Liang’s Writings from Japan

Liang spent 14 years in Japan all told, finding his calling as a journalist among the Chinese expats in Yokohama. He first attempted to promote his views on Chinese reform through a journal he created, Remonstrance. When a fire destroyed Remonstrance’s printing house in 1901, he founded his most famous journal, New Citizen.

Liang was widely read on the mainland, reaching as many as 200,000 readers, and his opinions on politics and reform were extremely influential.

Liang was one of the first Chinese intellectuals to embrace the idea that China’s traditional value system might have to be torn down to make way for a new system. In this regard, he may have been influenced by Japanese Prime Minister Itō Hirobumi. Liang coined the term “destructivism,” or pohuai zhuyi  (破坏主意), that would letter echo through the writing of more violent figures like Mao Zedong.

Many issues of New Citizen are digitized and available online (in Chinese).

An issue of Liang’s journal, New Citizen