge a man base on money solemnly, I lost, and I have no other way. His has a special favor to the post-90 generations, expecially to those who live at the city-county area", "Everyone has their own value, there is no right and wrong, but nobel and vulgar, his value is quite vulgar is this sort of respect."[12]

In October 2009, famouse literary critic Xiao Ying made comments on Han Han and Guo Jingming:"I do not acknowledge him to be a writer, he is only a souless merchant on words. Some critics think his language is eloquent, but this so-called "eloquent" is a vanity, senseless in time and style, but just an imitation on being cool and sentimental. Guo Jingming's sentimental is not the sort of 'youth literature' which 'being melancholy of interprite a new word', and it has nothing to do with elegance of traditional Chinese literature, but only a business tone of some post-80s writers. At the beginning, the reading give images like Fuji Mount in Japan. It looks good, however, after then, it soon shattered like a slide project. The text lacks of contents, could not endure in-depth reading, not to say re-read, etc. This is a sort of 'use plum soup to make bloody word' business gaming." And on Huan Cheng:" when you read the 1/5 of the book, you are looking forward to a brilliant writer, however, after 2/5, you can see a mechanical repetition of the work, the content and the emotion has no real development. Literature must have soul, yet ,Guo Jingming's writing let me feel that he has no idea what soul is. However, he is quite intelligent, is an expert on business type of writing and operation, and has made a great 'success' out of it."[13]

Famous writer Mo Huaqi said:"I think in the next 20–30 years, there could hard be a master like Jin Yong or Liang Yusheng, since their style is hard to copy. Younger writers under modern environment are too fickled and business oriented, they cannot immerse themselves in literature. Nowadays, attention focused Guo Jingming and Han Han are only words gamers, trying to attract people attention, and hardly made a touch on soul."[14]

Avant-garde writer Ma Yuan said:"Nowadays in literature world, there are too many super stars. Guo jingming and his-type super star writers are not same to us in our time. I do not think that he is writing novels, but rather something invented. Todays novel cannot be recognized as novel. I am not rejecting different type of writing, but works like Harry Potter or so really lacks of flavor, and reading his works is also lacking of interests.[15]


In September 2011, the Nobel Literature Lateral Mo Yan said during an interview said that "if just using writing to buy an apartment is rather difficult now. However, making a living like Guo Jingming, I guess there is only one Guo Jingming in China at the moment."[16]

In September 2011, the Nobel Literature Lateral Mo Yan said during an interview said that "if just using writing to buy an apartment is rather difficult now. However, making a living like Guo Jingming, I guess there is only one Guo Jingming in China at the moment."[16]


Giddens Ko of Taiwan said during an interview that he reads Han Han's sometimes, but never read Guo Jingming's.[17][18]

Plagiarism controversy[edit]

In the year of 2004, Guo Jingming published his second book named Never Flowers in Never Dream while he studied in Shanghai University.[2][3] The book portrayed a triangle love "featuring harmless forays into the Beijing underworld".[2] Never Flowers in Never Dream has sold 600,000 copies in the first month after releasing.[2] However, soon after, a court found that the book has "shared 12 major plot elements and 57 similarities with another author".[5] The novel that Guo was accused to plagiarize is named "In and Out of the Circle" written by Zhuang Yu.[2] In 2006, the court made the final judgment, which announced that Guo Jingming has violated Zhuang Yu's copyright, and ordered him to pay Zhuang Yu 200,000 RMB (approximate $25,000) as compensation and apologize to Zhuang.[2][19] Guo Jingming has paid the damage fee; however, he refused to apologize or admit the plagiarism, or talk about this case.[2][5]

Guo's success was muted by the controversy of plagiarism. After the affair of plagiarism, Guo has been called "Super Plagiarism Boy", "out-and-out thief", and "no sense of decency" by outraged people; however, it did not affect the support of his fans. Guo's next musical album and novel still sold very well, so that Guo responded that "I felt upset but soon realized that selling well was where strength lay".[1][2] Guo Jingming's attitude to plagiarism was positive, he said people criticize him because they never read his book, so he would not pay any attentions to their false judgments, though he hates to be misunderstood.[1] Guo also announced that he would prove to people they were wrong even if it would take ten years to clarify.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Jia, Mei (April 26, 2012). "Guo Jingming: Man of Many Parts.". China Daily. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m King, Aventurina (April 26, 2012). "China's Pop Fiction". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Xia, Yu (September 2010). "The Impression of Guo Jingming". Xiao Zuo Jia Xuan Kan: 66. 
  4. ^ "Guo Jingming Joins TianYu, Becomes An Official Star". ShenZheng Evening. April 26, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Lim, Louisa. "A Pop Idol Writer For China's New Generation". NPR. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d Wang, Yechen. "The Guo Jingming Commercial Empire's Five Secrets He Is Dashing". Retrieved March 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h A, Qin (April 26, 2012). "My Success Is Perfectly Justified". Jingjiang Evening Newspaper. 
  8. ^ "《王蒙高度评价郭敬明:他对生活的兴味颇为浓厚》". 卜昌伟 (in 简体中文). 人民网. Retrieved 2010年03月14日. 
  9. ^ "China's Pop Fiction(中国通俗小说)". AVENTURINA KING (in 英文). NYTime. Retrieved 2013年06月16日. 
  10. ^ 郭敬明被《纽约时报》评为“中国最成功作家”
  11. ^ 零点锋云 (2008年6月15日). "零点锋云(韩寒,陈丹青)2". Retrieved 2011年8月11日. 
  12. ^ "《韩寒评价郭敬明不好看 称与其"男女有别"》" (in 简体中文). 搜狐网. Retrieved 2009年10月31日. 
  13. ^ "《肖鹰:我不承认郭敬明是作家,韩寒是社会批评家》" (in 简体中文). 中国新闻网. Retrieved 2009年12月23日. 
  14. ^ "学者:30年难出梁羽生 郭敬明韩寒只是玩字游戏" (in zh-cn). 搜狐网. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  15. ^ "马原:小说已死(组图)" (in zh-cn). 网易. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  16. ^ a b "《茅奖得主莫言:靠写作买房子难,全国只有郭敬明》" (in 简体中文). 人民网. Retrieved 2011年09月25日. 
  17. ^ "《主播說故事-九把刀只看韓寒 不看郭敬明》" (in 繁体中文). 中時電子報. Retrieved 2013年06月19日. 
  18. ^ "《九把刀接受专访 自称很喜欢韩寒》" (in 简体中文). 新浪娛樂. Retrieved 2013年04月24日. 
  19. ^ Jiang, Kang (October 2005). "Start Talking From Guo Jingming's Case". Friend of Middle School Students: 18–19. 

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