1 Early life 2 Biography 3 Da Tongshu 4 Philosophical views 5 Death 6 See also 7 References 8 External links
Kang was born on 19 March 1858 in Nanhai County, Guangdong
province (now the
Courtesy name (zi)
Traditional Chinese 廣廈
Hanyu Pinyin Guǎngshà¹
Yale Romanization Gwóng-hah
Courtesy names (hao)
Traditional Chinese 長素
Hanyu Pinyin Chángsù
Yale Romanization Chèuhng-sou
Traditional Chinese 明夷
Hanyu Pinyin Míngyí
Yale Romanization Mìhng-yìh
Traditional Chinese 更生 or 更甡
Hanyu Pinyin Gēngshēng
Yale Romanization Gāng-sāng
Traditional Chinese 西樵山人
Hanyu Pinyin Xīqiáo Shānrén
Yale Romanization Sāi-chīu Sāan-yàhn
Traditional Chinese 游存叟
Hanyu Pinyin Yóucúnsǒu
Yale Romanization Yàuh-chyùhn-sáu
Traditional Chinese 天游化人
Hanyu Pinyin Tiānyóu Huàrén
Yale Romanization Tīn-yàuh Fa-yàhn
¹ K'ang Yu-wei: A Biography and a Symposium gives Guǎngxià 廣夏
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Kang's best-known and probably most controversial work was Da Tong shu
(大同書). The title of this book derives from the name of a utopian
society imagined by Confucius, but it literally means "The Book of
Great Unity". The ideas of this book appeared in his lecture notes
from 1884. Encouraged by his students, he worked on this book for the
next two decades, but it was not until his exile in
Tang Poem: Returning Home As An Unrecognized Old Man, Nantoyōsō Collection, Japan
Kang Youwei, circa 1920
His desire to end the traditional Chinese family structure defines him
as an early advocate of women's independence in China. He reasoned
that the institution of the family practiced by society since the
beginning of time was a great cause of strife. Kang hoped it would be
The family would be replaced by state-run institutions, such as
womb-teaching institutions, nurseries and schools. Marriage would be
replaced by one-year contracts between a woman and a man. Kang
considered the contemporary form of marriage, in which a woman was
trapped for a lifetime, to be too oppressive. Kang believed in
equality between men and women and that there should be no social
barrier barring women from doing whatever men can do.
Kang saw capitalism as an inherently evil system. He believed that
government should establish socialist institutions to overlook the
welfare of each individual. At one point, he even advocated that
government should adopt the methods of "communism" although it is
debated what Kang meant by this term. He was surely one of the first
advocates of Western communism in China.
In this spirit, in addition to establishing government nurseries and
schools to replace the institution of the family, he also envisioned
government-run retirement homes for the elderly. It is debated whether
Kang's socialist ideas were inspired more by Western thought or by
traditional Confucian ideals.
Lawrence G. Thompsom believes that his socialism was based on
traditional Chinese ideals. His work is permeated with the Confucian
ideal of ren (仁), or humanity. However, Thompson also noted a
reference by Kang to Fourier. Thus, some Chinese scholars believe that
Kang's socialist ideals were influenced by Western intellectuals after
his exile in 1898.
Notable in Kang's Da Tong Shu were his enthusiasm for and his belief
in bettering humanity through technology, unusual for a Confucian
scholar during his time. He believed that Western technological
progress had a central role in saving humanity. While many scholars of
his time continued to maintain the belief that Western technology
should be adopted only to defend China against the West, he seemed to
whole-heartedly embrace the modern idea that technology is integral
for advancing mankind. Before anything of modern scale had been built,
he foresaw a global telegraphic and telephone network. He also
believed that as a result of technological advances, each individual
would only need to work three or four hours per day, a prediction that
would be repeated by the most optimistic futurists later in the 20th
When the book was first published, it was received with mixed
reactions. Kang's support for the
Former home of
Kang died at his home in the city of Qingdao,
Gongche Shangshu movement Lawrence M. Kaplan. Homer Lea: American Soldier of Fortune. University Press of Kentucky, 2010. ISBN 978-0813126166.
^ Eiko Woodhouse (2 August 2004). The Chinese Hsinhai Revolution: G.
E. Morrison and Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1897-1920. Routledge.
pp. 113–. ISBN 978-1-134-35242-5.
^ Jonathan D. Spence (28 October 1982). The Gate of Heavenly Peace:
The Chinese and Their Revolution. Penguin Publishing Group.
pp. 84–. ISBN 978-1-101-17372-5.
