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Lufei Kui (simplified Chinese: 陆费逵; traditional Chinese: 陸費逵; pinyin: Lùfeì Kuí, 17 September 1886 – 9 July 1941) was a Chinese eesayist, linguist, and publisher.[1][2][3] His courtesy name was Bohong (伯鸿). He founded the influential publisher Zhonghua Book Company, and was an early advocate for simplified Chinese characters.

Early lifeEdit

Lufei was born in a scholar-official family in Hanzhong, Shaanxi, though his parents had come from Tongxiang, Zhejiang. His mother was a niece of Li Hongzhang, a famous Chinese politician during the late Qing dynasty. In his early years, Lufei was taught in classical Chinese by his mother.[4] 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, Lufei 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, Lufei joined Wenming Books, a textbook publishing company as an editor, and also became the headmaster of Wenming Primary School. As his contributions and responsibilities increased at Wenming Books, he started to become a major figure in education and publishing in Shanghai.[5]

In 1908, Lufei joined The Commercial Press and soon was in charge of publication and communications. In 1909, the Commercial Press started the first professional magazine in education in China, the Jiaoyu Zazhi (教育雜誌), and Lufei became its Editor-in-Chief. Lufei believed that education was the key in making a better nation. He published many essays and thesis on the magazine to introduce his ideas in educational reforms.

In 1909, Lufei 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, Lufei published another article "Deliverance on Coordinating Chinese Characters" (整理汉字的意见), in which he suggested that educators should respect the simplified characters invented by the folk and should adopt these characters in their teaching. He also proposed to simplify complex characters systematically.[6]

Lufei is also known as the founder of Zhonghua Book Company, one of the most influential contemporary publishing company, in textbooks, dictionaries, translations of important books in the world, as well as in classical Chinese and Chinese historical publications. Lufei founded Zhonghua Book Company in 1912 on the same day as the founding of Republic of China (1912-1949) and immediately published a new set of textbooks for schools in the post Qing dynasty republic. In the 1930s, Zhonghua was one of the most successful publishing companies 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 Lufei, Zhonghua published a series of important books for Chinese cultural and historical studies, such as Zhonghua Da Zidian, Cihai, Sibu Beiyao (四部备要)and the Gujin Tushu Jicheng.[7][8]

During the war, due to his influence, Lufei'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, Lufei died of cerebral hemorrhage.


  1. ^ [1] Lufei Kui Library at Tongxiang, Zhejiang
  2. ^ 中国出版家陆费逵,周其厚,人民出版社,2016 (Chinese Publisher Lufei Kui)
  3. ^ 陸費伯鴻先生年譜,臺灣中華書局,民國66年, (Annual Chronicle of Mr. Lufei Bohong)
  4. ^ 陆费逵与中华书局,俞筱尧,刘彦捷,中华书局,2002 (Lufei Kui and Zhonghua Book Company)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2008-12-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ [2] 汉字简化常识, 方舟子
  7. ^ [3] Zhonghua Book Company
  8. ^ 中华书局与中国近现代文化,复旦大学历史系等编,上海人民出版社,2013 (Zhonghua Book Company and China's Modern Culture)