Lubi Kui

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Lubi Kui (simplified Chinese: 陆费逵; traditional Chinese: 陸費逵; pinyin: Lùbì Kuí, 17 September 1886 – 9 July 1941) was a Chinese educationist and publisher. Lubi (陸費) was his family name. His courtesy name was Bohong (伯鸿). He was an early advocate for simplified Chinese characters.

Early life[edit]

Lubi was born in a noble family in Hanzhong, Shaanxi, though his parents had come from Zhejiang. His mother was a niece of Li Hongzhang, a famous Chinese politician during the late Qing dynasty. In his early years, Lubi was taught in classical Chinese. Beginning in 1898, he attended to Nanchang English School (南昌英语学塾) and started to learn English and Japanese. He was influenced by new thought and was thus pro-revolutionary.


In the spring of 1903, Lubi went to Wuchang, where he launched the "Xinxuejie Bookstore" (新学界书店). As the manager, he sold many pro-revolution books and booklets. He joined the underground revolution movement and became a surveillant. In 1905 he became the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Chubao (楚报) and after the closure of the newspaper under the pressure of Governor Zhang Zhidong he fled to Shanghai. There, he was employed as the manager and editor of a publishing company. In late 1906, Lubi became the headmaster of Wenming Primary School. He started to make a figure in Shanghai.[1]

In 1908, Lubi started the first professional magazine in education in China, the Jiaoyu Zazhi (教育雜誌). Lubi believed that education is the key in making a better nation. He published many essays and thesis on the magazine to introduce his ideas in education reforming.

In 1909, Lubi published an article titled "General Education Should Use Vernacular Characters" (普通教育应当采用俗体字) on Jiaoyu Zazhi. This is the first time in history to advocate the promotion of simplified Chinese characters. In 1922, Lubi published another article "Deliverance on Coordinating Chinese Characters" (整理汉字的意见), in which he suggests that educators should respect the simplified characters invented by the folk and should adopt these characters in their teaching. He also proposes to simplify complex characters systematically.[2]

Lubi is also known as the founder of Zhonghua Book Company, one of the most influential contemporary publishing company in classical Chinese and Chinese historical publication. In the 1930s, Zhonghua was the most successful publishing company in East Asia. By the Second Sino-Japanese War, the annual income of Zhonghua was over 10,000,000 yuan and had over 40 branches throughout China. In Shanghai and Hong Kong, it had over 3,000 employees. Under the management of Lubi, Zhonghua published a series of important books for Chinese cultural and historical studies, such as the Cihai and the Gujin Tushu Jicheng.[3]

During the war, due to the his influence, Lubi's life was threatened by Japanese agents. He moved the headquarters of Zhonghua to Kunming. Then he went to Hong Kong in order to produce enough books for the endangered nation. In 1941, Lubi died of cerebral hemorrhage.