Youguang, known as the father of Pinyin for creating the system of
Romanized Chinese writing that has become the international standard
since its introduction some 60 years ago, died on Saturday in Beijing,
Chinese state media reported. He was 111. In
recent decades, with the comparative invincibility that he felt great
age bestowed on him, Mr. Zhou was also an outspoken critic of the
For more on Zhou Youguang’s life and work, see Margalit Fox, “Zhou Youguang, Who Made Writing Chinese as Simple as ABC, Dies at 111,” The New York Times (14 Jan 2017)
Image: Shiho Fukada / The New York Times
“When Delia Davin, the pioneer of Chinese women’s studies, arrived in
Beijing in 1963, aged 19, there were still camels carrying coal and
wooden ploughs in the fields outside the city. Davin, who has died of
cancer aged 72, quickly established a rapport with her students at the
Beijing Broadcasting Institute, whom she found to be ‘very serious about
their work, but [to] have a gaiety which saves them from being
priggish’. She taught them Irish songs as well as English grammar, and
one of them recited ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’ to console
her, the student said, for not being in England on Shakespeare’s
For more on Davin’s work as a pioneering scholar in the intersecting fields of Women’s Studies and East Asian Studies, see her obituary, composed by John Gittings and quoted above, in The Guardian (16 October 2016) as well as an appreciation posted by scholar Gail Hershatter at H-Net (16 October 2016).
“Xu Zhihui, a pioneer and leader in the struggle of China’ workers to
get compensation for the deadly lung disease, pneumoconiosis, has passed away. He was 55-years-old.His death on 23 June came just one month before another inspirational figure, former gold miner He Quangui, also lost his battle with pneumoconiosis on 1 August this year.“
For more, see “Workers’ Leader Xu Zhihui Finally Loses His Battle with Pneumoconiosis,” China Labor Bulletin (31 August 2015)
"Sidney Shapiro, a famed U.S.-born translator who was one of the few Westerners to gain Chinese citizenship and become a member of a high-level parliamentary body, died over the weekend in Beijing, his granddaughter said. He was 98."
For his full obituary, see “Sidney Shapiro, Famed U.S.-Born Translator and Chinese Citizen, Dies at 98,” Reuters / Japan Times (20 October 2014)
"Chung Eun-yong ran to his wife and embraced her. She collapsed in his arms, sobbing. He asked and asked about their two young children, but she could not answer.
'At that moment, I realized what happened,' he said. 'And I knew I was never going to have another happy day in my life.'
What he had grasped was that his daughter and son were dead. He spent the rest of his life trying to find out how and why that had happened.”
For more, see Chung Eun-yong’s recent obituary, “Chung Eun-yong, 91, Dies; Helped Expose U.S. Killings of South Koreans,” in The New York Times (22 August 2014)
Image: Heesoon Yim / Associated Press
"Actor James Shigeta played the leading male role in the lavish movie musical "Flower Drum Song" in 1961. The year before, he won a Golden Globe as most promising newcomer.
But after “Flower Drum Song” he never again played the leading man in a major film.
'He was so handsome, debonair,' said actor James Hong, who appeared in several films and TV shows with Shigeta. 'But there was the stigma in Hollywood about Asian leading men.'
For the full obit, see David Colker, “James Shigeta Dies at 85; Starred in ‘Flower Drum Song’, ‘Die Hard’” LA Times (29 July 2014). See also his New York Times obituary, here.
Image: UCLA Film and Television Archive
"Wu Tianming, a movie director and former studio head known as the godfather of contemporary Chinese cinema for the generation of filmmakers — including Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige — he shepherded to international acclaim, died on March 4 in Beijing. He was 74."
See Margalit Fox, “Wu Tianming, Film Director Who Reshaped Chinese Cinema, Dies at 74,” NYT (25 March 2014) for a full obituary.
h/t Edward Wong
“The last Japanese soldier to come out of hiding and surrender, almost 30 years after the end of the second world war, has died.
Hiroo Onoda, an army intelligence officer, caused a sensation when he was persuaded to come out of hiding in the Philippine jungle in 1974.
The native of Wakayama prefecture in western Japan died of heart failure at a hospital in Tokyo on Thursday, his family said. He was 91.”
For more, see Justin McCurry, “Hiroo Onoda: Japanese Soldier Who Took Three Decades to Surrender, Dies" The Guardian (17 Jan 2014)
Image credit: AFP/Getty
“C.T. Hsia, the Chinese literary critic who died in New York on Dec. 29, aged 92, had a ‘legendary career’ as ‘a true cosmopolitan, shrewd, critical and brilliant,’ says David Der-wei Wang, the Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University, in an interview on the significance of the life and work of his mentor and friend.”
For more of David Der-wei Wang’s interview re: the late C.T. Hsia, see Didi Kirsten Tatlow “Q. & A.: David Der-wei Wang on C.T. Hsia, Chinese Literary Critic,” New York Times (3 January 2014)
Image credit: C.T. Hsia (L) and Qian Zhongshu (courtesy Della Hsia / NYT)