^ Shêng Hu; Danian Liu (1983). The 1911 Revolution: A Retrospective
After 70 Years. New World Press. p. 55.
^ The National Review, China. 1913. p. 200.
^ Monumenta Serica. H. Vetch. 1967. p. 67.
^ Percy Horace Braund Kent (1912). The Passing of the Manchus. E.
Arnold. pp. 382–.
^ M.A. Aldrich (1 March 2008). The Search for a Vanishing Beijing: A
Guide to China's Capital Through the Ages. Hong Kong University Press.
pp. 176–. ISBN 978-962-209-777-3.
Jung-pang Lo. K'ang Yu-wei: A Biography and a Symposium. Library of
Congress number 66-20911.
M. E. Cameron, The Reform Movement in China, 1898–1912 (1931, repr.
1963); biography ed. and tr. by Lo Jung-pang (1967).
CHANG HAO: "Intellectual change and the reform movement, 1890-1898",
in: Twitchett, Denis and Fairbanks, John (ed.): The Cambridge History
of China, Vol. 11, Late Ch’ing, 1800–1911, Part 2 (1980).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 274–338, esp.
FRANKE, WOLFGANG: Die staatspolitischen Reformversuche K’ang Yu-weis
und seiner Schule (1935). (Ph.D.).
HOWARD, RICHARD C., "K’ang Yu-wei (1858-1927): His Intellectual
Background and Early Thought", in A.F. Wright and Denis Twitchett
(eds.): Confucian Personalities. Stanford: Stanford University Press,
1962, pp. 294–316 and 382-386 (notes).
HOWARD, RICHARD C.: The early life and thought of K’ang Yu-wei,
1858-1927 (1972). Ph.D. Columbia University.
HSIAO, KUNG-CHUAN: A Modern China and a New World – K`ang Yu-wei,
Reformer and Utopian, 1858-1927 (1975). Seattle and London: University
of Washington Press.
KARL, REBECCA and ZARROW, PETER (Hg.): Rethinking the 1898 Reform
Period – Political and Cultural Change in Late Qing China (2002).
Cambridge/Mass.: Harvard University Press, esp. pp. 24–33.
TENG, SSU-YÜ and FAIRBANK, JOHN K.: China's response to the West –
a documentary survey 1839-1923 (1954, 1979). Cambridge/Mass.: Harvard
University Press, pp. 147–164 (chapter about Kang Youwei).
THOMPSON, LAURENCE G.: Ta t´ung shu: the one-world philosophy of
K`ang Yu-wei (1958). London: George Allen and Unwin, esp.
ZARROW, PETER: “The rise of Confucian radicalism”, in Zarrow,
Peter: China in war and revolution, 1895-1949 (New York: Routledge),
W. Franke, Die staatspolitischen Reformversuche K'ang Yu-weis u.
seiner Schule. Ein Beitrag zur geistigen Auseinandersetzung Chinas mit
dem Abendlande (in Mitt. des Seminars für Orientalische Sprachen,
Bln. 38, 1935, Nr. 1, S. 1–83). –
R. C. Howard, "K'ang Yu-wei (1858–1927): His Intellectual Background
and Early Thought" (in Confucian Personalities, Hg. A. F. Wright u. D.
Twitchett, Stanford 1962, S. 294–316). –
K'ang Yu-wei. A Biography and a Symposium, Hg. Lo Jung-pang, Tucson
1967 (The Association for Asian Studies: Monographs and Papers, Bd.
G. Sattler-v. Sivers, Die Reformbewegung von 1898 (in Chinas große
Wandlung. Revolutionäre Bewegungen im 19. u. 20. Jh., Hg. P. J.
Opitz, Mchn. 1972, S. 55–81). –
Chi Wen-shun, K'ang Yu-wei (1858–1927) (in Die Söhne des Drachen.
Chinas Weg vom Konfuzianismus zum Kommunismus, Hg. P. J. Opitz, Mchn.
1974, S. 83–109). –
Hsiao Kung-chuan, A Modern China and a New World: K'ang Yu-wei,
Reformer and Utopian, 1858–1927, Seattle 1975.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kang Youwei.
K'ang Yu-wei on Encyclopedia.com
On the Ostensible Sources of Mao Zedong's Utopia:
WorldCat Identities VIAF: 73995735 LCCN: n50045955 GND: 118559761 SUDOC: 029466806 BNF: cb13205779b (data) BIBSYS: 90964259 ULAN: 500336732 NLA: 36732279 NDL: 00367199 NCL: 81242 BNE: XX1758446 SN